Story by Naomi & Shane
Naomi and Shane had a positive waterbirth of their beautiful daughter at a public hospital with care by a Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) midwife.
Chloe, your passion for women, babies and birth was infectious throughout the Calmbirth course. You reframed expectations I didn’t realise I had eg. that labour would just have to be endured and fought through gritted teeth. Instead, I learned how to work with my hormones, adrenaline, contractions and instincts.
You instilled in me such an awe and wonder for how women’s bodies are made to birth babies. I found that labour itself can be a truly incredible experience!
My labour began at 37+ 4… earlier than Shane and I expected. Thankfully Calmbirth helped prepare us for labour, because we were underprepared in many other ways!
I had an uncomfortable nights’ sleep. I felt period pain-like cramps, but having had Braxton-Hicks throughout my pregnancy I thought little of it. At 8:30am I got out of bed and rushed to the toilet. I knew immediately what the steady trickle of fluid was. I called out to Shane, “Um, honey… I think my waters just broke!” We phoned our midwife in a mild state of shock and she suggested we meet her at hospital to check the colour of the amniotic fluid for any signs of fetal distress.
Our midwife was happy with the colour of fluid and baby’s heartbeat, but she wasn’t convinced I was in labour yet. Contractions were faint and sporadic. She asked us to start thinking about when I might consider being induced within the next 48 hours due to the risk of infection. However, on our way out, I went to the bathroom where I lost my mucus plug. By the time we arrived home around midday (after a quick pharmacy stop for some last minute hospital bag items!) my contractions were regular and it was clear induction would not be necessary.
Shane set up our ‘Calmbirth’ space where I would feel comfortable to labour as long as possible at home. We had dim light, a scented candle, our favourite chill out music, and fruit, nuts and water on hand. I retreated into my space and began using a combination of skills from Juju Sundin’s ‘Birth Skills’ and from the Calmbirth course over the next few hours.
I spent a lot of time on the gym ball, keeping my hips moving while singing to music. I then changed my singing to low drawn out sounds which vibrated through my body, releasing pressure. It helped to have Shane apply steady pressure to my hips as we’d practiced in Calmbirth. I visualised each contraction moving baby down in the birth canal and opening my cervix. I then focussed on my breath and relaxing between each contraction. I spent a lot of time in the shower, enjoying the warm water on my back. I would count my breath and fix my eyes on a bit of shower mould through contractions!
At 4:30pm we called the midwife again. Though she was fully supportive if I wanted to come into hospital now, she reminded me that labour can slow down with the new environment. We decided to stay at home a little longer.
I felt my labour suddenly intensify during a second time in the shower and felt that I would need to consider pain relief if baby wasn’t coming soon. I believe this was when I went through “transition.”
We then had the rather uncomfortable drive to the hospital. As I couldn’t use movement in the car, I tried to match the intensity of my contractions with my low noise to release the pressure.
On arrival at the hospital at about 7:20pm, my midwife met us and heard me through one contraction. Her demeanour suddenly changed – she very quickly instructed for the birth pool to be filled, as I had hoped for a water birth. She first checked my cervix. When she gave me the news that I was already 9.5cm dilated, all thoughts of pain relief disappeared, and I felt ready to meet my baby!
I hopped on all fours in the shower during a few contractions while the birth pool was still being filled. I was then able to move to the birth pool for my final 4-5 contractions, positioned on my knees, elbows on the step. I loved the weightlessness and warmth of the water, with Shane by my side whispering prayers and encouragement. I didn’t do any ‘pushing’ per se. The fetal ejection reflex took over and my body knew what to do. I just tried to slow down the crowning stage by panting to minimise any tearing (I later received stitches for a 2nd degree tear).
At 8:13pm Shane and I delivered our sweet girl together. We spent those first precious moments in the pool, just the 3 of us. My midwife gave me just the right amount of space and assistance. She also told me it was one of the easiest first-time births she had experienced!
As strange as it sounds, Shane and I have such great memories of labour. It was empowering and awesome and we’re so thankful to you, Chloe, for the part you played in creating that experience for us!