Our Daughter’s Birth


Our littlest cub arrived last week. She entered this world via warm water and candlelight and was placed straight into our arms where Carl and I discovered that we now had a daughter to call our own. Her name is Nara.

Nara was allowed to enter at her own time — without any pushing, panic or fear. It was the type of gentle water birth I wanted and I am so grateful to everyone who helped make it possible.

Friends and family tell me that I must be made of tougher things because I’ve delivered both my children without any drugs, surgical intervention, or screaming. But instead of holding these up like badges of honour, I’d like to believe that many women have bodies that are capable of the same thing.

I believe that the chances of having your dream birth are only as big as the team you have supporting you and the preparations you do before your baby’s arrival. Here are some tips I can offer:

Find a doctor/midwife who supports your birth plan: For me, this was Dr. Martin Manahan whom I like to call a baby whisperer + miracle worker. Dr. Manahan was the face of calm confidence from our daughter’s conception to delivery. He patiently answered every question, made sure I was always taking the right supplements (and made Carl take them too), and would attend all important ultrasound check ups with us. He knew I wanted a natural water birth and worked with us to achieve that by making sure everything was going well from start to end. He practices in both Makati Medical and St. Lukes Global City.

Look into having a doula join your team: Having had my first natural birth in Sydney where strong midwives are the ones guiding you, I realized that I wanted that feminine power/assistance on my birth team the second time around. I am so grateful my dear friend Monica Eleazar-Manzano recommended Irina Otmakhova: a certified doula who has been helping many friends achieve their dream birth plans. I got along with Irina from our first meeting and knew that I wanted her extremely calm energy during D-Day. Irina had two sessions with Carl and I before Nara’s birth. She taught us exercises to help get her in the ideal birthing position (which absolutely worked), she worked on our birth plan with us, and also advised me to read up on HypnoBirthing: the idea of using breath, mental visualization, and no pushing to welcome your child into the world.

During the birth itself, Irina was everything I had hoped. I dilated so fast that by the time she arrived, I was 8cm and in the birthing pool riding some extreme waves of contractions/rushes by moaning and swaying in the warm water. The excitement in her eyes was all I needed to see to know that I could do this. She made the environment as calm as possible for Carl and I, encouraged me to keep my body relaxed and breathing deeply, worked with Dr. Manahan effortlessly, and made sure that the medical staff respected my every request. In less than an hour and a half in the pool, my body just opened up and Nara made her way out (like a baby dolphin- as Carl puts it). Irina then stayed with us till my parents arrived and made sure to stop by and visit me at home to see how I was doing a few days after.

You can get in touch with Irina through her website: Conscious Birth Manila. I highly recommend that all soon-to-be parents also attend their seminars to learn more about the birth options available to them.

Things I did during my pregnancy:

1.  Ate right and gained the correct amount of weight (25-35 pounds for a normal woman). You can use this calculator to help you stay on track.

2.  Did a lot of walking. I got a Jawbone Up and used it to help me do around 10,000 steps a day during my first and second trimester (I walked a little less, but still stayed active, during my third). You can purchase one locally through this site.

3.  I read up on books to keep me educated on natural births:

4.  I watched videos of water births to inspire me. Like this beautiful one.

5.  I also watched the eye-opening documentary ‘The Business of Being Born’ to encourage me.

Pregnancy is such an exciting time in a woman’s life and there is so much you can do to make the finish line an amazing end to the this wonderful chapter.

I hope you find all this information useful. My dream is for as many women as possible to feel empowered about natural births and to make choices that fit what they feel is best for them and for their child. If you have any questions or want to learn more about my own experiences, please be sure to leave me a comment or send me a message here.

If you’d like further information, here are the wonderful birth stories of four friends who all had natural births in the last two years. All worth reading!