Sunny was born weighing 3.45kg a day before his due date. I have been waiting for the perfect time to sit down and share our positive birth experience with you Kath, as I feel it was all a testament to YOU and your Calmbirth teachings, and for that I am so grateful.
I will try not to babble on but l do get so excited sharing our story and reflecting back on that time.
I was convinced I was going to give birth at 37 weeks ( no idea why!) and so when I reached 39+5 I was completely frustrated and impatient for our baby’s arrival. I did everything to bring labour on … dates, acupuncture, walking, sex, bouncing on a ball, massage, relaxing, baths and drank my weight in raspberry leaf tea. Although at the time I didn’t think it was working, I really do think a combination of all this helped me to dilate efficiently and progress well during labour.
I noticed some dull period like cramps in the morning but didn’t think much of it. I knew these pains could continue for days so went about my day as usual trying to ignore them. Later that night they began to get more noticeable. At 9pm I found myself flitting around the house doing dishes, washing, scrubbing, vacuuming (hello nesting!). Leroy noticed that every few minutes I would be stopped in my tracks and hunch over with my eyes closed. He said “Hun do you think something is happening?” Again I tried to ignore them and when they were coming every 10 minutes we decided to go to bed and get some sleep.
I had some light pink discharge which I assumed was more of my mucus plug coming away. A few hours passed and as I wasn’t able to sleep I got up and bounced on the ball while watching one of my favourite movies. Half an hour later things were getting slightly more intense and uncomfortable so Leroy ran me a bath. This was amazing! I had your meditation tracks playing and I was able to really relax in between contractions.
Fast forward a few hours and Leroy began to get a bit nervous as my contractions were 5 minutes apart – all we could remember was this was the time to go to the hospital. So at 3am we made the drive in, contractions were coming fairly strongly and were stopping me in my tracks. We arrived, met the Midwife who took our history. Her opening line was you are definitely in labour but would you be happy to go home as first labours can take a while and you don’t want to get caught up in the cascade of interventions. I was well aware of this!! She wondered if my waters had broken due to the pink discharge, and as I was GBS pos we agreed to have a PV exam/swab to check before going home. The exam was extremely painful and I passed a large amount of blood and clots immediately after. Much to our surprise the test came back positive, and it was suspected I had a hind water leak. This meant me staying and having IV AB which we were happy to do.
The Midwife returned shortly with a team of doctors. I was shocked and concerned as I knew I didn’t need the doctors involvement and really wanted Midwifery led care. Turns out they wee ‘just introducing themselves’ however it did de rail me a little. They suggested breaking my waters, commence induction and apply continuous monitoring due to the passing of clots post procedure. I was shocked. I asked the Midwife why this was suggested and her response was the risk of GBS exposure to the baby the longer they are inside increases and it is the Dr.s recommendation.
I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the IV induction and that my birth plan was very quickly changing. I decided that I would consent to having my waters broken but did not want to have the IV induction I was told that unfortunately it’s a package deal and you can’t consent to one without the other! WOW! Then my contractions completely stopped. I was scared and upset that I wasn’t being given the time that I needed or that my desires for MY birth weren’t being heard. My intuition was telling me that my baby was fine and that my body knew exactly what to do. I declined the CTG for this reason.
I didn’t have a contraction for 1hr. I was told that because I was no longer in labour I would be transferred to the postnatal ward to wait for labour to start again ( without my partner ) or I could stay in birth suite if they began the induction …
It was then the change of shift 7am. A beautiful Midwife named Laura came on, listened to my concerns and fears and said she completely understood how I was feeling. She suggested we have an hour or so to relax and think about it … we aren’t going to kick you out (which was exactly how I felt!).
Leroy turned the lights off, set up our candles, put on the TENs machine and encouraged me to close my eyes and get some rest if only for a few minutes – I was so tired by this point. Then an hour later my contractions started again, every 5 minutes! I was back in labour and my Midwife was excited and happy for us to continue doing what we were doing. I found the breathing so helpful as well as the wave visualisation and positive affirmation: ” I am here in my body, I am safe”. During each contraction I would kneel on all 4’s with the TENs boost button – this was also great.
Around 10am I was kneeling on the floor at the foot of the bed. I couldn’t get comfortable, I was hot and cold, vomiting during some contractions and started speaking to Leroy about the epidural. My thoughts were, I could just have the epidural, go to sleep and this would all go away (LOL!). He said all the right things, that I was doing an amazing job. I started losing faith in myself and the thought of going on for 8+ more hours was frightening. Then I said to my Midwife who was on her hands and knees next to me applying pressure to my back, “Can I go to the toilet and do a poo? ” Yes of course you can was her reply. I went to the bathroom and shut the door for some privacy. I don’t think I was able to poo but out of nowhere I felt this almighty whole body contraction where my body shook and I felt like my entire insides were going to fall into the toilet. I screamed in shock and my Midwife and partner came in. They reassured me and sat with me. Then a large gush – my waters broke. I started to shake with the urge to push and the intensity of this feeling – but I knew that if I wasn’t dilated enough this might cause some damage. My Midwife suggested a vaginal exam but the thought of getting from the toilet to the bed seemed impossible. I made it to the bed and removed the TENS machine at this point – it began to annoy me.
I was checked and my Midwife told me that I was doing so well ( I had chosen not to be told how dilated I was in terms of a number ). The rest is a bit of a blur, about 45 mins went past and I was deep in the zone. I had blocked everything out and was so focused on one wave at a time. All of a sudden my Midwife was calling for assistance as baby was crowning. I spent about 15 mins on my back while the Midwives began setting up for delivery. I was very conscious of not wanting to ‘push’ while on my back. As nothing was really progressing and I was fixed on changing position, my Midwife suggested kneeling with the bed semi recumbent. This was fabulous.
At this point I had gained a second wind. I knew the end was in sight and I knew I could do this – I found the pushing phase so much more bearable than the contractions. I followed my body’s natural urge to bring baby down. My contractions had spread out to 1 every 10 minutes or so during this phase which I find so fascinating! Apparently it is the body savouring energy for the large surge / contractions to birth baby. I ‘pushed’ for approx. 1hr and Sunny was born and passed between my legs and onto my chest at 13:25.
I opted to have the synthetic hormone to assist with delivery of the placenta because I just wanted it to be done by this stage. I had delayed cord clamping and was able to stay in the birth suite for a few hours post. I needed some stitches, that was quite uncomfortable. We were discharged home the next morning and everything has been going well since.
We had a few speed humps with breastfeeding, which are now resolved. We are both loving the breastfeeding journey – I think this is one of my favourite parts of being a mum so far.
I feel the stars aligned for me on this day and I had the empowered birth I had dreamed and envisioned. I honestly can’t wait to do it again. Women are phenomenal beings no matter how they birth and I couldn’t have done it without my Midwife and Leroy. Also, without your Calmbirth program I wouldn’t have had all of these tools which allowed myself and Leroy to have full trust in my body and my ability to birth the way we had hoped.
I recommend you and your Calmbirth course to every pregnant person I meet! It is worth every cent for the positive birth experience we were lucky enough to have. Ali, Leroy and Sunny X