Story by Emma & Dan
Our precious Nina arrived on 19th June 2021, weighing in at 7 pounds and 7 ounces of pure perfection.
My husband and I attended a Calmbirth workshop with Cherie in April and we are both incredibly grateful for the skills and knowledge we were equipped with throughout labour and beyond.
Due to a number of reasons, including decreased foetal movement, I was offered an induction at 41 weeks. After talking this through with our amazing MGP midwives and the doctors at the LGH, I decided to be induced that same day. Thanks to Calmbirth, I had a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of an induction and I was aware of the different methods that may be used. Knowledge is power, and I was grateful to be able to make informed decisions in the best interest of our baby girl.
My cervix was ripened with prostaglandin tape and I stayed overnight in hospital so that baby and I could be monitored. I experienced mild cramps throughout the night; fortunately, when I was checked at 7am the next morning, the Cervidil had done its job. I had my waters broken and started experiencing some more intense contractions. However, they were too sporadic and I was administered a low dose of Syntocinon to keep labour progressing. When my waters were broken it became evident that there was meconium present, so the doctor explained that there would be paediatricians present at the birth to check over Nina when she arrived.
I laboured using just gas as pain relief until I was 7cm dilated. The Calmbirth strategies were so valuable during this time, particularly as Nina was posterior and my back pain was intense. I remained active the whole time; walking around, bouncing on the fit ball, changing positions, using essential oils, swaying and using the Calmbirth breathing techniques. Thanks to Calmbirth, my husband was equipped with a range of tools to support me. He put on a calming music playlist on Spotify, massaged my back and provided me with counter pressure during contractions, read my affirmation cards to me, provided me with constant encouragement and gave me cues to focus on my breathing.
Although this deviated from our birth preferences, I asked for an epidural at this point, as I was so exhausted from the back labour and was losing all focus and control. The anaesthetist was in theatre at the time so there was quite a wait, and when he did arrive and administer the epidural, it did not work straight away and required two attempts. When it came time to push, Nina’s heart rate was dropping and not recovering as quickly as the doctor would have liked. I continued to push with each contraction and Nina’s heart rate continued to drop significantly, prompting the doctor to organise for us to be taken to theatre for either a forceps delivery or an emergency caesarean. Upon arrival I was administered a spinal block as the epidural still had not worked. I required some anti-emetic medication and some oxygen at this point. Nina’s heartrate continued to drop and the doctors were becoming increasingly concerned. After some more pushing and an episiotomy, Nina was pulled out with forceps and after she was checked by the paediatricians, she was placed on my chest for some beautiful skin-to-skin bonding time.
This was without a doubt the most magical, miraculous and emotional moment of our lives. Nina latched straight away and has been a dream to breastfeed ever since, which is such a blessing.
Whilst labour did not unfold in the way we envisaged, I cannot even begin to explain how grateful we were to have participated in Calmbirth. We were so well-informed and as a result, we were able to confidently make decisions and remain calm through each twist and turn. We understood the implications of each intervention and my husband knew exactly how to support me along every step of the journey. The midwives and doctors who cared for us were all so wonderful; we were overwhelmed by the amazing care we received and by the kindness, patience and support shown by all staff. I can safely say that despite the complications, our labour was a positive experience and the gift at the end is so worth it. Life with our beautiful Nina is just the best.