I have been meaning to write down my birth story before I forgot what an amazing and eye opening experience I had, so others could feel hope and faith in their birth and bodies too. I felt really quite hopeless towards the end of my pregnancy with my family’s birthing history and my own pending birth- and could not find much if any inspiring stories. I have been blessed with a fantastic birth and wanted to share that with others, in hope that I could perhaps give someone else in my situation hope and calm their nerves.
The lead up to the big day:
I have previously mentioned in my blog that I have had a long family history of complicated births in my family. In fact, after all the women gathered in my family, we could only think of two women who had vaginal deliveries (both women have had extensive complications following their births). Complications were due mainly to long arduous labours from misshapen and misaligned pelvis and hips. Realizing this, my pending birth became anxiety ridden and I felt an impending sense of doom. I felt like a vaginal delivery could result in extensive complications, corrective surgery and a hysterectomy and that caesarean delivery would mean I would endure a long recovery and take longer to return to working out (which has been my form of antidepressant for quite a while).
After meeting with the consultant and 39 weeks, he told me that due to my health being so well, I wasn’t a candidate for an elective caesarean section and if I was still pregnant the following week, and still adamant that I wanted a caesarean delivery, he would book me in.
The day before my 40 week appointment, I had my regular appointment with my chiropractor. He changed everything. He told me to wait. He said it’s ok, she will be overdue, but she will be fine and I will be fine. We talked pain relief, birthing positions, and post natal appointments. Out of all the conversations I had, I trusted his the most. After all, he was the only one to physically examine me before giving me his opinion (yes- the consultant didn’t even look at my pelvis).
My appointment the following day with the consultant, I told him I wished to wait to have her naturally.
That then changed when he measured my fundal height and completed a CTG. He told me he was worried about her condition and thought it was best to induce as soon as possible. I honestly can’t remember what he said- I was in shock, but I do remember the key words: intrauterine growth restriction, decreased fetal movement, compromised baby.
At that point, I agreed. I didn’t care about myself, or my plans for a natural birth- I just wanted my baby girl healthy and safe.
The following morning at 07:00, I was admitted to the hospital for an artificial rupture of membranes (ARM), also known as ‘breaking your waters’. At 08:00 my midwife broke my waters, and shortly after I began having tightening’s. At 09:30 I was in labour with 4 minutely surges and the doctor requested I have my cervix checked 4 hours later (13:30). My labour would progress so quickly that this would never happen.
My contractions were so intense my body would shake and I would begin to feel nauseous, although in saying this, they were bearable and I could breathe through them and for approximately the first two hours I did not require any pain relief at all.
At 11:30 I told my midwife the surges were getting really intense and I was struggling to stay relaxed through them. I asked for gas, which was on the lowest setting.
At 11:40 my best friend and student midwife arrived. I could hear people talking in between my surges, but I was not present with them and was concentrating on my breathing, and visualisations. I felt like my body was resting in between contractions. I could feel the intensity rising, and during each tightening and surge I kept thinking ‘I have got to ask for more pain relief’, yet after every surge I would return to resting and was unable to talk.
At 12:05 I felt the need for pain relief quite urgently. I remember being panicked, and could hear myself talking like a crazy lady. My best friend turned to me and told me I was doing great, and I needed relax. Something she said triggered my memory and I thought, ‘I’m in transition’. She turned up the gas setting one more.’
At 12:10 I could feel a lot more pressure (and surprisingly less pain) all of a sudden. I told the midwives she was coming now and began to breathe and bear down uncontrollably. My midwives were fantastic and encouraged me to push only when I felt the need to. There was only a split moment of pain that felt like I could possibly be tearing and this ‘ring of fire’ business that I hear women talk about honestly didn’t happen at all. I think that again was due to the position I was birthing in as I have spoken with other women who have birthed on all fours and they have said the same thing.
At 12:25 I welcomed my baby girl 6lb 12oz/3.07kg and 52cm long. It was the most surreal moment ever- meeting that person who you have felt kick around all that time. All that time wondering what colour hair and eyes they will have, how big they’ll be, who they’ll look like more all comes to a close and you finally get to hold them in your arms. It is one of the most amazing moments you can ever experience- don’t rush to the phone to tell everyone. Just sit there with your partner for a couple of hours soaking everything in before rushing to the phone to tell people. I am glad I did, as those first couple of hours you can’t get back and were such a wonderful bonding time for us all.
She was placed on my chest for skin to skin contact and feeding directly afterwards for an hour. In the mean time I was assessed by the midwives and given oxytocin. I had no tears, only a few ‘grazes’ as the midwives called it which I believe was due to the fact that I birthed on all fours (whilst leaning into a bean bag- totally recommend it if you are feeling exhausted!).
I was up and walking around an hour or so afterwards, had a shower, fed her some more, and waited for my pediatrician to assess her before I could go home.
I had what they called ‘small’ blood loss, and felt what I would describe as mild to average cramping afterwards. I didn’t take any panadol or panadeine forte that was offered afterwards.
My baby girl, Maddy, was very alert and relaxed after birth and spent the first couple of hours with her eyes open just looking around. Everyone still comments on how relaxed she is- which is exactly why I wanted to try hypnobirthing to begin with: happy, alert, and calm babies.
So ladies out there who are nervous, or anxious, or freaking out like I did due to my family’s history: I hope my story has given you hope and perhaps calmed your nerves.