About two months ago my partner, Andy and I did the Calmbirth program in the Southern Highlands, Mittagong. I was a bit of a mess and rather embarrassingly, wept my way through my introduction to the group. I came with a lot of fear as I had been led to believe that “Geriatric mothers do not labour well”, and being 44, was haunted by the fact that my own mother had bled to death (but was revived) giving birth at 42.
By the end of the weekend at Calmbirth I had realised that ‘all’ fear was not only counter-productive, but irrational.
I wanted to remain realistic – and wrote an extensive birth plan begging for an epidural – in large bold capital letters underlined (with the words “and we will not be changing” our mind, in brackets underneath it). I also rang a lawyer and wrote my will.
Due to my age and gestational diabetes I was due to be induced at 39 weeks. I did everything I could to prepare for this- as much walking as I could every day, bouncing on a birth ball, raspberry leaf tea, sex, evening primrose oil capsules to soften the cervix, nipple stimulation, yoga, acupuncture every week… everything except curry and pineapples!
The day before I was due to get induced, the contractions came on very slowly in the morning, with an “unexplained bleed,” so at about 11.30 I walked half an hour away to my hospital for my assessment, where I found out I was 2 cm dilated.
The contractions started becoming stronger and the gap smaller, (it was about 230pm), so I asked my partner if we could go outside for a walk around the cricket oval, into the sunshine, as I just wanted to stay as active as possible until I got to 4 cm when I could then ask them for an epidural.
I walked through the contractions because I have read this was good. Well, my partner, Andy, leads me around with my eyes closed, I kept telling myself out loud with every step, “relax every muscle, feel the sunshine, feel a breeze, and feel the tree”
I hugged many trees along the way with each contraction (to the point where Andy thought we would get picked up by the mental health unit! Even when we got back to the ward, I just keep walking on the spot next to the hospital bed, eyes still closed, telling myself the same thing imagining I was still outside just walking on the spot just keeping the rhythm going.
The midwife could see from the Machine when and how strong I was getting contractions, and wondered why I wasn’t showing signs of more pain, so she asked me if I would like to try without the epidural, to which I replied, “NO THANK YOU!”, as I was still only trying to get myself to 4 cm so that I could get the epidural.
I then projectile vomited and then burst my waters, you could almost hear the bang go splat. Needless to say the floor was a bit of a slippery mess. They wheeled me up to the birth suite for the internal assessment – not 4 cm, not five, not six – I was already at the full ten?!
I hopped into the bath, and the last part just felt like doing a big poo, with what felt like five minute intervals where I just felt totally pain free. One big push got his head out, and on the next contraction, another push catapulted my little boy Liam right out.
I clearly got extremely lucky, which can happen at any age, but the fact that you really CAN give birth at 44 and not need anything stronger than a bite of banana for energy – was incredible! With a lot of luck, in the sense that our baby was facing the right way, and our preparation by doing the Calmbirth program that gave us the confidence and alleviated all my fears and anxieties of being over 40 and my fears I carried with me from my own mum’s experience, I just know there was no way the above would have happened without the Calmbirth program.
I highly recommend it to anyone with 2 ears (and a pregnant belly) – thanks from the bottom of our hearts, for giving us the tools, to have such an unexpectedly peaceful birth.