I switched off completely, went into my own world and my body’s ancient genetic coding came into action. Some hours later, I delivered Sophie, a 7.4lb baby girl. I did it without any painkillers or medical intervention whatsoever. I was euphoric.
Breastfeeding fell into place easily with the inevitable trials and tribulations and mixed emotions of euphoria, disbelief and tiredness. But I never imagined the love that I would feel for this tiny, miraculous little bundle.
As my baby girl, Sophie, grew, I weaned her and then continued with my studies and trainings in holistic health, often leaving my husband to fend for himself at the weekend with this new delight in his life. My practice grew with special emphasis on helping women with infertility, pregnancy and motherhood problems. I subsequently went on to have two more children naturally and I then suffered an ordeal, which nearly led to my womb being removed (a hysterectomy) and would more than likely have left me infertile.
So imagine how surprised I felt when, in my early forties, I found that I was, not only pregnant again but, expecting twins! What joy! However, now I found myself in the high- risk category with the expectation that these babies would be delivered by elective caesarean. With all my research, clinical experience and training as a Natural Health Professional, this was not what I wanted. Indeed as a Registered Member of the British Institute for Complementary Medicine, using bio-regulatory medicine, I felt I owed it not only to myself and my patients but also to women generally, to practice what I preach. It took a few attempts to find a gynaecologist who was open to my having a natural birth. I have to confess that, on my first visit, I did break down saying that I knew I had the capacity to give birth naturally to a single baby but did not know how I would manage two. Very reassuringly, he said: “It is only one labour and two pushes.” I knew then that I could do it.
Nine months later, I was blessed with two beautiful baby girls, Francesca 6lbs 12ozs and Alicia 6lbs 2ozs. I delivered them naturally, at term, without any intervention whatsoever and I established breastfeeding very quickly. I then went on to feed them exclusively on my breast milk for six months before introducing solids to their diets. The Wellness Action Plan Programme worked for me again!
Not long afterwards, I took the babies for a check up with a close colleague and friend, a Naturopath and Acupuncturist. According to her assessment, she was delighted with the health of the babies and with my quick recovery. She looked at me and said: “Vivien, you have had the good fortune to have knowledge to help you achieve all this.” She continued “You need to share this with others so that they can be as fortunate, too. Maybe you should write a book.”
So, the first seed about writing this book was planted in my mind. I was then further inspired by all the experiences in my own practice with helping women, not only with fertility problems but also with all the complications through pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood. I felt that some of the suffering could have been avoided had they known certain things in advance. Equally, a number of cases had tremendous joy and happiness through their experiences, many of who kindly gave me permission to write up their personal stories (case histories). This was further endorsed by results from an independent study that I carried out on childbirth. I share these experiences with you, the reader, just as with others in the practice in order that we can gain insight and understanding that can make your life or someone else’s easier as a result.
When enough people are inspired by what they read here to help spread the word, we will indeed raise healthier and happier children and so help not only the present generation but future ones, too.
Imagine that either you, someone you know, someone in your family or a professional colleague, are going to have a baby. Wouldn’t you want to ensure that they are well informed for this journey? Wouldn’t you want to make this experience wonderful, to give this new baby the best possible start in life? To set patterns for this baby to be a healthier, happier and easier child and a more healthy, loving and caring human being? This is exactly what this book offers - accurate information and guidance compiled from both personal and professional experiences, as well as extensive research and studies, to help all those on this journey.
A woman’s body is designed by nature with a built-in genetic blueprint to reproduce, to give birth and to nurture new life, thus ensuring survival of the race as we have through countless eons of time. Down through the ages we have gathered experiences and if we raise our awareness and put this knowledge and wisdom to good use, we can make this journey not only easier and better for all concerned but one full of joy and happiness.
So many choices are open to us. So much information and so many opinions are available that it is challenging to steer a clear path. Armed with knowledge, we can help avoid some of the needless suffering and missed opportunities. One thing that we have known instinctively for centuries and is now being proven by science is that the way we nurture our unborn babies and welcome them into the world has a profound effect on them for the rest of their lives.
Keep an open mind and don’t be surprised by information that challenges your ways of thinking, we have a job to do: make Wellness our birthright. As Suzanne Arms, renowned author, photographer and speaker in this field, says so beautifully: “If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust.
I was fortunate to have such information as I started my own journey some twenty-five years ago. Being a Natural Health Consultant and Practitioner, I knew to eat a wholesome diet and I combed the health food shops for organically grown foods (not then readily available). I also researched the various options for childbirth. When unsure, I always looked for ways to work with my genetic blueprint, an attempt to understand the natural laws. I followed advice from those who had experienced natural birth themselves or from professionals who assisted others in this way. Like many people at this stage, I had not a clue about pregnancy or birth; perhaps more unusually, I had never even held a newborn baby. I am the eldest of a small family. Both of my parents were only children, so there were no aunts, uncles or cousins.
When I became pregnant, home pregnancy tests were insufficiently reliable and I had to take a urine sample to my local surgery and wait for nearly 10 days for the results. So my journey began. An appointment was duly made with the gynaecologist and when I asked about being in an upright position for birth, he seemed disapproving, saying it was rather difficult to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. I came away with a sense of helplessness. So I went to see another, Yehudi Gordon, who had a completely different attitude. In fact, he not only encouraged women to be upright and go for natural birth, he took a lead and is well renowned in this field.
Gradually all the pieces fell into place. I started yoga, went to antenatal (prenatal) classes, saw other women both pregnant and breastfeeding, held a newborn baby and witnessed baby massage. My tummy grew bigger and bigger and finally the day arrived and my contractions started. I put my hand on my tummy thinking of the little person inside, wondering how it was going to come out. One thing I knew for certain: I had already made my up mind that I was going for a natural birth and nothing was going to put me off. It was with this attitude that I went through the birth.