My positive birth experience and the great tale of the most magnificent birth
Oh my goodness!! Two birth stories in one from the gorgeous Brydie and Adrian that completed my classes. I was so excited to get this one! You're gonna love it. Grab a cuppa and some tissues. I am so excited to share this one with you all... N xx
My positive birth experience- Brydie Purbrick
I had 48 hours of early labour that started late Saturday night when I was 39+3. I had a
restful day and had been reading my book in the afternoon. We had dinner with my parents
and then after dinner I started to notice the Braxton Hicks were becoming uncomfortable
and more regular. We went into birthing mode, lighting candles, dimming the lights, and
starting the relaxing playlist. We were excited to finally meet our little baby. Adrian put my
TENS machine on and I sat on my exercise ball, remaining calm and breathing through the
surges. They were becoming more regular but were still 5-10 minutes apart. Adrian rang the
midwives to let them know and she told us to stay at home as long as we could and to keep
hydrated and keep eating. By about 2am they were still coming but I lay on the bed to get
some rest. I must have eventually dozed off with the TENS machine running and woke to the
sound of the birds singing. When I got up they started again but we had some breakfast and
I was able to rest a few more hours. Sunday evening they started up again but were still 5
minutes apart. We went for a slow walk around the block, I would stop and lean on Adrian
to breath through the surges, they continued through until 5am Monday and then I finally
lay down to rest and they must have slowed down again. Erin came the next morning and
examined me and I was 2cm dilated and my babies head was engaged low down in my
pelvis. All that work had done something but things had settled again. That night I managed
to catch up on sleep which made me feel better. We were disappointed and wondered with
each passing day if it was ever going to start again!
I was starting to get really inpatient by 40+2. I was getting more and more worried about all
the things that might happen to her and it was getting harder to switch off my
obstetric/medical brain. It was Friday night and after dinner we were relaxing in bed talking
through our frustrations. After expressing some colostrum Adrian suggested we try nipple
stimulation. So he read his book and gently squeezed my nipples for half an hour or more. I
always had more Braxton hicks after expressing so didn’t think much of it until I realised I
needed to start walking around to get comfortable and using my hypnobirthing breathing
again. Before long I was needing the TENS machine and they were coming every 3 minutes-
maybe…finally…it was time??
They kept getting stronger and stronger, I concentrated really hard to ensure I was
breathing slowly and steadily with each surge. Adrian started packing some snacks to take
to hospital. We rang Erin about 1am hoping this was it. She again encouraged us to stay at
home as long as we could. Each surge was getting stronger and closer together but I
remained calm. Sometimes Adrian had to remind me to slow my breathing down or provide
gentle encouragement. I sat on the ball or the bed between surges and stood and leaned on
Adrian when they came. We were a team and I needed him there. He encouraged me and
helped me with the breathing. It was hard when he left the room to get me a drink or make
himself a coffee as I didn’t know if I could do it on my own. Time passed pretty quickly. By
4:30am I was ready to go into the birth centre. We called Erin and she headed in to set
everything up for us. I was worried I would lose my breathing and not be able to sit through
the surges in the car but we drove slowly and I kept my eyes closed and remained calm. I
had 2 surges in the car and managed to keep my breathing going. We entered a beautiful
dimly lit room with aromatherapy creating a calm atmosphere. I stayed calm while Erin
checked me and the baby. Both were doing just fine. She gave us space to keep doing our
hypnobirthing and remain active.
I wanted to get into the bath straight away but she encouraged me to stay active to get the
surges to become even more regularly and strong and to help babies head down. She
promised that she would check my cervix at sunrise- only 2 more hours. It passed so fast. I
knew things were becoming more strong as I needed to vomit but with Adrian’s help I
remained calm. Erin came to check my tummy to see if she could feel any of the babies head
not yet engaged. If felt really good to lie on the bed and give my legs a rest. Over the next
few surges, my legs started to shake and I thought I might be entering transition. Then it
became really uncomfortable with intense pressure in my pelvis and bottom. I lost my
breathing for a few surges and started to panic a bit. It was getting intense. During the next
surge my waters broke, it felt like a water balloon exploded in my vagina and warm fluid
trickled out. Erin and Adrian were talking to me and trying to reassure and encourage me.
