I had been having prelabour contractions all week leading up to the day of his birth. The contractions would get as low as 5 mins apart and then completely disappear after a few hours, only to return the next day.
Friday morning DH and I decided to Baby Dance (Sorry TMI) pretty much straight away, contractions started. Only to stop again 4 hours later when I called mum to warn her that I might need her that day. She packed her bags just in case.
Friday night, mild contractions started again, I dismissed them and went to bed, only to toss and turn all night when I finally gave up and came out to the laptop and surfed the forums of Bub Hub.
They stopped again around 2am…. I went back to bed, tossed and turned again, got up at 4am only to have the contractions come in VERY strong and hard and 5 mins apart. Called my Middie Deanne at the birth centre, she was going to meet me around 5am at the centre.
DS was in bed, I called my Mum in Byron Bay and told her that her second grandson was about to make his way into the world today, it was the quickest trip she had ever done to the Gold Coast LOL!
I decided to have a shower whilst waiting for mum to arrive and groaned through the contractions. I woke Wyatt up, who came into the bathroom and asked if I was OK. I told him that Deacon was going to arrive today, he wanted to come to the birth and cried and cried and cried, “I only want you Mummy”
Bribery to Hungry Jacks for breakfast with his Nonna seemed to do the trick.
I arrived at the Birth Centre at 5am, contractions 3 mins apart. Deanne examined me and told me I was fully dilated. What was the bugger though, I needed a canular for Strep B infection. I nearly passed out when she inserted it, blood went everywhere and I advise not to look at it being inserted LOL! Just as she inserted it, I had a contraction, so double wammy of pain there!
As I was fully dilated, Deanne didn’t run the spa for a water birth as we didn’t know how quick Deacon was going to come. Instead I sat in the shower with DH for the entire time. The hot water was a huge relief, although, the temp they set the hot water system at could have been higher LOL!
After about an hour and a half in the shower and me being wrinkled like a prune, I decided to hop out and sit on the birthing ball, I sat on it for a few contractions and then “Pop!” my waters broke during a contraction. I had no idea what it was and it was the weirdest sensation. No water came out as I was sitting on the ball, then I stood up and coughed (I had a chest infection as well) and waters went EVERYWHERE LOL!
I went back into the shower again and worked through a few more contractions, then decided to hop out and go on all fours as Deanne told me that Deacon was very close. From memory I think I pushed 6 times and little Deacon was here! He let out a huge cry, then I scooped him up and laid on the bed for our skin to skin contact. He was perfect and looks like his Daddy. He arrived at 7.50am Saturday morning 21/06/08 – 38 weeks 4 days gestation. 7lb 7oz, exactly the same birth weight as his older brother and 48cm in length. He has dark blue eyes like his brother and the same “Pixie” like ears as his brother.
Half and hour later, Wyatt and Mum turned up to meet the new addition. Deacon’s big brother was absolutely rapt in his little brother and wanted to play with him already and asked him to come play!
From start to finish, total of 3 hours labour, he was in a hurry. I gave birth on all fours and had no drugs or gas. I felt like superwoman.
After 4 hours, DH, Deacon and I came home and settled into our little family with Wyatt just perfectly.
Our little family is complete and we are absolutely thrilled with the two little guys we have. I really wish we had the BC first time around with our first child.
I can’t believe that it is nearly a year since our bea-utiful daughter, Beatrix Frances Timms, was born on the 22nd March 2009.
Becoming a mum is the most amazing thing that I have ever done; in an already deeply rich life. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the joy and abundance of sharing our lives with her; or for seeing the world and the magnificence of life through her eyes. I feel that the whole experience has been enhanced by the support I have received from the RBWH Birth Centre.
When I first found out that I was pregnant I knew right away that I wanted to try to give birth naturally. But – as the primary goal in my birth plan was to ensure the safety of our baby and myself – I also wanted to have the support of medical services, in case of any complications.
We initially missed out on the Birth Centre ballot and were receiving wonderful care through the Pegasus Team. However, I was delighted to get a call when I was about 24 weeks pregnant, to invite us to join the new Birth Centre Team. From the moment my partner Steve and I went to our first appointment with the team at Nundah – and at each subsequent visit to see Jayne, Debs, Carolyn and Martha – I felt confident that we had made the right choice. It was empowering to be attended to by a group of strong women who believed in the power of my body to labour naturally, as women have throughout time.
I loved every moment of being pregnant and wondered throughout at the incredibleness of nature that knew how to grow a baby. Steve and I had decided to have no interventions to bring the labour on because we trusted that the baby would know when the right time to be born was. I went into labour at 8pm, when Steve was just about to leave to play a gig on the Sunshine Coast, at exactly 41 weeks pregnant. I had made us a really hot curry for dinner and just Facebooked my sister in England to say the baby definitely wasn’t coming today! I thought that all first babies took at least 24 hours to be born.
