I woke up at 11.40pm Wednesday night with an intense backache and knew I was going into labour – this was different from anything previously. We were an action packed 2 weeks ‘overdue’ (during which Shane broke his collar bone and I had lots of acupuncture, homoeopathy and a membrane sweep). All played a role, however I firmly believe babies get born when they’re ready – not a second before. I was excited but remember Suzanne saying – get as much rest as you can, so i went back to sleep! An hour later I was propelled out of bed with a contraction- I went to the toilet as it felt like I needed to poo. This went on hourly for a couple of hours. I tried to wake my partner up and let him know the good news – he spoke back then rolled over! I got a bit annoyed that he wouldn’t wake up, however was thankful later as it really gave me a chance to try different things and get a rhythm of my own in the early hours of the morning. By 3am my contractions were every 10 mins (still urge to poo, back to bed). When Shane woke at 5am I was 3-4 mins apart, and he realised he wasn’t going to work today – we’re having a baby! He made us some breakfast and I tried to eat.
My contractions continued at this pace for hours. I learnt very quickly that if I feared them, or tried to fight it –the intensity and pain was incredible, however if I did my breathing techniques, blowing lips, and sounds learnt in yoga, and Shane massaging my back, then it was very manageable and actually really blissful. We rang Karen, our midwife at 8am. As the intensity wasn’t there yet she advised us to stay home – I was happy to do that, I just wanted her to know it was going to be today.
By around lunchtime the intensity grew, still 3 mins apart. We rang Karen again – she asked if I wanted to come in yet – no, just wanted some reassurance, she thought that was best also – stay home until contractions are 3 in 10 mins and of a strong intensity where I cant speak to her during one. (taking into account we are an hours drive from the Birth Centre).
As the afternoon went on the intensity grew – I remember one contraction so strong and I fought it that I was yelling “where are the endorphins, I thought my endorphins were supposed to kick in!!” “oh, there they are” back into a blissful state, smiling and grinning to myself! Note to self – don’t fight it – it hurts more – just trust my body and go with it.
At 4pm I suddenly announced “its time to go… NOW” Shane had just defrosted a steak and said – hang on I’ll just cook this before we go!! NO, I’M TELLING YOU WE HAVE TO GO NOW. I ran to the toilet and vomited which felt fantastic! (I’d been drinking apple/blackcurrant juice and water – couldn’t eat anything.) Shane ran Karen and we got into the car. He’d made me a lovely nest in the back seat and I really enjoyed all the bumps as it was like a massage. It was 5pm traffic on the eve of Good Friday – somehow though we had a perfect run in arriving at 6pm! Walking down the hall to Karen I started crying when I saw her – “oh, everybody hates the car ride” “Oh no” I replied “I loved it – felt so good” “You’re so calm” she said – “you have to be, or it hurts, if I stay calm, its lovely” clearly I was out of my tree, blissfully!!
