BIRTH STORY SPECIAL
I’m a bit of a sucker for a good birth story. They pop up quite a bit on my blog, particularly within the stories. I went to high school with Jess and she has recently given birth to her baby girl, Frankie. Im finding myself becoming so intrigued by birthing and parenting against the backdrop of the global pandemic – it’s so unique and fascinating what a single virus can impact. I didn’t ask her questions to answer, I just decided to give her the floor to share!
At around 3am I woke up with some period like cramps. I immediately knew I was in labour as it had felt so different to the many weeks of Braxton Hicks, this felt so real. My first thought was, don’t get too excited it could be still days, let’s take our time and rest right now. I tossed and turned in bed for about 30-45mins. I had remembered researching excessively on ways to promote a streamline early labour, by resting and staying up right in a dark room. I put my diffuser on with clary sage and lavender and continued to sit upright in bed and just breathe.
At that time Josh’s alarm was about to go off for work, i had been contemplating whether he should go to work or not, I didn’t want him to “waste a day” if it didn’t progress but I decided to wake him just before his alarm to tell him to not go to work that day, I needed him close and to go back to sleep whilst I showered.
My plan was always to labour for as long and peacefully at home before heading into the chaos of the hospital heightened by covid. 4:52am I messaged Karley, again thinking I had what felt like endless hours of these contractions to let her know that I told Josh not to go to work and to be on stand by. I didn’t want to wake her in case things started to settle.
I felt strong and ready. I hopped into the shower and it felt SO good. I was in-between the shower and the toilet until about 6am, I felt so much pressure to do a poo but when I sat on the toilet the pressure intensified so much to where I couldn’t sit down.
I only lost bits and pieces of my mucus plug that morning (I lost a lot more the days prior) which again had me thinking I had hours, if not days up my sleeve.
I wanted to see where I was at with my contractions, so I started timing them. Some where 6 mins apart, others were 3 mins. I could breathe through them all, but I could feel them starting to get a little stronger.
I woke Josh up and said I needed him close, he woke up and got himself dressed and told me he was going to get a coffee. He started to walk away from me when a contraction came and I yelled back at him not to leave. I so desperately needed him by my side. He stayed there and held my hand.
I said I wanted to have a bath, so in between contractions he went and got the bath going. He told my sisters that I was in labour and not to come into the main bathroom, to use ours instead.
This was about 7am. He called Karley then to let her know that I was in labour and to come over.
I made my way into the main bathroom and had a few contractions over the sink and threw up. I then got into the bath. I grabbed a comb that Karley had got me in an earlier pre-birth session to help with acupressure. It helped immensely for me to focus on the comb in my hand and relieved some pain.
I hopped into the bath and my sister came in and put her laptop on the bath caddy, she had our friends and family send through video messages of support. Josh and I watched as I laboured and we cried and laughed. It was the best. The contractions were getting stronger, I was starting to lose some time whilst they were happening. It’s like I was totally leaving my body then coming back each time. I remember thinking, “how do women do this for days, I’m actually going to die.”
It was about 7:30 at this time and I could not sit in the bath any longer I couldn’t be still. I hated sitting or laying down, The pressure felt too uncomfortable. I asked Josh to call the midwife, it felt like then would be the right time to go in. I had not tracked any contractions since early in the morning. She said to make my way into the hospital and she would meet us there.
He also called Karley and she let us know she was almost at our place. I didn’t want Josh to leave my side, so he stayed with me as we moved from the bath into the main shower. I thought I would push a little longer at home with fear that when we got to the hospital I wouldn’t have “progressed” and wanted to limit the amount of monitoring I had due to my gestational diabetes.
My contractions began to increase as I stood up. In the shower, the water on my back felt amazing. All my contractions were felt in my belly. It was at this point where I continued to leave my body during contractions and I started making noises I never ever knew I could make. I was howling through each contraction.
I focused on the sound of my voice and I knew where I was in the contraction by what sounds I was making. They kept rolling in, over and over. I knew my head needed to be in a good place, I kept telling myself “you can do this, you were made for this”.
Karley walked in mid contraction just before 8am. She began to track my contractions for me so I could make the decision when to leave for the hospital. She put a towel around the top of the shower for me to pull down on, the pulling helped so much.
