I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about my second birth, as the first one, I was never actually 'in' control, the pain overtook me and I ended up having an epidural, episiotomy and my son was suctioned out, had trauma to his head, therefore got jaundice and our hospital stay was for about a week with my baby in a humidicrib. This birth, I wanted to have control and maintain it and have a drug free birth and stay at home as long as possible, as the hospital was so clinical last time.
In preparation for my drug free birth, I went to Suzanne Swan's active birth classes and I think the words that really helped me were 'surrender to the pain, don't fight it'. I chose to take raspberry leaf tablets close to my due date as I had heard that this was better than the tea, and I would have to say that I think they worked very well. I also hired a tens machine from the Mater and this was money very well spent.
Wednesday morning I was feeling a little off colour and thought I had a tiny 'show'. I spoke to my midwife, and she said that it didn't sound like my waters had broken as they usually gush out, as happened with my first child, but just to keep an eye on it. I took my son to his grandparents who look after him every wednesday night, and told them I was feeling a little off and thought labour could be imminent.
When I got home about 5pm, contractions started very slowly, probably about half an hour apart. I put on my tens machine and had it pulsing at about 8. The contractions were so mild that I didn't need to use my boost button and I actually got my husband to take off the tens machine as I thought that maybe they weren't contractions. As soon as he took them off, another mild contraction came and we put it back on. I knew it was happening then. All through the night, contractions came and I woke up, pressed my boost button and fell back to sleep. At around 6am, the contractions intensified and I got up, switched on the telly and sat on my fit ball. At about 8am my hubby got up, made me some toast and coffee and brought out my supplies - chico's, chocolate, gatorade and snakes as well as a hot water bottle for my back, which he kept refilling throughout the day. At about 11 he went and got me some chips and a magnum and stocked up the gatorade. I wanted to try and enjoy these contractions as much as possible and for me junk food is my vice, so I went for it and hope that breast feeding is as good to my body this time as it was last time!
My midwife came around at 12 midday and asked me if I wanted to have my baby today and I said I did. I was having a contraction whilst lying on the bed, and the midwife said that I could press my boost button if I wanted to to, bit I said I really only wanted to press it when contractions were getting harder to handle so that it would work effectively. She gave me a membrane sweep in the hope that this would get contractions really started and it did! She said to me, 'you are going to be happy, I have good news.' I said 'What? Tell me I am 8 centimetres dilated'. She said, 'no you are 3 centimetres dilated' I was over the moon, as last time I had been in labour for 17 hours in severe pain, and when she checked me, my dilation was only 4 centimetres. I thought, I can do this, the pain hasn't even gotten to me yet! Bring it on!!
My husband started vacuuming the house in preparation for my mothers arrival, and it really started to stress me out, but I just focused on my breathing, and after an hour he had finished, just as I was about to lose it. I then moved out to the back veranda and sat on the step enjoying the glorious day. I was hoping that I could hold off going to hospital until after 5 as I didn't want to be walking into reception with hundreds of people gawking at me, whilst I was groaning.
As the day progressed, I focused on a leaf on the grass and breathed through contractions with and 'ahhhhh' or an 'ooohh' sound. I was visualising my cervix opening up. Then I started giving myself positive affirmations. "These contractions are bringing the baby down' 'Contractions are good'. The tens machine boost button was getting a work out and the constant buzzing boost was also great to focus on and breath to. I could not believe how focusing on the breath, really takes your mind off the pain.
By 3 pm, I was throwing up feeling like I wanted to go to hospital and succumb to an epidural once again. I realised that I had to talk myself out of this. I had to regain control. My husband suggested that we walk around for a while, and I held on to him as my support. By about 5pm, we moved back to the lounge room where I leant over the fit ball. By 5.30 I was kneeling over the fit ball and when a contraction started, I would roll downwards and breath. All of a sudden, the contraction actually felt good and I grunted. A primal sound just came out of me, without me even trying. I remembered a friend telling me this is what happened to her and she then started to push.
My husband rang the midwife and told her it was time to go in as I was feeling the urge to push. Luckily we only live 5 minutes from the Mater. I was in the back of the van about to go into head down bum up position with quick breaths to hold the baby in, when we got to the hospital. It was 6.10pm. In between contractions I managed to walk halfway into reception holding on to my husbands neck for dear life. Poor thing, I could feel him trying to wrench my fingers from his jugular vein, but they were not going anywhere. I kept my head down and eyes shut to stay in control and keep breathing, and heard them leading us through to the birth suite.
I sat on a stool and leaned on the bed, and then the midwife asked me to get on the bed as she could see me pushing. She kept saying, 'please get on the bed' as if I hadn't heard. I just couldn't speak to say that I would get on the bed as soon as I had a break in contractions. Soon I managed to kneel on the bed, and then pushing came so involuntarily. I pushed maybe once, and yes it felt like I was going to do a massive poo, and I felt a burning sensation. My quick breaths came in very handy here and I felt my perineum stretch and stretch. 'Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow' I said, and then the head was out but apparently the chin was stuck. In between contractions, I screamed as it was the weirdest sensation between my legs, then the chin popped through and it was like an instant relief. One more push and the baby slipped out, and the contractions were over, and it was like it was all a dream. I kept saying 'I have been waiting for this moment the whole day, and the pain is instantly gone'. My husband was speechless and I said 'What did we have???" 'I had thought a girl the whole time, and he said 'What do you think we had?' I said 'A girl!!!' He said 'A little girl.....' It was 6.45pm and we were back at home by 11.30pm, had a full nights sleep and had to wake the baby up at 8.30 for a feed! I didn't even need any stitches or anything.
Go ladies - You can do it!!
I really feel as if I can do anything now.