I consented to an internal exam to see how far we had dilated. Karen said by the looks of me I’d probably be about 4 cm. I was 8cm! A quick go on the heart monitor and it was time to get into the bath. The bath was so amazing, it took away all of the extra uncomfortableness – like back ache and I just floated around, chatting to Shane and Karen, I think I was in the rest stage. After 2 hours I needed to get out, so I went into the shower – didn’t like that. Karen asked if I wanted another internal – I was 9.5cm, with one side slightly stuck, so I did some side lying and had a little rest. Karen left to get dinner, Shane was napping on the bed. I rolled over to get up and ‘pop’ -shane jumped up – you’re waters have broken – we were so excited – I kept saying “oh, its so lovely that felt great!” (and all warm). (it was 10.30pm) All I cared about was that they were clear. Shane ran and got Karen and we were all so excited. I went back into the bath and the pushing started. That was weird. You put in all this effort and feel the baby go down, then when you stop she pops back up again – it was very frustrating! At one stage Karen said we should be videoing this birth, as she had rarely seen someone so calm – I declined as I thought I’d feel weird, but now I wish I had filmed it. My contractions must have slowed – Karen would wave a bottle of Clary Sage oil under my nose … instant contraction again. They asked me if I wanted a mirror… I didn’t think I did want to see, however I put my hand down and felt this weird slimy moving stuff “whats that?” “that’s her hair” – for me that was the first moment I really realised we were about to have a baby – that inspired me on, and I looked in the mirror with the next contraction – I saw her head crowning, and then disappear again – almost there! This phase went on for a long time. I remember looking out from the bath at a clock – it was 12.06am and thinking: right, its not the 1st of April anymore, she’s not an April fools baby – lets get this baby out! With a surge of energy I was off again – pushing and pushing with each contraction, I’d worked out by now how to keep her down in between contractions. I remember saying “ I cant do this anymore” and I couldn’t work out why they kept saying I was so tired – in my mind, saying I couldn’t do it anymore was spurring me on and giving me energy, I guess they didn’t hear that part! There was an awful burning sensation as she really crowned – she stayed there for what seemed like a long time through many contractions, so I stood up – one leg in the bath, one up on the edge, this was the only time (in 26hours) that it really felt weird and a bit awful – it was really burning and felt like I was going to rip apart – I was just about to say to the midwives – just cut me, they gave a little help and out she popped, up into my arms, she was all floppy like a wet jellyfish. Chloe was born at 1.17am Friday morning. Karen tickled her foot and she started breathing. I was so overcome with emotion, It was truly the most wonderful experience of my life. I was on the birth stool trying to get the placenta out just crying with joy repeating “we’ve just had a baby” over and over as if it was a surprise!
That was the easy part! The labour and birth was absolutely perfect – afterwards came the unexpected parts! I had trouble getting the placenta out – so Karen took Chloe as she had mucus in her airways and had to be suctioned, we had to cut the placenta earlier than we had planned. I remember seeing Shane panic and make sure he stayed with Chloe (as I had said previously that no matter what – he is to stay with Chloe – however in this case she was less than 1 metre from us – it was so cute). They put the needle in my leg – it did nothing. They put me on the floor and put a catheter in, in case there was urine in the way. I started taking my Homoeopathic medicines, I was starting to panic as I knew it was surgery if we didn’t get the placenta out. Also in the chaos we were trying to get Chloe to attach, as I also knew her sucking would stimulate the placenta out, however because of the mucus she was blowing out instead of sucking in. We were able to put her on my belly and she crawled up to the nipple – it was so special. By now I was truly exhausted – I was dizzy, numb down my arms and needed to go to sleep – I had to fight to stay awake. Karen said she had to get the Dr. and start a drip. I took more homoeopathics! I had come too far to start using drugs now, I thought! She was just about to put the drip in and I grabbed her arm – WAIT! With one more push the placenta came out! Chloe fed nicely and then it was time for my stitches. The other midwife that had come in for the birth had reported to Karen that I had 2 tears – one at the top and one (needing stitches) at the bottom. Karen gloved up and then looked at me puzzled – asking me how many Homoeopathics I had had? Winking at me, she asked the other midwife to come over and show her where the tears were? “Just there…. Oh… no its gone!” I didn’t need stitches after all – vanished, I firmly believe due to Homoeopathy, just needed ice pack and a good rest.
Finally at 5.30am we got some sleep. Shane & I in the double bed and our beautiful new little baby wrapped up neatly in the stand right next to me. I was just too exhausted and delirious to have her in bed with me. I woke at 7.00am and began my journey as a new mum and our journey as a family – all was perfect. That is, until mastitis hit! 2 weeks of agony ensued with Homoeopathy clearing it and finally once she & I attached right we never looked back. I’d like to say to mums to be – mastitis hurts more than labour ever did, but once you get attached correctly it is so worth the perseverance, just keep getting help until the two of you get it right – it took us 2 weeks of really bad pain, then until 6 weeks to have no pain whatsoever.
We had a truly blissful and perfect birth and are so thankful for that. I want other mums/dads to know that it’s absolutely possible to have a wonderful birth – its really a choice – at each step along the way – choose to be blissful and follow what’s right for you in each moment.