“Its not going to be easy, its going to be worth it.”
It was Tuesday evening, 40+4 gestation, and my tummy was tightening on and off mildly. I wanted this to start, my body ached and felt like I was carting around an oversized watermelon. The house was actually clean and everything was right to go. Being that I only had my last birth to go off, I could only imagine a similar way labour would start and that was gradual and slowly increased until the time of birth.
Brock and I got an early night, expecting to be awake very soon. I was excited and lay awake for a while also feeling a little teary over the most random things possible, like my pet bird that died a few years earlier. I put it down to hormones in overdrive preparing for birth… I was being hopeful anyway. I went off to sleep and kept waking as I was still having contractions sporadically, but was able to just breath smoothly through them with the aid of the breathing techniques I had learnt from Intuitive Birthing classes.
Wednesday morning was here – I woke up still pregnant. Feeling disappointed, I had a little pity party with a couple quiet tears and to top it off I had already used my last pair of good undies the day before. Just what I needed – ugly undies for labour photos. Oh well, on with my day. I asked Brock to spend the afternoon with me to help take my mind off things. It was a great help. We enjoyed a coffee at the Boardwalk then did a couple laps around the lake. I was still mildly contracting every 10 mins or so and did all day. I just paused and breathed smoothly through them. The only awkward moment was when we were choosing floor coverings in the tile shop. The male assistant saw how pregnant I was and wanted to tell me this big story about a pregnant customer who they called the ambo for. Oh no… I felt another one coming on and the last thing I needed was a panic from this guy, so I leant down pretending to be really interested in the products on the lower shelf (hiding my face) while the contraction passed. It was 3pm Wednesday. While we were in the tile shop, I sat on the couch for a few mins. ‘How much longer will this drag on? Could it be days?’ I asked myself. In that exact moment I had a sentence come to my mind. ‘My strength is sufficient for you.’ Being a God loving person, I knew that was from Him. I knew it was true. It was all I needed and I got back up and carried on.
We got home at about 4:45pm. Indi was out on the swing with Brock. I got a hot water bottle and some blankets to lay on the grass next to them. Before I put the blankets down, I had a strong contraction and felt some warm fluid. It was a bit of blood. Thinking it’ll happen sometime tonight Brock loaded Indi into the car and went off to Mums. They left and the next one brought me to my knees. ‘Stuff me!! This is really happening.’ I thought to myself. It was 5pm. I headed straight for the bath and called Brock – hurry this is coming on quickly. I actually didn’t know if it was coming quickly I was just taken by how much the contraction suddenly increased and I didn’t want to be at home alone for long. He didn’t question me and didn’t need to be told twice. He raced home. Bless his soul.
5:15pm and Brock was back with me. He put on some relaxing music and lit a lemongrass candle. Not long after, my birth photographer, Cassie, came in. Now I’m on the other side of the camera during labour for the first time. Weird. I thought I’d think about the photos but I was on a mission and in the birthing bubble. I also realised how much I really can’t capture through images. There was so much going on in my mind that no one else could see. I was somewhat alert but had my eyes closed, focusing on what was happening in my body.
Contractions were coming on quicker and stronger. It tested my belief that birth is beautiful. It was hard work. My hands cramped up as I was breathing too fast because of the intensity of each contraction. Though I felt somewhat out of control of my physical body, I felt fairly in control of my mental state, which to me is most of the battle. I had read a book ‘Birth with Confidence’ where the author talked about marathon runners training for their ‘moment of crisis’ when they want to give up. They put much training into pushing through that inevitable moment. That made so much sense to me and in the same way I prepared for a moment like that. I forced myself to breath through my nose as much as possible as that helped relax my muscles. Then my waters broke and it was so much relief. I loved being in the bath and having the sides at a perfect height to hold me up. I loved my own environment. I loved Brock right next to me. I remember a couple times I said to him ‘I’m scared’. I did feel a little scared that I couldn’t take the intensity for very long, but I think I was mainly seeking sympathy or empathy or anything. Lol. I suppose that was my moment of crisis and I was reaching out for emotional support. It got the response I was looking for and needed though, he reminded me of what I had written down earlier – That I was in control and how my body was designed to do this.
