Maya’s Birth Story
My due date was Thursday 31st of May 2007. It was my first pregnancy. I was hoping that this baby wouldn’t come too early because my mother was arriving from Germany on Sunday the 20th. I was going to deliver at the birth centre of the Gold Coast Hospital. They usually discharge you 4 hours after the birth, so I really wanted my mum there for some help.
Well, my mum made it in time. She arrived and ordered me to take it easy as I had quite bad oedema. So that was nice, I got to relax & rest before the big day.
On Saturday I went for a long walk with my mum and Buddy (my dog). Maybe that’s what got things started. I had been pleading with my bub (I didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl) to arrive before Sunday as we had an invitation to a family function that I didn’t really want to go to.
I had been given the job to design a video presentation for the function and wasn’t given a lot of time to do it. Saturday I worked until 1am to finish it. I was so relieved that I got it done in time for the party which was the next day. I hindsight, maybe I felt like everything was in order now and I could concentrate on giving birth to my baby.
I woke on Sunday morning at 4:30am to go to the toilet (4 days before my due date). I found blood on the tissue and thought to myself, maybe that’s a sign that things are going to get started within the next few days. I went back to bed to sleep, but a few minutes later got woken by what was unmistakably a contraction. Doesn’t my little girl have impeccable timing? It wasn’t very strong or painful, but I knew that’s what it was. Completely different to Braxton Hicks.
I tried to get back to sleep after telling my husband, Dion & my mum, but I was too excited. I had a shower and waited. Contractions were gradually getting stronger and more frequent, but not exactly regular. At around 8am I called my midwife to give her some pre-warning. Contractions were still pretty mild, though. More like strong period cramps. I took my dog for a walk and when I got back home, my husband & I watched a movie. I also tried to snooze a bit between contractions, lying on my side because I didn’t want the baby to turn posterior. By noon the contractions were a lot stronger and I had to breath through them. I called the midwife by 1pm, contractions were around 60 seconds long and between 2 and 4 minutes apart, but still not regular, but she said they had to get a lot more painful.
I tried to get some sleep between contractions again as I was really tired by then (I had only gotten 3 1/2 hours of sleep that night) but I could only drift off for a minute or 2 at a time.
At 2pm I woke feeling really sick and asked Dion to get a bucket. After vomiting things got serious. I could barely speak and it was really intense. I went to the toilet and didn’t want to move from there. At 2:30 I told Dion that if we didn’t leave for the hospital now, I wasn’t going to go anywhere. He called the midwife and he tried his best to get me in the car. I was groaning through contractions by that point and kinda in my own world. The car ride was awful. It was bright and sunny outside and I felt really awkward being in the “public eye in the state I was in. To make matters worse, there was a big road works on the way and the road was very bumpy which didn’t help with the pain.
We got to the hospital and my mum helped me walk to the elevator.It felt like it took forever because I had to stop every couple of steps because of a contraction. In the elevator I felt really awkward again as there were quite a few other people in there.
By the way, my contractions never got regular!
When I got to the birth centre my midwife hadn’t arrived yet. But a different, really nice one opened the door. She let me into the room where I headed straight for the toilet. She realised that I was quite far along and told me that I can push, if I felt like it. She said she doubted that they could even fill the bath in time for me as I mentioned I wouldn’t mind getting into the birth pool for pain relief. She was really encouraging, cheering me on, saying “Make some noise, girl, you are strong, you can do this”
I cannot remember my midwife arriving. I was a bit out of it by then. I tried a few different kneeling positions, but I was really uncomfortable with holding up my own weight. Dion says I was demonic by then. I remember my midwife putting a heat pack on my back as I had bad back labour. After a while I just reached behind me and flung the pack into a corner. I couldn’t find the words to tell them to remove it, so I just did it quickly between contractions. They had a good giggle about it as it ended up far in the other corner of the room under the bed. To be honest, I didn’t want to talk and I didn’t want to be touched, I just wanted to be left alone and just give into the contractions. I felt very instinctual and I had completely given into my body. I felt it knew what it was doing and I was just along for the ride.
Once the birth pool was full, they helped me into it (I was fully dilated by then). Things changed immediately. The moment I hit the water, I felt a million times better. I even joked with my midwife. I knew there and then that this was gonna be a waterbirth. They said to me “It won’t be long now and you’ll hold your baby in your arms”, that’s when it sunk in, yes, I had forgotten about the fact that there was a baby involved in all of this. Yes, it was still painful, but it was bearable. It felt amazing letting my body do what it instinctively knew how to do. I pushed with all my might and I could feel her head emerge. I reached down and was the first one to touch my baby. That was the most humbling feeling ever.
Only then did my waters break. It was a funny popping feeling. Her head was sort of stuck for a while, I couldn’t get past a certain point. I felt burning and held back with the pushing a bit. After a few pushes I got frustrated with the head going back and forth so I just pushed really hard ignoring the pain. I felt myself tear, but the head got through. Another couple of pushes and the shoulders emerged and then my little girl floated into this world. My midwife caught her and put her onto my chest. My mum cried and Dion and I had tears in our eyes, too. It was the most amazing thing to hold this perfect little human being in my arms. Maya was born only 1 hour & 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital. All of labour was only 12 hours. She weighed 3.895kg (8 pound 9 ounces) and was 52cm (20.5 inches) long. She had a full head of blond hair.
She didn’t cry, she looked like she was sleeping, but I wasn’t worried, I knew my girl was alright and she was still attached to the umbilical cord anyway. It took a few moments and then she seemed to wake up. I had already fallen in love with her deeper than I ever thought possible.
After a while they helped me out of the bath – the umbilical cord still attached and I lay on the bed. Once the cord stopped pulsating, Dion cut it. I tried to breast feed and birthed the placenta – which was huge, by the way. When she was being weighed, my mum swears, she got the first smile. I had a slight graze on the perineum and a small tear on the labia. My midwife advised me that it would be best to stitch the labia as it would heal nicer. I had quick shower as I waited for the doctor to arrive. I had 3 stitches. To be honest, the needles for the local anesthetic seemed to hurt more than labour and birth. My mum left the room as she didn’t want to see the stitching (and wanted to tell my dad) and Dion didn’t want to look either. I didn’t care about anything, just couldn’t stop looking at this perfect little bundle that was all wrapped up and sleeping. I remember looking at Dion and thanking him. He was a bit bewildered, but I felt so close to him in that moment and was so thankful that he helped me make this beautiful little person.
The other midwife that had been called in for assistance with the water birth (it was the same that had been so supportive in the beginning) was from the main maternity ward and this had been her first water birth. She actually came up to thank me afterwards as she thought it was just a beautiful experience.
4 hours after Maya was born, we left the hospital with our perfect little bundle. I felt like superwoman. So many people had said that I wouldn’t be able to do it without drugs. But water was my only drug. On the way home we even stopped at my in-laws to introduce them to their granddaughter (they didn’t want to come over as they didn’t want to impose and wanted to let me rest, but I wanted them to see her). Dion’s uncle and cousin were there, too and they couldn’t believe that I was making social calls only 4 hours after giving birth. But I felt fine. I was on a total high, actually and anxious to show off the little miracle called Maya.