It was such a surreal experience. It was so different to my first birth and although they were both completely different they were equally as amazing.

My Partner said “omg I cannot believe how peaceful and easy that looked” it really was a beautiful and empowering experience.

At 2AM, the day before my due date I woke with very minor period pains which seemed to come and go in waves every 10 minutes. I put this down to the stretch and sweep that I’d had earlier that day and decided to ignore them and go back to sleep. As time went on, I recalled this feeling from my last labour but thought it might not progress into anything so I tried to lay in bed and conserve as much energy as I could. As the hours passed I got up and had some banana, took some Panadol and used my heatpack.At around 5am Daniel turned over and mentioned he couldn’t sleep to which I replied “I’ve been awake with pains since 2am, I’m not sure you should go to work today” it was meant to be his first day back at work in close to 4 months.

At 5:30AM I had a shower and decided to put my TENS machine on and lay back in bed with a lamp on. We discussed if we should wake Oscar and take him to my mum’s but decided to let him sleep a little bit longer. We called my midwife and I said I felt ok but going off my previous labour I knew things could progress quite quickly from this point.

At 6AM we woke Oscar, he took a little moment to open his eyes and we said “would you like to go to Gran’s?” his eyes popped open and he jumped up and said “YES PLEASE!!”. We had a photo together and I gave him a big kiss and cuddle and said I loved him and I’d see him soon. Daniel dropped him off to my mum’s house while I sat on the exercise ball in the lounge room with my TENS, eye mask and my labour playlist. By this stage my contractions were still 10 minutes apart with the occasional more mild contraction every 5 minutes.

Once Daniel arrived home we decided to make our way to the hospital. It was nearly 6:30AM so the sun was rising and the traffic was full of tradies making their way to work. I kept my eye mask on for the trip into the hospital to avoid seeing the natural light and I used the TENS and my labour playlist in the car to keep my head in the zone.

I felt incredibly emotional knowing that Oscar was at my mum’s house and that soon he wouldn’t be our baby but I was equally excited to meet our newest love.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30AM and had our temperature taken and face masks given to us on entry. The lady who checked our temperature laughed when she saw me with my eye mask and pillow and asked if I was planning on going back to bed. We made our way to the birthing suite and as I did with my previous labour, I made my way straight to the bathroom to sit in the dark on the toilet while we waited for our midwife.

One of our midwives arrived and said that my MGP midwife had been called and was on her way in also. I asked if we could turn the lights down and we put my labour playlist on the speaker and we started running the bath. We laughed and joked between each contraction and the room just felt really positive and happy. I had a bit of pressure at the front so sat on an exercise ball with my TENS and a heat pack and did Calmbirth breathing through each contraction which were now more consistently 5 minutes apart with a larger followed by a smaller contraction.

Eventually my midwife arrived and the bath was almost full. Daniel stood behind me and massaged my lower back during each contraction and helped me breathe. I was still chatting and laughing with the midwives between each surge but would pull my eye mask down for each surge as a way of acknowledging that one was coming and to help stay in the zone until it passed.

The thought of a water birth had never appealed to me, however, I had used our bath at home to help ease my Braxton Hicks daily throughout my pregnancy so I had become more and more open to the use of water for pain relief and also to reduce tearing (having previously had an episiotomy and forceps for my first birth). When it was announced that water births may not be possible due to COVID, I was even more determined to have one when my midwife mentioned it was still possible.

I removed the TENS machine and jumped into the bath at 9AM. Daniel held my hands and counted my breaths with each contraction and we listened to my favourite songs on the speaker. At this point I still had my eye mask on and would continue wearing it through every contraction until the end.

My midwives left us alone aside from the occasional check of her heart rate with a Doppler and words of encouragement to breathe through my contractions and trust my body. It was so different to my previous labour which had constant CTG, internal fetal monitoring and coaching to push. My midwives didn’t check how I was progressing and allowed me to listen to my body and push when I felt the urge.

Just after 9AM I started feeling that typical “transition” phase where I felt like I couldn’t do it any longer and it felt like I had been in labour for a lot longer than I had expected (it had been just over 3 hours) I said to my partner that I thought maybe I was ready to push but I wasn’t sure, being in the water it felt very different to my previous labour.

Eventually I moved to my knees in the bath and started to push. I continued to practice my Calmbirth breathing techniques whilst me partner held me from the front and my midwives occasionally watched from behind. I wasn’t sure anything was really happening and doubted myself but eventually I saw bubbles rise from underneath and my midwife encouraged me saying my waters had broken.

After a few more pushes I could feel her head crowning, a sensation I’d never experienced in my previous birth. The midwives asked if I wanted to feel her head but I was happy to just continue with pushing and wanted to wait for her arrival. It felt so crazy feeling the release of her head and then body; at this point my partner couldn’t see anything and was just focusing on me.

At 9:38AM the midwives asked me if I wanted to lift her out of the water and he had thought they’d asked if I wanted to touch her head again… I lifted her out and he burst into tears because he had no idea she was here! I couldn’t believe that I’d done it!! I felt a mixture of exhaustion and energy all in one. I moved her cord to check her gender but in my heart, I had known since the day I found out I was pregnant that she was a girl. I couldn’t believe how much she looked like her brother, she was absolutely perfect and covered in thick white vernix. She felt so much smaller than her brother but was 4.420kg and 53cm long (beating her brother by 200g and 2cm!!)

I lifted her up, we wrapped her in a towel and moved out of the bath to deliver the placenta. As I lifted my leg to get onto the bed my placenta fell out on its own without any pushing. We lay on the bed and had our first breastfeed followed by 6 beautiful hours in the birth suite together with plenty of skin to skin before moving to the ward for the evening.

It was such a surreal experience. It was so different to my first birth and although they were both completely different they were equally as amazing.

My Partner said “omg I cannot believe how peaceful and easy that looked” it really was a beautiful and empowering experience.

Thanks Dawn! It was a wonderful experience. I know I was nervous about how fast it could potentially be and I was worried about knowing when to call my mum to come and mind our son but it all worked out so perfectly. It didn’t feel rushed at all like our previous birth, if anything it felt like it went so much longer even though it was technically shorter than last time.

Thanks again for your support and advice, Calmbirth has been such an invaluable resource for both of our births and we are so grateful

 

 

 

 

 

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