This has been a long time coming, My birth story. I’ve been reliving this day over the last 3 and a half months and slowly put it in words to share. Its the start of a series of positive and inspiring birth stories I’m going to share here.
So Tuesdays are my favourite day of the week. I have a beautiful little community of mums and their little ones with whom we gather weekly and talk of all things birth and breastfeeding while we crochet.
I had planned a homebirth; my care provider was a beautiful midwife with the local hospital midwife program. In order for my dream homebirth to become a reality with this program I had to remain low risk, I had to not be GDM and be GBS negative, not preterm, not postdates, to name a few, these things I was and I declined a 34 week scan. I could have avoided this hoop jumping and had my homebirth lined up with out question had I chosen a private midwife. But for financial reasons I decided to go with the publicly funded option, and I committed my self to this fully until there was some reason for me to do otherwise, I had faith my body would manage this pregnancy and birth “normally” and it did.
This particular Tuesday, a wet miserable day, I was 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant; I was so excited for this birth to finally happen and to meet this new little person. I slept like a baby the night before and woke up disappointed that it wasn’t going to happen today. Not because I was over it at all, just cause I couldn’t contain my excitement much longer. This excitement only grew as I found myself discovering the slightest ever pink show when I went to the toilet after I got up. I told my self I was getting my hopes up to think it would all happen this day, although deep down I felt it starting. I left the house for my crochet day. I thought, “Maybe I should take some spare trackies?” I decided no, that was wishful thinking.
The kids had just settled into play and the crochet was out, the coffee machine heating when I bounded off the couch, the girls laughed with delight when I told them my water just broke. My baggy genie pants caught all the fluid and I changed into Kim’s spare daggy trackies. I returned to my crochet and fresh cuppa and we joked that I should go get the pool and birth in the company of the girls, the kids and the crochet.
Soon contractions were coming gently but steadily and I was thrilled that this time had finally arrived. Once the contractions were catching my breath a little the girls encouragingly said “maybe you should make a move home while you can still drive” so they sent me on my way with some food and the big boys who were upset they were missing out on their play day with their friends.
On the short journey home I phoned my hubby and arranged my birth support Cindy and photographer Michelle to make their way over. I also phoned the kids grandma to come and pick them up so mummy could have the birth and mental space all to herself. At this time I felt ready to phone the midwife and let her know what was happening, she offered to come but I told her I’d phone when I felt I needed her. So with my birth support around me I kissed the boys and a teary grandma good bye. The boys concerned with what would be when they returned. Now I could enjoy the time ahead.
It’s about midday now, an hour and half from my membranes rupturing, and over the next couple of hours we plod around the house, tidying, plastic laying the couch, preparing as the time between contractions gets briefer and the contractions more intense. The midwife phones to see if she’s needed yet, I decline again, at this time we’re just filling the birth pool.
We said my labour established at 1pm. I had been coping well, breathing, moving all around the lounge room. Ty and Cindy massaged my back but the biggest help so far and as it turned out for the rest of my labour was my music. A small select playlist I’d been listening to for relaxation over the last months. Now it was my focus during the pains, Jack Johnson sings “this is how it’s supposed to be”, Renee and Jeremy sing “don’t you worry about a thing” and Tracy Chapman sings “deliver me”. I sing. Closer to 2pm with the encouragement of Cindy and Michelle I decided to call the midwife and her back up to attend. I climb in to the pool, this can only be referd to as heaven, and the midwives arrive. I am offered and internal to check my progress. I politely decline, having no idea at this time how this simple choice will save my birth outcome.
I swim and I sing, I blow bubbles and the people around me while pretty silent help me through with the odd hand hold or question but mostly with water pouring over my back.
I near transition and I feel like i’ve had enough, I decided within myself that the next contraction i’m just going to give up, let go, pass out if I can. My body had other plans and instead began to involuntarily push. It took a few contractions for these pushes to really take hold and feel good. For the contraction pain to be taken over by useful working pushes that felt good.
I could feel baby moving down and soon felt him under my pubic bone. I felt what I thought was a big mucous plug come away; id had my eyes closed for about 2 hours now. It turned out to be a big plug of meconium. On seeing this the midwife asked to feel the babies position vaginally because she could see the mec. I tried to suggest it was my poo and she laughed and asked again more seriously “please can I check?” first I checked my self and the presenting part was less than 2cm inside my vagina. She felt gently and briefly and simply said “ok, this is breech. That’s a bottom” my jaw dropped, I processed the info instantly, thinking ok how does this change things, my answer to myself was, it doesn’t, “ok lets do this” I blurted out and I rolled over on all fours.
The midwives asked that I hop out of the pool, I was happy to oblige if it made them more comfortable. My husband said this is where he panicked, because the midwives went into action mode from the calm observatory persons they were before. I’m continuing to push all the while the second midwife is on the phone to the hospital and then the ambulance (hospital protocol means transfer in). I was not put off in the slightest by the happenings around me. I pushed my heart out and it felt so good. Cindy was filming the birth and her words of encouragement spurred me on. The midwife listened to the baby’s heart beat that was ever so slow, it didn’t phase me; I knew baby would be out the next contraction. He was out to his chest now, feet still inside. The midwife didn’t like what she heard and said come on Lou push, and I calmly said “the contractions gone, let it be”. We waited. Slowly the next contraction built up, the push came back, one foot, two feet, one arm, two arms, I built my courage up for the last push of the head, but it took only half the energy id mustered, to my surprise.
The relief was bliss, I rested to the couch with my new little bundle, and I discovered that my gut feeling of this growing person in me is a boy was correct. The feeling of accomplishment is indescribable, proud, empowered, stoked, surprised, and delighted. There’s not one that fits right, its all of them.
I settled in and stayed skin to skin with this new little man, he fed straight away and wide eyed took it all in. His mummy couldn’t wipe the smile of her face, and still hasn’t.
Rhys was 3450g and 52 cm long he had a big bruise on his bum. His breach birth was undiagnosed till 2nd stage and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so grateful to have experienced this wonderful birth. If I had accepted that internal when the midwife arrived it would have been an instant transfer in when the breech was discovered and ultimately resulted in a caesarean section. The reason my birth resulted in a beautiful, safe vaginal breech birth was because I simply trusted and let go.
So now every Tuesday as baby Rhys turns a week older, I relive this amazing day, I join my wonderful crochet friends and we talk birth and boobs and I am full filled. My heart is warmed with what I have achieved and I am happy.
The beautiful birth photography is by Michelle at Inspired Images. I am so happy to have these memories, check out her work. http://www.inspiredimages.com.au/