Every contraction my body made its way into the same position. My hand in Josh’s or Karley’s and my head in the crease of their other elbow as I leaned into every contraction. I continued to squeezed my comb and pull down on the towel also. In between contractions Josh and Karley would swap around and the other person would stand on the bath and lean over the shower to put cold face washed on my back which felt like absolute heaven. Karley would blow cool air on my face which also felt like absolute heaven. I would pull out of their arms and rest my face onto the towel or the shower wall. Both of them giving me the space I needed but whispering words of encouragement and awe. Everything was guided by me, I felt completely surrendered to my body and trusted it.
I felt like I was in such a great routine with my contractions that time did not exist.
I could feel my body changing and hear my voice changing. I instinctively reached between my legs and could feel a bulge. It was my waters bulging. I instinctively squeezed it for it to burst. 8:30am Yellowy waters gushed from my body. I started to question the waters colour and realized I hadn’t felt the baby move as I was so concentrated on my contractions. I knew then it was hospital time, and now. Karley and Josh kept up the words of encouragement as words of doubt came from my mouth, however in my mind I never doubted my bodies ability to labour and birth. I had done what I set out to do and labour for as long as I could at home. I felt so proud.
As Josh went to grab the few things we needed for the hospital my contractions ramped up. I had no break, they were right on top of each other. I was screaming for a break, more than 15 seconds. I was stuck, my body literally wouldn’t move. I could feel when I was contracting my body naturally moving lower and squat like or with one leg coming up off the ground and standing on my tippy toes.
The seconds between each contraction i thought, we need to go why can’t I move.
All of a sudden I hit a point where I got a break, it felt wrong like it had stalled, it was just so intense, how could it drop off like that. The frequency dropped off but the intensity doubled.
In my head I was screaming we need to leave, I’m going to have this baby but nothing came out my mouth.
I had realized that the movements my body were doing was actually pushing, I dropped straight back into my body and looked to Karley and said “how am I going to make it to the hospital”.
I looked to Josh and asked him to call an ambulance, this baby was coming now. 9.09am he called.
As he stood at the bathroom door I looked at Karley and screamed through my eyes that this baby was coming right now. I could feel her head. No one could see her head yet, but they both trusted my instincts.
The ambulance asked Josh to take me to the bedroom and to get on my back. I kept refusing, I felt like that she was coming then and there. I was still having these lengthier breaks between contractions so I decided to make a run for it to the bedroom. With Karley and Josh following me in. Every towel we had in the house found it way into my room. I grabbed onto my pillows. They were instructing Josh to put me on my back and to look for the baby, I tried to roll onto my back, but it was absolute torture. I instinctively went back onto my hands and knees, the next contraction the baby’s head started to come out, then went back in. The ambulance was saying to Josh on the next contraction the head would come out and to support my vagina and the baby’s head. Next contraction came, a mighty push and her head was out with her shoulder. I immediately felt a tear. I had remembered listening to so many podcasts that when the head was coming out to try and slow the process down to allow your body to stretch, of course that was the total opposite of what my body wanted to do and pushed her out at what felt like record speed. As everything dropped back into my body and the pain of her head and shoulder out but her body moving inside of me was something I had never felt before. I used all my might to push her and almost immediately the rest of her body squeezed out onto the bed, 9.23am. I could hear Josh crying and felt Karley’s hand on my arm. It felt like a whole minute before she started crying. I had not even turned around to see my baby on the bed. She then let out a mighty cry. I just wanted my baby. Karley offered to pass her up between my legs and I rolled onto my back and cuddled my sweet baby.
Josh next to me, he had told me that our baby was a girl.
The ambulance officers walked in shortly after. Karley offered me a natural drink (tincher) to help promote the placenta coming out, I drank that and then the ambulance officer also offered to administer the synthetic oxytocin, which I accepted. Holding my baby, strong contractions returned. This time I was laying on my back. It felt so unnatural in that position, but with only one more contraction the placenta came out. I cried with relief. Josh was able to cut the cord and the placenta was bagged up to take to the hospital.
We moved to the stretcher that was outside our bedroom.
Karley softly suggested to offer Frankie to my Breast. She immediately latched on and stayed on the entire ambulance ride.