Despite having a few complications and my birth not going totally as planned, I wanted to share my beautiful birth story and thank Calmbirth so much for giving us all the coping strategies we needed to manage our birth. The Calmbirth course was just amazing and it will forever be part of our first child’s birth story and my birth experience. Hopefully, in a few years we can come back and do a Calmbirth refresher course for our second child.
My birth journal entry…It’s hard to know where to begin, I would imagine it should start when my waters broke, but I feel like I emotionally waited for my mother to arrive from Perth. So my story starts from here….My mum flew into Sydney on the 9thof November and on the Sunday Mike, Mum and I went to the beach and spent the whole day sun baking and relaxing and walking around. It wasn’t until we moved to Shelley Beach in Manly and walked down the hill that I began to feel immense pressure in my pelvis. I remember referring to the pressure as ‘cramps’ because when I stopped walking the cramping/ pressure feeling stopped. Whenever I stood up or repositioned myself, I got this pain. We went to bed that night….
05:50 I woke to a pooping feeling in my vagina, I remember laying there and thinking, “I went to the toilet 20 minutes ago, there is no way I need to go again…. ahhh get up Bianca or you will probably wet the bed”!
As I walked to the toilet, I felt a gushing between my legs. I called out to Mike, “ahhhh Darling? I think my waters just broke, can you please turn on the light”
When he did, we saw that it looked different to urine and it was clear with mucus in it so we called the Royal Women’s Hospital for advice. The lovely midwife said really calmly that she would like to check on me and I should come in for an assessment, but not to rush to have a shower and just take our time. At this point we didn’t feel stressed or worried or even excited, after Calmbirth we assumed that birth was so far away, plus I wasn’t contracting yet, so we both assumed we would go to the hospital and be sent home and wait for active labour. I had a shower, packed our bags in the car and lastly woke my mother up – knowing she would be super anxious (which she was) but luckily we were both able to calm her excitement.
It’s only when we got into the car that I started having contractions. At first I thought it was another cramp, but it soon became obvious they were contractions. The moment they came on, it was every 4-6 minutes lasting about a minute. We arrived at the hospital at 06:30 and went into the assessment room and was seen by a Midwife at about 06:50. She told us we were 2cms and that this was going to be a very long day. I remember saying to Mike that at 4 minutes apart I don’t think I’ll be able to do this for 6-10 more hours it was intense!
I had a doctor friend who works in anaesthetics who was going to organise a senior doctor to do my epidural if I needed it. So, I gave Mike her name and asked him to find her number in my phone, but we were still pretty determined to do this without any analgesia, but I do love a plan B which is why I told him to ring her. I was curious to find out when my confidence crisis would occur considering at 2cms it was already so intense and I was preparing for the epidural. With every contraction I felt like I couldn’t lay still, I had to jump onto all fours and sway back and forth. The midwife said I seemed extremely distressed with each contraction and reminded me to breathe through them which helped bring me back from panic.
After the changeover of shift we got a new Midwife who was amazing as she let me get into the shower, Mike came with me and held the water on my back we tried to sit on the ball in the shower but couldn’t get an accurate CTG. After 45 minutes I began to feel like I wanted to run away, I felt scared and panicked, I told him I wanted him to message my friend to sort out the epidural as it was getting too much. I remember right after I told him how I wanted him to draft the message I started to contract.
I didn’t want to lean on the plastic chair because it was slipping on the floor, I didn’t want to hold the rail in the shower because it was too low so I dropped to my hands and knees and pushed my feet against the wall. I remember the feeling of needing to poop, but I didn’t want to get it on Mike, so I backed into the wall where I also had something to push against. I felt an involuntary feeling to push. We called the midwife and I told her I wanted an epidural, but I didn’t tell her about the poop feeling as I thought this was going to be another 4 hours of labour.
She did an internal exam and we discovered I had fully dilated and there was no cervix and I was ready to push. I wasn’t afraid to push as this was what I wanted for my delivery all along. I was so excited that the contractions would soon be over. I was also super shocked that this was the final quarter (Mike wanted at least one sports analogy). I just trusted my OBG and midwife to guide me through what I needed to do to push my baby out.
I ended up being put into stirrups because during some of my contractions my legs kept slipping underneath me. I asked my OBG if I could deliver on all fours but for some reason, he told me to remain on my back. At this point all I could think about was what I had learnt in the Calmbirth course, where we were told that lying on your back you lose 30% of pelvic capability to expand. However, I was in the zone and happy to just be guided by my OBG.
During the Calmbirth course I visualised that I would deliver on all fours, so I was a little disappointed that this was not going to be the case for me. Another disappointment was the fact that we were put into the only birthing suite without a bath. It was disappointing because my other birth visualisation was labouring in the bath when we got into the room,
I quickly had to re adjust my expectations and my frame of mind and settle for the warm water in the shower instead which also did a great job at relaxing me, and dilating my cervix in record time.
I actively pushed for 40 minutes; I remember the contractions beginning with my whole body shaking, it felt like every muscular cell in my body was polarising ready for the push. I had the midwife on my left leg pulling it toward me and Mike on my right, also under my knee and he had his hand under my neck. I felt like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed. I managed 3 big breaths for pushing for each contraction. My OBG was applying pressure to my perineum which really helped with the pain. I was so afraid of the “ring of fire” so I told my OBG and he gave me a few sneaky lignocaine injections. I also think he may have been prepping me for an episiotomy. I no longer felt scared of the last push. I was encouraged to look down and see his hair, which was amazing. I delivered his head to his shoulders then in the next contraction the rest of his body. They put him on my abdomen because the cord was short and wouldn’t reach him to my chest.
I had a bleed after the birth when my placenta came out which required immediate medical intervention. My stomach was sore from all the pressure when pushing down and the internal examination. But all in all, I didn’t feel too panicked. I felt safe in everyone’s care. I also didn’t want to miss Mike’s first cuddles with Jack. It was such a bizarre feeling. Once the bleeding had been controlled my little man fed for the first 2.5 hours of his life and had lots of cuddles with dad and grandma.
Our baby boy was born 3.64kgs on the 11thNovember 2019 @ 0940. He is gorgeous, healthy and loves breastfeeds.
Thanks to Calmbirth, Mike and I can look back at the birth and recognise all the major moments within the labour. We didn’t realise it at the time but my confidence crisis came after I started involuntary pushing in the shower. I felt empowered the whole way through. Yes, I was scared and panicked at times, but Mike was aware of our birth preferences and he was an amazing advocate for my wellbeing and kept the room safe for me. I listened to the Calmbirth meditations most nights and felt emotionally prepared to attempt a natural delivery.
I am so proud of us as a family unit, we did this together – all three of us.
A lot of women feel the need to share horror stories and yes, I had some complications, but they were quickly managed and I love my birth story and birth experience.