The last 48 hours has been an unbelievable experience for me! I gave birth to a beautiful 7.4 lb princess named Arielle. The ability to give life is the biggest blessing; there is no greater feeling in the world!
I felt that through this experience I was able to reach and surpass a breakthrough for myself that I didn’t think was possible, physically and mentally.
For my first born Gabriel’s birth, when I was figuring out my birth plan and weighing the pros and cons of a drug free delivery vs epidural etc I decided I wanted to deliver my child naturally, with no epidural or drugs, primarily because of the health reasons. But there was also this little feeling inside me that just wanted to go through the experience and see if I could do it! I wanted to challenge and push myself to overcome something physically and mentally that I had never done before.
Most people thought I was crazy, those who knew me well weren’t surprised. That is the way I have lived for the past 10 years and been able to accomplish the things I have done up to this point; by challenging and competing with myself to always get to the next level by doing better than my best.
Gabriel was born 20 months ago and I carried out my birth plan, even though I had a 30 hour labor, I delivered all natural and drug free. The experience, as I remember it today, was euphoric. I not only bought a life into the world and became a first time mom to an amazing son, but on top of that I did it! I accomplished what I had set out to do; even though it was extremely difficult!
It is said that women forget the pains of labor and what they went through so that they may be able to have multiple children. Whether or not this is true, I don’t know but I definitely was able to forget enough of the pain and discomforts of a 30 hour labor to want to attempt to do it all over again!
In preparing for the birth of my second child in the last few months, I got a bunch of advice from many well meaning people. “Do this… don’t do this… this will happen… that won’t happen etc” Among them I heard repeatedly that typically in the delivery of your second child the process is much quicker as your body is already familiar with giving birth.
My plan was to carry out the same birth plan with this birth as I did with Gabriel’s so I was very excited at the prospect of it being an easier process. In my head I thought if I did it the first time I’m sure I can do it again especially if it’s easier.
As I got closer and then past my due date, my “plan” was at risk, due to hospital policy of the midwife practice I was working with, as once I went past 41 weeks and 6 days I would have to be induced and thus ruin my plan of a drug free birth. At 10 days overdue I finally went into labor and was relieved that it was finally happening. I started labor at home with my doula (birth coach) and labored for 27 hours! When the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and very high intensity I headed to the hospital. When I got there I was shocked to find out that after all that time I was only 3 (out of 10) centimeters dilated!
That was the moment that doubt and fear started to creep in…. the thoughts where you wonder “can I actually do this?… it’s been so long and painful so far, how can I take any more? Maybe I should take the drugs?”
It was as much, if not more, of a mental thing as it was physical.
But that’s where all my years of mental toughness came into play. The things I learned about the power of the mind applied not only in business but in times like these as well.
At that point I thought it was all I could take, that I had reached my max, little did I know I would have way more to handle!
To make a long story short, I had another 9 hours with increased pain and a total of 36 hours of labor until my beautiful princess arrived! Those last 9 hours I went through something I had never experienced before. Finding an intense source of focus from deep within so strong that it would take me through hours of enduring pain and not giving in to taking the drugs in order to enable me to have the birth I wanted.
“Pushing past what you think your limits are is a greater victory than any award. Champions push to new levels; when found you will never be the same again.” -Ed Mylett
No matter what the limitations are, we may believe we know our max; the point when we can’t take any more, our limit to stop pushing. But having been through this experience I believe that we truly don’t know our max until we are tested to surpass it. Once surpassed then the goal has to alway be to break through it! Once you are through it now you can continue to get even better (although it is not a goal of mine to continue to have longer labors 😉
To do this I believe you need a few things:
1) You need to know what you want and you need to really want it. The desire must be strong or you will break in tough moments. I thought through and really knew what type of birth I wanted to have.
2) You need to practice the mental resolve. Most people choose to stay in a comfort zone instead of welcoming challenges. By doing things that feel uncomfortable constantly you are training yourself to be able to withstand and get through a breakthrough. Obviously I couldn’t practice child birth but mental toughness can be practiced in every area of of life.
3) You need a coach: someone who knows what you want; your goals, your outcomes and believes you can do it! They are not the ones who do the work for you but they are there to remind you and coach you through when times get tough. My birth coach was constantly reminding me that I was strong, that my beautiful girl would be born real soon, and that it was worth it!
Think back 5 years ago. Think of where your at today. Think ahead 5 years about what you want to accomplish. Get uncomfortable. Leverage the power of focus. Be unstoppable.
Holding my princess Arielle in my arms is now my reward for being mentally tough in the last 36 hours. It’s so worth it!