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Marta's birth story – Baby Olivia, born July 14, 2005
Marta shares how surrendering control in her very fast labour and delivery of baby Olivia brought her a sense of calm and clarity.

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     I delivered my first daughter three weeks early and had a “precipitous” delivery (she was born 33 minutes after my first felt contraction). Thankfully, I was in the hospital when the first contraction occurred, so it all went well. However, it was so unexpected and so not-by-the-book that I spent the first 15 minutes panicking that something was going terribly wrong and I only realized I was about to deliver 15 minutes before I gave birth. It happened so fast that the event is very blurry in my mind and all I can really remember is that I was in a state of panic throughout because I was hopelessly trying to understand and control what was going on.

     When I got pregnant again, my doctor warned me that I should expect a fast delivery this time around as well.

     On July 14th, at 9:45 am I felt a contraction all around my waist and felt another one around noon. I suspected I might be in labor, but since last time I did not feel any contraction until a very strong one that was paired with an urge to push, I figured that, this time, I was about to have a normal delivery and went about some chores around the house to try to help dilatation. I figured we would go to the hospital when the contractions got a bit closer together. To be safe, I asked my husband to come home at lunch time, but I had no more symptoms all afternoon. I thought I had rushed to judgment…but then we went to pick-up my older daughter from daycare and just as we walked in, I got a strong contraction. It was 4:25 pm and we decided to drop off our daughter at my brother's and go to the hospital. On the way there, I felt 2 to 3 contractions ¬- one of which was extremely intense - but they were all pressure and no pain.

     While my husband was parking the car, I took the elevator up to the delivery department and warned the nurse as soon as I walked in that I should be checked quickly, because last time the delivery went very fast. She led me into the triage room and went to get a doctor. Right after she left, I lost my water and my body started to push down uncontrollably. I could feel the head coming out but the contraction was so strong, I could not move onto the bed nor change into the hospital gown, so I screamed for help. The nurse and my husband arrived at the same time, followed by 3 or 4 staff members. They were urging me not to push while standing, to avoid possible injury to the baby, but I could not control my body and they had to physically pull me onto the bed. Olivia's head came out on its own and all I had to do was to slowly push the shoulders out, which I did with incredible calmness and lucidity. It felt amazing! Olivia was born at 5:17 pm.

     Both my husband and I were surprised by how calm I was throughout the whole process.

     My calmness enabled me more lucidity during delivery and allowed me to realize that I felt no pain. I felt strong, hard to endure pressure, but never any pain. I am pretty sure I felt none during my first delivery either, but I was so busy panicking, fighting the intense pressure and trying to control the situation, that I failed to notice.

     Being able to relax mentally and physically during delivery also surely contributed to the fact I did not tear at all this time around.

     I largely credit my calm state of mind to a discussion we had during one of the yoga classes I attended while being pregnant with Olivia. Clearlight once read a text about surrendering control to deal with pain. We talked about working with the pain rather than against it. Although pain as such was not really an issue for me, this discussion truly resonated with me, as I am convinced that I spent so much energy fighting what was happening during the first delivery, that I missed out on a lot of the experience. I think that if I had allowed myself to go a little more with the flow and worked with the situation rather than against it, my experience would have been less traumatic and I would have gotten more out of it, as it almost felt like I was not there.

     The second time, I relinquished control and just tried to work with my body and surroundings. It worked out to be a richer and more amazing experience.

     More than anything else I learned in yoga, it was the practice of surrendering control that helped me most during my delivery.

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