I have been meaning to write to you for a while to share my birth story and to thank you (and the Calmbirth program for what was a truly special experience that surpassed all my expectations and proved to me that I can be a superwoman! Hear me roar!
Julian and I are doting parents to our gorgeous Mila Alexandra, born at 13.57 on 9 May.
The whole process started at circa 6am when I felt a tiny trickle of liquid dripping down my leg. I was pretty sure I hadn’t peed my pants so I rang the hospital and they told me to stay put and monitor the situation. The contractions started shortly after. I stayed in bed for the first half an hour or so and sent Julian to work because I thought we should maintain “normality” for as long as possible. I decided to take a bath when the contractions were stronger. My mum was staying with us at the time and offered to put on my music playlist I had created but I just wanted silence, somewhat unexpectedly for me because I resort to music in any physical challenge I undertake to help get me through. The contractions were stronger and more regular and I found I was getting uncomfortable in the bath, so I crawled out (but not before I shaved my legs, you know – just in case! Talk about worrying about the “important” stuff!)
I tried sitting on a fit ball for a while, but that didn’t help make me be more comfortable so I went downstairs and forced some b/fast down me. The contractions were getting more and more regular and were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point. And it wasn’t even 10am. Things were happening MUCH quicker than I anticipated. I dealt with the pain by resorting to the breathing I learnt at Calmbirth. I also tried to talk in-between and take time to rest and conserve energy. I then called the hospital again and told them my contractions are 3 mins apart, and I had one on the ‘phone, which is when they heard that I could no longer talk through them. They said I should get to the hospital and grab my bags with me. I quickly called Julian and asked him to return because WE’RE ON! I took 2 Panadols to help with the pain and off we went.
I’ll never forget the car ride. Contractions, not enough space in the front seat (with the baby seat behind it), switching off the radio in a huff “please make this guy STOP!” and begging Julian to SLOW DOWN ON THOSE HUMPS when in reality he was going so slowly that he was barely getting over the things! At this point he reminded me to think of the happy place we picked to go to in our meditations – a gorgeous hotel we stayed at in Greece a year earlier. This was a great Calmbirth tool. We talked about the pool there, the sun on my skin, the ocean. We were at the hospital before I knew it.
On arrival, a midwife checked on the baby, took a look at me and said “wait here and I’ll come back and make a plan. Things can take a while the first time around!” I was somewhat surprised because my contractions were super-strong and regular at this point and felt like waves that just took over me.
I kept resorting to my Calmbirth breathing techniques and to thinking of myself as a cylinder and muttering in my head “open, open, open”. It helped to re-focus the mind away from the discomfort. And the visualisations somehow united my mind and body, strange as that may sound! Suddenly I started feeling the urge to go to the bathroom, but when I’d go in I didn’t actually want to sit or go. So in and out I went. Like a yo-yo in and out of the bathroom for every contraction. Was I “leaving the tribe” at this point? I think so.
Finally, a midwife checked me (it’s probably about 1pm at this point) and said she needed a second opinion. I was worried! Contractions were strong. I felt like I was ready for pain relief and thought I could not cope with this much longer. A senior midwife came to check my dilation and pulling off her gloves said “alright! You’re ready to push your baby out! Have you felt the urge to push??” I was shocked. I had heard at just about every turn that a first labour can take 24 plus hours and here I was, barely 7 hours in, ready for the second stage! I was 10cm.
I got down on a birthing stool, and Julian sat behind me on the bed so I could lean back into him. It was the most wonderful, strong feeling, his strong arms holding me in that moment. It took a few strong pushes with me gritting my teeth and roaring almost to send the energy down. In my head was “I am huge, huge, huge”. Before the final push, I just said to myself out loud “I am ready to meet my little girl” and out she came! It was an absolutely unforgettable moment seeing her teeny face and arms and legs sticking out in all directions, covered in what looked like cottage cheese. I started shaking from the physical relief and emotion that was overflowing! The feelings intensified when Mila was placed on my chest and found her way to my breast and latched on beautifully within 15 mins of being born! All in the space of a morning!
Here is a summary of my experience in numbers:
Time: 8 hours from go to WOAH! Mila!
Pain relief: 2 Panadols
Number of songs in my labour playlist: 34
Number of songs listened to: 0
Number of bags taken to hospital (including aromatherapy oils, snacks, and a “birth plan”): 2
Number of bags that left the car before Mila was born: 0
Awesome co-pilot husbands: 1
Beautiful bubs born: 1, at 50cms and 3.01kgs
It was shorter and sweeter than I could have hoped for. Thank you, Karen, for the amazing tips learnt at Calmbirth Mittagong, which I am convinced helped me achieve the above mathematical stats.