Finn’s Birth Story
We were fortunate enough to have attended a Calm Birth Course early in my pregnancy. This course enabled me to view our baby’s birth as something to look forward to, not to dread. It gave me confidence and a firm belief that my body is perfectly designed to birth our baby. My husband, Lachie and I dedicated time to practising ‘Calm Birth’ techniques such as relaxation, visualisation and reciting affirmations throughout my pregnancy. I held on tightly to the knowledge I had gained about the Fear- Tension- Pain theory and worked hard to acknowledge my fears and then let them go.
I had an appointment with my obstetrician the day after my due date. It was at this appointment she made a booking for me to be induced in 6 days. I was looking forward to going into labour naturally and a looming induction worried me. After my morning appointment I decided that I would dedicate the rest of the day to natural methods to “bring on” my labour. Ending the day with a very hot masaman curry I feel asleep after having a quiet conversation with my belly. I told my baby that I am ready but if he/she wasn’t ready to come that I would accept this and work with the labour I had.
I started having contractions at 12.50am. I wasn’t sure that I was in “true labour” so I laboured in bed for 2 hours without waking Lachie (very considerate of me I thought!), the contraction times were jumping all over the place but by the 2 hour mark they started to become more regular. I was breathing rhythmically, 6 breaths in, 8 out. It was at this point that I got out of bed and looked up the chapter on ‘Pre Labour’ in my birth book as I was convinced that I was only at this stage. As I read through that chapter I skipped to the ‘First Stage’ chapter and I nodded to each sign that was listed in the checklist……Ok maybe I am in labour now, I thought to myself.
I woke Lachie and spent the next two hours labouring at home. Music, back rubs and moving around our lounge room helped immensely. Each time I felt a surge approaching I would lean over the arm of our lounge and sway my hips from side to side. While at home, I kept calling the hospital labour ward to give them updates. The midwife on duty kept telling me that since it was my first baby I would be at home for quite some time. She kept asking me “Are you managing at home?” My answer was always yes. She said that I should stay at home until I didn’t think I could manage anymore. I wasn’t sure of what she meant by that as I was hoping I would be able to “manage” most of my labour. At around 4.30am the contractions were 2 minutes apart and I called the ward. The midwife reluctantly said I could make my way in (but I am sure she was thinking she would be sending me back when I arrived). We got to the hospital close to 5am and the midwife completed an internal and I was 6cm dilated (the look on her face was priceless!) We laboured for about 2 more hours in the ward. Being in the hot, hot shower, pelvic rocking movements, calm breathing, more backrubs and drinking water helped. Our relaxation music was playing in the room and apart from one dim light it was quite dark. I pulled out a card I had typed up from my labour bag that read “I will trust and work with my body”. In between surges I ran my eyes over the words and silently repeated the phrase over and over. I remembered from our Calm Birth classes the analogy of a flower representing your cervix. I closed my eyes as each surge began and imagined my cervix opening like the petals on a flower.
I was getting close to transition phase and I was having difficulty focusing on my breathing and I was starting to feel as though I was “losing it”. Although we really wanted to have a natural birth I opted to have some gas. At the time I was disappointed in myself but looking back it helped me to re-focus and get myself into a rhythm again. Shortly after I was given an internal examination and I was 9 cm. It was at this point that my waters broke. I felt an incredible release of pressure when this happened.
I entered the pushing phase at around 7am but I was asked not to push as I had an anterior lip. That was hard! I had to cross my legs as I feared that bubs would fall out as I was standing up! By about 7.20am I was allowed to push. I was keen to birth our baby on all fours but when I got into that position it felt horrible so I was on my bottom but sitting up. The pushing phase required all of my strength, mental and physical, and took about 2 hrs to push Finn though the birth canal. The words of encouragement my doctor and Lachie gave me during this phase helped me persist. The sun was well and truly coming up and all throughout the labour I wanted things to be dark, limited lights on. So when the sun came up I closed my eyes and kept them closed until our baby arrived. My lovely doctor kept asking if I wanted to use the mirror to see the progress I was making. I said no so I asked Lachie to keep looking and to tell me what he could see. When our baby’s head emerged I thought that his body wouldn’t be far away, but my doctor could feel that his shoulders were quite broad so things slowed down to reduce tearing. In the next push his shoulders came though then his body quickly after. I received a second degree tear but didn’t feel it, nor did it bother me. My doctor gently placed our baby on my chest and asked me if it was a boy or a girl. I was so overwhelmed that I cried out “I don’t know!” It was as if I had forgotten where you look to find out! I lifted our baby up and saw that we had a beautiful boy.
I was so happy with how our labour went and I loved experiencing it with Lachie. He was amazing and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. His relaxed and loving nature made me feel safe and calm. I really believe that for a first baby it progressed quickly because I didn’t fight the process, I accepted the contractions and we worked hard to bring Finn into the world. It was intense, fast and challenging but worth every second of it when Finn was placed on my chest at 9.14am.
Since arriving home things have been great. Finn is a calm and content baby. Lachie and I are both tired but we are working as a team and so excited to be a family.