So I was shocked to soon be vomiting intensely and virtually unable to stand or talk. Within half an hour my contractions were coming powerfully and regularly every two or three minutes, and I felt absolutely engrossed in my labour. I knelt on all fours as I found I needed to be connected to the ground. I chanted through each contraction, a deep and primal noise, which helped me to allow my exhalations to slow. Steve held me tightly as each contraction peaked and spoke affirmations to me. It was incredible to feel my body opening and our baby moving towards us.
At midnight we called Jayne at the Birth Centre and she said it was time to go to the hospital. I was so happily labouring that I wanted to stay at home. Even when Steve coaxed me towards the car I spent some dear time kneeling in the garden suggesting “maybe I can have the baby here!”, to which he said “we won’t be having the baby here!”. The next day when we came home from the hospital the garden was abloom with beautiful red bromeliads that hadn’t even appeared to be in bud the day before.
Steve drove quickly to the hospital through lots of red traffic lights. On arrival, in the midst of a contraction and kneeling on the pavement, at the main entrance; I was able to see the humour that here I was at my old place of work wearing only a T-shirt and some knickers!
When we got to the Birth Centre it felt totally peaceful. Our midwife Jayne had a tremendously calm presence and I trusted her totally. She offered me an examination and told me I was 8cm dilated. I felt able to stay in my ‘zone’ and totally in the moment.
However, shortly after we arrived, when my membranes ruptured there was meconium in them. Jayne explained that this meant that the baby may be in distress so we would have to go next door to the Birth Suite. She explained that nothing else would change, that she would still be my midwife. The transfer was immediate and seamless. The room was set out exactly as the Birth Centre had been. I felt safe with Jayne there who I knew would advocate for me. I knew if I was told that any interventions were required, that they would be absolutely necessary.
Throughout the birth Jayne explained every step of the process, so I felt totally in control and there was never a moment anything unexpected happened. I had to wear a continuous fetal heart monitor round my waist. A beautiful student midwife who came to help us (and later told us that the 22nd of March is also her birthday) knelt on the floor next to me, so I could stay on all fours where I felt I needed to be.
There was increased pressure to birth the baby as soon as possible, in case of any complications and to avoid any interventions. I felt ready to push, but found pushing by far the hardest part of my labour. After trying and trying I remember getting up to leave and I thanked Jayne who I said had done her best, but told her I would go home now and just stay being pregnant! I have since heard that this is quite a normal experience in transition and is akin to a climber, just before they reach the top of the mountain.
My contractions seemed to ease for a few minutes and Jayne suggested a change of position – to lie on my back to help the baby. I was doubtful because this was a position that I thought would the worst to give birth in. But I was willing to try anything to avoid intervention and surprisingly it worked well. I pushed and pushed and pushed and then when I pushed again with all of my might, I felt our baby crown and I looked down and saw their head.
At 3.53am, with my next push our darling baby was born.
As our baby was passed to me, and I wrapped my arms safely around them and held them close, it was the most precious moment of my life. My face hurt from smiling at her and all I could say was “it’s our baby” and “hello baby” again and again. The midwives laughed at us and asked “do you want to find out whether the baby is a girl or boy?”. Steve checked and told me, “you were right”, because I’d had a dream a week earlier that we had a daughter…Our daughter: Beatrix (eternal voyager) Frances (after my mum’s mum, Beatrix’ great grandma) had arrived!
Jayne had explained that if the baby had swallowed any meconium then they might need some interventions at birth. A doctor and the resuscitation trolley were already present in the room with us, but very discretely so. Jayne had explained to the doctor throughout, that I wanted a natural third stage, if at all possible. But Beatrix needed some suctioning and so she needed to be passed to the doctor for about half a minute; but at all times remained within vision and arms reach of me. I trusted – because Jayne was advocating for us – that it was necessary for Bea’s safety for this to happen. The lights were kept low and as soon as her airway was clear they passed her straight back to my arms.
We were left then to have some quiet time to get to know each other as a family. No words can describe this remarkable experience, as we all three gazed at each other for the first time. We continue to try to spend some such time each and every day; and I remain incredulous at the wonder of Beatrix in our lives.
We were able to return to the Birth Centre to stay together as a family and were given support to establish breastfeeding and to learn to care for Beatrix. I had been able to have a totally drug-free labour and even sustained no tear, but it was still valuable to be able to stay in hospital for the next 24 hours, to have the wide variety of expertise and nurturing of the midwives.
