My Birth Story. A Story of Surrender

So many women today blog about the birth of their babies. I love it. It’s beautiful, raw, vulnerable. But what about us personally?

I believe, we have an opportunity to birth into something new too. And not just when we give birth, but during any moment of transition or struggle.

My intention with writing this post is to reach women who have not yet given birth, but feel the desire to bring a child into the world in a beautiful and gentle way.

My intention is also to reach women who are ready to open up to the lesson of surrender, whether that’s in childbirth, business, or a unique life transition.

I’ve been a teacher of surrender for the past five years. An ex-police officer, I left my job because I could tell it was wreaking havoc on my health and I dreamed about having a beautiful family one day, and living the most simple and present life. I wanted to be fully “in” my life, experiencing all it had to offer. I was tired of just trying to get through the days. So I said a simple prayer and asked to be guided. From there, my life began to shift. I left the police force, studied yoga internationally, and developed wellness classes and courses. What I very quickly began to realize was that as I started teaching others, I was actually healing and rinsing from the inside out.

The theme of surrender started to emerge in my yoga classes and workshops. I would encourage my students to slow down, get present and become still. I taught them that their greatest source of power came from an inner listening, from a deep spiritual connection first and foremost and that it wasn’t something outside of themselves. As I continued to grow and develop, I was guided to start a wellness business with doterra essential oils and became very successful. Surrendering, asking to be guided and saying yes to the opportunities God sent my way was not only working magic in my life, it continued to be a core teaching for the women I was mentoring.

Then, I became pregnant. My vision was starting to manifest at a rapid pace. I didn’t realize however that the lesson of surrender was about to smack me in the face and teach me what was really at play.


My beautiful daughter, Vera Aveline, was born on December 13, 2017 at 7:10pm. 

I started to labour around 11pm on the night of December 12. The contractions came like slow waves, and they were not painful. I could tell they were contractions because they would come and go consistently. I felt strong and I was excited. I had prepared for this.

I woke my husband, tossed some essential oils into my diffuser and pressed play on the birth playlist I had created. I swayed around our bedroom, closing my eyes and holding onto my giant belly. We had planned for a home birth, and I had worked hard to prepare for it.

What I realized afterwards however, was that I actually worked too hard, and was secretly trying to control things, which leads me into my first lesson around what surrender was really here to teach me.


LESSON #1: GIVING UP CONTROL IS WHERE OUR TRUE POWER LIES

I’m not saying we can’t plan ahead, in fact I know this is a powerful skill, especially as a mom and business owner. However, it’s when we try to control every little detail that we tend to end up flat on our face.

Let me explain further. Leading up to Vera’s birth, I became obsessed with trying to stay ‘in’ an optimal state for childbirth. I would wake in the morning and read my affirmations, I would meditate, I would read my divine birthing books, I would get energy treatments, I would use my essential oils, and I would pray 213 times a day. Literally. It was crazy!

I wasn’t leaving any space in my life for God to work behind the scenes. 

Let's head back to the birth story, and lesson #2 :)


I continued to labour at home and my midwife and doula arrived around 1 am. The contractions were getting more intense but I still wouldn’t consider them very painful. Just uncomfortable. I continued to labour for about 3 hours, getting in and out of the bathtub. My bathtub is where I feel the safest believe it or not, it’s my zen space so I secretly wanted to have baby in my bathtub, as the birthing tub we rented felt cold and just weird to me. I also spent some time walking up and down the stairs, trying to get things moving.

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Around 5 am my midwife suggested we check to see how far along I was dilated. She did an internal exam and her eyes widened with excitement. I was 9cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited, I turned to give my husband a high five. It was also amazing to feel the shift in my body from this news. The pain lessoned! I attribute this to me calming down, which I’m sure calmed my body down. I had watched many home birth videos (ok, like a thousand) and I knew that once a woman got to the precious 9-10cm mark, the final stage of labour would kick in, and baby would be arriving soon.

So I got back into my tub, put my fav playlist on repeat and continued to labour. 

Something felt off to me however.

The contractions were definitely a bit painful, but they honestly were not that bad. I was counting through them slowly (1… 2…. 3….4… all the way to 60 and this really helped for any women taking notes) but I never felt the urge to push and I didn’t experience any pressure in my low abdomen or my bum, which I had learned was a sure sign baby was ready to enter the birth canal. 

I could just tell something was off, and my midwife seemed a bit nervous as well. It was as if she too didn’t understand why I was dilating so quickly, but baby wasn’t descending and my labour was not progressing into the final stage.

Within the next two minutes, I began to leak meconium, which essentially means baby had taken a poop inside of the uterus. This can be dangerous because baby can swallow the fluid, so my midwife suggested we attend the hospital for additional monitoring. I was sad to leave my goal of a home birth but immediately agreed of course and we headed out.

That’s when shit hit in the fan, in terms of the pain department. 

It really did get intense and I was not digging it. I had left my cozy home, my favourite Jesus songs on Spotify, my warm comfy bathtub and all of a sudden back labour kicked in. Ugggghhhhh. 

This was NOT my plan and to be completely honest it started to piss me off, which I’m sure just made the pain worse.

(In preparation for birth, my holistic health team was big on teaching me about this concept, specifically how the nervous system works. They swore that women who stayed “in” a zen headspace and were able to flow and let go of control, experienced way less pain, and women who reacted and freaked out… {ummm me, the second we got in the car}… their pain would go from 10 to a hundred, real quick. Which is exactly what happened.)

