I think this is such an awesome, empowering birth story.
Amy was hoping for a “DVD perfect” Hypnobirth, so was initially disappointed.
But I know this was the birth she needed to realise how strong she was and how awesome a support Cam could be.
Three things I hope every couple gets out of my Hypnobirthing classes are:
- a calm positive pregnancy
- an empowering birth
- a beautiful bonding experience as a couple
I really think Amy and Cam got these and I know that Amy now looks back on her birth with enormous pride.
And I reckon Cam could have a new career as a birth support 🙂
My Birth Story
I was due on Tuesday 6th September. I was utterly convinced that I would have this baby before its due date for some reason.
I was thinking that my body would be kind to me and not make me wait longer than I had to and nor would it make some giant baby that needed another week to cook.
I saw my obstetrician on Tuesday and had an internal exam. He said I was 1cm (yay!) and cervix was nice and soft. So now we wait. I booked an appointment to return in a week but obstetrician was confident I would go into labour before then.
On Wednesday and Thursday, I went to have fetal heart monitoring at St John’s Hospital, just to check that baby was behaving in there.
On Thursday as soon as I got home from that appointment I vomited, followed by copious amounts of googling “is this it?”.
Of course, Google tells you it could be the start of labour, or it might not be. The vagueness of it all and the uncertainty killed me!
I spent the day in bed. Waiting.
Thursday night I lost my mucous plug – gross and how exciting at the same time!
Things were starting to happen.
On Friday I rang mum to ask her to come for a walk with me – my friend Google once again said that walking may or may not help bring on labour.
We walked for about half an hour around the block. Still nothing.
I knew if I saw my obstetrician on Monday he would let me go for a little bit longer but I also know the word “induce” would be thrown around as I had a rough “we’ll let you go 10 days over” guideline in my head.
That gave me until the following Thursday to get this baby out on my own!
Cam and I had been to hypno birthing classes at 36 weeks pregnant and felt so ready to birth this baby together.
I listened to the affirmations and guided meditations every night at bedtime, willing my body to open up for baby and affirming to myself that I was so ready and able to do what lay ahead.
I was so excited to go into labour.
There was no fear at all, the hypnobirthing class had given me all the right tools to be able to focus on a calm, gentle birth – the birth I was going to have.
I bounced on my fitball every night, after 40 weeks I started sniffing Clary Sage oil, I saw a pregnancy physio specialist three times to help loosen some muscles so that my pelvis was all lined up – the exit was clear and ready!
I felt really powerful as a woman about what I was about to do and Cam felt really confident as a birth partner about how to support me.
On Sunday afternoon I went for a walk with my sister.
I said I was having some niggling feeling low down on the right side of my abdomen and she said to go for a long walk. So we did.
We took an hour, at a decent enough pace, to walk 5km around the streets, willing labour to start. The niggling feeling persisted and my sister was convinced she’d done it.
At 5:30pm I was sitting on the couch and I felt a Braxton hicks come on. I ignored it because every other time I’d had a surge (contraction) I had gotten excited about it and it always turned out to be nothing.
But I got another one, and then another one a few minutes later.
So I began to time them, and of course, because I began to time them they stopped.
At 7:30pm the surges started again.
This time they didn’t stop. I started timing them with an ap on my phone – they were 2:40min apart. That couldn’t be right?
But they continued at almost exactly 2:40min apart for the next hour or so.
Now, we were at a bit of a loss at what to do because the loose rule is to call the hospital once surges were about 3-4mins apart, you know, once they’d progressed from 10 mins apart down to 8 mins apart and so on.
So if they were starting so close together… what was the rule then? They were quite intense and I was starting to think, okay, this might be it as they didn’t stop.
We timed them together with me pacing around the house yelling “Press the button!” at Cam whenever they started or stopped.
Not sure what ladies did back in the old days without an app for this!
At 9pm I said we should call the hospital as they were still 2:40min apart and well, shouldn’t we call someone?
Cam called the hospital and they took our name and didn’t seem overly concerned at all that baby might just come at any minute with surges so close together and encouraged us to stay home.
I knew that I wanted to stay at home as long as possible during this time but the surges were so intense and close together that I kept telling Cam maybe we should go to the hospital.
