Our birth story
Our birth story starts on 26thDecember 2019. I was 40+1 weeks pregnant and felt like I was probably going to be pregnant forever. There was no sign of impending labor and I had become slightly anxious that my due date had come and gone- even though only just. I’d been practicing my hypnobirthing tracks regularly and every day I was doing little visualisations and affirmations to mentally prepare myself and baby for a calm and natural birth. My mum had arrived from Tassie early that morning and was here to help me enjoy the final days/weeks of my pregnancy, to help with the early care of our baby and more importantly- to help me go into labor!
Now that I was officially overdue I had some little plans in place to try get things moving. My mum is a massage therapist and our first plan of action was a foot massage with some clary sage that was given to me by our lovely hypnobirthing instructor Nicole. We used the acupressure points given to us in the course to help with cervical ripening. I then did the ‘Miles Circuit’, which my midwife Kathy gave me info about- it involves 3 exercises that you do for 30 minutes each, and then finishes with 30 minutes of hip circles on a birth ball. It helps get baby into the ideal position for birth and can give things a little nudge along. We then planned on going for a long walk and coming home to listen to the hypnobirthing track, ‘baby come out’. I was hopeful that a few days of repeating this would surely do the trick.
Well, we didn’t even make it out the door for our walk! I started getting some strange, niggley period like pains almost instantly after completing the Miles Circuit- which was around 6pm. I’d heard that in early labor surges come every half hour or so- but these were quite full on quite quickly, lasting for around 40 seconds every 4 minutes. I did my best to ignore the discomfort, as I didn’t want to get too excited. I went to bed with my partner Sam at around 10.00pm after having quite an upset stomach for a few hours. I couldn’t comfortably lie down during surges and ended up sitting on my birth ball while resting my head on the bed. I got out a few tea light candles and listened to my hypnobirthing tracks through my headphones- I really wanted Sam to get some sleep incase this was the real deal. After an uncomfortable hour of trying to relax and timing surges I decided to call the delivery suite at the hospital to let them know what I was experiencing. They said it was possible that I wasn’t actually in labor and to see how things went over the next few hours. I managed to breathe through the next 3 hours on my birth ball doing my relaxation and surge breathing techniques. I had stopped timing my surges as they were very regular. After a call at 2am the delivery suit had again said to just see how I was going in a few hours.
I only lasted until 3 am before letting them know I was on my way! I’d gotten to a point where I couldn’t relax and I just wanted to know if I was even beginning to dilate. The car ride to the hospital was as uncomfortable as everyone had promised and I just focused on breathing through it. Once we finally made it up to the 6th floor we met with midwife Emily who had a chat with us and observed my surges for a while. She’d said we would likely be going home as it seemed pretty early on still. I really, really did not want to get back in the car and asked for an examination. It turns out I was 4cm dilated and we were able to stay at the hospital. Yay! We headed downstairs and settled in to the birth centre. Sam cranked the hypnobirthing tracks and put little LED candles all over the room. I walked up and down the hallway, which was dimly lit with Christmas fairy lights. I felt so comfortable and at home in the birth centre- I had had all my appointments there with my midwife Kathy. Sam’s mum also works there as a midwife and as I was wondering back and forth I noticed a photo of Sam and his brothers on the wall from when they were little bubbas. It was so familiar and lovely birthing there.
Next I headed into the shower where I spent the next few hours, and things really ramped up. Kathy had had a birth the day before and was able to join us at 8am relieving midwife Emily. I felt so lucky to have Kathy there as she’d been with us through every step of our pregnancy. I jumped into the bath not long after Kath arrived- I was planning on having a water birth. However after getting in the bath my contractions slowed and I felt that perhaps baby wasn’t in a great position. I was doing my best to stay in a hypnobirthing state but was finding it hard to relax in between surges, so I decided to try some gas, which really helped me zen out. I decided to jump back into the shower and again things got more intense. Hours seemed to pass and I could feel slight pressure in my bottom but things seemed to be going a bit slow. I decided to get Kathy to do an examination to see how things were progressing- I was 7cm dilated. For the next few hours I tried lots of different positions on and off the bed, we’d realised baby infact wasn’t in a great position- the discomfort was massively ramping up but baby didn’t feel like she was moving down. By this point I’d lost my zen and could only concentrate on my breathing techniques and a few affirmations- the main ones being ‘every surge brings my baby closer’ and ‘I am a strong woman’. I was very vocal during my surges and was breathing very hard on the gas. I got to a point where I thought I was about to give up. I was exhausted, vomiting and had no idea how I could keep going on. I was ready to pack up and go home- or maybe get some hardcore pain relief! Even Sam couldn’t calm me down with “soft touch’ or any prompts.
After another examination it turns out I was transitional and was 9.5cm dilated. I asked Kathy to release my membranes (which were still very firmly intact) to help get baby out. It was then we found out she had done a poo in the womb! Usually this would mean I’d have to be rushed upstairs to the 6th floor as baby could be distressed- but her heart rate had been stable the entire labor, and birth was imminent. It was time to start pushing- by now it was around 1pm! I had a hysterical giggle to myself as I remembered all the woman in the hypnobirthing movies who silently brought their babies into the world. I roared like a lion!
After an hour of pushing in a lot of different positions our daughter Stella was delivered while I was on all fours on the bed. She came out with her hands over her face and it turns out the larger part of her head had come out first- this explained the discomfort and slow progression in the last few hours! She let out a massive scream and cried instantly. It was music to my ears! The cord was quite short and she couldn’t reach my chest, but was brought up onto my tummy for our first skin to skin cuddle. She was absolutely scrumptious. We waited for her cord to stop pulsating before Sam went to cut it- he was shocked by its texture and said that it felt like a gecko. Typical Territorian! We then birthed the placenta and kept it to plant in the garden- it was in the shape of a heart. We had such a positive birthing experience and cannot wait to do it all again. Thank you so much Nicole for all your amazing guidance during our course xx