Birth Story: “Music As My Focus, My Drishti”

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Congratulations to Sarah W. on the birth of her baby boy Declan!

Read on to discover how yoga made its way from her prenatal yoga classes at Blooma into her labor and birth (think yogi squats, mamas!). Are squats uncomfortable for you, like they were for Sarah? Just like this mama writes about below, tucking a rolled-up blanket under your heels can help you relax and release into this pose. Give it a try — then close your eyes, inhale deeply with hands at heart center, and let out a deep ahhhhh.

Love,

Alisa, Sarah & the women of Blooma

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{By Sarah W.}

DeclansmileI’d like to start this story off with telling you that I could not do a yogi squat for the first month or so of prenatal yoga at Blooma.

Though I understood the virtues of that position during labor, it was the most uncomfortable position for me at six months pregnant. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t hunker down during classes, so I practiced that pose pretty much every night in front of my husband, Sean. First with piles of blankets under my heels and eventually in my modified-hunched version of the yogi squat. It wasn’t pretty, but it was close.

Speaking of not pretty, my water broke on the corner of 26th and Lyndale the morning of October 22nd, 2012. I wasn’t hidden safely in my car or even in the Bulldog Restaurant having a club soda. Rather, I was walking by myself for the whole world to witness. I was making a nesting trip to the grocery store in hopes of filling my freezer with delicious tortilla soup. I never made that soup. And that was when I lost all modesty.

My merciful brother-in-law rescued me from the corner and brought me home to pack my bag (no I didn’t have a bag packed already). Sean met me at home and together we started our 1.8-mile journey to the midwives at HCMC and to the grandest adventure that has ever rocked our little worlds.

Once at the hospital, my lack of contractions ebbed our fear and excitement. In hopes of triggering contractions, we went on long walks around the hospital and I spent lots of time on my yoga mat. Ten hours later with no progression and some stir-crazy nerves, we decided to use pitocin to get the baby show on the road. Boy (forshadowing…), did that work!

I had no real expectations about my labor and no set labor plan besides wanting to go as natural as possible. I wanted to know the ends of my body; to know what so many women before me have experienced. The intervention of pitocin was not what I planned, but it made us meet our sweet baby sooner, and for that I’m grateful.

During my 3.5 hours of labor, I was allowed to move around my room with the help of my nurses escorting my IV pole behind me. The movement definitely helped to keep my body loose and my mind focused. Table top pose was so comforting and helped me to feel strong and grounded. I used my husband in the same way as I leaned against his warm and steady chest. Most of the positions that I felt were helpful were similar forward-leaning positions: onto my bed or sitting on a ball and leaning forward for support.

Breathing was never more important than during that time. I remember Sarah and our other yoga teachers talking about finding our third eye drishti to focus on during labor. For me — a double-visioned and very near-sighted yogi sans glasses — I couldn’t see any drishti in my messy blurred vision. We also kept the lighting very low to create a relaxed environment which did not help my visual ability. I ended up (I think) keeping my eyes closed for most of this time.

Instead, I found an auditory drishti. Sean and I both made a couple of long playlists of chill and sentimental songs that looped throughout this time. Because music is my main artistic outlet as well as my profession, it played a huge role in my labor. The tempo of each song supported and structured my steady breathing and the phrasing the songs were my finish lines to work towards during each contraction. So I used the music as my focus, my drishti.

At the end of the 3.5 hours, my amazing midwife, Julia, reported that I was 9.5 cm dilated! Hooray! She gently coached me with clear instructions on ways to move to dilate to the full 10 cm. I am so grateful for her coaching.

I pushed for 1.5 hours. Though it was exhausting, it was really satisfying to feel the progress of my pushing! With the help of Julia, my rock of a husband, Sean, and our HCMC doula, Gigi, we really were making progress!

Gigi suggested we use the birthing bar and Julia suggested I get into a squat… The yogi squat?! Yes, I had worked so hard to be strong enough to hold that position and have it work for me. I used that position to welcome our healthy little boy, Declan (DECK-luhn) into the world.

Thank you to Sean, Julia, Gigi, and BLOOMA!

*{A little note from Blooma: We joyfully share birth stories sent to us by Blooma families, however, Blooma does not claim responsibility for and does not endorse individual choices made by families or their care providers. We seek to share an array of birth stories to showcase a wide range of experiences.}

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