by Iain, Amelie's father
Amélie was not in any hurry to join us, she was due on the 13th November. However Sally was very keen to have an all natural birth.
Eventually after many false starts Sally had resigned herself to being induced on Saturday morning (30th Nov), we had had several sweeps which did move things along, just not enough.
She had been having contractions but apparently not strong or often enough. So after another sweep on Friday morning we went home, chilled out for a little, then went for a walk to try to encourage her out!
We made it to woollies (about 15 min away) and Sally was feeling fine so she got some water, I got a beer and we decided to head up to Caz and Brendan's house (about a 2.5 km walk).
During this walk Sally's contractions started coming on a bit stronger, causing her to have to stop during them, however neither of us were really expecting her not to be induced on Saturday. Eventually we reached Caz and Brendan's both of us still in denial, and Sally was wondering if she could hide the contractions from them! She very much couldn't and we ended up staying round for about half an hour, watching Maddy (who was also due, and actually arrived, on Amélie's due date) have a bath and then Brendan kindly gave us a lift home. Several jokes were made about needing a tarp in case Sally's waters broke.
We got home and thought we would have a quick nap, however the contractions were so severe Sally had to go to the bathroom, I was told for a shower. Sally then called in saying that she though her waters had broken! At this point I started trying to time the contractions, thinking that the PAU would want to know, after about 3 contractions with me giving Sally sacral point massage (I had been doing that on and off on the walk) I phoned the PAU who "invited" us to come in, after some confusion if that meant we should come in I tried to get all the last minute items together whilst continuing to give Sally sacral point massage during the contractions.
We eventually got in to the car with sally crouched in the passenger foot-well, the drive to the hospital was interesting as I was trying to drive down one of the major roads leading in to Brisbane (very carefully and smoothly) whilst still giving the massages!
When we got to the Mater I called our student midwife telling her what was happening, and tried to get Sally in to the hospital, and carry the 17 bags that we though we might need, before getting to the PAU we had to stop at least 4 times for Sally's contractions.
We were initially told to be seated - Sally was not able to do this and lent over the chair during another contraction, we then were seen and Sally was examined being told that she was basically "fully" dilated! We were about to have a BABY! With only a little confusion we were take to a room, Sally somehow managed to make it clear that we wanted one with a bath. Straight away the bath started to be poured, and the midwife assigned to us explained that she had given birth at home after 42 weeks and 3 days, this seemed ideal as she was going to be on our wavelength. I put on some music for Sally got our bags sorted and filled out/signed forms and explained to the midwife what we wanted - as natural as possible. The midwife was amazingly good allowing Sally to get on with it in the bath, with virtually no interference apart from the occasional interruption to check baby's heart with the "Doppler", at some point the student midwife turned up and took over the "Doppler" duty.
One of the things Sally remembers external to herself during this time is that I hadn't put the music on very well, and when "Of Monsters and Men" finished "The Offspring" came on - I figured that Sally wouldn't appreciate that and hopped out of the bath and put on "Mumford and Sons". At various points the midwife asked me some questions, got me to go through some of the paper work but was very good at leaving Sally to it. Sally did pop out of the bath for a short while for a shower, but then went straight back in!
At one point the midwife asked Sally if she was feeling the need to bear down during the contractions, the first time it was only during the peak of the contraction the second time a few contractions later it was for the whole contraction. The midwife then in front of Sally telling her that it was time to push! Through out this I was either stroking Sally, holding her or of course more sacral point massage during the contractions. The midwife allowed us to stay in the bath - even though that was against the policy of the hospital allowing Sally to have a water birth, I had never really understood the desire to do that but it was really good. Making Sally much more comfortable and it helped support her in the squat.
So Sally started pushing with the contractions a bit, while I was behind her holding her, at one point she lurch up so much she nearly pushed me backwards out of the bath! Sally was a bit to good at the yoga breathing through the pain and kept doing that rather then pushing! Eventually with all of us encouraging she pushed Amélie out, the midwife had told Sally that she wasn't going to catch the baby, and that once she was born that Sally could just pick her up out of the water. So that's what happened, Sally then sat back in the bath with the baby Amélie who very quickly with minimal help started suckling. It was really amazing and Sally was so incredibly strong.
Sally stayed in the bath for a while with Amélie (we did delayed cord clamping) but eventually the I cut the cord, and took the baby while sally birthed the placenta. She then went and had a quick shower and then hopped in to bed for a quick examination (everything was all good!), the midwives gave Amélie her injections, then gave her back to Sally, while I had a quick shower. We then started talking about going home, hospital policy says we need to be in for 4 hours after birth, the baby needs to be seen by an Obstetrician as well as a few other bits and pieces. I was given the responsibility to call family and message a few people. Sally had some tea, toast and biscuits! Baby Amélie spent most of the 4 hours suckling on and off!
After the very grumpy and rude Obstetrician saw us we where able to leave. I took some of the stuff we hadn't needed to the car (I had brought a book!) and got the car capsule and stroller. I noticed that it had been raining. I put Amélie in the stroller and we walked to the car. I drove home so carefully, and Sally sat in the back with the bub. We got home, both a bit shocked at how perfectly it had gone. We sat up and chatted and held Amélie for a couple of hours, I wet the baby's head with a nip of whiskey and then we went to bed, now parents!
We still didn't have a middle name - many many had been discussed neither of us liking the others. The next morning I suggest that since it had been clear before and after we had been in the hospital and had rained while Sally was giving birth that her middle name should be Rain.
Sally's strength through this process was really stunning, not just the labour, but also the determination to get the birth she wanted against a lot of pressure.
For the people that like the stats:
- Waters broke about 6:15 pm
- Got to Hospital about 7pm
- Amélie was born 9:49 pm
- Weight 3.7kg
- Head circumference 36 cm
- Length 57 cm
- Got home about 3am