At home mama, Yoga Teacher, Cook/Chef, Co-Founder of Ananda Loka Ashram
Your Name: Sunni Hunt
Age: 37…had to think about that, lol
Occupation: At home mama, yoga teacher, cook/chef, co-founder of Ananda Loka Ashram
Describe your birth experience in under 100 words (tough I know):
2nd birthing, after a VERY challenging, terrifying and traumatic 1st birthing experience.
40 weeks. I felt prepared and confident with our team, yet very nervous about the labour. Gradual pre-labour sensations started in the morning. I wanted to get things going, as it was getting later in the day. We went for a long walk, not much change. Georgia suggested that I try and sleep and as soon as I laid down, BOOM, active labour set-in with intense waves of cramping. They were already pretty close together. We breathed and MOOed and groaned and rocked and joked. I felt my fear. I expressed exactly what I felt and asked for what I needed. My support team listened to me intently and supported my every need. Sometimes I did not know what I needed and they would offer me simple choices. Less than 2 hours later, I was in the warm water birthing tub feeling the need to push. It was so soon and I was scared that I was nowhere near dilated enough. The midwife said that if I felt ready I could try and push. I was like “how does she know?!” I very timidly tried pushing (due to an epidural during my 1st birthing experience, I had never before felt the pushing). I felt my baby’s head start to move down. HOLY SHIT! There’s no turning back. I have to push this baby out!!! Another push and lots of encouragement. Baby moves down more. HOLY SHIT! It’s actually happening!!!…a few more pushes (15 minutes?) Here she comes. The crowning was intense and burning. Definitely no turning back now!! Careful to push out her head slow. Big relief, with her head between my legs and a long 3 minute pause between contractions, which seemed odd and a bit funny. It was dark (10:43pm) in our home with soft lighting…I was surrounded by my team of glowing angels. There was a powerful calm. Slow-motion. I pushed the rest of her body into the warm water and up she went on my chest. My husband was holding me in the water. SO MUCH LOVE. Perfection.
What is one thing you discovered during your Birthing experience (s) about yourself?:
I CAN manage the sensations and push this person out of my vagina.
What were you most fear-FULL about prior to giving birth?:
Not being able to manage the intense sensations. That my cervix would not dilate fully, as per my 1st birth experience. That I would not be able to birth my baby.
How has birthing a baby changed your perception of this life?:
I realized that I am loved and supported unconditionally. Experiencing such profound vulnerability and power makes me feel closer to God.
If you could change one feeling during your birth experience(s) what would that feeling be?
The most uncomfortable feeling for me was moments of intense insecurity, helplessness and overwhelming vulnerability. I can’t say I would change it because it was authentic…but expressing it was profoundly necessary because I needed to hear that I was safe. I vividly remember Georgia saying in a steady and calm voice “you are safe”.
How would you re-frame that feeling? How would you allow it to be?:
Hearing that “I am safe” re-framed my fear by making all the feelings and sensations “allowed”, which got me to the next breath…and kept me from spiraling into the fear. Georgia and my birthing team provided the security I needed in moments of fear.
What was your favourite technique (breath work, mantra, positioning etc.) during your birth experience (s)?:
OM-MOO-FLUTTER and vocalizing sounds: worked wonders to manage the intense sensations.
Hands and knees over a chair and rocking: helped baby move down with gravity.
Support team hands pressing or holding me firmly: Made me feel supported during the most intense moments when I felt overwhelmed and insecure.
Warm water tub for pushing and transition: the warm water was comforting and made me buoyant/lighter…baby transitioned so smoothly and serenely into the water and on my chest.
Did you have any food cravings during your pregnancy:?
Voracious appetite in general
What surprised you about your birthing experience (s)?:
WAY faster labour for second birth (3 hours active labour). My cervix DID open all the way. I CAN push a baby out of my vagina!
Describe the feeling just after birthing your baby(ies)?:
Intense relief, slow-motion, serene, JOY, LOVE…raw, precious, perfection.
What do you most love about giving birth?:
The total raw vulnerability and profound love that is shared by all present.
What does the phrase “cascade of intervention” mean to you as it relates to child birthing?:
Birth is natural. Intervention leans away from relating to birthing with trust. During my first birth, my cascade of fear and shame lead to a “cascade of intervention”, where my desired birthing experience crumbled into a powerless nightmare within which we needed saving. In my state of terror and desperation, medical intervention was a welcome saviour and I am beyond grateful for the assistance and support when I needed it.
The key, I believe, to realizing my personal vision for my 2nd birthing experience, was expressing my authentic feelings and needs, rather than hiding my fear in shame. It is totally natural to feel afraid and insecure about birthing, especially in today’s world! Share your vulnerable heart and ask for the support you need.
If you could share a single love message with a women getting ready to birth her baby, what would that message be?:
YES, YOU CAN DO IT SISTER!
Be as authentic and honest about your feelings and needs as you can, so that you are supported accordingly. No matter what, you are cared for unconditionally.
Every birthing experience bears profound gifts. Although, both of my birthing experiences were dramatically different, they brought me the same gift: to practice accepting myself as I am and life as it is.
So much love, Sunni