My waters broke at 8.25pm. I work as a midwife in the busy birth and I figured 5 weeks of maternity leave would allow me to get it all done before our bub arrived. My body and baby had other ideas.
We arrived at the Hospital about 10pm, An abdominal exam revealed bubs head was well engaged (1-2/5 above the pelvic brim), and an internal exam showed that my cervix had started to efface but not yet dilate. The plan was to wait and see what happened overnight and to reassess things in the morning. From 1 am onwards I started having contraction type pains every ten minutes, lasting about 40-50 secs. I felt most of this discomfort in my lower tummy, but was able to breathe through them using a long relaxed breath (learnt at yoga) and continued to rest on my left side. By 6am I was up in the shower having contractions 2-3 minutes apart, I was making lots of noise using the sounds, breathing, spiralling movements learnt at yoga, trying hard to keep my body open. Ben rubbed my back and hips and I tried to drink plenty of water and munch on a banana in between.
By 7 am I was starting to get quite vocal, I wanted to go down to the birth suite where I could move and make noise a bit more freely and needed to know that I was making progress, if this wasn't labour I wasn't sure I could go the distance. At approx 8 am I arrived in the birth suite, after a quick tracing of Bub's heart rate which revealed he/she was still coping fine, they did an internal examination which revealed I was 7-8cm dilated, I was so relieved that these contractions had been doing something and started to feel a little out of control at this stage (typical of transition). My immediate instinct was to hop back in the shower where I leaned over a birth ball on a mat. I had hot water on my tummy and Ben rubbing and showering my back. I continued to spiral my hips, talking to our baby and making lots of "o" sounds, hoping it would keep my cervix open and relaxed. Ben kept reminding me to relax my jaw.
My own midwife arrived at 9am, I was relieved, she didn't need to say much, she was just like a Mum, holding me and reassuring me. By 11am I started pushing, using all fours, squatting, standing, the toilet, I just did what my body told me. At 11.15hrs I asked to use a mirror, there it was this mat of hair moving in and out with each push, two steps forward, one step back I had seen it so many times. Now in a squatting position with the mirror underneath me our baby was helped out by my husband Ben with our midwife Jan guiding him at 1145 hrs, Ben passed her through my legs to me and announced we have a baby girl.
I can't begin to describe that feeling of total euphoria and joy, I get tears just reliving it now. She came out screaming and went straight onto my chest. The paediatric doctors that were on standby in the room, had a quick glance at her and were happy not to remove her from my arms. She soon cuddled into my breast. The placenta delivered naturally in its own time and I was able to keep bub (named Amelia Grace) skin to skin until she started suckling at the breast. She spent her first night in a humidicrib with a little drip and antibiotics, but I was able to visit regularly to feed and cuddle her skin to skin. We took her home with us a couple of days later.
I just want to thank Suzanne and my class mates. Yoga really taught me how to cope during labour through breath and movement. I had a drug free labour, it was hard work but worth every moment for the amazing gift at the end, our Amelia Grace. As a midwife and woman I have a new found respect for what we as women can do. Keep reading your mantras and practising your movement and breath and I wish you all a wonderful birth and babies.