Written by Klára Alexová_2019_translated by Annie Nováčková_photo by Carla Kogelman
In December 2017, I attended the Female Tao Retreat at the Surya Center with Zuna. It was a transformative experience for me – with women and about women, about the woman that I am, and about the woman I will awake in me. It was there I realized that the head doesn’t want to understand many things, but the body and mainly the uterus communicates quite clearly. My mirror were female companions, older than me, who smiled about my stories of the worsening PMS and my uterus, which changes from a creative treasury to a destructive volcano every month. They asked me: “How old are you? Maybe she wants to tell you something.”
I came home from the seclusion feeling very close to my centre and extremely calm and happy inside.
In March 2018 we found out that a soul came to us already developing in a human form. I was about 6 weeks pregnant when I learned that Zuna is organizing a pregnancy shiatsu seminar in three weeks time. The midwives in Amsterdam assured me that it wasn’t a problem to fly, so I decided to take part of it, even though i was in a period of sickness (not just the morning ones). And they provided me with a needed confirmation for the airport so I could avoid all the X-rays at security checks. It worked out well.
I was looking forward to see Zuna, the White Carpathians, the excellent food, the group of inspiring people who always meet at these retreats and especially to the topic that we are going to share. I started to attend Zuna’s seminars in 2013, and what we do during these study weekends is fascinating to me. It has changed the attitude towards my body and to health as such. And it also links with other areas of my interest. I am a person who works with my body every day as a performer, and I also study and practice Yin Yoga. It’s incredibly inspiring how information connects and creates an invisible but yet real network of experience and knowledge.
During pregnancy, you can download many types of apps, where you can get information about the baby development and body changes every week, with different podcasts and notifications about whether the baby is the size of a pear or an aubergine. But no one gives you the knowledge so inspiring, clear, and complex as I learned at Zuna’s course – How the ten lunar months bind to the elements pentagram, what is important to cherish in each period, what to avoid, how to work with yourself, how to eat, how to protect the child from inheriting family disorders, and how to work with your body points. What causes morning sickness, and especially how to work with a woman who is going to give birth. After returning to Amsterdam, I was inspired and guided by this information, and watched what is happening to me and what is more or less working. We went to a childbirth preparation course for couples with my partner. It touched us, because we both believe that giving birth isn’t just a purely female act, and that a man plays an important part in pregnancy and labor. The practical information I received at pregnancy shiatsu with Zuna was combined with the ones from the pregnancy course. And so my partner learned several techniques how to support me during the delivery (like massages, acupuncture points… ). I was also very inspired by the book “Aby porod nebolel” by Lucie Suchá Groverová and Radek Suchý Grover.
And now to giving birth:
Giving birth, and especially the fear of it, was a life long topic for me. As a little girl, I was fully aware that I was a woman, and that I will have to give birth one day. I was scared – nearly had panic fear. But of what? Of pain? I guess so, but on the other hand I know that i am tough enough. It was fear of not being able to handle the situation, that feels more like a black hole instead of the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I got pregnant and went to my first midwife meeting, I got a book with information about pregnancy and childbirth. At home I skipped all the chapters to read the one about childbirth, where i sweat, shuddered and cried :-). My partner wasn’t at home, and that was good, because it was the first step of surrender, which I had to do within myself. Here the theme of “control” begins, which I have been returning to all my life, and which materialized with my relationship, pregnancy, giving birth, and I believe it will continue to develop in my role as a parent. The whole pregnancy went smoothly and I felt very well, very happy, inspired, strong and confident in myself, in my own body, in my own life. I felt strong inside, thanks to Zuna, my midwives, our midwife assistant from the course and my Yin Yoga lector Anat.
In the 36th week of pregnancy, my water broke. That was a month earlier, and a week before it is “correct” in the view of certain given rules. So I was put into the hands of doctors and because of that our birth became a childbirth under medical supervision. Everything happened so fast and unexpected that i started to understand all of it a day or two later. In the Netherlands births are known to happen mostly at home. This was not our intention, we wanted to give birth in a Birth home with one of our assistants. There is always a doctor nearby if needed, but when everything is going well, you are left in an intimate environment where birth is treated as a natural process. That was the next step in my surrender. And so we found ourselves in a hospital room, and if my contractions did not start within 72 hours, my labour would be induced due to the risk of infection. Induced Childbirth – another of my scarecrows! They monitored (CTG) me and the baby every day to find out how the head is descended. No internal controls because of the risk of infection. We were ready to have a baby within 3 days. But doctors were still hesitating. We saw nurses and gynecologist assistants every day, and they told us after every CTG that we were both doing well and how good it is that the baby is still inside. They assured us that it is best for its growth and they only have to oversee that no infection comes, and that something doesn’t get into the birth canal because the head was not yet fully anchored in the pelvis. I had lay down for the first 4 days. At the beginning, we wanted the contractions to already begin, which was a huge paradox with my fear of childbirth. During this process, we began to understand that it was not in our hands. I had my first training contractions and I massaged the points to trigger labour, but the contractions always went away. After five days, I first saw a doctor gynecologist, and she examined me for the first time from the inside and found out that I was 2cm dilated.
That was on Saturday. On Monday, I would have begun the 37th week. And it was decided that when I reach it, the birth will be inducted, because I am already in the normal labor period and they will no longer want to risk an infection. They waited for one week – giving Boris time to gain weight, and my body time to prepare. And also allowing me and Harald to relax and get even more involved in the process. I really wanted labour to begin naturally. When they found out that the head descended more, I got a gym ball and so I exercised, alone and with Harald. I also pressed acupuncture points, and my friend, an acupuncturist, came to massage me on Sunday. He stimulated the SP 6, LV 3, BL 60, BL 62, BL 63 and BL 67 points which I knew from Zuna. He massaged the spleen and the gall bladder meridians strongly from the knee below. He put a mini pin to the SP 6 point on the spleen meridian and to a point in my ear called “spiritual gate”. I wrote to Zuna what other points to use when the baby doesn’t want to descend and she said, “Do not press anything, just gently connect with the baby…” And that was another step in the subject of surrender and not having control over this situation. That whole week before the birth was about surrender – the theme so important for the birth itself. I had to go through a week of waiting for the pain of nativity. The night before the induction was a mental catharsis. But it didn’t go that easy. Several times during the whole week, I had to confront my true self and the last night was the finishing line. In the morning, they moved us into a room with a large bathtub that we had in the birth plan, and both of us (or better said all three of us) began. I was ready to say “YES” to everything that comes and to become a witness of the process. To live through the process – not to control it, to surrender and trust myself, my body, my baby, Harald and life.
Boris was born in the bath after 7 and a half hours of singing, movement, help of the gym ball, heat, water, Harald’s gentle massages, laughter, and intense physical work. All of that with Anne – a great assistant of the gynecologist and her assistant Tanja. He weighed 3140g. I felt surprised that I didn’t use much of the knowledge and options I had learned on my way through pregnancy, and which I thought I would have definitely used and enjoyed. But I was happy to have them all available as some background and tools. I was balancing between being in control of the process and at the same time a witness. If I had to describe my experience in one word – I was a lightning conductor connecting heaven to earth.
And when someone asked me if I experienced any pain, I answered: “I felt intensity mostly. And pain. But it was good pain. And I looked at it and tried to sense it to the bones, to the roots of my own being”.