The odds were against me. I wanted a natural labor for the birth of my second child, with a difficult labor and delivery with my first child, I doubted it was possible. I was told a successful VBAC was totally improbable. The birth of my first baby was like this: First, I was induced/ petocin, after going two weeks past my due date. Second, I was taken off of petocin and went into natural labor for four hours. Third, my labor stalled, I was administered more pitocin.
I became fully dilated and began to push. My baby moved forward into a stage three – he was one stage away from beginning to crown. He then became “stuck” due to my slightly platypelloid (narrow front to back) pelvis which makes it difficult for baby’s head to pass through. In the end, I wound up having a C-section. Because of all these complications, the OB who performed the C-section for my first child’s birth made it clear that a VBAC was unlikely to be successful. He warned that though he was willing to give a VBAC a chance, a woman who had so many issues with her last birth would in all probability - be unable to have a natural, intervention and medication free vaginal birth. I listened closely to his counsel, but was determined, in fact I feel now I was predestined - to do all I could to avoid another painful, debilitating surgery and recovery. I felt I would and deliver my second child naturally, pain free, without intervention or drugs. I wanted to feel the passage of my baby through me. It was the right time in my life. Tami was the fuel for my fire.
I began my birth preparation with Tami Mor’s prenatal yoga class. She offered a unique combination of birthing lectures and yoga lessons that interwove both. Each practice began and ended with movement. Tami seamlessly brought together what she discussed with us vocally with what she showed us how to do with our bodies physically. She brought me in tune with myself, and my baby. She discussed the great gifts that our babies were bringing us. She brought me together in myself with a confluence of movement, harmony and spiritual physicality. She taught us how our bodies, our babies, and movement could synthesized and woven into our birth and our yoga practice. After my first two classes with her a light turned on inside me, hope began to grow that this birth would be different. I asked her to be our doula, and so began my journey to the dream of my daughter, Lucy’s birth.
Tami met with me and my husband at every opportunity. Separately and together, she couched us as parents, supported us as a couple on the threshold of new life. I began by reading several books on natural childbirth, active labor, and VBACs that Tami recommended, and attending her classes weekly. I had the unequivocal support of the team of midwives from Carle hospital as well our meetings with Tami. She recommended teas, oils, loving gestures between me and my husband, a massage therapist for my C-section scar, and meditative moments for me and my new baby. The key to our successful birth experience was in the preparation - cleansing, purifying - gaining spiritual and emotional inner clarity combined with physical preparations - this is what made my labor and birth such a satisfying and joyful event. Tami was our guidepost in all these things.
As my due date came closer, I met with Tami during the afternoon and she led me on a powerful visualization of the approaching birth. During this visualization, as I relaxed I saw and felt myself letting go, trusting God and my body, feeling fully supported by my husband, midwives and Tami, secure in the blessed surrender of control assured that I could to the work of opening up to allow my baby to come into the world. My breathing centered me and I felt a deep calm I never experienced during my previous pregnancy or labor.
That very night I had a powerful dream. In it, I saw myself at the hospital, laboring naturally and joyfully. I was surrounded by my husband, the midwife and Tami. On the floor were yoga mats covered by my favorite big, comfortable blanket. I was on my knees, with my elbows up on a chair, pushing. I felt my baby descending through me and as I looked down between my legs I saw the head emerge and I caught her in my arms, snuggling her up to my chest. When I awoke I was so overcome with emotion I was crying. I told my husband and Tami about the dream, feeling exhilarated but simultaneously cautious, knowing that though this dream represented my ideal experience, God had a plan for me all his own, and that no matter how things transpired I was in his hands and trusted that he knew best how the delivery should go.
I went into labor at 6am May 1. I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a couple weeks, but knew this was different. I felt not only a tightening of my abdominal muscles around my belly, but also a profound pulling and opening deep inside my core. I didn’t feel any pain, but my breath was momentarily taken away I fixed breakfast. All the while I continued strong contractions, but didn’t time them; just let them happen while everyone was waking up. We ate, and afterwards the contractions increased. My mom timed them until they were about 4 minutes apart. While she was timing them she let me be, moving around the upstairs, as Tami had taught me. I put away laundry, I did the exercises that Tami had taught me, did yoga stretches, sat on an exercise ball, and basically kept very active, but in a mellow, focused way. Tami words continued to ring through my head. As the contractions intensified, I remembered all that Tami had taught me and shown me. I felt increasingly focused on the fact that my baby was, indeed, coming. This might me it. I may actually be going into labor, without drugs – naturally - for the first time. I was struck, such a powerful feeling I was feeling so high and powerfully and anticipatory My husband came upstairs, his calming presence enabled me to continue to focus on my breathing and movement. While he readied everything for the hospital, I continued to labor. I got my self into the shower, feeling the waves of sensation wash over me, enjoying and envisioning the opening that was happening inside me. I rang Tami and let her know we were close, and to meet us at the hospital within the hour. By now it was 11:30 or so. The entire time her voice, melodic and pure rang through my head – Open Bridget, your baby is ready and open to receive you!