The Birth Centre has been such a blessing for our family. During pregnancy, I was able to use all the wonderful evidence based
literature and ante-natal classes that they provided to educate myself. Just before I had Beatrix I attended a Friend’s of the Birth Centre “Mpower’ morning tea and I was able to meet strong women who shared their positive birth stories with me and inspired me. Since becoming a mum I have continued to attend Mpower and had the opportunity to meet other families there too who also aspire to Natural Parenting. I greatly enjoy the peer support and cakes that these sessions offer! I would definitely recommend the Birth Centre to anyone who would like to try to have a natural birth. I was able to achieve this with the support of Jayne and the Team there. I will forever be grateful to have been given the chance to offer our cherished little girl such a gentle start in life.
“But when are you seeing the gynaecologist?” The confusion in my mother’s voice matched the shock on her face. My husband & I had successfully made the announcement that we were 12 weeks pregnant, but then came the bigger announcement:…“We’ve decided to have the baby at the birth centre, rather than the delivery suite.” …
Now, as I watch his little chest rise & fall in peaceful sleep, I can barely believe how blessed we are to have him, and the beauty of his arrival thanks to Deanne, our midwife, and the Gold Coast Birth Centre.
When I was 8 weeks pregnant I had my first conversation with Deanne and thus began our journey to the birth of our first child. I had a trouble-free pregnancy and over the following months we met regularly at the birth centre. My husband, Adam, and I enjoyed the rapport we soon established with Deanne & were so grateful for the advice and direction she gave us as we prepared for the scary bit: giving birth!
As our due date came… and went we began to worry that our goal of giving birth at the birth centre was not to be. At 10 days overdue, we were advised that once we hit 42 weeks, policy stipulated the birth would need to take place in the delivery suite so that we could be monitored . Armed with this information, my husband and I decided that whatever our desires, the health & safety of our child was paramount & agreed to go to the hospital at 7pm the following evening to prepare to be induced. I can’t say that I was not disappointed at this turn of events. After 8 months of meeting in the room where I believed I would be giving birth, I had not even seen the delivery suites. When we got home, I told the baby it had 24 hours to make a move & began to do everything I could think of to hurry it up – I walked around our neighbourhood, went to the park and swang on the swings, gave it a ‘stern talking to’ and used a breast pump. The following morning, I was resigned to being induced. Adam was fantastic, staying home from work to be with me and enjoy our ‘last day’ as a childless couple.
At midday, out of the blue, my waters broke. I rang Rosie (it was Deanne’s day off) who told me to come to the birth centre at 3pm for a check-up but that I should still expect to be induced. As soon as I hung up, my contractions came and they weren’t mucking around! Adam & I quickly gave up on trying to time them, figuring we’d be going to the hospital at 3 anyway. A lesson learned: water restrictions do not apply to a woman in labour!!
Funnily enough, in my head, I had assumed that once I was in labour I would potter round and grab all the things I needed to take to hospital with us and then, perhaps, watch a dvd until it was time… oh how naïve!! At 3pm, I was in no state to think about ANYTHING except getting to the hospital. The trip was uneventful, apart from my law-abiding husband panicking as a lollipop lady leisurely strolled out in front of our car.
Once we arrived at the birth centre, we were told both rooms were currently in use for interviews. I can only imagine the impression I left on the bright-eyed couple who were ushered out of one room to see me, in my nightie, pacing the corridor!
When Rosie arrived, she helped me calm and focus on my breathing. We were put on the monitor to check how baby was doing. I didn’t enjoy the restrictions this placed upon me, nor did I enjoy glass after glass of orange cordial to wake baby up and get it moving!! During this time, Rosie let Deanne know we were there and Deanne opted to come in to be with us for the birth. Words cannot express how much this meant to us and it is one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given.
Finally, baby moved & the monitor could be taken off. Deanne ran the bath & I hit the shower. Throughout our whole experience, Adam was amazing. He didn’t leave my side, doing exactly what I asked (demanded!) without question, holding my hand when I needed, leaving me alone when I needed and responding to my hasty and hazy sign language requests. He was truly amazing and I know I could not have survived without his patience, love and strength throughout the birth.
We had not ‘planned’ a water birth as such but had been open to the possibility of it happening that way. Once I was in the water, that was where I stayed. Although I initially found it difficult to find a comfortable position, I soon found my way – I was even accused of catching a quick nap between contractions!
At 8:40pm, our world was changed forever with the arrival of James Thomas Wooding, 53cm & 9 pounds 10 ounces.
Adam, James & I feel truly honoured to have had the opportunity to experience the care of the midwives at the Gold Coast Birth Centre. We will always be grateful to Deanne for guiding us and empowering us to make our own decisions for the birth of our child. She, and all the midwives at the Birth Centre, are truly special ladies who each and every day touch lives and create futures.
3th February 2010
It’s only been two days and already the little details of your birth are becoming warm and fuzzy in my mind, blurring into a cloudy memory that makes my heart swell.
