Mackenzie Katherine’s Birth Story
I am so excited that Amber and Kyle sent this story through for me to share as it is such a good one. It is their second baby and I met them when they were well into their first pregnancy where I taught them the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth Program. They had such a positive birth the first time round I knew this one was also gonna be amazing. Enjoy this beautiful, empowering birth story from these Hypno superstars!! Nic x
“There’s a secret in our culture and it’s not that birth is painful, it’s that woman are strong”
Background: we planned for a hospital birth this time around as my blood loss after Reagan’s birth qualified as a PPH (postpartum hemorrhage) which disqualified me from birthing at home or at the birth center, as the only home birth midwives/program is through the public hospital here in Darwin. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the home birth midwife team though to receive continuity of care and a more personal experience throughout my pregnancy. Besides the place, everything else in my plan remained the same: to have a natural, unmedicated, physiological birth with as little intervention as possible (none being ideal).
My midwife ‘warned’ me that with second pregnancies typically the first stage, or early labor is longer then the first, but that the second stage, or active labor, is much quicker! She couldn’t have been more right..
Early labor started the night before M was born, roughly 24 Hours before. At the time I thought I was just having a lot of BH which I did find strange since it had been a very low-key day. I took the dogs for a walk that night after putting Reagan to bed and was easily getting one every 10-15 minutes. I do remember thinking they felt a little different than usual, the sensations concentrated in my pelvis vice my entire belly, but didn’t think anything more of it. I went to bed that night and they continued throughout the night, actually causing me to wake. Again – thought it was strange but never once considered this was the start of the real deal. By the time I woke that morning I decided to time a few just to see if they were coming at regular intervals and low and behold, they were, every 15 minutes. I mentioned it to Kyle but sent him off to work.
By mid-morning reality was hitting me: I was in early labor. I sent a text to Kyle, my friend/neighbor Hazel and my midwife to give her a heads up. The surges were coming every 5-7 minutes now but still really low intensity. Hazel came over with a friend to help me with Reagan until Kyle could come home from work that afternoon. She set up a beautiful affirmation wall for me that I ended up using throughout the rest of my labor until leaving for the hospital. I spent much of this time laboring just walking around the house. I felt best in an upright position with continual movement. I put on the Roadtrip Songs album on Spodify and would ‘dance it out’ with each surge. These songs will now forever remind me of being in labor with M.
Has anyone nursed a baby/child while in labor?! WooWEE that tested me something fierce. Going through even a light surge while trying to nurse her before her nap was tough. Once she was down and Kyle got home the frequency of the surges picked up initially to every 3-4 minutes but intensity stayed the same. After an hour or so they spread back out to every 6-7 minutes and stayed here for most of the later afternoon. I knew things weren’t going to progress until Reagan was down for the night. Kyle packed our hospital bag since we hadn’t yet.
I tried to find comfortable positions to rest in, in between surges or even during, but few were working for me. Upright standing/walking or leaning on a sink/countertop felt best. After dinner I decided to have a shower. I wanted some time to myself to get in a really good head space as I knew my baby was coming soon. I kept the lights off and labored in the shower for a good 20 minutes, coming down to my hands and knees, letting the water run over my lower back during each surge. Repeating the affirmations from my wall. Trying to stay relaxed, calm and breath as they came. I think this helped to slow things down a bit and allow me some time to rest. I laid on our bed and shut my eyes resting before the next surge hit.
It was time to put R to bed. I always nurse her before putting her in her crib and knew it was going to difficult for me to do so. The surges were a bit more intense now and sitting through them was going to be incredibly uncomfortable. I nursed her for 5-10 minutes and in that time I had 3 surges back to back. By the 3rd one I couldn’t take it anymore. Gave her a big squeeze, told her I loved her and put her in her crib. It was 8pm and when things took an immediate turn. The surges were coming much stronger and more frequent almost immediately. By 25 after they were coming every 2-3 minutes and much more intense. I rested on my knees, bent over the couch on stacked pillows to be a bit more upright. During each surge I would stand and sway or sometimes walk. Still using my affirmation wall, reading, breathing and reciting through each wave. By 8:45 Kyle was packing the car to go to the hospital. He notified our midwife so they could start getting the birth pool ready. Another friend of Hazel’s had come over to stay with Reagan while we were gone (have I mentioned she was a complete lifesaver this day?! I do not know what we would have done without her and her amazing and generous friends who barely even know us). Kyle went back to get her settled. The next surge hit me. It was intense. I was standing, grabbing the rail of our pram. My waters released in one big gush. I felt the shit. The baby shift down the birth canal. It was around 9pm. It was at this point I had a mini freak out. I started yelling for Kyle. Telling him to come and grab towels. That my waters had broken and this baby was coming. He quickly helped me clean up and change. I would have 3 more strong surges before finally getting in the car. They were coming one on to of the other at this point, each one I could feel the shift. I got loud. Roaring through each wave. Yelling that this baby was coming. That we weren’t going to make it. That I couldn’t get in the car. How I didn’t wake up R I do not know.
We finally got in the car. I knelt in the front passenger seat, facing the rear. We had a 5-minute drive (Kyle made it in 4). It was quite possibly the longest 4 minutes of my life. I had 2 big surges during the drive over. Yelling through each of them. We made it to the car park. I get out and make it about 50 meters before the next surge hit. I was in underwear and holding one of Kyle’s shirts in front of my chest. I couldn’t have clothes on. We were near some picnic tables and I used them to lean on to get through the surge. A woman on hospital staff was walking out to her car at the same time, she just looked at me in horror. Kyle calmly explained to her to not worry I was just ‘going into labor’ LOL! From there I knew I needed to really focus if I was going to make it all the way into the hospital and up the elevator to the 6th floor. I made it about 150-200m from the picnic area to just before the elevators, right in front of the security desk, before the next surge hit. They came out of their office, looking horrified and told me “you need to make it upstairs lady” to which I screamed back “I’M F*CKING TRYING!” The wait for the elevator felt like an eternity. We got on. The next surge hit as we were ascending. I grabbed the side rail. I felt the shift, the pressure. I yelled that this baby was coming NOW! The elevator doors opened. I dropped to hands (on Kyle’s duffle) and knees. Kyle got behind me ready to ‘catch’. The elevator doors opened. People started running over. Fate was with me this day. My midwife didn’t make it but our hypnobirthing instructor, who is a midwife, was on shift. Coming off the last surge just trying to get my breathing under control. Nicole rushed in and took over. I could hear her telling me I was doing beautifully and breathing well. And Kyle telling me Nicole was here and everything was going to be fine. Hearing her voice brought such a calm over me. The next wave hit with it came the burning and immense need to bear down which I did with everything I had. M’s head was born up to her mouth. Nicole guided me with ‘little pushes’ to help get her chin out. There were so many staff members standing outside the elevator door. Fortunately, someone was kind enough to put up a sheet in the last few moments. On the next surge the rest of her body followed. It was 9:24pm. I heard Nicole tell me to reach down and grab my baby. She wasn’t breathing on her own yet so the other midwife told me to talk to my baby as she rubbed her to get her going. That first cry is literal music to the ears.
It was a good 10 maybe 15 minutes after we had gotten to a room before we even looked to see if baby was a boy or girl. My placenta released an hour later with just the help of a little oxytocin. M latched immediately and fed beautifully. With no issues we were released to return home at 1:30am, just 4 hours after she was born.