I was feeling urges for the baby to come down at the end of contractions but I felt like I wasn’t fully dilated as my uterine muscles were still in full swing. I’m not sure how relaxed I kept my muscles during contractions but I knew that is what helped progression. Just breath is mostly what I was thinking of this point.
THEN… I felt the moment his head descended into the birth canal. Wowzer! I’d never felt that before. The feeling changed to pressure. I knew for sure I was fully dilated and now I just had to breath him down. Brock asked if I felt the need to push. I knew if I said a simple ‘yes’ he would try get me out of the bath to head to the hospital. I couldn’t even entertain the thought of getting out of the bath, let alone driving in the car and walking into hospital. No way! I knew our baby was close to birth I just needed to stay in the bath. I tried to mutter something, I can’t remember what it was but he replied ‘Don’t worry, you don’t need to say anything.’ Ahhh That was the best thing I could have heard so I could get on with birthing right there. Two more contractions and I felt his head crown. WOW! I’m nearly finished and I did that! I’m still at home and that was quick, I kept thinking.
5:50pm – I thought I’d better tell Brock before the head pops out – ‘Brock the baby is coming’ I said. To my total surprise he didn’t question me once. Not even.. ‘are you sure?’. He just rang 000. He’s always good under pressure.
Not sure what Brock is doing, but here I am pumping out a kid. This is the moment his head birthed.
We held our hands on his head waiting for the body to be birthed. That was one of my most memorable moments of achievement. I felt joy and peace and even more attracted to my husband for being such a beautiful support. What a moment to share, him handing our son to me for the first time. Then he was birthed! The pain was gone and I felt fully alert, so happy to be holding him and that he was breathing fine. These are my most favourite images!The ambo’s arrived about 5 minutes later. The placenta easily birthed about 10 minutes later and I felt the cord finish pulsing after it had birthed. That’s when we clamped and cut the cord. I had a quick shower and off to the hospital to fix up a 2nd degree tear. I can birth without drugs but the thought of a few needles in my nether region – give me the gas!!!! Thankfully the guy appointed to the job was actually patient, and had a kind smile. I got on the happy gas and told him how much his job sucked.
After all was dealt with, I settled in to our hospital room for the night. Brock grabbed some take away KFC and came back to celebrate with me and stay the night. I don’t think I got much sleep as my mind processed all that had just happened.
I felt I didn’t connect as instantly with Taylor as I thought I would have (connection not to be confused with love). I’m not sure why, I’m just being real. It took maybe 24 hours to really grasp that I now had two sons to lavish my heart upon. I feel very connected to him now and he with me. His innocence multiplies my maternal instinct as he sleeps so much more soundly when nestled against my skin. I am where he feels safe. I am his mummy and he has my heart.
Many people have referred to my birth as ‘the drama of your birth’ or something like that but to me it was the most peaceful and perfect way I could have wanted. I’m also often asked ‘Did you plan to birth at home?’. Well no, but it was the desire of my heart to be at home. As we couldn’t afford an independent midwife for a home birth, we made plans to birth at the hospital. In the end, my body did everything possible to birth at home. My body got my cervix ready for 24 hours earlier then a ‘shoot this baby through the express lane’ kind of delivery in 50 minutes. Once I was in that bath, I never really even had a moment to stop and think… is it time to go to the hospital yet. I’m so glad it happened the way it did and I’m so thankful for these precious photos that my beautiful friend, Cassie, from Koko Photography took for us.
The next morning it was a special moment to show Indi his new brother. I can’t believe how much he just understood the concept of his little brother and love, though he’d never seen him before.
Taylor – 3.8kg – 51cm long – 13 August 2014. Adjusting to life on the outside very well. My recovery is going well, much faster than my first birth that took months.
Big brother, Indi, loves his role. When Taylor cries he leans in and whispers ‘Its ok. Indi’s here.’
My heart is full.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4