Just as Nature Intended!
I woke up Friday morning feeling a little grumpy and over being pregnant. I felt I had a great pregnancy and this was unusual for me. For the past two weeks I had experienced practise-labour on almost a daily basis and was always wondering if that was going to be the day before everything settled down. I said to Zac that when our baby finally makes an appearance it will do so quickly because my uterus had become so accustomed to what muscles it was supposed to use! My last birth started with a long latent phase before turning into the real thing. During my HypnoBirthing visualisation practice I always visualised my labour to wake me up and start at 4am and then I would be holding my baby in my arms by the time my 16 month old had gotten out of bed at 8am.
My morning started like any other. I gave my little girl her breakfast, did the dishes, spoke to my mum on Skype. I was getting everything ready to go to the chiropractor and started to pack up the random toys that my little girl Sage had scattered around the lounge room. I felt some ‘crampy’ period-like pain whilst doing this but didn’t give it another thought. It was 11am and I went to the bathroom and did a wee and after I had finished I felt a trickle of fluid. Oh…. could that be my waters I thought? I lent to the side and more came out and the other side and even more! How exciting, this was the beginning of my journey and I knew I was only days away from holding my baby!
I put on a pad and contacted my husband at his work, to let him know that my waters had broken. I then contacted the chiropractor and cancelled my appointment, informed my midwife and photographer. As we were planning a homebirth, I then started to clean the area where I was going to give birth so that I didn’t have to look at the clutter whilst I was giving birth. That would be really annoying!
Sage and I had lunch together and then when I put her down for her afternoon sleep I lay down and listened to my HypnoBirthing relaxation music and fell asleep for 20 minutes. When I woke I had a strong tightening in my abdomen and felt more fluid gush out and it kept coming and coming. I leapt out of bed so fast as I didn’t want to get any fluid in bed and rushed to the bathroom where I was left standing on the bath mat with saturated jeans, knickers and a maternity pad that was soaking wet! I had a shower and got changed into comfortable loose clothing and sat down with a hot chocolate at 3pm. That was when I had another strong tightening. Knowing Zac was 40 minutes drive away, I messaged him to think about packing up to watch sage just in case these continued. I also wanted to go for a walk to help get things going but didn’t want to go on my own.
20 minutes later I had my first contraction or in HypnoBirthing terms we call them ‘surges’. I messaged my hubby again saying “please leave now”! Sage was still in bed and I sat down as the surges started to come one after the other with little break in between. At 3:30pm Sage woke up and I put on one of her favourite TV shows and sung along to the songs whilst she danced. After about 15 minutes my surges started to require my attention and I started thinking about my favourite quote from ‘A modern woman’s guide to a natural and empowering birth’ by Katrina Zaslavsky “the pain is not better than me because it is me!”
I spent the time in the kitchen whilst I watched Sage and tried to distract her. During my surges I started to sway my hips and close my eyes. I imagined my lungs filling a magnificent balloon and gave my balloon different colours as I inhaled and exhaled. Sage began to sense something was happening and began to hold onto my legs and wouldn’t let go. I was silent during my surges but closed my eyes and swayed my hips, I tried to explain to her that I was okay and that we would meet the baby today. As the surges built up, one after the other, I decided to lie down to give sage a chance to be able to touch me and started to softly moan with each surge. I was willing my husband to hurry home so I could concentrate on my hypnosis and give my full attention to my body and my baby! Zac walked in the door a little after 4pm and came in and gave us both a kiss hello. He then began to make himself some food and upon hearing my moaning through a surge encouraged me to call our midwife Julie to let her know what was happening. I felt torn between thinking that I had many more hours to go and I didn’t want to call her too early and really wanting to get into our birthing pool which Julie was going to bring with her.
Zac contacted Julie and informed her what he was observing and she asked to talk to me. I got Zac to put the phone on speaker because my surges were requiring all of my attention and I really didn’t want to talk on the phone, I started to feel overwhelmed at doing this for so long, my last labour was 9 hours and only 1 hour had passed, looking back I now know that I was going through ‘transition’. One after the other, after the other, with very little break in between! I felt the need to escape and didn’t know what to do with myself. Sage burst into tears and wanted cuddles. I picked her up and held her tight telling her I was fine, I asked Zac to run me a bath and distract Sage so I could properly utilise my HypnoBirthing training.