Just like your big sister, you came nice and late. We had suspected that you might come late so I had added a few days to your conception date to give you more time to come when you were ready. Your due date came and passed and we weren’t surprised. The weekend before you were born it was a lovely rainy weekend and your dad, sister and I thought you might come. We waited at home, the house scrubbed and cleaned, hoping you might decide to arrive. You didn’t. With your sister I had gone into labour at 41 + 6 so when that date rolled around you didn’t arrive, I started to worry you weren’t ever coming out.
On Friday evening I knew if you didn’t come the next day, I would be risked out of the birth centre for being too far post dates. I really wanted to have you in the water with our wonderful midwives so I was rolling around like a crazed woman on an exercise ball, hoping it might make you come.
Sure enough once we’d put your sister to bed and I’d rolled on the ball for a few hours, contractions started coming. They were coming quite close and hard, about 5 minutes apart. I was excited knowing that this could be the start of labour. As I continued rolling and the contractions kept coming, I looked at the clock, it was 10:40 and I suddenly felt very tired. I knew what a task lay ahead of me and suddenly didn’t feel ready; I hadn’t had enough sleep to labour properly. I decided I should try and get some sleep then but it was very hard to fall asleep with the contractions coming so regularly. I told your dad I couldn’t sleep so he put on a very boring film and I was able to doze off right away. I woke a number of times throughout the night and the contractions were still coming. They had slowed significantly, to about 10 minutes apart, but still there.
I woke feeling fresh and ready for labour at 4:30am and decided to roll on the ball again to speed the contractions back up. Within a few minutes the contractions were very close together. I knew you would be coming that day. Priya woke too and she helped me with some last minute things I wanted to do before you came. Between contractions we peeled and juiced apples so I could have a fresh juice to keep up my energy. Then we did some folding of nappies and ironed some shirts. By 6am I woke your dad because the contractions were very close (about 3 minutes apart) and I was having trouble keeping calm during them with your sister wanting my attention. Your dad moaned and said he wanted to sleep for another 5 minutes. I got cross and told him if he didn’t get out of bed, he wouldn’t be getting a baby!
I texted your aunty Hailey and told her that she could head over soon. She was coming to film and photograph the birth and Andrew and the girls were coming to play with Priya. I told her that she shouldn’t rush and to come when she was ready. It’s a 40 minute drive from their house so I wasn’t expecting them for a while.
While Peach and dad played in the lounge, I put on my hypnobirthing affirmations and settled in our bedroom. The hypnobirthing tracks were great and helped me really relax and get into a rhythm with the contractions. I could still talk easily between contractions and felt really excited knowing each one was bringing me closer to meeting you! Since the contractions were now about 2.5 minutes apart, I told your dad to tell Hailey to come sooner if she could. I focused on my tracks and my breathing and continued labouring while resting my head on the edge of our bed. Once Hailey arrived your dad was free to come and support me which was great, I felt so much more able with his hand to hold or him rubbing my back. This labour was very different than Priya’s, during her labour I felt like I was alone labouring. Your dad had been there supporting me, but I didn’t really let him, I found his kind words annoying and unsupportive. This time though, I really relied on your dad, trusted him and let him support me. I don’t think I could have done it without him, he was there through every contraction, massaging me, icing me, telling me I could do it.
Hailey chatted with me a bit and started filming the labour. At 8:00 am I told your dad we should call the midwife because the contractions were so close. I spoke with the midwife Michelle and she said I didn’t sound like I was in established labour and to call back when the contractions were three minutes apart and I couldn’t talk through them. Michelle asked if I had seen a bloodstained show which I had not. After I spoke with her I went to the toilet and sure enough, there it was. I was really hot in our bedroom because the morning sun streams through our double glass sliding doors making it like a little oven. I decided to move to the spare room which was darker and cooler. Again, I laboured sitting on the floor, leaning over the bed. I began to feel quite nauseated and asked Hailey to bring me a bucket in case I needed to throw up. Not long after she arrived with the bucket I did throw up and I felt much better afterwards. It was about 8:30 at this point and I felt like I wanted to head to the Birth Centre before the contractions got any closer together and made the trip unbearable. Your dad called Michelle and she told us to meet her there but to give her a 20 minute head start as she lives a fair way from the hospital. Your dad busied himself getting our things together to take with us and I stayed on the floor in the spare room. I felt particularly bad at this point because your dad wasn’t there to support me. Soon we were ready to go into the Birth Centre and we all piled in the car. The trip seemed much longer than usual. Every time we braked the contractions felt worse and I gripped the seatbelt as hard as I could. We stopped in the Emergency bay of the hospital and Hailey and I walked up to the Birth Centre while your dad parked. I was walking slowly and contracting so we were only in the elevators by the time your dad had parked the car and caught up with us.