Erin knew I was fully dilated but I didn’t quite trust my body- I couldn’t completely switch
my medical brain off! So I asked her to examine me. I was fully dilated and my baby was in a
perfect position- she said I could get in the bath. The water provided instant relief and I was
able to regain control of my breathing again. I felt I needed to make noise and gently
moaned with each surge. The pressure was getting more intense and then I had an
overwhelming urge to push into my bottom. I gave a few pushes with the next few surges
and put my hand down and could feel the top of my babies head! I knew I could do it at this
point. Erin asked if I wanted to get out of the water as this was my plan before labour- but
as with all birth plans they go out the window! There was no way I wanted to get out of the
water- it was so soothing.
Erin said she could see hair on the babies head- I was so excited that my baby was going to
have hair! The second midwife Tamara entered the room, and Erin encouraged me to gently
guide my babies head out over the next few surges. I had to push even harder for the
shoulders which I wasn’t expecting and then just like that there was my baby in my arms.
She screamed straight away and I couldn’t quite believe that she was really mine and in my
arms. What a relief! I had done it!
The great tale of the most magnificent birth
(from the perspective of the birthing assistant / father)
Once upon a time, in a far, far away land, called Alawa, postcode 0810, about
20mins drive from the city centre of Darwin, there was an Obstetric Registrar
who ironically happened to be pregnant.
It was initially a somewhat tiring pregnancy, which actually commenced in
Melbourne. It was filled with 1hr daily commutes to the Centre of Excellence
being the medical centre where the Obstetric Registrar worked, complete with
daily morning sickness, near faints while operating and the renowned stability of
This pattern continued until approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy, in which the
decision to relocate house, family and employment away from the family and
friends in Melbourne was made, with a journey to the Northern Territory and
employment at the slightly more hot and dusty Centre of Excellence of the Royal
The Obstetric Registrar was very happy with this decision and now only had a 5
minute commute to work, a significant improvement in morning sickness and a
much more stable daily weather pattern. Her birthing assistant, though at the
time still referred to as husband, was also happy to return to exotic Darwin, a
place the couple had happily lived and worked several years previously.
The main part of this story, the great tale of the most magnificent birth, occurred
after the great transition of locations. This means no mention of the week of
frenzied unpacking of house contents, and no mention of the lengthy animated
discussions with the removal company in regard to a transported barbeque
which had suspiciously had its shape (and structural integrity) significantly
altered. It also means no mention at all of the brand new car which disappeared
at 3am courtesy of some lovely neighbourhood locals, and subsequent stress that
this event induces while approximately 25 weeks pregnant.
The story really begins with the realization by the Obstetric Registrar and her
husband that the birthing process was becoming more imminent with each
passing week. This was approached with some mild trepidation, not least helped
by multiple 14hr delivery shifts filled with epidurals, urgent caesareans, and
fourth-degree tears, thus a sensible delivery plan was imminently required.
It so happened that Royal Darwin Hospital had a birthing centre, somewhat
separate to the typical delivery suite so familiar to the Obstetric Registrar. It also
had some very sensible midwives, one of whom suggested the many benefits of a
Hypnobirthing program. Filled with interest, the Obstetric Registrar and
husband, who was now making the transition from husband to birth assistant,
dutifully attended a weekend session run by a fabulous midwife/neonatal nurse.
Sitting in the front row, the pregnant couple listened to the advice, anecdotes and
affirmations with interest, watched the birthing videos with amazement (more
for the birth assistant than the Obstetric Registrar it must be said), and practiced
the breathing exercises. This coupled with the magical period of time known as
maternity leave, resulted in the Obstetric Registrar having ample periods of
relaxation practice and mindfulness, and a gradual ability to distance herself
from the daily grind of eclampsia, forceps and pelvic floor repairs.
Over the next few weeks, coupled with reassuring midwife appointments and
reviews by the Obstetric Consultant, mindfulness was practiced, aromatherapy
employed and affirmations affirmed; work was becoming more of a memory.
This continued up until the weekend 4 days before the estimated guess date,
where it appeared that the weeks and months of practice and preparation were
coming to a head.
A hard day of resting and relaxing had resulted in some lower pelvic tightening
that day, with these becoming somewhat semi-regular. Full of anxious
excitement, the birth plan was implemented, the snack food came out, the
aromatherapy commenced in full swing, the TENS machine applied and the
hypnobirthing affirmations played on repeat. Walks were taken, breathing
exercises trialled, and a shared thought that perhaps this was the
commencement of the big event. Much of the weekend was spent in this state of
intermittent surging, French toast, pasta and Powerade, however the surges
slowly abated, with resulting conclusion being ‘latent labour’, or a trial-run, as
coined by the ever helpful birth assistant.