Before I got in the bath at 4:40pm I began to feel pressure in my bottom whilst standing but once I got in the bath, and after Zac lit some candles and put on my birthing affirmations, I felt the pressure go. Before he left to watch Sage he stroked my head and said “you are doing this chooky and you’re doing a great job!” I immediately relaxed and trusted that my baby and my body were working together in complete harmony. Once again I began to use visualisation and during my surges imagined my cervix opening like a flower. I heard the coffee machine go and listened as Zac made himself a coffee, I remember thinking what are you doing but reminded myself I still had hours to go! I heard Zac talking in the corridor and opened my eyes to see our birth photographer Victoria had arrived and not long after that I heard the voice of Zac’s sister Chelsea who had come over to look after Sage. I heard Sage laughing and knew she was well cared for and I relaxed even more with Zac by my side. I began to feel pressure and the urge to breath my baby into the world but kept holding back because I really wanted my midwife to arrive and I wanted to get out of the tiny bath and emerge myself into the deep warm water of the birthing pool. After a few surges I didn’t care, midwife or no midwife my baby wanted to come and I surrendered into the urge and began to breath my baby down.
My midwife arrived and gave me a kiss on the forehead and told me I was doing a great job. She had a listen to the baby’s heartbeat which was perfect. I love that galloping sound and thought to myself that this may be the last time I get to hear that noise. Julie began to talk to Zac about my last birth and I remember asking her to check that I was fully opened because my last birth I felt the urge to push long before I was fully opened. She went to go and get the gloves and I had another surge. I listened to my body and put my chin on my chest and breathed my baby down, I stuck my hands between my legs and said ‘don’t worry, the baby is coming’ I could feel the baby’s head.
A few surges later and the fullness between my legs made me open my eyes. There was no ‘burn’ or ‘ring of fire’ as some women describe just an intense pressure and fullness. I eased my baby into the world and heard Julie say to Zac “get in there Zac, you put it in there, you can get it out!‘ And with that the shoulders were out and Zac scooped up our baby and met my arms as I reached down to bring baby to my chest! It was only 5:34pm! Wow, that really happened in my tiny bath tub! Zac announced we had another girl and Julie went to get Sage and Chelsea to greet our new family member Ivy Mae Cook.
Sage burst into tears at the site of us in the bath! But Zac grabbed her and reassured her. Ivy cried and Sage smiled. Sage lent in and wanted to kiss her and touch her. I felt the cord pulsating and got Zac to do the same, he couldn’t believe how magical it felt to pulse in-between his fingers. I wanted to leave the cord attached to my baby whilst it was still pulsating so she could continue to receive all the oxygen and blood that she needed. I felt relieved and proud of myself but was still slightly apprehensive at what was to come. After my last delivery I had a bleed and felt traumatised with the medical interventions that followed. I knew that this may all still be ahead of me. I told myself that my body had instinctually done this and that there was no reason to bleed like I did last time. I offered Ivy my breast to encourage the hormones to help my placenta pass. Still in the bath I felt the need to push and asked Zac to take Ivy and I sat up and gave one push and brought my placenta from between my legs to the surface of the water. My baby’s home for the last 9 months looked perfect, healthy and complete. Chelsea got to cut the cord and we ran new water in the bath.
Zac had a shower with sage whilst I climbed into bed and lay skin to skin to breast feed ivy. I lost approximately 500ml of blood but never felt panicked by it. Julie had it under control and gave me an intramuscular injection whilst I was feeding to settle the bleeding and it worked well.
Sage got to jump into bed with us and when I finished feeding I read her a bedtime story and gave her a big cuddle before Zac put her to bed. Chelsea went to Goodlife Organic Pizza and grabbed dinner and we all sat on our bed eating dinner and talking. It was so surreal. Julie and Chelsea left at about 8:30 – 9:00pm and Zac and I snuggled up in bed with our newest family member. Just as nature intended!
Kristy is one of our wonderful practitioners based in Adelaide. She is an experienced nurse/midwife and runs a business called Instinctual Birthing. Kristy is passionate about improving the birthing experiences of all women who use her service, especially HypnoBirthing in Adelaide, and she is dedicated towards teaching safe and healthy birthing techniques for all babies.
Visit her website is http://www.instinctualbirthing.com.au
Kristy’s birth was captured by Victoria Berekmeri from Adelaide Birth Photographer!