I felt so happy as we entered the Birth Centre and I could see our midwife, Michelle waiting in the hallway. We had a team of three midwives and I had really been hoping that Michelle would be on call when I went into labour. She had briefly been in Priya’s labour and I had really loved her and didn’t want her to leave. You are a very clever boy arriving on that day! We headed into Room 4 which was the same room your cousin Zen was born in. It’s hard to explain but there was something so exciting and wonderful about those first minutes settling in the Birth Centre. Michelle looked so excited and happy and the energy in the room felt great. It was a nice boost. Michelle offered the standard hospital procedures which she had to offer. She offered the CTG monitoring as she was rolling the machine out of the room! I really love her. She told me that the hospital would like me to have a VE but that she was happy not to do it. We did have a listen to your heartbeat with a doppler and she felt what position you were in. I knew you were still posterior (I could feel your little limbs right out front) but Michelle just felt my tummy, smiled and said everything looked great. I was happy she didn’t tell me that you were in the ‘wrong position’ as I was told with your big sister. I laboured for a little while standing and then decided to kneel over the bean bag. I had my ipod in and focused on my hypnobirthing track.
I was quite thirsty and sipped on energy drink and icy poles between contractions. Your dad rubbed my back and Michelle rubbed my feet, it felt so good. I had a heat pack on my lower back which felt wonderful, I was very sore. I felt sick again and threw up. Michelle suggested I go to the toilet. Getting up and moving to the toilet wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be. Though the contractions were now very intense, they felt good, they felt productive and I was really happy.
After the toilet I came out and stood not knowing where I wanted to be. Michelle asked me if I would like to use the bath which was ready and tempting me. I didn’t want to hop into the bath too early as I really wanted you to be born in the water and hadn’t been able to stay very long in the water with Priya before I overheated. Since we’d only been in the Birth Centre only 2 hours, I thought it was a little too early to be hopping in. I’d mentally prepared myself to be labouring all day. The contractions were changing though and I decided I did want to hop in, though I still didn’t believe I was close to having you.
As soon as I lowered myself into the water I felt downward pressure and almost like I was ready to push. I was a little alarmed as I couldn’t get over how fast things were going. I didn’t think I should be ready to push yet and told the Midwife worriedly that I felt like pushing, she smiled and said “Good”. The next contraction I couldn’t help myself, I just started pushing. In my hypnobirthing we had learnt about ‘breathing the baby out’ and allowing the body to work on it’s own. I tried focusing on the breathing they had suggested for pushing but every ounce of me just wanted to push. I was on my knees in the water gripping your dads thighs as he sat in the water facing me. Poor dad had me right in his face making
the most primal of sounds. Michelle told me she could see the waters and that they were still intact, she thought you might be born in the caul. During the next contraction your waters broke with a nice big pop. I cried out “what was that!?!?” – it felt like a bullet shooting out of me, they definitely popped with force. Right after the waters broke your heart rate dropped down to 90. Michelle asked me to turn over so that she could have a better listen. I told her I didn’t want to, she told me I would and I could, she needed to listen to your heartbeat. I turned over and she checked again, your heart rate was fine.
The next push your head came out. I remember thinking the whole time “so this is that ring of fire”. It burnt to push, but also felt so good. Michelle said she could see your head and I felt between my legs and there you were, so soft and velvety. It was the most amazing feeling touching your head. It felt like a soft wet fuzzy peach. Your body came out the next push and you were passed up to me. Your birth time was 12:06pm. Your cord was wrapped loosely around your neck, and after you were untangled, I held you. I could hear your dad sobbing as he held me from behind. I was so overwhelmed. You looked so tiny and beautiful. I kept saying to you “you’re so beautiful, you’re so beautiful”. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was, pulling you from the water and holding you straight away. I had one hand holding you between your legs and thought I could feel a penis. I thought it may have been your cord, so I did a little check and sure enough – testicles! I told your dad, “It’s a boy!” and he cried some more.
:We hopped out of the water after this so I could birth your placenta. We waited until the placenta had been delivered before your dad cut your cord. Michelle checked me for tears and I was so surprised to be told I didn’t have any! Your dad then disappeared from the room. I was starting to get annoyed that he had left and not told anyone where he was going until he returned and placed a medallion around my neck. On the back the medallion read:
World’s greatest achievememt – Birth
* Congratulations *
Georgia Peach Brizuela
For your commitment passion and love!
My heart melted and I forgave your dad for disappearing.
After we lay together for a while we all got curious staring at you about how big you were. We asked Michelle to weigh you and we were all blown away that you were 10lbs 7oz. You looked so tiny to me. Unlike Priya, you were not chubby at all – just long – 56cm. After this, we put you to the breast and you fed. And fed. And fed. You latched perfectly first go and haven’t had much time off the breast since. You are an excellent nurser.