Over the next few days, many more walks on the beach were employed, in and
around midwife appointments, and a stretch and sweep, with the presumptuous
plan for an induction in a few weeks if no progress was made. Somewhat
deflated by the end of that week, not to mention a degree of exhaustion some
would describe as similar to running a daily half-marathon on minimal sleep, the
pregnant couple thought to try some nipple stimulation to see if the oxytocin /
cuddling hormone threshold could be reached.
A solid hour of diligent 11pm nipple tweaking, performed with no complaints by
the birthing assistant, resulted in a strange sensation in the Obstetric Registrar’s
pelvis, and a rapid call for the TENS machine was again made. Not to be thwarted
by another practice run, the nipple stimulation was enthusiastically continued by
the birth assistant between surges until an executive decision was made that yes,
this is now labour (you can stop with the stimulation now).
Each surge, which were beginning to become quite regular, was accompanied by
the Burst setting on the TENS, controlled breathing, and visualization of riding a
wave up then down again. This was followed by near force-fed water and energy
drinks, and a plethora of banana cake, cookies and apples from the ever-helpful
and now quite excited birth assistant.
Expecting a long night, the birth assistant, on very helpful advice from his
mountain-biking and fellow parent buddy, made up a thermos of coffee, then a
meal bag, retrospectively containing enough food and snacks to substitute as a 3-
day cyclone pack. The coffee was a fresh Darwin roasted blend, freshly ground in
the coffee grinder at home to a fine grind with 6 shots in total made. This
surprisingly, was not the most welcome sound to a labouring woman at 2am, as
the birth assistant raced between supporting the surges, and ensuring a fine
After several hours of supported strengthening surges, positive affirmations and
enough caffeine ingested by the birthing assistant to produce a noticeable resting
tremor, the joint decision was made that the ongoing eviction process of the
baby would be better suited to the location of the birth centre.
The process of transfer of labouring Obstetric Registrar from bedroom, down 17
steps into car, was made relatively uneventfully, and the car packed with enough
food and supplies to get us to Adelaide. The five minute drive, embarked on at
430am was relatively uneventful, with no change in frequency of surges, no signs
of membrane rupture on the unprotected brand new car seats, and definitely no
signs of second stage commencing, with a very thankful birthing assistant
helping the labouring Obstetric Registrar to the Birth Centre. The midwife, well
known to the birthing couple, guided the labouring woman in to a darkened
birthing room lit only by the aromatherapy lights, scented with oils and complete
with a fully inflated exercise ball and the allure of a yet to be filled bath.
Surges continued to surge, ever increasing in intensity, accompanied by a
meditation soundtrack on repeat, with the labouring Obstetric Registrar calmly
continuing her process of TENS and controlled breathing. The birthing assistant
was dutifully present for reassurance and support during surges, also managing
to finishing off the last of the coffee and a pre-heated meal of chorizo pasta which
was politely declined by the labouring Obstetric Registrar.
After a few hours of increasing surges, something appeared to change, and the
Obstetric Registrar found herself quite uncomfortable, not to mention noticing a
passage of pelvic waters. A subsequent examination revealed a fully dilated
cervix and a certain desire to be in the bath was expressed. A rapid filling of the
bath over approximately 10minutes then commenced followed by a transfer of
woman from bed into bath.
The sun was just beginning to rise, and via the clever angulation of a mirror, the
crowning of the head of the baby was eventually visible, confirmed by the
Obstetric Registrar with her hand, a process done by her many times before
though usually on someone else’s perineum.
With continual reassurance from the midwife, the Obstetric Registrar chose to
remain in the bath, which fortunately by this stage had been topped up with
warm water, along with her birthing partner, and continued controlled pushing.
The head continued to crown, observed by the birthing assistant in the mirror,
with a controlled delivery of the head closely followed by remainder of the baby
by the Obstetric Registrar at 856am. She sat up in the bath with the birthing
assistant, held the baby to her chest and was greeted by a robust cry, closely
mimicked by one from the new baby. The baby, which by this stage had been
revealed to be of the female variety, continued vigorous wriggling and crying,
with the Obstetric Registrar then transferring to the warm towels and blankets
of bed, to provide the new baby with a well deserved feed.
The Obstetric Registrar and her birthing assistant were finally able to relax
having accomplished the three items of her birth plan, deliver a live and healthy
baby, be well with an intact perineum, and to no longer be pregnant and were
ready to go home to commence their new family life.