I think I was pretty lucky with my pregnancy- I had no cravings or morning sickness, and I was relatively pain free until my last trimester, when I experienced a bit of back pain. At first, it was pretty dull, but then the pain increased. This was around the time I started pregnancy yoga.
I think the knowledge you offered, combined with the relaxation played a part in reducing the pain. I took home what you had taught, and practised it whenever I felt the pain coming on. It did reduce the pain, especially towards the end of my pregnancy. Because I was so busy working all the time (I only went on mat leave a few weeks before I was due), I hadn’t really stopped to think about myself throughout my pregnancy, and it was only really when I came to yoga that I actually sat down and thought about how amazing our bodies are to be able to grow a whole human being. Although I did talk to Isaac all the time, I hadn’t really given much thought about what our bodies could do, and yoga allowed me to connect with Isaac in a way that I hadn’t really done before. I do believe it was a very positive experience, one that I carried with me through the rest of my pregnancy. I always felt connected in class, but I could also feel how connected the other mums were too, so that was nice.
My birth didn’t quite go how I imagined it. At our last measurement, Isaac had reduced his growing rate, and as a precaution the midwife wanted us to have a scan to see if everything was ok. It turns out my cheeky monkey was breech at 33 weeks, so we elected to have an ECV (external cephalic version). Although it wasn’t painful, it was quite uncomfortable, and I used the breathing techniques that you had taught us. I do believe it helped, and the midwife said in the 20 years she’d been doing them, I was by far the calmest she’d seen! The ECV was successful for about a minute, until they checked his heart rate and it had plummeted to a dangerous level. It was then they said we are putting you under general anaesthetic and delivering the baby in the next 15 mins, whilst I was asleep! This was by far the worst part, because it meant I couldn’t be there for skin to skin contact, and Kyle wouldn’t be allowed in the room so he couldn’t hold him in his first moments of life. Throughout all this, I continued using my breathing exercises, because it was the only bit of control I had in what seemed like a long time! As they were about to wheel me down for surgery, they checked his heartbeat one last time and low and behold, he had flipped himself back up (the wrong way) and his heart rate had gone back to normal. It was easily the longest 10 minutes of my life, but I believe the breathing and calmness of yoga meant I could deal with it in a calm manner. After this, we came to a decision with the midwives that the safest option would be to have an elected caesarean (I asked if I could have a breech vaginal birth, but the danger of him going into distress was too great).
I used breathing and yoga right up to the moment he was born- the morning of the surgery, waiting to be wheeled into the room and whilst having my spinal injection. It all played a positive part in remaining calm and taking everything in from this experience.
Yoga helped me throughout my recovery at home too. It took me a few weeks to be able to do it properly, but when I did, it allowed me to have a moment to myself without feeling guilty that Isaac was in another room sleeping.
Isaac is my first baby, and if I do have anymore in the future, I will definitely be going back to yoga. I would definitely recommend pregnancy yoga to other mums, because it helped me in later stages of pregnancy, my birth and my recovery afterwards, as well as connecting with other mums and mums-to-be. I have taken all the positives from it, and hopefully, when I have a little more time on my hands, I can come back to regular yoga for a bit of me time. Thank you for all the positive experiences Tessa, I hope you’re enjoying being a mum too.