Once you were fed I showered and hopped into the double bed with your dad. Your Noni and Pa arrived and wanted to see you. They also brought me a Sub which I devoured very quickly. I was starving. I also ate two muesli bars, two scones, an icy pole and some lollies. We all took the time to hold you and admire your perfect features. Your dad let all our friends know that you had been born safe and sound.
We wanted to sleep but we also wanted to get home as soon as possible. We stayed awake so the paediatrician could come and give you a check before discharge. The paediatrician came and checked you over, wrote in your notes and said we were fine to go home. We all laughed after he left because he looked like he was 12. Michelle joked that she knew she was getting old because she kept thinking the doctors needed packed lunches. We decided we want to leave the Birth Centre and get home to your sister. Your Noni wanted me to take a wheelchair from the birth centre to the car but when they took too long to arrive, I walked instead. I felt great, walking out of there only a few hours after you were born, proudly holding you close. We couldn’t believe we were home by 4:30 pm introducing you to your big sister.
Your birth was beautiful and empowering Theo, I hope one day you can witness your own baby being born in such a rewarding way.
I love you.
To read Georgia’s blog and view Theo’s birth video go to http://gregariouspeach.com/
THE BIRTH OF AVALON JOY
Written by Dayna Keil
I woke up at 8am in my 3 year olds bed while he and my partner Corey were snoring away in my bed. Being 39 weeks 5 days pregnant and having to share a bed with those two just wasn’t comfortable. I waddled to the bathroom and was excited to find part of my bloody show, although because I had been going through a few weeks of false starts and wasn’t yet 40 weeks, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
It was a Monday and the start of Corey’s 2 weeks of paternity leave, so the pressure was on for baby to arrive close to its due date! I dug into a whole fresh pineapple I had bought from the markets the day before, partly because I know there’s a link between starting labour and consuming fresh pineapple and partly because it’s delicious!
The 3 of us spent the day prepping for baby’s arrival; stripping and washing the car seat, buying snacks and maternity pads for hospital, finalizing packing hospital bags. While in Coles I could feel a familiar tightening and releasing of my uterus sporadically. I told my partner, ‘Today could be the day’ (although I didn’t want to jinx it yet again as this was a phrase he’d heard very often in the last week!). I messaged both of my lovely sisters and birth photographer letting them know (once again) that things could be progressing. They all messaged back with excitement, support and love.
Once we arrived home again it was around midday and my sister Bianca text me saying I should start timing the contractions to get an idea of where things were at… I did. They were roughly 10 minutes apart but not exact. I kept eating pineapple. Talking with my mum about labour and birth helped to pass the time. She started timing for me. They were getting closer! By the time mum had to leave for University at 2.45pm they were 7 min apart but still very bearable so I decided to go for a walk with the boys around the lakes to get things moving at 3:30pm.
Once my feet started walking on that pavement the contractions developed a bit of a sting to them, so much so that I had to stop walking during one contraction and breathe through it calmly and slowly. We arrived home and I proudly announced to my partner, ‘Yes they’re getting even closer together and longer in duration. It’s really happening now!’ But I still wanted him to take our son to his swimming lesson. I was still a bit wary of finding I was experiencing false labour again so I decided to do things as usual and see how it all progressed, my mind was racing.
Corey thought I was crazy but obliged and took Max to swimming lessons at 4:30pm. As soon as they walked out the door I got in a warm relaxing shower, enjoying the peacefulness until, ouch! A strong contraction crept up on me… ‘Uh oh’ I thought… ‘His swimming lesson is only 30mins, I’ll just wait for them to come back’… As I dried myself and did my hair another powerful contraction overcame me. I needed to stop and breathe deeply.
The next 45 mins was stressful. I tried to contact my stepdad to come home and watch Max because as soon as he walked through that door I planned to leave for the Birth Centre! His phone was engaged! I tried again. Engaged. When Max and Corey finally walked through the front door I was on all fours breathing through a mighty contraction crying to my Mum. I said to Corey, ‘this is it, it really hurts now’. Mum called back, she said my stepdad was on his way and so was my sister Bianca (who lived locally) whoever reached us first would watch Max while we took off for the Birth Centre.
My stepdad came through the door. Corey loaded up the car to depart. I was trying to pull myself together, there was no more waiting now. This was it. I kissed my only child goodbye for the last time and we drove down the street, Birth Centre bound… Until we passed my sister in her car in a nearby street! We called out to her and she pulled over and jumped into our car. To the Birth Centre we sped!
We joked and ate BBQ chips in-between contractions, I breathed and moaned during them, Bianca coached me on my breathing and offered encouraging words and Corey just drove as quick (legally) as he could! At peak hour on a weekday I was glad we were going against traffic. We finally arrived and Corey pulled into the loading zone. We gathered bags and everything we needed. I waited in the car for another contraction to finish and then we headed on up.
