“Z”s Birth Story
I was 40 weeks and 6 days and to say I was over it would be an understatement.
I was booked in for a stretch and sweep at the birthing centre at 1pm and was hoping it would be the little nudge my comfortable little man needed. When I got there, the midwife told me all the other midwives had joked she had magic fingers as another woman had gone into labour that night. I remember just wishing that that’d be me! She told me that this procedure could cause “pains and niggles” and not to confuse it with with labour.
After the stretch and sweep, I went home. At about 5pm, my partner and I went to the supermarket to get some dinner, and as we were walking out, I told him I could feel “tightenings”. As I hadn’t felt Braxton Hicks contractions my whole pregnancy, I assumed that’s what they were, but I was praying it was the beginning of labour. We went to bed about 10pm, and I woke at 12am, but felt as though I hadn’t Slept as I kept feeling these tightenings that would wake me. I laid in bed until 1:30am, unable to sleep, then got out of bed when it became too painful to lay down. By this point I still didn’t think I was in labour, and as my partner had work the next day, I didn’t want to wake him for a false alarm. These pains were becoming really painful, so I walked around and tried not to think about it. I had a bath, a shower and then decided to time them. The contractions were about a minute long and 5 minutes apart. It was now 3:30am and by this point, I was in a lot of pain and woke my partner, who jumped out of bed like a mad man, “let’s go!! time to go!! where are the bags?!”
I told him to calm down and that I was scared this was just the “niggles” the midwife spoke of. As this was my first pregnancy I didn’t know what to expect. He said he thought it was labour but I disagreed. I went to the toilet and noticed I was losing my mucous plug, but STILL didn’t believe I was in labour. We called the birthing centre, who told us it was up to me whether I wanted to wait a bit longer or come in. I told my partner I didn’t want to look silly coming into the hospital if it was all going to fizzle out, but he said he was sure it was labour (I must have been a sight during contractions!) and that he thought we should go. So off we went. I’m glad we didn’t wait longer because the 20 minute car ride to the hospital was hell. So painful!! Every bump was excruciating. I ended up being on my knees facing the head rest during contractions. When we got there, I STILL didn’t believe I was in labour (I’m not sure what I was thinking!!) so told my partner to leave the bags and camera in the car as “how embarrassing would it be being sent home because it was a false alarm and we’d bought the bags up!” he hesitated but knew it was wise to listen to the pregnant lady!
Once we got up to the birth centre, the midwife observed me during some contractions then asked if I wanted to get into the bath. I said yes.
Time was a blur, 10 minutes could have passed, or hours and I would not have known.
I stayed in the tub the whole time, changing up position. My partner (who I worried would have a bit of a freak out during labour) was the most amazing and most supportive birth partner I could have ever asked for. Our bond during labour was incredible, it was like he could read my mind. He knew when to hold me, when not to touch me, when to apply pressure to my back, when to back off, when to tell me I was doing beautifully, and when not to talk.
He was simply amazing.
I sucked on some gas and air during my labour, which did nothing for me besides make me feel like I had “just smoked a massive doobie” (as I apparently said during birth) but did nothing for the pain. Biting on the tube did distract me a little and helped me focus my pain onto something. The midwife would just leave us to it, coming in and out asking if I needed anything, applying pressure to my back etc. I felt the contractions a lot in my back, it was horrible and would make me feel like I needed to poo, so was in the beginning getting out of the tub to sit on the toilet but realizing I didn’t actually need to go. Which was a lot worse then it sounds as sitting upright for me during intense contractions was extremely painful. The midwife did not do any internals, so I did not know how dilated I was the whole time. I liked it this way as if she had told me I was only a small amount dilated, I think I would have freaked and asked for drugs as I couldn’t imagine the pain getting worse. The birth centre has two rooms off the actual maternity ward, which is meant to be as close to a home birth as possible, yet with the safety net of the hospital right out the door should it be needed. They do everything very naturally, and if you require pain relief (epidural, etc) you have to transfer to the maternity ward. It’s a really beautiful place.
At one point, I started really succumbing to the fear of the pain, and said “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. If this is going to go on for much longer, I think I’m going to need drugs”
My partner told me I could do it & i was doing SO well. And the midwife firmly told me that I COULD do it, and I WAS doing it. I now realize i must have been in or close to transition.
Everything around this point is a blur. I think the midwife walked out to get some more hot water to add to the bath. I just remember saying to my partner, oh god, I think I’m pushing. SH*T my bodies pushing! I’ve never seen someone with as fast a reflex as he did to push the button to call a nurse!!
she was in within a few seconds, my partner told her I was pushing and she said that that was fantastic and to follow my body’s cues, and just go with the flow. So I pushed.. & pushed and pushed.
I was on my back, and wasn’t getting anywhere, so I got on all fours. My partner was on his knees out of the tub, holding my hand, right up near my face, telling me how well I was doing. There was no light apart from a salt lamp glowing in the corner. The midwife was in the room, but sitting back, telling me I was doing great, guiding me as to how to push, and occasionally using an underwater Doppler to make sure bubs was doing well. It was such a beautiful atmosphere, so relaxing, and exactly what I wanted! I wanted to avoid a “clinical” feel that a hospital carries, and It felt almost as good as being at home.
I was pushing with all of my might, and it was so frustrating because I could feel his head crowning, but as the contraction passed, it would pop back up a bit meaning I was experiencing the “ring of fire” multiple times. And my god, it hurts! the burning & stretching was indescribable. At one point I did actually mention I thought I was going to split in two.
After a LOT of pushing, finally, his head was out! The midwife told me to reach down and feel if I wanted to. She had a little torch to see what was happening. I was scared, and feeling so out of control that i said no, which i now regret and hope to feel the head at my next birth. I was so relieved to know the head was out, but it was such a strange feeling! I could still feel his legs squirming inside of me, but I could feel his head was out.
Two more pushes and his body slid out under water. I reached down and pulled him out of the water and onto my chest. He wasn’t crying, he made little noises, but no crying, which scared me, the midwife said he was perfect!
I stayed in the tub cuddling and admiring my perfect little man. He was amazing! I couldn’t believe I’d done it. My partner was so happy, and kept saying how proud of me he was.
A short time later, I got up out of the bath, and made my way to the fresh double bed in our private bedroom. There I birthed the placenta, which was so easy compared to birthing a baby!
Our son ‘Z’, was born at 7:16 am, weighing 9 pounds 6 ounces. The midwives checked me over for tears while i breastfed my son. I had a small graze near my clitoris & I thank the water for no major tearing, I was so surprised considering what birthing his head felt like!
Overall, I loved my birth and couldn’t believe how straight forward it had been. I planned a water birth, with no pain relief, but kept an open mind as I didn’t know what I was in for.
I was just so happy everything had gone to plan. I was on a birth high for a month straight!
such a beautiful birth, I highly recommend birth centers and water births.
Thanks for reading my story.