I wanted to share with you mine and my partner Dane’s birth story of our daughter. Etta Rae Chamberlain Chard was born on the 30th Nov 2018 on the last day of spring at 43+1 weeks. We’re incredibly emotional and excited as we inch closer to her first birthday. We are also enormously grateful to you Karen and the Calmbirth program.
My partner and I attended a Calmbirth workshop at Mittagong with Karen in 2018 by the advice of our private midwife. Driving home afterwards we felt brave, reassured, knowledgeable and excited to welcome our first child into the world come November.
Thanks to the amazing care and support and armed with the confidence gained from Calmbirth I fell into labour naturally, we meditated, bounced, ate, walked, laughed and joked through two days of pre-labour and then started what was a total of 26 hours of active labour. Once we were advised to head to the hospital (just after 7pm) my contractions were only a few minutes apart, but I knew that it was probably still going to be some time before we met our babe.
We waited a few minutes for our midwife to arrive at the hospital and my partner pointed out to me that my contractions had stopped (hospitals make me anxious) the three of us had a laugh, my partner and I were unfazed as this was something we had learnt about at Calmbirth. We settled into our birthing suite and my regular contractions returned, I then entered the longest bath of my life. This was the ultimate hope, that we could have a drug free water birth.
We had a low light lamp brought from home in the bathroom, and our Spotify playlist giving us all our favourite tunes to sing along to. My partner and midwife took turns running water on my back, kept me hydrated and joined in on all my breathing techniques from Calmbirth. They even tag teamed having a nap each so they had energy to give me for this long slog labour, I had micro-sleeps between contractions and I felt supported, safe and calm.
At about 6am our midwife thought she better check how dilated I was, just in case we needed to plan how to hold our space as the next hospital staff shifts were going to start at 7am and we wanted to avoid any pressure or interruptions. It was rough getting out of the bath because it gave me so much relief in my labour. 9cms! Awesome! Back in the bath! baby is on their way! I was excited to meet our baby and was SO ready to put these contractions behind me, within 10 minutes I was ready to push, my membranes broke and my eyes nearly fell out of my head from the shock, my partner and my midwife reassured me and I centred myself to continue to push with every wave of a contraction.
At 6:27am my partner reached down and gently delivered our baby (my dream). We were in awe looking down at our peaceful babe in the water and together brought them out then straight onto my chest. We still didn’t know the gender until several moments later (we didn’t care). Unfortunately, our amazing midwife threw her back out the same time we lifted our baby out of the water (she is a legend of a human and a “body on the line” type) but baby was healthy and I was riding the sweet sweet highs of oxytocin while my partner held us both so she was able to lay out and make an emergency chiropractor appointment.
Curiosity got the better of us and we finally discovered we had a baby girl, she latched on for her first feed earth side with loving guidance from our midwife after I got the all clear, a small graze (lucky!). We insisted our midwife go to her chiropractic appointment, I refueled, showered while my partner had his first skin to skin cuddle and we packed up to go home.
One birth plan that paid off for me was I was never told the time so I had no concept of how long my labour was. I adopted the mentality from the Calmbirth workshop that it will take as long as it takes (side note: Etta’s heart rate stayed the exact same throughout my entire labour, calmest baby ever right!?).
In addition to this mentality I discovered in our Calmbirth workbook there was an amazing paper on “pain” it was honestly one of the most helpful things I could have possibly read before giving birth. We banned the word pain from our labour as I realised that word was triggering for me. This put me in the “zone” for birth, I am still amazed at myself for the incredible headspace I got in for my long slog labour.