Planned natural hospital birth, first baby

I woke at 3am wanting to go to the bathroom.  I rolled up out of bed and instantly felt a warm trickle running down my leg and on to the floor – my water had broke.  I woke Clinton to tell him. I felt excited and relieved feeling assured that things were going to start happening naturally.  The day before we had visited the hospital obstetrician with our midwife because our baby was rather large (98th percentile), and if things didn’t start to happen in the next few days we would be looking at an induction.  With a week before our due date to go the best outcome was to go into labour naturally. I was open to being induced but my preference was to do it naturally if it was at all possible. I remember the obstetrician saying our baby would be born ready to go to school… at the time I wasn’t amused but now I can see the funny side.  After the appointment our multi-talented midwife did some acupuncture to help things along. Help things along it did because twelve hours later I was in labour.

Our midwife had said ‘if your water breaks in the middle of the night, try to go back to sleep’.  Heeding her advice I tried to sleep but 20 minutes later I had my first contraction. Although mild it certainly wasn’t sleep through material.  The contractions continued every 20 minutes or so through to the early hours of the morning. Clinton and I were feeling pretty excited and a bit in awe of what was happening.  The hours between 3am and 7am flew by, and needless to say there was no sleep. The contractions seemed to move quickly from every 20 minutes to every 10 minutes. Clinton used acupressure for each contraction and before we knew it it was 7:30 am in the morning.

At 7:40 am we rang our midwife, the contractions were starting to get a little tougher and harder to handle.  We were keen to know how we were progressing. Being our first birth it was expected we would be in this stage of labour for a while yet.  Clinton was given some excellent advice over the phone to help me through – deep breathing through each contraction, go to the toilet often and have a bath.  It was a bit of an effort to get into the bath but I was thankful once in as it was warm and relaxing and likely to be my only opportunity to feel clean before leaving home to go to the hospital.  Sitting on the loo seemed helpful too. Gravity I guess.

We continued labouring at home together with me mostly on the floor leaning against the bed trying my best to breath through each contraction, and focusing on keeping my mind still and in the moment.  It was very much about keeping the mind calm and allowing my body to do what it was made to do. There was something special about Clinton and I doing this together at home – both scared, very happy and excited at the same time. It’s hard to know how you will react until you are in the moment.  I was calm and quiet at least until later on when the pushing started. Clinton timed and wrote down every contraction and communicated with the midwife. The whole time reassuring me with lots of positive reinforcement and using acupressure on my pressure points.

By mid-morning I felt like we had definitely shifted to the next level with contractions every 4 or 5 minutes lasting between 40 to 60 seconds.  Our midwife arrived at home and examined me. She calmly and cheerfully said I was 7cm dilated and could go to the hospital now. I felt relieved that we could head to the hospital and proud that we had come this far at home, but wasn’t looking forward to the car ride.  I had thrown up a couple of times during the morning and the contractions were strong and happening every minute or two now. I opted to half kneel/stand on the backseat with my bum in the air, pushing hard up against the door window. The pressure on my back seemed to help a little.  It must have looked a sight as we pulled up to traffic lights with me in the back and my bum in the air. I didn’t care. The car trip was the hardest thing so far.

Twenty minutes later we pulled up at the hospital, slowly but surely I made my way across the car park, up the elevator and along the corridors, stopping frequently to have another contraction.  It was a huge relief when we got to our delivery suite. The room was low light and peaceful. My midwife got busy getting the room ready and running the bath, Clinton was parking the car properly and bringing up our gear and Julie, our student midwife had arrived.  My super awesome support crew were all here – Clinton, our midwife (Kass), and our student midwife (Julie), and of course me and baby.

The birthing pool was ready. The moment I submerged into the water it felt warm, comforting and wonderfully weightless. I laboured in the pool for a short while before Clinton got in and supported me by sitting behind me as I rolled on to my back with legs pushed up against the side of the pool. Kass checked to see that I was fully dilated and head engaged, she told me to keep breathing and that my body knew what to do. I was remarkably quiet, choosing to focus inwardly on the task at hand. My support crew were there if needed. Time came to push, it was hard work but breathing through it helped. There was a moment when I thought I couldn’t do it but then Kass said I had only five more of those and baby would arrive. It was more like eight or nine times more but thankfully the transition phase didn’t last long for me, half an hour tops. The expression ‘ring of fire’ rings true but there is no turning back so you keep going knowing the end will come.

Our son was born at 1:56 pm on August 1st, in the water, a bonny 4.5kgs. Kass lifted him up and placed him on my tummy. He was and is exquisite. We are so very grateful.  We had a super fast and natural birth from woe to go. Water, acupressure and a bit of arnica in my drinking water. I used to say travelling was the best thing I have ever done but now I can truly say giving birth and having our beautiful son is.  There is no turning back and we wouldn’t want to. The birth of my son and every day after are the best days of my life.

Thank you for reading my birth story.

Michelle, Clinton and Coen

Birth Wise