As we arrived at the hospital and I continued to labour for what felt like days, it was really intense. Back labour meant that I didn’t get a break in between contractions, so it felt like I was in a sea of endless discomfort. It didn’t help that I could hear other women giving birth down the hall and their screams. My midwife seemed to be stressing a bit too. She was probably just tired but I could feel her uncertainty. My husband was quiet and pacing the room. My birth photographer had followed us to the hospital and she just seemed to be rocked and perplexed by the entire experience. (This was her first time photographing a birth!) My doula was trying to press on my hips a few times and offer me suggestions and support, but I would just shrug her off. At one point, I spent quite a bit of time alone, labouring in the bathroom of our hospital room, crying. 

I just wanted it to be over. 

Later into the afternoon, my midwife and doula suggested I try a few different positions to see if we could get baby to move or shake down… or something... I was fully dilated and had been for awhile and my midwife said the head was right there, and she therefore couldn’t understand why this baby wasn’t descending. 

Neither could I and at this point I was freaking out. I was tired. And I was overwhelmed.

All the ‘work’ I had done to prep, all those damn affirmations, all those birthing books. 

I wasn’t thinking of that exactly within this stage of labour of course, but I was definitely aware of the fact that I was no longer in control and I could feel I was approaching the end of what I could honestly handle, on my own strength. 

Which brings me to lesson #2 of what surrender is really about.


LESSON #2: LETTING GOD TAKE OVER IS THE ENTIRE POINT

All of a sudden the option of surrender hit me like a ton of bricks. I decided to give up the fight.

I turned to my midwife and said, “Give me the epidural. And let’s ask the OB and another Midwife for that second opinion. I don’t feel that this baby is coming.” 

She immediately looked relieved and got on it. It was if she intuitively knew too!

My husband and doula however looked at me funny, shocked. They knew this wasn’t my birth plan. “What?” they both said.

“Give me the epidural and a second opinion” I repeated, out loud. "I’m done." 

In that moment, finally giving up the fight, I realized what this birth was trying to teach me, my business had been trying to teach me and what God had been trying to teach me for months, and that’s lesson #3 of what surrender is really about….


LESSON #3: TRUSTING IN HIS PLAN, AND ALLOWING HIM TO WORK, IS MUCH EASIER THAN CLINGING ON TO THE PLAN WE’RE SO DESPERATELY ATTACHED TO

After I surrendered, Vera was born about 40 minutes later via c-section after an OB and a second Midwife gave their opinion and shared that Vera was in fact lodged and stuck in my pelvis. They tried to complete an internal "turn" but it didn't work and I intuitively already knew it wasn't going to work. At this point, I was resting peacefully however, knowing that my baby was about to be born and I could chill out. My photographer even said something very profound to me after I received the epidural and was waiting patiently for my c-section. She said, "Ger, there is a lightness present in the room here. The energy has completely shifted." 

"I know", I said. "It's because I surrendered." 

The room fell silent and after a few minutes my doula came over and asked if we should say a little prayer together. My eyes filled with tears and I said, "Absolutely." 

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I felt so safe, so grounded, and so at ease. (Post surrender of course. And please note, this is my personal story, not meant to lean any woman in a certain direction for your own birth. Please allow this to grow your own ability to trust your body, your intuition and the trained medical staff that is helping you!) 

They had to vacuum little miss V out of me via c-section and she came out looking mighty cute, but with a bit of a cone head and a very crooked nose from the vacuum (it’s ok now though, ha). 

 

She is beautiful and perfect in every way, and we are so grateful for her arrival.


HOW I’M LIVING A SURRENDERED LIFE, POST BIRTH

Simple. I've learned that we're truly not meant to do it all. 

And, if we keep trying to do it all, we're going to get knocked to our knee's, and shit's going to hit the fan, until we learn to listen. 

Isn't the option of surrender such a relief?

A few more things I've been incorporating:

  • When I work, I focus on what I need to do, and when the day is done I say a little prayer asking God to take over what I have not been able to accomplish. I’ve realized that he really digs that, I can’t do it all, and there is so much power in giving up control and trusting the process
  • When I parent, I ask how I should raise Vera based on the woman she’s here to be and then I pay attention to her and her cue’s, and what she needs.
  • When I live, I live. I shut off Facebook, I turn off the iPad and my family takes center stage. They are my why, they are my everything and so I refuse to get caught up in what “everyone else is doing” and endless distractions. I have strict boundaries now because my #1 priority is living a surrendered life, my family, my creativity and my purpose. Because I know that’s where the freedom lies. I live it, everyday. 
  • When I rest, I rest. I know that God is working on my behalf and my business will actually grow, while I rest. I turn it over to him and ask him to keep the momentum going. People have told me it’s inspiring how I’ve built my business because I don’t seem to ‘hustle’ as much as the average person and it’s true. I used to be super modest about this, and I used to hide this trait because it actually triggered some people who didn’t understand. Now, I’ve learned to trust the woman I’m here to be, the message I’m here to share, the life I’m here to lead and I now share that, and own it… yes humbly… but unapologetically. 

To your leadership, your highest truth, and a beautiful surrendered life,

Geralyn xx