In May 2013, after over 5 years of waiting/trying, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! He came 8 days early so he surprised us and as a bonus I got to enjoy my first Mother’s Day a year early which was so special!
My labour was absolutely incredible and honestly pain-free! I know that for many this is hard to comprehend, so I’d love to tell you our story.
Of all nights, hubby and I had stayed up late watching two back-to-back movies, something we never did! Hubby had always said that he’d hoped when I went into labour that I’d have had a good night’s sleep the night before… well that wasn’t to be! We had literally just gone to bed and within minutes, at midnight, my waters partially broke. It wasn’t a huge flooding, but certainly something I hadn’t experienced before and I called the hospital to let them know. I didn’t have any contractions or anything. They said to go back to bed for an hour then call them back and let them know what was happening. I was still losing fluid so I rang and, after much deliberation from the midwife, who straight away asked me whether I’d done Calmbirth® due to the terminology I was using and how calm I was, she said that protocol stated that I needed to come in for monitoring. She was reluctant because she was worried that once I was in they mightn’t let me go and the possible interventions this could lead to (the hospital I was booked in to has, I’ve been told, one of the highest intervention rates in NSW).
I took my time getting ready thinking we were most likely going to be sent home anyway… I just figured my waters breaking meant something was possibly going to start happening in the next few days (not stopping to think about the risk of infection and that I would likely be induced if nothing happened quickly anyway! I was reminded of that later…) We finished packing and got the house in order and got to the hospital about 3am. Before leaving home I’d said to hubby that maybe I was feeling ‘something’, certainly not what I considered to be signs of imminent labour but I was feeling a little ‘different’ so to speak…
At the hospital (we never even brought my hospital bag in!) they strapped a monitor to me which of course meant I was flat on my back in bed… which if I was in labour wasn’t what I would have wanted but it didn’t bother me because I didn’t think I was in labour! The first thing they told me was that the baby’s heart rate was dropping with every ‘contraction’ – which they were concerned about and started talking induction and even cesarean as the baby could have been in distress. My doctor was away for the weekend – his one annual weekend away a year! So much so that in our antenatal classes the nurses were explaining how it’s possible your doctor mightn’t be available when your time comes so to be prepared for that… “Except Doctor F” they said, “He’s always here!” So the midwife went to speak to the on-call doctor about it. By the time she came back and re-checked the monitor, everything was perfect. They needed about an hour and a half of ‘perfect’ results though before they could send me home… they then started doubting whether my waters had actually broken or not as the symptoms could have been related to something else… but she did comment that my contractions were getting stronger. “Your face isn’t telling me that though” she said, “the machine is”. So I just stayed relaxed and let them monitor me, in my eyes everything was fine. Even if I was in labour, I still figured it was the very early stages and that we were surely still 12 – 18 hours off having a baby! The midwife said that I probably would be sent home to labour saying “You’ll know when to come back in”. Then I was told that the doctor was coming in any way for another patient and that he wanted to observe me in the morning before letting me go, so she took the monitor off and just said to get some rest. She’d done an internal examination on me and said I hadn’t even started dilating, which is why she was sure they would just send me home. The contractions were getting a little more intense, but still nothing I would even have referred to as being in ‘labour’. I never understood how people said they “just breathed through them” but that’s exactly what I did, with very little effort. Whilst I didn’t actually fall asleep, I was perfectly calm and relaxed and don’t think I even did the real deep breathing I’d learnt in Calmbirth® and practiced in the preceding weeks. I don’t think I needed to, but I’m not sure. Hubby didn’t even know, he was trying to sleep on the couch.
