At My Kind of Birth we are amazingly lucky to help with, hear about and participate in amazing births all year round. For those who are not so fortunate, we thought it would be great to share some birth stories with you, in the words of those who were there.
We are great supporters of the Positive Birth Movement and encourage the sharing of positive birth experiences wherever possible. If you have your own positive birth story (What is 'Positive Birth'?) and would like to share it, please get in touch.
This story is about the birth of Aida.
At around 31 weeks, I went to some amazing birthing classes that made me feel so empowered. This is what my body is designed to do. Women have been doing it for thousands of years – I can too!
I was 39 + 1 weeks along. My husband, Scott, and I were getting ready to go to bed at around 10:30 on Sunday night, when I hopped into bed and felt like I had wet myself. I started to wonder if it was my waters breaking. I knew that only 10% of women’s waters break prior to labour commencing, so chances were it wasn’t that. I went to the toilet, and sure enough everything was pink. I still wasn’t sure but I was getting exited! Scott and I stayed up talking until around 2am when we decided to call the hospital. They asked us to come in to confirm that my waters had in fact broken. We arrived around an hour later and the lovely midwife showed us through to a birthing suite. I wasn’t having gushes of liquid so there was no immediate confirmation. I was hooked up to a monitor, to see how bubs was going. Turns out I was having contractions, about five minutes apart. I didn’t feel a thing! We finally received confirmation that my waters had broke, and were sent home to rest up before the big show.
We arrived home at around 7am and I decided to have a long, hot shower – who knows when I’d get to have my next one! By the time I had finished, my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I was starting to get very, very excited. Scott put my TENS machine onto my back and I climbed into bed to try and get some sleep (hah!). We hadn’t had any at all that night.
I spent the morning bouncing on a fit ball and utilising the TENS machine. At around 1pm we made our way to the hospital. It was a long drive! Turns out our super comfortable seats in our car are not so comfortable when you’re in labour.
It was very quiet on the ward when we arrived at the hospital. The midwives showed us through to a birthing suite. As we were walking into our suite, the next shift of midwives walked past us. After a little wait, our midwife, Sophie, came in and introduced herself. That was pretty significant to us, as Sophie was the name we had always discussed as what we were going to call our daughter (we ended up choosing another name).
I was feeling very confident. The contractions were strong, but I was getting into a groove with my movements and breathing (and groaning!) to get through them. The TENS was still helping, but I was waiting for the big guns – the bath! It took a while to prepare, as it was a specialty birthing bath, but at around 4pm it was finally ready, and in I dove. I knew all along that I wanted to use the bath for my pain relief – I did not want to use any intravenous drugs. I wasn’t sure if I would deliver in the water, but I was certainly open to the idea. The bath worked. My contractions were strong, but I was able to cope with them pretty well.
Scott was an amazing support, he kept the mood light, and encouraged me the whole time. I felt good!
At around 6:30pm, I started to get a little bit of cabin fever. I asked to get out of the bath and get into the shower. Sophie checked my progress, and I was only 6.5cm dilated. I started to feel deflated. I had been having contractions all day and I had such a long way to go. We ran the shower and I tried to stand, and then sit under the water. It wasn’t working. I started to feel every contraction ten-fold. I started to doubt myself. I no longer felt confident. I couldn’t do it. My body wouldn’t get through. I started to ask for drugs, any drugs. I was shouting, crying, lashing out. Scott’s touch was irritating. I wanted to give up and go home.
I decided to get back in the bath. Clearly the shower wasn’t working! I was shouting at Scott, telling him that he didn’t know what I was going through; he couldn’t understand. Sophie looked me in the eye and simply said “I do”. That was the moment something clicked in my head. I thought back to how I had felt before I went into labour. All that confidence that I had previously came rushing back. I remembered that this is what my body is designed to do; that it is a new thing to have medical intervention; that women have been doing this for centuries. If all of those women could do it, so could I!
Turns out, I was entering stage two. It was almost time to push. I asked for gas. I remember thinking it was good to have something to focus on, other than the labour. It definitely helped.
I was back in the bath, and there was no way I was getting out. I was having a water birth! I was working through stage two in the same way as stage one. I was using my energy to yell through the contractions. Sophie told me to use that energy to push instead of yell. It was certainly a different focus.
When my baby started to crown, Sophie told me to put my hand between my legs. I felt the top of my baby’s head! I’ll never forget the softness of her hair, how it felt on the tips of my fingers. It was just incredible.
I wouldn’t describe the delivery as painful. Sophie used the term ‘burning’ and I think that is very accurate. It felt a lot like a paper cut on your finger. Stage two lasted for about an hour, but it went by in a flash. Even though I hadn’t slept in more than 36 hours, I had so much energy. This was the moment I would finally meet my baby!
I was very fortunate that I was able to deliver my baby myself. Because I was kneeling in the bath, I was able to reach down and pull her out of the water myself. We didn’t know what we were having so I was also the first to find out that she was a girl – the old fashioned way.
My daughter was delivered 30 minutes before the end of Sophie’s shift. We found out a couple of days later that it is really rare for one midwife to deliver a baby from start to finish. So much so that it is called a unicorn birth.
After the birth, I had an amazing recovery. I didn’t need any stitches, and had no pain relief at all, not even Panadol. I was up and walking around the next morning. The midwives attributed that to the bath. Yet another reason to have a water birth!
If you would like some more help in preparing for the birth of your baby check out our Melbourne based birthing classes or sign up to our newsletter to receive free online education materials. Our classes are held by an amazing team and include a midwife, a childbirth educator, a doula, a prenatal yoga teacher and a lactation consultant. There is a mix of gentle birthing techniques like breathing and birth hypnosis and active labour exercises.
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