I was in my zone, so very deep in my breath and I knew I was getting so much closer.
Laying on the couch on 24 January at 4.30 pm I turned to Isaac and said ‘I think my water just broke’
Initially, both of us were in disbelief and didn’t think it could possibly be the case. We’d been out not long before, I’d carried well all pregnancy and was still 4 days off EDD. We were both convinced it was going to be a 42-week gestation and we were in it for the long haul. When I stood up, water gushed across the floor, we looked at each other, shed a few tears and started implementing our birth plan.
I phoned our midwife and when her team member answered and said Jen was on her down days and she would be our midwife I could see the concern in Isaac’s face he was trying hard to hide. I reminded him everything was happening for a reason and this was part of our labour now. Our new midwife, who we were yet to meet told us to sit tight, continue on our afternoon, drink loads of water, eat dinner and wait for contractions to start. So we did what any other first time, unaware parents to be would do and ordered take away pizza. We grabbed a few snacks from the general store (the next day was meant to be our cook up/ freeze meals preparation day) and went to collect our pizzas.
It’s a 20-minute drive from our house to the pizza store and by the time we returned home I was well and truly beginning contractions. It was 6.30 pm by and we began timing contractions. They were still mild but I was a little taken back that they were already lasting 40-60 seconds and spaced 3-4 minutes apart. I thought we were timing incorrectly. We phoned the midwife again and she reminded us that we were likely in for a long night and to try to get as much rest as possible, then phone again when the contractions were closer together and more intense.
I went to lay in bed at this point. Every contraction was through my back and the only position that was semi-comfortable was laying on my left-hand side. We tried a number of pain relief measures - the tens machine offered no relief, the water in the shower didn’t help and even the soothing massage from my husband wasn’t all that great.
Diarrhoea started and I was spending contractions in bed than trying to get to the toilet before the next one began.
I vomited a few times and through my education/ preparation, I knew this was a sign of progression.
I continued to breathe deeply through each contraction and counted the breaths out each time, I knew once I reached the 7th breath I was at the peak of the surge and relief (although never any total relief) was on its way.
I repeated affirmations in my head, turned on some guided meditation and continued breathing deeply. I must have been in a deep trance because when Isaac touched me on the shoulder and said he’d been timing my contractions and it was time to go to the hospital I couldn’t believe it was already 1.30 am.
It took another 45 minutes to actually get to the car in our garage and find a position that was tolerable for the 30-minute car drive to the hospital. This was one of the most challenging moments of the experience.
When we reached the hospital at 2.30 am I was admitted to the emergency department while our midwife set up the birth suite upstairs. I recall conversations happening around me and I can recall one of the ED nurses asking Isaac if I had a strong pain threshold and mentioning to our midwife when she met us that she wasn’t sure I was actually in labour. I heard this a number of times through the next few hours, the team of midwives were amazed that I was going through contractions and they were yet to hear me speak. I was in my zone, so very deep in my breath and I knew I was getting so much closer to meeting our son.
As I was still not able to move from the left side-lying position it was another hour and a half before our midwife was able to assess my dilation. I feared being told I had gone through the past 12 hours to only be 2/3cm so I delayed it as long as possible. At 4.30 am I allowed the assessment and when she said to me ‘Mel, you’ll be having this baby soon, your 8cm, I have to go call the rest of the team before he comes’ my relief was enormous.
I now know I was a little further along than 8cm at this point. Everything was perfect and when they popped the gloves on Isaac’s hands at 5 am to prepare for baby’s arrival I could see the end approaching. Though I was wrong.
My midwife had honoured my birth preferences to fine art, so when it came time to push she knew I didn’t want any directed pushing. This was the only part of my experience I would now change. As a first time Mum I thought this would serve me well, but the bearing down process was not something that came naturally to me and being left by the medical team to complete this step of the journey on my own was hard. For a couple of hours, I resisted the urge to push rather than working with the natural urge of my body. I feel now this was psychological, that I wasn’t quite ready to meet our son, I had fears about becoming a mum and these fears were stopping my natural instinct.
As part of the midwife program, I had in the back of my mind that we were on borrowed time. I had to get this little man out into the world before I was transferred to the Tweed Hospital. I continued watching the clock and fighting the urge to push to the point that my midwife so lovingly spoke to me and said ‘I know you don’t want me to use certain words but I think it’s time to coach you through this. Those words washed over me and I felt so much relief. I knew I needed this help and agreed straight away, reaching out to touch her.
For another 3 hours, I was monitored with the Doppler between each contraction and while bub was still safe we worked together to bring him into the world. I allowed the midwives to suggest a number of positions and they coached me through each contraction, showing me how to breathe and bare down. I was making progress but again we were on borrowed time and the discussion started about sending me by ambulance to Tweed. This was something I really didn’t want. I knew it would include some form of intervention so from here on in I dug deep through every contraction, I started talking to our baby and for the first time started making loads of noise.
At 10.41 am, 18 hours after my water broke, just moments before being taken to Tweed our little Vinny was born into his Dad’s arms and passed through to my chest. It was instant relief, every bit of pain I had experienced was forgotten, we were together on the outside and I will never forget that moment.
As per my birth preference, I attempted to pass my placenta naturally, however I experienced quite a large volume of blood loss during labour (850ml), so after discussion with the team and concern that the loss may result in PPH, we opted for the shot of syntocin. It felt so empowering to be able to make this choice for ourselves and know the language that was being used. Five hours later, Isaac, Vinny and I were on our way home to spend our first night together as a family of 3.
I can’t thank Shari enough for the hypnobirthing course. My breath to body connection got me through 10 hours at home to the point of near-full dilation. Isaac, generally not a calm person, was so relaxed through the whole process, knowing exactly what stage we had reached and he was able to discuss all our options with the midwife team and not be confused by medical terms. We were so aware of every step of our experience and I don’t believe we would have had such a positive one had we not taken the course. As I said, the only thing I would change was my preferences to do it all on my own. I needed the midwives to help me through the final stage, after all, that is what they are there for. I’ve definitely learnt from that experience and I will know for next time to work with my team as well as my body.
Thank you Shari, thank you Hypnobirthing Australia, thank you to my beautiful midwives. Our happy, healthy little Vinny thanks you also.
To book into a future face-to-face course on the Gold Coast CLICK HERE
To book into a Live Online Course CLICK HERE
To purchase the Hyponbubs™ Online course (this is not Shari teaching this program) CLICK HERE