My First SoundBirth
My first SoundBirth was one of those “ecstatic” births. At home. Floating in water. Making beautiful toning sounds with the sound of a crystal singing bowl…until the end of course when I let out my usual primal scream! It was a much shorter birth than the previous two, also at home in water. I put it all down to the use of my voice and crystal bowl…and decided to share these awesome tools with the world…hence “SoundBirth – Sing Your Baby to You” was born.
My Second SoundBirth
Seven days ago my second “SoundBirth” (fourth homebirth) began early Friday morning. During the day I hung out with my sisters, went for a walk, felt excited about everything starting to finally happen! Not much “toning” happened until the contractions became more intense later that night. It was then that I asked my older girls (aged 10 and 8) Mum and my sister to start taking turns playing the bowl during each contraction. I hummed gently and made a few Oh and Ahh sounds. Once again the sounds of my voice together with the bowl spun me out as it did during my last labour. Whenever I went slightly off-pitch to the bowl I heard my favourite “Wah wah wah” sound….something you really need to experience yourself to understand. These were my “early labour” sounds.
Everything slowed down early Saturday morning after the midwife arrived and kids and husband emerged from their sleep. I was tired from not being able to sleep all night which could have been the reason why. I also felt my normal “performance anxiety” issues arise. I didn’t like the fact that I was not in control of when my next contraction would come…I wanted them to come more regularly, more strong. I was tired and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to cope much longer if things didn’t start moving…and the last thing I wanted was a transfer to hospital…
I decided to go into the shower just to get some space from my kids (who were being lovely of course giving me pictures they had drawn, giving me drinks etc…) and people watching me…waiting for me to DO something! I cried my eyes out in there…BIG sobs. I wanted to hide, to be left alone. I didn’t want people worrying about me. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!! I got out and my midwife Clare reminded me that I can birth in my own time and that my body is tired and just needs a rest. So I lay on the bed with Steve and tried to sleep. No contraction for half an hour! “That’s ridiculous (my inner critic remarked!). I’m getting up and out of here!”
The Power of Nature
So I went for a walk with Mum around our backyard surrounded by bush. There were ducks in the old dead tree (strange), it was cold, the finches were tweeting and watching, the dog was in the garage so he wouldn’t irritate me! I started having more contractions. This is when my sounds started to become more should I say…”juicy”? and not so pretty…’Oh’ sounds, groaning sounds, sometimes balling my eyes out sounds. It hurt! Really, really hurt AND I was SO tired.
Then the sun came out. The beautiful warm, healing sun. The warmth became my hot water bottle on my back. It was SO soothing. I remember thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if all labouring women could experience this…the sun, the trees, the birds…” Being surrounded by nature reminded me that what I was doing was part of nature. I felt connected to everything and so grateful for the strength and wisdom that nature seemed to bless me with in that moment. I realised I was actually going to have a real baby in my arms very soon…So I balled my eyes out about that…
I laboured outside on the veranda for a while. The midwives bought everything outside just in case THIS was the birth spot. The bowl came outside too (giving my hubby something to do). It really made such a big difference when that bowl played. It accompanied my crazy sounds. It switched off the outside world. I could go inwards and express whatever sounds that wanted to come out and when the contraction was over we talked, we joked, we laughed and sometimes I sobbed… Then the sensation came again. The bowl played. I released the pain, the tension, the emotions with my voice and then returned back to my family, midwives, the ground beneath my knees…
Too hot outside. Back inside.
It’s amazing how ultra aware you become when in labour. I knew what I needed to do or not to do in each moment. And during this labour it seemed to change all the time! Normally I would just be in one room submerged in the warm soothing water in the birth pool. Not this time…I didn’t want to go near the pool. Instead I went from one room to the next like a cat does before giving birth until I found the perfect place – on my bed. This was it. This is where I had decided to put all my energy into pushing my baby out! Liza (my backup midwife) played my largest bowl (18 inch), Clare encouraged me and massaged my bum reminding me to relax (how vulnerable we become in labour!), Mum came in occasionally to see how I was going and giving me rescue remedy, the kids popped their heads in sometimes then went off to play with my amazingly entertaining sister, and Steve stood next to the bed so I could lean on him during each contraction (it took him a week to recover!…poor husband…). I moaned, groaned, screamed, sobbed, winged, toned, made up silly sounds and laughed like a crazy woman…whatever I felt I needed to express, I let out with the sound of the bowl accompanying me.
The bowl was amazing. It was the one constant throughout the labour. Clare noticed that it seemed to give me power and strength when played louder so Liza went for it! It was SO loud that I thought the windows might shatter! I said near the end that I can’t wait until it’s quiet! I was sick of hearing myself make so much noise and just wanted some peace!! Clare thought I meant that I don’t want the bowl to be played anymore. So there was one contraction with no bowl and it was awful (it seemed longer and more painful) so I insisted it was played again. It was me I was me I was sick of hearing…not the bowl. The bowl was my life-boat, my safety net, my block of chocolate in the cupboard…and I NEEDED it to keep me going.
Screaming my baby to me
Not long after my waters broke…SPLASH underneath me! Hooray! What a release that moment was! I think I cried again…knowing what was coming next… And sure enough a few contractions later I had to do the really big ‘poo’ and I screamed my baby’s head out. Thank god for that! The kids came running in to see their new baby’s head sticking out of my “bum” (as my 3 year old says), watching her turn herself before the next contraction and I screamed my baby to me… into my arms. “Is she OK? Is she breathing? Waaaa… Thank goodness…” What a relief when you realise that the birth is almost over (placenta still to come) and your baby is perfect. What a miracle. I sat there sobbing my eyes out…again…in shock, disbelief and relief. I had finally birthed my baby…I had found that massive amount of power I had within and needed to allow my body to open up and give birth. I did it! No one else…just me and my baby…a bowl…and an awesome support team of course! Another girl! Four beautiful girls all born safely and naturally at home.
Birth is awesome, a miracle, powerful, painful (sorry…but it is!), a mystery, beautiful…and I am so grateful to have experienced birth in all its glory.
Welcome little Ruby to our family.
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!