Story by Verity
I must say I was super surprised (& excited) to receive a message a few days ago saying this Calmbirth couple had just had their baby – 4 weeks early! They finished Calmbirth just in time.
Congratulations Verity & Dan on the safe arrival of August James, thank you for sharing your story.
“Calmbirth really was in hindsight such a crucial part of our antenatal care. We came out of this experience feeling like we really were a team and managed a delivery using all the techniques we wanted to.”
“Thank you Cherie for such a positive experience, and glad we managed to finish our classes with you only a few days before labour!!”
Dan and I went away down south of Hobart over last weekend for a winter beach getaway for his birthday. While we were away I had blamed a different bed, long walks on the beach and a change in his position to some new back pain that I had developed.
On Monday we were driving back home to Launceston (via Hobart to pick up our last nursery item – a breastfeeding chair) and stopped off in Kempton to do a whisky tour at Belgrove Distillery which I had organised for Dans birthday. During the tour I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable and on the drive home realised these tightenings were regular, every 15min!
I had very much had a low risk healthy pregnancy with nothing untoward so wasn’t expecting anything to come of it.
I tried to ignore them over the course of that Monday evening, however decided to pack a hospital bag – a job I had put on the maternity leave list of things to do. I was 35+5 weeks, so still figured I was being cautious. I was having to breath through the tightenings that were lasting 30-40seconds. We decided to try and get some rest at home that evening. I think I managed 3-4hrs, and in the morning was trying to convince myself the tightenings had settled – however after walking around getting ready to go to work at 8am I realised I probably couldn’t go to work! Dan and I called our practices to say we wouldn’t be in today, but would “probably be back in tomorrow, just need to get checked out”. Famous last words!
We arrived to get assessed, and the CTG was looking lovely. Helen, our obstetrician came by and after examining me said, “I am pulling the pin on work, you are going to meet your baby soon. You are 3cm and there is a head of hair in your pelvis!!”
I was now 35+6 weeks which meant our little boy fell in to the ‘Late Premature” baby category. This meant I would require continuous monitoring in labour and IV antibiotics.
We were admitted to the postnatal ward, and once I was having contractions every 4 minutes they moved us to the labour ward. At this stage I was using some gentle focussed breathing, listening to music (Xavier Rudd and the National, I remember it well!) and gently walking the corridors. Dan and I both felt very emotional and happy, with a few tears at the anticipation of an early meeting of our man!
I felt like I really was enjoying this and feeling calm and relaxed between contractions. Dan and I were really engaged with eachother and he was using massage between contractions and we were both just feeling really affectionate to help get that oxytocin going.
After a few hours I decided to use the shower and the bath to help as I wasn’t feeling like I could relax between contractions. Helen our obstetrician was happy given baby had a happy trace on the monitoring for me to be off monitoring and just had 15minutely dopplers while I was in the water, which we were really happy with. I got a lot of pain relief from the water.
We had a discussion at this point with Helen about what we would like at delivery, all going well (being that gestation we were aware he may need to go over to the paediatrician at delivery).
A vaginal examination at 8pm showed I was 4-5cm and ‘paper thin’. I could feel my membranes bulging when she examined me, so we decided to rupture them to get things moving. Part of me was feeling disappointed that since 10am I had only gone a few centimetres but I knew an ARM could really set things off…and sure enough it did!
Contractions reached a new level from there. I was getting about 10-15s rest between contractions and I was really having to use Helen, Dan and our midwife to get them to help me refocus my breath and voice to help work through those 60s waves. It was so powerful to use my breath and voice and keep active to help get me through. Helen was happy for me to get in the bath again for pain relief. I think I spent only a few contractions in there before I realised I needed to push!
Again, due to gestation, I couldn’t birth in the water so we went back to the labour suite. I was on all fours and really having to use all my resources to focus on pushing, the most intense experience of my life. I thought a lot about how much I would love some pain relief but there was no time! I tried the gas briefly but it just made me dizzy.
By 9:37pm, just over 90min since my VE showing 4-5cm, We got to meet little Gus.
Dan delivered him on to my chest and he got to do delayed cord clamping. No need for paediatrics as he was pink and crying and just beautiful!
We both got skin to skin and were just in love.
Calmbirth really was in hindsight such a crucial part of our antenatal care. We came out of this experience feeling like we really were a team and managed a delivery using all the techniques we wanted to.
Thank you Cherie for such a positive experience, and glad we managed to finish our classes with you only a few days before labour!!