Story by Alison & Gareth
Sometimes birth is not what you expect, but how you decide to work with it. It is not about perfection, but showing up and giving it your best. It is about learning a set of skills that gives a couple a sense of empowerment and confidence in a woman’s innate design to birth and a baby’s ability to be born. The story of Lachlan James Chessell’s birth shows us how Alison and Gareth were able to use what they learned in the Calmbirth program paired with their knowledge of Spinning Babies techniques to facilitate the birth of their son.
At the end of the day, Calmbirth is about empowering couples to understand how to work with the mind and body connection so that they feel equipped with a set of skills that they can practice and then use to make their experience. This story beautifully illustrates how it may not have been the birth they expected, but that Alison had the confidence in herself and the knowledge to know what to do to make their son’s birth an empowering experience.
The following is a text message that Regina Power, Calmbirth Educator in Berry, NSW, received from Alison Hayes following the birth of her son. (The message and photos have been shared with the approval of Alison and Gareth as they hope to inspire other couples with their story.)
“Introducing Lachlan James Chessell. Born just after 10 pm on Monday, March 29th. He made an appearance fifteen days early in the middle of us renovating the restaurant.
Unfortunately, he initially engaged posterior and so it was a 28-30 hour labour. Contractions would get closer together and then stall – and start back at the beginning. Repeatedly. Very Frustrating. Between that and it being a back labour, I realised what was happening and started doing Spinning Babies exercises through contractions (Rebozo, Inversions, Side Lying Release, Sacral Release – and repeat). He popped back up out of the pelvis (I could feel his head again) and reengaged – so then things got moving.
The hospital kept telling us to wait until contractions were 1 minute in length and 2 minutes apart!!! Luckily, I ignored that, as my contractions never became closer together. The midwife said that mine were long and powerful (they measured), but almost twice as far apart as they normally see. I think they only reached four minutes of spacing.
We went to the hospital when they were 6 minutes apart – and despite them talking about sending me home as I “wasn’t actually in labour” (in their opinion), they examined me and found I was 6 centimetres dilated and therefore in established labour – so they changed their tune.
I was 8 centimeters 3.5 hours later, but my waters hadn’t broken and they offered to rupture them, I said no. However 3.5 hours after that – they still had not ruptured and I was still 8 centimeters. So I decided to let them rupture them, as it was the only thing stopping his head – and I was getting tired. He was born less than 80 minutes later.
It was a longer labour than I had expected. But I got the completely drug free water birth I wanted – and a natural 3rd stage (one of the midwives – who came in right at the end – wasn’t a huge fan of this decision, but went along with it). I felt totally in control the whole time. Our main midwife (who stayed late on her shift to see him born and was LOVELY) kept commenting on how calm I was and how calm the space was. She said it was a dream shift. And she guessed we had done the Calmbirth course!”