A natural land birth with physiological 3rd stage for second time mama, Vanessa.
40 weeks 4 days
I was feeling completely emotional and done with being pregnant!
I had been reaching out to other mums to get tips on how to cope with potentially going to 42 weeks. I was even considering booking in for an induction at my hospital appointment on Monday afternoon. I went to bed at about 10pm, uncomfortable, frustrated and just tired!
I woke at approximately 2 am needing to pee (#pregnant) and went straight back to sleep but was woken at 2:30 am with cramps and tightenings. I tried to get comfortable as I was certain they would fizzle but after having another one, I decided to get up and bounce on my fit ball. I found my contraction timer app, grabbed a drink, popped on a show, and circled my hips on the birthball. The surges were coming every 5 minutes and lasting 30-60 seconds but could easily breathe through them.
My son woke at 4am just as the surges were intensifying. I tried to lay with him to get him off to sleep and its like my body knew to give me a break and I had none for 10 minutes! I held my baby boy so tightly, knowing that it was all about to change for him when he woke. My sweet boy softly told me he loved me as he drifted back to sleep.
I went back out to the living room; lights dimmed, labour playlist going. I massaged clary sage on my tight belly, back, and neck. The surges were really starting to get harder to manage alone. I was so worried that rushing in to hospital would put a stop to things but I decided to wake my partner just before 5 am. He sat bolt upright and I could see his excitement and panic hit at once when I said things were happening!
I called the birth suite and was told to make our way in, then called Mum so she could meet us at the hospital to take my son home. I also sent Lilly, our birth photographer a message to let her know things were happening. Judd woke our son and I could hear him getting so excited that it was baby time!
I was still in disbelief and thinking it was all going to stop and I wasn't actually having contractions!
The sweetest support
I was standing and leaning with my hands on the wall for surges and my son sweetly rubbed my back, telling me “It's OK Mumma, just breathe.”
Oh my heart just exploded with love for our intuitive kind boy. I had lit my labour candle and taken a photo of it to then send to my friends and family that were at my blessingway once I had been assessed at the hospital.
It was time to get in the car. Something I had been so anxious about! I swayed through another surge by the car and once it finished it was go time. The surges were further apart but when they did come, I was lifting my bum off the seat, squirming around and becoming more vocal. In my head I kept reminding myself to welcome the surges; to breathe, open and visualise a flower opening up.
I felt calm and in control; I focused my breath down through my belly, my jaw relaxed
and before I knew it, we were at the hospital front entrance at about 6:15 am.
Mum met us there moments after we pulled in. Judd unloaded the car and left my son and I with Mum while he went to park the car in the building across the road. Staff were starting to walk past for change of shift as I swayed through the surges with Mum to hold on to. Judd came running back, only to realise he'd left the camera bag in the car. Off he went running back to the car! Once he was back, it was time to give my boy a big cuddle before sending him home with Mum. Judd and I made our way to the birth suite, being ever so cautious to not touch anything and sanitising our hands at each opportunity amongst the #coronavirus madness.
We were met at the birth suite. The midwives took one look at me as a surge washed over me and said we might take you straight to a birth suite.
We couldn't believe it when we arrived at room #4, the same room I birthed in last time! It all came flooding back, the memories, both good and bad, like it was only yesterday instead of 4 years ago.
Judd set up my affirmation cards and labour beads along the window sill whilst I sat on the fit ball. I noticed that the discomfort was in my back all the time and intensifying with each surge. I massaged more clary sage on my belly as I wanted to make sure the surges didn't slow now we were at the hospital. The next surge was so intense that I really had to concentrate hard through it.
It was really happening!
I sent a message to my blessingway event to let everyone know it was time to light their candles.
Our midwife had actually been rostered to work in the postnatal ward, but it was so busy that she was called in to look after me as I was a low risk birth (so nice to have that classification!). I had a hard time relating to her as she wasn't talkative and just watched me. I felt like I had an audience. Between each surge, I could talk, laugh and move around easily. So so different to Ezra's induced labour. I decided to request a VE to check for dilation. Yet again I was doubting that this was really happening! I was 4-5 cm and it felt like I could now let go and believe I was actually in labour.
