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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

Melbourne weather.

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

Darwin Hospital.

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.


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