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Birth Stories


Hannah’s Birth Story – real, raw, immensely challenging and she did it

I’d had braxton hicks for weeks, which weren’t painful, just a tightening sensation. When mild contractions started on Thursday night I knew they were different, more like a period cramp. They were mild and infrequent through Friday, we did a nature hike, went out for coffee, and watched nostalgic movies. By Saturday night contractions became painful and were 6-10 minutes apart.

I used the TENS machine, shower, breathing, and my partner massaged me. We called the hospital twice and were encouraged to stay at home as long as I felt comfortable since contractions were still not regular. Contractions then slowed down and allowed me to fall asleep for a few hours. By morning phoned the hospital to see if we could come in for a check up, I was exhausted after 3 days of contractions…

We arrived at the hospital around 11am and consented to a vaginal examination, I was 2cm dilated. During monitoring the baby, the heart rate dropped during one of my contractions, so they suggested breaking my waters and starting an oxytocin drip to move things along. We consented to breaking waters but requested for some time to let the labour happen naturally before considering the syntocinon drip. Breaking waters took multiple attempts by different midwives until a doctor managed it around 2pm and then we went outside for some curb walking. We came back in and my mucus plug released.

After an hour we agreed to the drip, and put on our birth playlist. The drip quickly brought on contractions which were frequent and painful. For several hours, my only pain management was to roar, while I remained upright and forward leaning in various positions around the room while my partner held me. I told them I was not getting any break between contractions and my partner asked if the drip could be turned down, which they did, however it didn’t slow down the contractions. My body was naturally producing enough oxytocin by this point and so I was getting too much.

By 2am (Monday) I was 10cm dilated and had 1 hour of passive decent. I purposely allowed the epidural to wear off during this time so the contractions returned and that I could work with the contraction. We commenced pushing at 3am, with the midwives guiding my pushing in various positions with the focus of being as upright as possible. My partner diligently offered water contraction and encouraged and coached me with counting. Baby’s heart rate dropped intermittently during pushing so I was offered a fetal scalp clip (internal continuous monitoring). This was a difficult procedure which results in him having lacerations on his scalp.

During pushing, I was focused with my eyes closed for the next 2 hours. I am a ballet dancer but I have NEVER worked so hard. The midwife then said “I need to be straight with you, we might need to discuss forceps”, followed by a doctor coming in and suggesting we may need to go to theatre in case of an emergency caesarean. This idea terrified me and I wouldn’t accept that this was going to happen.

We signed a consent form in case of an emergency C/S. Though, I was determined to push my baby out. Over the next 30 mins I had a team of midwives and doctors coaching and encouraging me. The more exhausted I got, the harder I pushed. Finally his head was born and the room was in applause for me. They offered me to reach down and feel his head and that I could deliver him myself with the next contraction, however I preferred to focus on pushing so I asked my partner to do it. Our baby boy was born and I burst into tears of sheer relief and overwhelm.

He was immediately placed on my chest and the midwives gave him a rub. The midwife was concerned with his breathing and acted quickly, he was taken away to be given respiratory support. I was sobbed uncontrollably, feeling too overwhelmed to comprehend that he wasn’t okay.

I was surrounded by midwives telling me how amazing I did and updating us that our baby was responding well, that he was completely fine. He was soon returned back to skin to skin with me and we stared into each other’s eyes while my partner and I both sobbed.

The next few hours were spent staring at our little man and learning to breastfeed. Our breastfeeding journey was a difficult and painful start… but with the support of an amazing lactation consultant over the next month, I’m very proud to say we continue to breastfeed 9 months later with no end in sight.

All things considered, giving birth was an amazing experience. I’m so glad I’ve done it…. But never again thanks!

We are so grateful for the knowledge we gained from Calmbirth with Amy to help us navigate birth confidently

*Words and photographs shared with permission

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