Since the beginning of our pregnancy, we knew we wanted a natural birth with as little medical intervention as possible. It was our midwife who suggested the Calmbirth course to us. Upon looking into it we thought it would be perfect to give us the tools we needed, so we booked ourselves in and looked forward to it for weeks. The course and our educator Dawn, were incredible, and we left feeling empowered, informed and confident as we moved closer to our baby’s arrival. However, we ended up using the skills we learned in a way we never would have imagined.
We were lucky to have a reasonably smooth pregnancy during our first two trimesters. One morning, 27+ weeks into the pregnancy, I noticed our son’s movements were a little unusual. This happened occasionally, and normally seemed to coincide with the baby’s sleeping pattern. This time though, I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right. We called our local hospital and went in to be monitored, fully expecting to be reassured and sent home within the hour. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and the monitoring showed that our son was in severe distress. Everything began happening incredibly quickly, and suddenly the room was full of people and we were being told that our baby would be delivered today
Dawn had used an analogy during our Calmbirth course that really resonated with us. She described a couple who had planned a trip to Italy, and had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. They learned the language, they planned all the sights they would see and places they would visit. On the plane on their way to their dream holiday, the pilot announces that there has been a complication and landing in Italy wasn’t an option, for a safe landing they would be travelling to Holland instead. The couple had the choice to be miserable staying in this unexpected location, or to embrace this new holiday and enjoy all it had to offer them.
When we first heard the words that our son needed to be born right now, our first response was utter shock and terror. The fear took over and panic began to set in. As everyone rushed around us preparing for immediate surgery, we looked at each other and knew what we needed to do to get through this together. I shut my eyes and started performing the Calm Breathing that the course had taught us, with my partner’s reassurance and comfort every step of the way. He was able to be confident and assertive in quickly making decisions and answering all the important questions while I stayed in my calming zone. To the confusion of the health team, between my Calm Breaths I kept repeating “Holland is still a holiday, Holland is still a holiday, Holland is still a holiday”. We were swiftly taken to surgery, and upon the arrival of the PIPER team, our little boy was delivered safely into the world.
Archer was born at just over a kilogram, at 2.4 pounds. He was transported with my partner straight to a specialist hospital that could support him and his prematurity. I remained behind, and continued to use my Calm Breaths as I recovered from the emergency c-section and began to process everything that had just happened. The incredible health team were really impressed with how we handled it every step of the way, and spoke of how beneficial our composure was to both our son and the work that they needed to do.
We spent a total of 12 weeks in the hospital with Archer, who finally came home with us on what would have been his original due date. He is now thriving, and will always be reminded of his extraordinary resilience that got him through his difficult start to life. Every day we reflect on what we went through as a new family, and the role that Dawn and Calmbirth played in our experience. We couldn’t be more grateful for what it taught us and how it helped us survive what ended up being a birth very different from what we had envisioned. What we learnt will stay with us forever, and will continue to be a big part of the three of us as we grow together.
Archer is thriving here at home with us, and we are loving being together every day. He is a very happy and relaxed little boy and we just love him to bits.
Every time we look at our healthy little boy, we can’t help but think that Holland is the most beautiful place that we have ever been.
Thank You for sharing Archer’s unique Birth story as you said by sharing your story you hope that other expectant parents can see that even when things do not go to plan it will be okay, and the skills you learn in Calmbirth will help even if it wasn’t the way you thought they would. Thank goodness you followed your gut instincts that day! Dawn