Positive birth story by Sarah Garner
Sarah Garner, Founder Retykle | Birth Story for Bump n Bub
I found out I was pregnant around the same time I was contemplating starting a new job but I decided to turn it down as I couldn’t see the two working well together. It was the first time since the beginning of my career that I had a break so I felt incredibly lucky to have the time to prepare for the arrival of my first baby. That said, I was always an overachiever at work and so I may have had a bit too much time and energy to put into becoming a first-time mom. I read a ton of books on sleep training, conscious parenting, breastfeeding etc. I made notes in the books, took in all the tips my friends had shared and created spreadsheets for product recommendations - some friends were definitely worried that I had too much time on my hands!
I loved the experience of being pregnant and felt that with the luxury of time, I was able to prepare myself physically and emotionally for the changes ahead.
I focused on exercising regularly and as a vegetarian, getting enough nutrients to keep up my energy levels. It wasn’t until the last 2-3 weeks that I felt uncomfortable between waking regularly, heartburn and back pain. I wanted to prepare as much as possible for birth so I went to as many classes as I could find with ‘experts’. I was a sponge for information and approached becoming a mother as the biggest assignment I’d ever have to study for. I didn’t feel that I would be a ‘natural’ so preparation was my comfort so I created a sense of calm about the transition ahead through learning. I practiced hypnobirthing which helped me feel empowered and prepared for a natural birth.
My water broke around 1 am and I had light contractions until morning. I called my midwife when my water broke and she arrived at my home early in the morning. She recommended that I go for a walk to help intensify my contractions. I wanted to stay home for as long as possible to avoid intervention. My midwife, Karin Siegler, and my husband were such an incredible support team. I couldn’t have hoped for better birth partners.
My husband, Luke, participated in all of my preparation even reading my hypnobirthing script so that I had his calming voice as my guide each night. Luke’s mom delivered hundreds of babies as an obstetrician and it was her belief that a natural labour without drugs is the best way for a baby to enter the world. I knew it was important to Luke to honour his mom’s advice and so I did what I could to prepare for this type of birth. Several hours after my water broke, Karin said that our only hope of avoiding a c-section was to intensify contractions which she enabled with acupuncture at home. When I arrived at the hospital early afternoon they still weren’t strong enough so they put me on a pitocin IV at the hospital and continued increasing the dose every half hour. The contractions were extraordinarily intense for hours and hours but between the hypnobirthing training and Karin’s confident reassurance and guidance on how to move during labour along with my husband’s steady hand, Henry was born as I had hoped and prepared for, but in a much longer time horizon, than anticipated. My labour was 23 hours. I was one hour away from requiring a c-section because in Hong Kong, they won’t let you go over 24 hours after your water breaks for risk of infection.
Having Henry on my chest and breast for the first time was one of the best moments of my life.
I felt empowered by the experience of bringing him into the world and loved sharing this one of a kind joy with my husband. I also couldn’t stop thinking about how strong and incredible women are and how lucky we are to have this experience!
I felt truly great after having Henry. I remember being astounded by how quickly I recovered particularly after such a physically demanding birth. I was completely in love with him from the moment we touched. With my daughter’s birth, I had a walking epidural during the last half hour of my labour because she was posterior and they wouldn’t turn her in utero unless I had one. I felt completely different after my second labour and experienced dark thoughts and a sense of disconnect with her that was very unexpected given my first experience. I can’t say that it was all related to the epidural but they were very different experiences and without Karin by my side for my second birth, I felt that I didn’t have control over my birth experience. The way your child enters the world can be so important for the way you get started on your journey together. I can’t recommend the help of a midwife enough to ensure you are cared for and seen in what can otherwise be a medical engagement without the emotional and physical considerations that midwives make time and space for.
Becoming a mother changed me completely and unexpectedly.
I was so happy and at peace with being his mom and wanted to reorient my life towards creating a better future for him. I couldn’t regain a sense of enthusiasm for the industry I had been so ambitious to mount to the highest ranks. I didn’t see the purpose and to spend time apart from Henry, I wanted to spend my time on something impactful. I just felt a sense of overwhelming need to do something better, for him.
The idea for www.retykle.com sparked when he was a few months old and it was a case of entrepreneurialism brought on by experiencing a first-hand problem I wished to solve myself. I felt that with my experience I could create a way for parents to efficiently and effectively share their resources, in this case, clothing, with each other so as not to waste what we already have and share with one another at scale.