By Samantha and Michael
My partner Michael and I attended Karen McClay’s Calmbirth course on the 26th & 27th October 2019.
We found the Calmbirth course VERY informative and it gave us the confidence to go into the birth of our daughter without any fear.
We had been renovating and finally our house was ready. I could now stop being the Zebra running from the lions and my body acknowledged that it was now safe for Bub to arrive.
My surges started at 4:30am on Christmas morning 6 minutes apart. I spent the morning in the shower, tried to watch a movie, sleep and massage. They proceeded like this until about 11:00am when they eased off. All I could think about was Christmas lunch. We ended up going to my my mums for lunch and I was having surges all throughout the day.
After lunch, I spent about 2 hours floating and holding onto the side of the pool, followed by a hot shower. When we returned home I was convinced that I needed to eat again so that I had some strength for what the rest of the night would bring me. The active labour kicked off about 7:30pm as night was approaching.
I ended up throwing everything up and going to the bathroom until I had literally nothing left. I found that being in the shower was the most amazing pain relief. I spent the next few hours riding the waves and moving around the house between the bed and the bathroom. When I was no longer “comfortable” where I was, Michael would suggest moving – this was usually back to the shower. He spent hours holding me up and was present for every moment.
Towards midnight he suggested using the TENs machine that we had hired, this provided more of a distraction as most of my labour was in my abdomen.
Finally, it got to the point where I thought I needed something for the pain as I was getting really tired. I asked him to call our midwife (I had spoken to her a few times through the day/night) he was hesitant to call her as he said the surges were 4 minutes apart and we didn’t need to go to the hospital until they were 2 minutes apart. I swore at him and then yelled out at him “to call the midwife’! He took the Calmbirth message that you labour better at home and we don’t need to rush very literally, but at this point he did call the midwife, she listened to a few surges, and told me that if I felt that i needed to come in to the hospital that she was there waiting for me.
We got our bags together and into the car – surges now 3 minutes apart. The hospital is 10 minutes up the road and by the time we got there my surges were now 2 minutes apart. I had surges getting out of the car, in the lobby at the hospital and at the doors to the birthing unit. I was greeted by my midwife with a big hug and shown to the room. Michael handed her our birth preferences that we had prepared together.
My midwife asked permission to check me and told me what she was doing the whole time.
“Gosh you’ve done such a great job”! I thought, oh sure they say that to everyone, however, it turns out that I was 9cm dilated. The birthing pool was filled and I was given gas upon my request. I asked when I was allowed to push? She told me when I felt ready I could start. I spent 27 minutes in the birthing pool – 20 of which was pushing (I was able to touch the top of her head which was so empowering) before I caught our daughter and welcomed her Earthside at 2:57am. I was shocked it happened so quickly!
Throughout the whole labour and birthing experience Michael held space for me. My midwife made me feel comfortable and respected. For pain we used: massage, water, essential oils, acupressure, TENs machine and lastly Gas.
We truly couldn’t have wished for a better way to welcome our daughter into the world.
If we hadn’t undertaken the Calmbirth course, we wouldn’t have had the education to know what our birth preferences could be, and how to advocate for them. I wouldn’t have been able to labour at home for so long as I did without any fear and I was able to trust that my body knew what it was doing.
Thank you for the confidence Calmbirth!