I got up later to go to the bathroom and all of a sudden felt quite sick, like I was going to pass out / throw up. The doctor came in at this time and did an internal examination, which the midwife said he needn’t bother about because she’d already done one and I hadn’t even started. He looked at her perplexed while he was doing it, “She’s about 9cm dilated” he said. She couldn’t believe it, and neither could I! His words were like music to my ears because I’d read all the testimonials of this happening to women in the Calmbirth® book and had said to myself “I want a story like that!” I honestly said: “So does this mean we’re having a baby?”, still totally disbelieving! Apparently it did lol! My contractions still seriously weren’t anything to speak about, but I decided that if this was happening I wanted to start moving around etc, because up until this time I’d just been lying in bed. My student midwife said she’d never seen anyone at 9cm so calm, but honestly, it was so easy! I felt sick again and this time I did throw up, which they later tell me was probably the transition stage, and hubby thinks this kicked everything into gear. The contractions potentially became a bit more intense, but they were never long or painful, then I reached this big lull and said to the midwives, “So are we basically just waiting for me to get the urge to push?” and apparently we were! The fact that neither of them were leaving the room and were getting everything in order made me realise that this was actually happening – it was still all so surreal because it wasn’t anything like I ever expected labour would be! The urges did come and the one thing I was surprised about was how much I did need to push. The Calmbirth® training had me thinking that my job was to stay cool, calm and collected and let my body do the work, but you really do need to push your baby out! I was on my knees with my arms/head resting on the bed head. I just did what they told me and really you just feel pressure in your bottom (using the Epi-No really helped prepare me for this, but that’s another story). It wasn’t until the doctor came in that I realised we must’ve been close!
Now, this is very interesting… pay close attention ladies! At one point the doctor asked me to turn around and lie on the bed in the more traditional pose. Even though I questioned him he somehow made me think it was for the best… well, that stopped everything didn’t it! I think it was a combination of stage fright (you know, a deer caught in the headlights, I’m looking at them and they’re looking at me and my private parts…) Eventually the midwives said “You need to put her back the way she was”. Then he started talking about giving me a shot of one of the hormones because baby was so far down that we couldn’t leave it down there for long, but thankfully my body kicked back into gear when I was back in the original position (the midwife later said obviously I knew what was best and she was annoyed with him for changing me then talking about needing to give me an injection because I’d been doing so well!). My contractions were quite far apart so I had heaps of time to rest in between (I mean, I didn’t even work up a sweat!) and they weren’t for very long… this probably just meant I didn’t push him out as quickly as others would have and in the end they virtually pulled him out (manually though, no forceps or vacuum or anything like that) and although that was a weird feeling, all of a sudden he was out and I’m like “what did we have?” – then it’s all a surreal blur from there holding on to his tiny blue slippery body then placing him on my chest… it truly was magical!
If I’d have laboured at home at all, which I was planning on doing for as long as possible, I don’t know if I would’ve made it to the hospital in time or I would have been fighting the urge to push as hubby was driving because I really don’t think either of us would have realised how far in labour I was as we never met the ‘technical requirements’ of contractions… you know, ‘3 – 5 minutes apart lasting for at least one minute for at least one hour’ etc etc like they tell you in the antenatal classes… I really only ‘worked’ for about 2 hours… bub was born at 9.07am.
So even though I had high hopes for Calmbirth®, my labour was even better than I possibly could have imagined or hoped for! For days, every new midwife that came into my room talked about it, word had obviously spread! Even the pediatrician had heard about it: “So you’re the one everyone’s talking about!” I’d done other preparations in the lead-up as well including using a product called the ‘Epi-No’ and as a result had no tearing (this earnt me a hand-shake from my obstetrician who checked up on me a few days later), I could have gone home that afternoon!
The midwives couldn’t believe it when, after my skin-to-skin time with Mini B and a shower, I’d gone for a wander out of the birthing suite to orientate myself and let them know we were ready to have him weighed etc and be moved to our room… apparently they’re not used to women who’ve just had a baby coming to find them! The use of drugs never even crossed my mind during the birth and I haven’t even had a panadol since!
I shared the above with my Calmbirth® facilitator and closed my letter to her with:
“It was everything I’d hoped it would be and even better… I’d read so many real-life stories in the Calmbirth® booklet about people who dilated so quickly and I was determined to be one of them – and I was!
Personally, I didn’t end up visualising really or anything like that, I just used the breathing a little but didn’t even need to do that much – the entire experience was that low-key, it just happened! It really was amazing and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Not once did it cross my mind that this was too hard or that I couldn’t do it or that I hated my husband lol or anything like that! I still can’t believe it!
Thank you for your class – it must’ve helped me incredibly. Coming in, I’d heard so many horror stories and as a girl had grown up fearful of the labouring experience and I was determined to change my outlook… You helped me do that and I am ever so thankful. Even so, leading up to the day it was still such an ‘unknown’, what was it going to be like? Well, all of a sudden I found myself on the ‘other side’ oh so easily, and now life begins as a family!”
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