Rachael and Peter Coombe
As a Birth Unit midwife, I have observed numerous labour and birth scenarios and I knew that if there was one thing that we had to do, it was to do Calmbirth! I wasn’t afraid of birth, but I knew what I did and didn’t want and knew that Calmbirth would help with this. Before we attended the weekend, I was sure that Peter would get more out of the course than I would, I mean I am a midwife, what more could I need to know, right? How wrong was I!
My husband Peter and I attended Calmbirth with you in Mittagong on the 7th and 8th of April 2018. It was so brilliant to be sitting in the course with other couples and being a pregnant woman and not a midwife! You treated me like any other woman in that course and didn’t assume that I knew everything and I am so thankful for that. The way you explained everything was amazing and the Calmbirth techniques that you taught us were incredible. Thank you for helping us to understand what to put in our “toolbox”.
I walked away from the two days with so much more knowledge than I could ever have imagined. Peter also felt more prepared to help support me throughout our journey and kept in the back of his mind the things that you stressed to partners to remember. I felt that no longer would I have to worry about Pete whilst I was in labour, I knew that he was prepared for what was happening. After attending our course, we were now both physically, mentally and emotionally ready for labour, birth and beyond! We would love to share our birth story with you so that you can see just how Calmbirth helped us.
When we found out that we were having a baby, Pete and I decided on having a private practice midwife care for us during our pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period with every intention of birthing at home. At 36 weeks Pete and I started organising our toolbox for labour. We had a gym ball, birth pool, aromatherapy diffuser, oils, fairy lights, snacks for both us, a labour playlist etc. I had been practicing my Calm breathing and meditation all in anticipation for this upcoming event. At 37+1 weeks I ruptured my membranes at 1100pm in the night. As my water was clear and baby was moving well, we decided that we would go to bed and await events. The first thing Pete said was “so I guess we are in the 14% who break their water before labour starts”, the statistics that you gave us at Calmbirth! The first thing that I thought was to get some sleep and rest because we potentially had a few long days ahead of us.
At 1am in the morning I was woken by a few little tightenings, nothing too uncomfortable but I knew they were there. Again, in my head I kept hearing you say “just continue to do what you would normally do at that time of the day, until you can’t do it anymore”. So, with that in mind, I did some calm breaths and went back to sleep. At 3.30am I woke but this time I just couldn’t lay in bed any longer, I had to get up and move. This is when my labour began. I crept out of bed so as not to wake Pete, I figured he needed to sleep as much as he could so he could support me when I really needed it. I decided to get in the shower and see if that helped. It was wonderful! I continued to labour standing and kneeling in the shower. I decided to get out of the shower in to the bath (I didn’t want to waste all the hot water!). I ran a bath and lit a candle in the bathroom so I could keep the lights off. Once in the bath, Pete woke up and realised what was going on. He went straight in to autopilot and held my hand, encouraged me to breathe using our Calm breath techniques, kept me hydrated and made me feel safe and secure.
I continued to labour well in the bath and I encouraged Pete to go downstairs and set up our labour space. He set up the birth pool and began to fill it, put up the fairy lights and organised the aromatherapy diffuser and playlist. Unfortunately, I never got to see any of this because my labour progressed very quick and I couldn’t get out of the bath upstairs. At 5am, Pete calmly rang our beautiful midwife Emma and told her what was going on and that she probably should come as I was now involuntary pushing in the bath. Whilst I was pushing, I tried to remain calm and focused despite thinking that Emma would not make it in time. Pete helped me to stay in control and to just go slow and with my body. Emma and our second midwife Geesje arrived just before 6am and our beautiful baby boy was born safely in the bath at home at 6.56am! Baby Brandon came straight up to my chest and we had skin to skin in the bath whilst waiting for my placenta. I had a physiological third stage and my placenta gently followed after 15 minutes. Pete then had skin to skin with Brandon whilst I got out of the bath and got myself sorted. Baby Brandon weighed 3230g and was 50cm long and came in to this world calm and peaceful. What a truly unbelievable and unforgettable experience! I felt safe, supported and so empowered! I did it, we did it!
Over the past 7 months I have continued to use my calm breath techniques! In the first 6 weeks I experienced some discomfort and difficulties with breastfeeding. My calm breathing saved me from giving up! I knew it was best for baby and I had to persevere. I knew that after about 20 seconds after he latched, the pain would subside, so I would do some calm breathing and visualisation before latching and then continue until the pain was gone. This helped me more than you could imagine. So many times, I would hear Pete say “just remember to breath and relax”! You taught him well!
As we continue to path our way into parenthood, we have continued to use our techniques. When you just want to yell and scream due to lack of sleep and raw emotions flooding, I stop and take some breaths. Sometimes that is all I need to do to remember that all is ok and that I am not alone in the journey of motherhood! I feel so very blessed and lucky to have this amazing little boy in my life.
Sorry it is so long, but we really did want to thank you for your support, kind words and encouragement that we could do this! I have walked away as a strong, confident and empowered mumma!