While standing in the lift I had another contraction, a man slowly walked in and saw what was happening. The 4 of us travelled up through the floors all the while I was moaning. When we exited the man sheepishly wished us good luck. The 3 of us walked up to the front desk to let them know we’d arrived, the receptionist said to go on in as they were expecting us, it was now 6pm.
When I entered my room, room 4 (the same room my sister gave birth to her baby in only 7 months prior!) I felt immediately at ease, safe. The room was dimly lit, smelt of familiar clary sage and was all set up just for me. The Midwife, who I didn’t know, checked my tummy during contractions and took my BP while I lay on the bed, a very undesirable position. Once the quick check was over she said there would be a change in Midwives (which was completely fine by me as I knew and felt comfortable with my own lovely team) and told me I was free to do as my body led me to do.
My sister (a 3 time Birth Centre mother herself) suggested I hop into a warm shower to relax and help the contractions re-establish. I enthusiastically agreed. My previous birth wasn’t in the Birth Centre and I was confined to a bed the entire time. I wanted to try movement and natural pain relief as much as possible this time. I stripped off and had Bianca hosing my lower back and Corey hosing my tummy. The warm steady streams of water were bliss. Each contraction I would hold onto the metal bar for support and lean forward and lightly shift my weight between my legs, left, right, left, right, as I breathed very slowly and deeply. I would have one mighty contraction then the next would be not as strong then the following would be powerful again and so on. In between these contractions I would chat, joke and laugh with everyone and take alternate sips from water to cordial.
Bianca asked me if I’d like her to ring my photographer Maddie to let her know to come in, ‘Oh yes please!’ (I had completely forgotten and was so happy someone remembered!). While still in the shower my bath was run and my midwife Jill arrived for her shift. I said goodbye to the Midwife who had checked me in and shouted hello to Jill from the bathroom. After 30 minutes of the glorious shower Jill said my bath was ready and asked if I would like to hop in? Yes! I was helped over to the huge bath and I sunk in, immersing myself in the warm water.
My helpful birth partners set me up with ice chips to crunch on and cups of water and cordial with straws to sip on and put on my premade birthing CDs (consisting of Brooke Fraser mainly). While being very vocal during a rather strong contraction in the tub I felt a sudden POP, once the contraction ceased I was asked what happened, I said I felt something pop under pressure. ‘Your waters must’ve broken’, said Jill. I was relieved that they had spontaneously ruptured as I had had mine artificially ruptured with my first birth (not all that comfortable). It was 7:10pm at this stage and I knew I was nearing the end of my labour. During my next contraction my body was telling me it was ready to push my baby, and instead of vocalizing my pain as I did for hours before I became silent and concentrated.
I closed my eyes as I knelt forward in the bath and rested on the side and just pushed, slowly and steadily. Once the contraction dissipated I would put my head up for a little ice chip or a sip of water then my head would go back down to prepare for the next push. My sister let me know Maddie had arrived, I was so happy she made it, but I felt a little bad I didn’t turn around and greet her (although I think I had a good reason why I didn’t). I continued to bear down and push. Unlike my first labour I felt my entire body work to birth my child into this world. I could hear Bianca’s fantastic gentle words ‘you can do it Dayna… You’re doing a great job… I can see the head…’ what a comfort!
Then I could feel my baby’s head crown, but once each contraction was over the head would creep back a bit, which was fine as it was helping my perineum to stretch gently, without tearing. I could feel secure hands on my back, my support in this journey. I took a deep breath, preparing for a huge push to get my baby’s head out.
And then finally, it was out! What a relief. And then came a brief moment of relaxation before preparing to birth the body. My little one was so close to being in my arms! I could hear Jill telling me, ‘Come on Dayna, this needs to be a big push, give me the biggest push of your life, you can do it’, then the contraction came and I pushed! At 7.51pm Jill guided my baby out and placed them on my back, I sighed a big sigh of relief and slumped on the edge of the bath before taking another breath and turning around to hold my baby.
A baby girl! I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. She was tiny, perfect and gorgeous. Avalon Joy. I looked at Corey grinning from ear to ear, ‘Look at her! Isn’t she gorgeous!?’ I held her close and offered her my breast as she stared at me with her wide eyes. She latched on immediately and began to suckle contentedly.
Then it was time for third stage, to birth the placenta. I stood up and was helped down to the birth stool as I still cradled my baby. Bianca and Corey contacted family and friends to tell them the good news. Maddie, a quiet observer, continued to take pictures as we all chatted and laughed together. Once the placenta was birthed I lay on the bed and continued to feed my hungry little girl, when she was finished I allowed Daddy to have a hold for a while, and then Aunty B.