As we left the house, the contractions continued to increase, and for the first time I felt some pain. I was uncomfortable on the ride to the hospital, but I was very much immersed in breathing and feeling the totally positive intensity of each contraction. I was completely focused and energized. No one and nothing could stand in my way at this point. The world had faded into a background. With each contraction I felt a deep pulling followed by an expansive, almost breathtaking opening – like I was getting closer and closer to a precipice. Check in went smoothly, the midwives were all completely supportive, and I began my labor in the ideal set up.
Just as in my dream, bought about by Tami’s visualization, there was circle around me. Beneath me was a solid, comfortable floor of yoga mats and blankets. A couch provided me with a place to rest my elbows. As my water broke, I literary heard a pop. Instantly my contractions increased and I felt like I was truly working – in labor.
By now it was around 1 pm. Tami was there by then. At this point I felt like I was going crazy – whisked away in a whirlwind an intensely of a higher power. I went into a position - my elbows on the couch in front of me, surrounded by the midwives, Tami, and my husband. I held onto him for dear life as each contraction gained momentum. He reminded me to envision myself on a wave in the ocean, calming, opening, facing he sun. Tami whispered into my ears.
The pain became so intense I panicked. I asked for drugs to relieve the pain, convinced I couldn’t go farther. Ryan went to get the nurse while the midwife checked my dilation. He calmly told me, “The baby is coming.” I replied, “OK, fine, that’s great, but when are the drugs coming!?” He repeated, “Hang in there the baby is coming.” I shot back, “OK, fine, are you saying it’s too late for drugs?!” And he said, “Yes, you are fully dilated and it is time to push. Do you feel like pushing?” I didn’t feel any urge to push, but it was clear to me that with no pain relief in sight, I had a job to do and I instantly refocused – turning away from the pain and avoiding it – to face it head on and try pushing. Tami looked straight into my eyes as I said to her, with the most honestly I have ever in my life addressed a person,’I am scared’. She looked me so deeply and said to me, “your body knows what to do, hum, move, we are here”
As I began to bear down I envisioned myself on top of a wave that I was riding on top of, pushing it down into the ocean. Once in the trench of the wave, I breathed, looked into Tami’s eyes, held onto Ryan’s strong hands and arms as if he were the mast on a ship caught in a tremendous storm. As I felt the next swell and began once again to push down. The pressure was immense, and I hummed. I hummed so deep and so true. I vibrated down to the core of myself, ht ecore of the earth, the core of life. I was immediately gratified by feeling the sensation of my baby’s head begin to move down and through me. It was incredible - so intensely powerful, I was overwhelmed by a sensation of elation at riding atop and through the pain and actually feeling the baby moving through me.
I hummed. I couldn’t and didn’t ever want to stop. I continued for about 20 minutes or maybe 4-5 more pushes this way. As I bore down, I made a deep humming sounds, envisioning opening and bringing baby down through my loud low sounds. Then I began to feel my perineum begin to burn as I felt baby’s head beginning to come out. I felt scared again and wanted to back away from the pain, to somehow hold off on pushing. The other midwife told me, “I know it burns, but you can do this, your baby’s head is coming, just push straight through the burn, you are almost done.” I heard her words so clearly and was once again instantly focused on my job. It was astounding how clear it was to me what I had to do. The pain was not at all something to back away from, but was what I needed to dive straight into. As baby’s head crowned, I gave another 3 pushes feeling her shoulders coming out and was overtaken by a feeling of pure ecstasy. Tami was there the entire time, my constant, wiping and whispering and present.
Relief washed over me as the pain and pressure dissipated. I was beyond joyful, knowing I was about to hold my child. I was utterly empowered, the strongest person alive – I felt every moment of my baby’s journey through me into this world, and reveled in every moment of the experience. I met pain and allowed it to lead and guide me. Tami taught me to see healthy pain as an avenue, something to turn to for growth. From my husband’s waiting arms that caught her into my bare breast, I welcomed our dear child with pure, sheer happiness.
I reached down between my legs and touched my baby as my body released the legs. As my husband held our baby as she eased away from my body, the midwives took off my dress, helped me lay down sideways on some pillows while he brought baby to my breast. Ryan and I were so caught in to moment; we forgot to see if we’d been blessed with a girl or boy until the midwives asked. A girl. We had a beautiful, healthy daughter we named Lucy Catherine.
I came to my labor wanting a natural birth to avoid the painful recovery of a c-section, though ended up getting so much more. Through Tami, I learned how to trust God in a much more complete way. I learned how to believe in myself and my body on such a profound level that I’ve been transformed into a more centered, balanced person. I learned how to let go and allow God and life to simply occur without trying to control how things happen, without turning away from the difficult moments. Tami has taught me to see what is always right in front of me. The way of seeing that a pebble is part of a mountain. This is a blessing beyond measure that my daughter Lucy brought me with her amazing passage into this world. I credit Tami with helping me allow this blessing to come.
Tami once told me that there is a letter written in all our hearts. It lives somewhere between the heart and the belly button. In it is the story of a baby, my baby, Lucy who came with little pain so much empowerment, and untold blessings to follow.
We are so grateful to you for all your support, expertise, and love helping to make a dream come true. Lucy’s birth and labor were truly the most amazing experiences of my life.
Thank you for helping make it happen and for being there.
Thank You Tami Mor, from the bottom of our hearts, Ryan, Bridget and Michael