I alternated between using the birth ball and walking around the room and leaning on the bed through the surges. I'd retreat into myself for each one, breathing deeply, repeating my affirmations, visualising bub moving down. My midwife suspected that as I was getting a lot of back pain and she was having issues getting a reading with the doppler that bub was posterior. I panicked for a moment, knowing that this meant I'd have to work harder.
It didn't take me long to reframe it and decide that I could do this, that the pain was no stronger than I could handle.
I requested to use the bath, only to be told no as it was too busy on the unit and the midwife wasn't able to stay with me all the time as required by the hospital for labouring in the bath.
I felt gypped.
She suggested the shower but all I could think of was how I felt in the shower during my last birth – out of control and panicked. I decided I could do it without water and kept swaying and squatting at the peak of each surge. I must have been labouring quietly as Judd had actually fallen asleep in the chair! Lilly arrived at about 9:30am and it was so nice to have her there to start capturing the moments and little details of the room. She was like another cheerleader for me too!
Time was marching on.
Where was my quick birth everyone was so sure I would have?
Another hour went by.
Judd would massage my lower back or I would wrap my arms around his neck as I swayed/squatted through each surge. Frustration was setting in and I decided to ask for another VE at about 10:45am. I got up on the bed, and far out it hurt to lie down! A quick exam and my midwife said no wonder they are intense you're 9 cm with a big bag of bulging waters! She suggested getting on to all fours so I knelt on the bed, leaning over the back. I was overwhelmed, I couldn't believe it was about to happen, we were finally going to meet our new baby! I had gotten this far with no drugs, I felt in control throughout the labour.
The sun light was flooding the room and I let go.
I then vomited.
I'm pushing! I started to shout out. In my head I told myself that I needed to focus my energy to bearing down, not yelling. I could start to feel baby's head move through my pelvis. I was hyper-aware of the head moving down as I pushed and then going back up afterwards in between surges. I knew this was normal and to keep going.
Judd was right there with me, whispering words of encouragement as the tears of relief washed over me. I was birthing our bub.
My waters released,
the head is crowning,
allow the stretch,
Judd tells me that he can see the hair, it's blonde! Another little push and the head is out, I'm sure I can hear a little cry, or was that me?? I can feel the body rotate, wow, this is amazing, another push and I feel bub slide out quickly.
Judd announces, we have Elijah! We have a son! Another boy!! I lean down and pick him up. Oh he is just amazing, so perfect and cries loudly. I flip over to sit down and marvel at this new life in my hands. I did it, wow, what an amazing feeling, I really did it!
Judd is crying along with me as we take in our new boy. Long fingers, no vernix, skinny little legs, he's tiny! My midwife showed me that the cord was no longer pulsating and was completely white. Judd then cut the cord.
Elijah started to cry again and I just wanted to get him to latch for that first feed. It took a bit to get it to happen but once he was on, that's where he camped out for about 90 mins! My midwife kept an eye on my blood loss and I was getting surges again. Time to birth the placenta. I got my physiological 3rd stage! She showed me both sides, and I said a little thank you in my mind for all that it had done to sustain Elijah.
We were then left in the room for at least 90 mins and Judd made phone calls to all the family. We were getting restless, I needed to shower and we wanted to get Elijah weighed and measured so I could get to the postnatal ward and relax. Judd called for another midwife who came in and did his measurements – 3.252kgs (7lb2oz), 52cm long and head circumference 35.5cm.
I went off and had my shower. Ahhh the relief.
Back into the room after Elijah had just had his 2 injections (vitamin K and Hep B) for a snuggle and then off to the ward we went and I felt like wonder woman.
I did it!
I got the birth I had worked so hard for, with the love and support of my amazing husband, Judd.
Birth Photographer: Lillian Mae Photography
Birth Care Provider: Ipswich General Hospital