Everyone is different and therefore needs different things, so the decisions that are right for one person are not necessarily right for another person. We all know that, right?
All this being said, I do want to share with you some little snippets of my birth story mostly because I learned a lot from it and I think some of the tools I used could be helpful to people birthing in all sorts of different settings.
You don’t need to be having a water birth or a home birth to embrace the power of using your voice or to enjoy the non-touch massage vibrations of the didgeridoo.
Honestly, there is a lot of my own birth story that I don’t remember. It’s a big, beautiful blur in my memory. But I do remember the sounds very well. The ones I made, the ones my support team created around me, some other ones I’m not sure where they came from. These sounds helped me relax, open up, connect with a force beyond myself, and guide my son out into the world.
So here they are, if they sound good, give them a try and see how they work for you!
“When a person totally relaxes the lips and blows a good amount of air through them at considerable pressure, softly flapping them together in the process, it is reminiscent of the soft, lip-flapping sound that horses make. I find that when women in labor attempt to make this sound (even if they don’t quite succeed), it significantly relaxes their mouth, throat, and, at the same time, their bottom (cervix and perineum).”
Luckily, I had a few days of prodromal labor that allowed me to practice different techniques to cope. Blowing raspberries while visualizing my pelvic floor softening and relaxing really helped during early labor.
As labor progressed, I changed the horse lips for a song.
I learned this song in a movie called Birth Story: Ina May and the Farm Midwives. Yeah, thanks again Ina May.
Later on I found it again in a book called “Birth Art and the Art of Birthing" by Wennifer Lin (so hard to find, but such a good read!)
Like a flower in the morn
Let my petals open
Let my child be born (Let myself be born)
It also happened to last about as long as the contractions did, at least at the beginning, which made me feel like I had some sort of control or awareness of when the intensity would give me a break. Later on I had to sing the song two times before the contractions ended, and I knew that could only mean we were moving in the right direction.
During the birth, I just remember the sound was very grounding. It resonated through my whole body while it was happening. My husband played it directly into my belly while I circled my hips and sang my birth song. I felt like the vibrations where helping soften every cell of my body.
I started learning the very basics of the didgeridoo months before ever getting pregnant, but my interest in the instrument grew enormously after having experienced its magic during childbirth.
The sound of the didgeridoo can become a good example of the kind of sounds that are the most helpful to make during labor: low-pitched, deep sounds, open throat.
And then it hit me: I realized that the only way to meet my baby was going to be by pushing him out with all of my being. I opened my eyes and recovered my alertness.
“Juice!” I exclaimed.
“Where?” someone asked.
“Fridge.” I responded.
Someone brought me a bottle of homemade grape juice a dear friend had brought a few days before.
I drank the whole quart in accelerated gulps, and drawing strength from the sugars. I gathered all I had.
I remember reading at some point about a birthing mother roaring like a lioness. I thought of all the female animals giving birth, about all human mothers giving birth. And then I roared while I pushed with a contraction.
I don’t remember it all so clearly, my husband says it was a long roar followed by a pirate kind of sound, AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!
When I think of that moment I think of a body builder lifting a gigantic amount of weight. I just need to make some sound to gather THAT amount of strength. I knew a high-pitched scream would only drain me, that roar was exactly what I needed.
And then my son was born.
Using your voice, either literally to make sounds or figuratively to make the decisions that are right for you, will definitely empower you during this crucial time of your life.
What sounds did you make during labor? Which ones did you find the most helpful?