There is a universal truth about birth-giving: it doesn't matter how much you try to get ready for it, there is no way to make the right expectations. The only way to find out about this experience is to go through it. The weeks before giving birth I started to be excited but also afraid. I knew that it was going to be painful and exhausting. I wanted to be in control and aware of the moment I was living so I tried to be prepared. Therefore I watched birthing videos in youtube, I asked every woman I know how their labour were, I went to the so famous birth preparation course together with Manfred (to make him prepared too)... All this things helped me to be relaxed and more self confident while the wait but when I was into labour, they all faded. In this moment you are driven by the situation. In some point you are not yourself anymore and everything is a crazy and blurred trip. Manfred helped me all the time making me relaxed with massage and good words, but the task he covered was actually to be the witness of the whole process. When everything was over I completely forgot the suffering. Manfred is here to tell me about the crazy time I went through. He reminds me about my animal force and my power to bring Fauna to the world.
My labour slowly started in the evening of the 7th. Well, lets call it pre-labour. That night I cried of melancholy because the idea to not be pregnant anymore made me sad. Manfred and I talked about the possibility of that night being the last one we would be ever alone, both of us. To not let the last chance to have sex (for a while) we did it then. During the night I had soft contractions so I didn't sleep as deep as I wish I would. The next morning the contractions continued and I had the intuition that it was going to be my last day of pregnancy so we made lots of photos of me and my naked belly. It was Sunday, 8th of May. It was a warm and pleasant day.We spend the morning relaxing at home, listening music and drinking tea. Around midday the contractions were slightly stronger and coming every 15 minutes. We decided to hang around the hospital which is in a really nice neighborhood near to ours, full of cafés and green spots. We went there in U-Bahn (underground) as if we were just having fun, behaving like if it was a completely normal day. We had lunch and walk around, and when a contraction occurred to me I howled in the middle of the street. I had no shame and I found it all really nice.
When the contractions started to be every 10 minutes we went into the hospital to make them check on me and to give us some clue about if we were really into labour. The midwife said that we had to wait more and perhaps go back home because the contractions were still not close enough to each other. But then she touched to see if I was delated and I was, indeed, 3cm delated. Then she said that we should keep walking around and come back in two hours. After that period of time the contractions were still every 10 minutes so another midwife wanted to send us home but the first midwife palpated me again and I was 7cm dilated. I was definitely in the beginning of labour so they finally let me into the delivery zone.
I decided to take a shower to get relaxed and it worked out really good. Then it was around 23:30. I wanted to give birth there with the water falling on me, but it wasn't the actual delivery room so I knew it wasn't possible. Hours passed by and contractions got truly painful. Manfred and I fell sleep in between them. My howling transformed from a funny "aaauuuuuuuhh" to an authentic animalistic shouting. I was exhausted and I asked for painkillers but it was to late for any kind of drug, they told me. I felt the complete birth sensations pack. At least my cervix was really soft, they said. My uterus and vagina seem to be really competent.
My water was still unbroken and I started to feel desperate. They offered to open my amniotic sac and I accepted immediately. This released my pain slightly but I cannot really asure it because at this point I started to loose myself and entered into a trance. Some time later a midwife told me that my contractions weren't strong enough (perhaps I was way to relaxed) so they give me some kind of contraction promoter. Time passed by and I cried around saying that I couldn't anymore. I saw that the night was over and the daylight was coming back and I remember I felt miserable. But then the real labour started and I got an unknown power coming from who-knows-where. The animal inside my human, the real me... I guess. I started to push, even a before the midwifes gave me permission. I wasn't able to wait anymore. In every contraction I push out with my whole soul. It was like defecating but in hardcore. This part didn't hurt so much, actually. It just took a lot of energy. It seems that this phase was another 3 or 4 hours. Fauna going down through my hips and lower. At each contraction I bite Manfred's hand with all my power (thank you, my love). I felt she was almost out, the midwife (the nicest from all of them that had check on me that night) encouraged me really good, I pushed and pushed and pushed... but it wasn't enough. Fauna had the head in a difficult position so every time I stopped pushing she came slightly back in. I was in another universe trying to take her out of me. Manfred got the chance to touch the top of her head while she was still inside. Finally the midwife and the doctor decided to help me in the last bite with a sucking device (that actually looked like a bad joke, you wouldn't believe this thing suck out anything). Another contraction, pushing again and the help of the sucking device and......ahhhh she was finally out!! Her body followed in the next seconds and the whole placenta in the next minutes. They put her in my arms, so peaceful she was. She didn't cry, she was so quiet. I loved her a lot in this moment, but also I wasn't able to be completely aware of her presence. Her breathing sounded watery, the midwife realized it quickly and took her away from my arms. I had her between my arms jus a few minutes. I felt extremely frustrated when she was away, like if all the effort and pain was for no reward. The truly hard time started then.... but this is another story to tell.
In resume, I had an average labour. Tough like any other but kind of easy. It took 10 hours. I didn't suffer any damage in my organs and I recovered really fast and good. I was really exhausted but also really energetic just because of the dissatisfaction of not having her with me. I wouldn't be able to do it without Manfred. His presence and his help and love made the whole process something to enjoy and not to suffer. If I am so happy to go through this adventure is because I shared with him. We gave birth together, and it's the best thing we ever did.
I understand now why women say that giving birth is an empowering experience. It make you surprised to find out what you are capable of. Giving birth is the most intense and animalistic process you can experience. It is all blood, vomit, piss, feces and sweat. It is violent and perhaps, in a lot of cases, much more violent than death. Life versus death and all the forces that define them... it makes me wonder a lot.
The pictures below document in chronological order our experience.