He kept saying, let’s just make it to 10pm, and then, let’s just make it half an hour more, keeping us at home until nearly midnight before I decided the surges were too intense and we went off to St John’s in Subiaco.
I’ve read other birth stories that say the car trip is often the worst part and I can honestly say that it wasn’t pleasant!
Doesn’t matter if your husband does 40km/hr over a pothole, it’s still a giant bump that is magnified x100 if you’re in labour!
We got to the hospital and parked in the 5-minute parking bay as the parking tower was closed – we are so amazing for remembering that the lady on the hospital tour had told us that 11pm was the closing time.
We went up to Level 3 and into the family birthing suite (the one with the double bed and bath).
By about 12:30pm I was 3cm dilated (in my hypothetical birth plan I’d be 9cm upon arrival at the hospital and would have a baby in next 20 minutes but alas, it wasn’t like that).
I was in so much discomfort with surges still coming so quickly and strongly that I was asking for pain relief already.
From chatting with my sister I knew gas and air was the way to go.
The midwife was telling me it was a bit early for that but I was really needing it!
And that’s when I learned the first trick of midwifery – they say they will do something for you and then, to stave you off for a little bit, they take aaaaaages to actually do it.
So she went off to get me some gas and Cam stayed with me, helping me through the peak of each surge.
I would like to say I was dignified and controlled throughout the whole process but that would be a lie. I’d had no respite from the surges in 5 hours and they were ramping up.
There may have been some yelling from me. And damn that midwife who was taking her time with the gas.
I labored around the room for the next five hours or so.
In the shower, on the bed, on the couch, in the bath.
We had our hypnobirthing things with us (oils, music, etc) but they never came out of the bag.
I was trying so hard to focus on each individual surge that it was impossible to get comfortable or “in the hypnobirthing zone”.
At about 5:30am the gas and air was no longer working for me, especially since the midwife told me I was still only 3cm dilated.
So I had a shot of pethidine, after briefly saying I wanted an epidural and Cam talked me out of it as he knew it was on my birth plan not to have one.
For the next seven hours, I continued to labour around the room as surges got thicker and faster.
The time slipped around the clock. It didn’t feel like that long at all.
I was really uncomfortable and made a lot of noise. I am sure some people would have been wondering what the hell was going on in my birthing suite! I was pretty vocal but that’s what was getting me through.
I had some more pethidine at some stage and my obstetrician popped in to see how I was going.
The last bit of labour is a bit of a blur for me as the pethidine kicked in and I got a bit spaced out.
I know my obstetrician broke my waters at some point and I remember transition phase quite well.
I was standing next to the bed with Cam and he was soothing me as my body gave me a break for about ten minutes or so before I needed to start pushing.
I was telling him I couldn’t do it and he was making sure I knew I could do it.
It got exciting when they wheeled in the little baby bed, there was a baby coming!
I birthed Scarlett on the bed, on my hands and knees in 30 minutes at 12.23pm.
My obstetrician and midwives were so respectful of my birth plan for everyone to be calm and quiet (even though I was none of those things in the end!) that at one point I couldn’t hear their instructions to “push” or “don’t push” and yelled at them “I can’t hear you!” – so much for calm and quiet!
The little baby was put on the bed and Cam got to cut the cord.
I looked down and asked, “is it a girl?”.
And so Scarlett was born.
I was exhausted and spaced out from the pethidine but happy I’d not had the epidural.
The paediatrician was there to check Scarlett out due to some meconium but she was fine.
So I didn’t have the calm and gentle hypnobirth that I’d strived for, the surges were too thick and fast for me to get into any sort of rhythm to cope with them in a calm way.
But I had all this knowledge in my head that I referred to the whole time:
I didn’t want an epidural
I didn’t want to birth on my back
I wanted a natural birth with no intervention.
I wanted to birth in the dark – which I did.
I felt like my birth path was clear and ready to birth baby – and it was.
It has taken me a while to find all the positives in my birth as I found it much harder than I thought it was going to be (I ended up with stitches – which I always dreaded and were awful and I thought I was such a failure for needing them – and quite a bit of help from the OB removing placenta) but over the past two weeks I have been able to see the greatness in what I have achieved and, dare I say it, I want to do it all again…
Thanks so much Pip. We could not have done this without you.