By Catherine, Justin & Nicholas Yee
I’ve been meaning to email you both to let you know how the birth of our second child, Felicity Jane, in December 2018, unfolded and how grateful I am, again, for the work you do with Calmbirth.
Our son, Nicholas was born 3yrs ago, after a very long, induced labour (10 days ‘overdue’) this time around I prepared for labour differently.
- I attended the refresher course with my Mum (my husband had a last minute urgent work thing) and it was the first time I had sat for an extended period and thought about how I would like the birth of my second baby to be. (Running around after a toddler whilst pregnant and working doesn’t leave much spare time to do birth prep!)
- I booked in for some acupuncture from 37 weeks. These sessions were brilliant at giving me time and space to visualize the labour and for Melissa to work her acupuncture skills!
- I wasn’t fearful of the birth process (I knew my body could birth my baby).
At my last midwife appointment at 40 weeks, there was a slight mention of induction. Being the 19th of December everyone was trying to avoid a Christmas delivery date! But thankfully, that night, I woke up at about 2am with some light contractions. I dozed in and out until morning and my husband asked if he should go to work or not. (He is a teacher and it was the last day of school term). My Mum was staying with us and I didn’t want him waiting around all day if nothing was going to happen so I sent him to work and Mum and I spent the day going for some walks, sitting on my gym ball, playing with my 2.5yr old and resting. (See photo 2. This was 4pm that afternoon me having a nap with my son during early labor – such a precious memory, before he became a big brother).
Then at dinner time the contractions kicked up a notch and I started timing them. My son could sense something was happening and really wanted me to read him his bedtime stories and so I somehow managed to sit and read with him between contractions and cuddle him until he was asleep and then, like a switch, as soon as he was asleep. The contractions were coming thick and fast. (How amazing is the human body!).
It was about 9pm and so I told my husband to try and get some sleep, as I wasn’t sure if we’d be up all night and for the next couple of hours I walked around our candlelit lounge room, listening to some music while the contractions continued to build. At this point I remembered the story of one of the other couples from the Calmbirth refresher course who on baby number 2 ended up with an unplanned home birth as the mother had felt so calm and in control and didn’t think they needed to go to hospital and this was exactly how I was feeling. The contractions were about 5 minutes apart and lasting close to a minute each so not wanting to have a homebirth, I called the midwives at Bowral Hospital and whilst the midwife said I didn’t sound like I was too far along (she recommended I come in to be checked as I needed to have the AB injection due to a positive bacterial swab). So I woke my husband up. It was just after 11pm.
We got to the hospital and into the birthing suite. The midwife checked me, I was 5cm dilated, it was now about 1am. My husband and I were feeling ok about this, he ran the bath and I jumped in, settling in for what we thought would be another 5 or so hours of contractions.
So I sat upright in the tiny bath in Bowral Hospital with the water only just covering my belly and splashed my way through contractions, listening to the sound of the water, speaking aloud my mantra of ‘it’s a muscle working, it’s healthy pain’. My husband tells me he almost felt like he wasn’t needed this time around as I seemed so in the zone and in control working my way through each contraction. But I was very aware of his presence, and when he left to grab a cup of tea, the contraction I had while he was gone I felt myself losing it and starting to panic, thinking to myself, I’m not sure if I can keep doing this… ah, in hindsight, I now see I was entering the transition phase.
My husband returned and I voiced my feelings of not wanting to continue. He suggested we try a different position so I got out of the bath, got dry, did a wee and moved over towards the bed to try some swaying and stomping. As soon as I got next to the bed, my waters broke and so I moved back to the bathroom to wash my legs… My husband called in the midwife. I was standing in the shower and with the next contraction I strongly felt my baby’s head moving down and I had the uncontrollable urge to push. (I didn’t experience this with my first in the induced labor setting, so when Peter spoke of this in the refresher I was thinking I really don’t know what he means… now I do! The body really does know how to birth!)
The midwife saw this contraction and said she would really like me to head back over to the bed so she could see where we were up to… she must have known the birth was imminent, I however said I wanted to get back into the bath… she was insistent and so my husband helped me over to the bed where I was checked and told that I was fully dilated and the baby would be here any minute. We were stunned… it was only 2.30am. We thought we still had hours to go!
The doctor was called but didn’t make it.
Our baby daughter was born with the next contraction.
She was perfection.
We had a few quiet moments together, before the doctor arrived while we waited for the placenta to come away… which it didn’t. so after allowing the maximum time allowed to wait before running a syntocin drip, and still nothing happening, I was visualizing my placenta coming away, I was breathing through the contractions… still nothing, the obstetrician was called in and I was told I would have to go to theatre to have the placenta removed.
The contractions while we were waiting were so painful, much more than the contractions during the birth (which makes sense with all we know about pain!) and this is where my husband really came to my rescue, the calmness of his voice, the reminders to focus on the breath and to move my feet were very helpful to stay in control during this time. (In my mind I kept visualizing the placenta coming away and out, but it wasn’t to be).
Our daughter stayed with my husband while I was wheeled to theater, with consent forms being signed with talk of hemorrhage and worst case scenario, hysterectomy (which was all pretty full on). When we arrived I was told the anesthetist had been forgotten to be called, so the obstetrician suggested he try to remove it with me awake and just using gas. (Which the midwives and the on call GP had all tried numerous times). By this stage it was 5am. I was pretty over it, and just wanted to be with my baby, and so asked how much longer it would be if we waited for the anesthetist, 15 minutes I was told. So I opted to wait and to be asleep whilst they removed the retained placenta.
I woke up in recovery feeling a million dollars. I felt like I had had a huge rest and couldn’t wait to see my daughter. I was wheeled back to maternity and my husband and daughter we’re both sleeping. It was 6.30am and thanks to all those amazing post birth hormones I felt very awake and excited to see them both!
So, there you have it. Yee Calmbrth Baby 2.0. So different from our first, but I used all the knowledge and tools that you had taught me to not only get through, but leave the experience being in awe of what my body could achieve. Birth is amazing. Women’s bodies are amazing, and their partners, who know and understand their role in the process are amazing. And I thank you both for the role you have played in our story!