‘Let’s weigh her’ I said eager to find out her size. She was happy, wide awake and very chatty, making lots of noise. She was put on the scales and what a surprise! Our little princess weighed in at 9lb 13oz (4.45kg), out weighing her big brother by a couple of grams.
After the excitement of her birth we started to settle in and I wanted to have a shower. Bianca and Maddie left and Jill left Corey and I to spend some time with our new addition. I called my Mum and asked if she and my stepdad could bring Max in to see his new little sister, who he was delighted to meet.
Then finally we snuggled into bed after a fantastic day. I was so humbled to have such a gentle and calm birth, and so pleased that my daughter had been brought into the world so peacefully. Every woman deserves the chance to give birth in such an empowering manner and I’m so thankful to be given the opportunity to do so through the Birth Centre with my beautiful partner, fantastic doula sister and wonderful photographer all by my side.
Our Baby's Birth Story
by Jose, Anastasia and baby Aisha.
The beautiful thing about birth is that every mother has a unique story to tell. Mine was quite adventurous. There were a few incredible things that happened along the way. For example, my girl already had her “favourites” before she was born. At the time of my pregnancy I was working with 3 and 4 year olds. You can imagine the impression my belly had on these little people. Our girl received friendly pats every day from the children. She always responded most of the time to the same child by kicking back . The same child came to me one day and asked if I wanted to call my daughter Valentina. Little did he know that it is my Mum’s name. Go figure… During one of our scans, the moment we saw her on a screen, her little arm went up and gave us a wave. So, all of these little events made the pregnancy so much more special.
I was incredibly lucky and blessed to be accepted to the Birth Centre. They have an amazing philosophy. Women are encouraged to trust their bodies, trust that women have given birth naturally… well.. since life began, and if there are no obvious reasons for complications the birth could be a very natural and magical experience. The Midwife explained that giving birth is like running marathon – you have to train for it for many months. I was highly motivated to lead a very healthy lifestyle and closely watch what I ate. And I tried. I walked to work every day, which took 30 minutes, and I was very careful with what I ate. I ate tons of vegetables and fruit, tried to stay away from fast food, kept a positive frame of mind as much as possible, and prayed for our little girl every day.
However, when the due date came, our sweetheart was not in a hurry to enter this world. She was fashionably late – 11 days. One could say it was the longest 11 days of my life. During this time we tried everything – walking, then more walking and then some more, eating spicy food, going on a bumpy ride. My pre-labour stage started two days before she was born. I was having contractions every 15-20 minutes with occasional breaks for an hour or so. We went to the Birth Centre twice with contractions being 3 minutes apart, and twice we were asked to go back home. It was hard… I thank God for my wonderful husband for his amazing support and patience. Finally, after not having a proper sleep for two days, I called my anchor, my friend, my beautiful sister. Can you imagine what she said to me-“I wish I could do it for you.”
That still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. She was there for me. It was getting very late but my sis promised that she is going to stay up and pray for me. That night we called the midwife to say we were coming in – they can do whatever it takes but I wanted this baby now. By the amazing and loving hand of God, when we got to the hospital, my waters broke within 30 minutes and our girl was born in a water tub after 3 hours, at 3.59 am. Later, when I was having a chat to my sister, she said that night she finished her prayer at 3.58 am praising God for safe delivery of our girl long before she got a call from us!! We were home at 3.00 pm the next day. The rest is the history. If you ask me I would tell you that no matter what the pregnancy and delivery is like, what matters most, is that in the end you have your precious prize – your little bundle of joy. But I also very much believe in the right mind set, having a positive attitude, making the right choices, healthy choices every day through pregnancy, trusting God and prayer, and in educating yourself.
JACK ANTHONY CHRISTENSEN – OUR LITTLE BREECH BABY
At 28 weeks we discovered Jack was in a Frank Breech position. In the weeks to follow, we tried to turn him via ECV and numerous other methods, without success. We were advised by one obstetrician our only choice was to birth via c-section and were booked in for 39 weeks. All we wanted was the option to trial a vaginal delivery. Finally we obtained permission to proceed with a trial from the wonderful Professor Jones.
Our beautiful son was born bottom first on August 25th, 2011 3.2kg (7.2lb). I went into early labour from around midday August 24th, at 40.5 weeks. We went to the hospital around 1am, and spent some time monitoring Jack’s heart rate etc. As I was only 1cm dilated, it was decided I should go home to rest (the nurse gave me a sleeping tablet to assist the sleep). By 5am I was well on the way, so back to the hospital we went, with me having contractions every few minutes (Christian copped a speeding fine which we later got out of, thank you Mr Policeman.)
I was admitted to the Birth Suite – no longer allowed to birth at the Birth Centre as I was now considered as high risk. I spent hours in the shower, over a fit ball. My memory is sketchy on progression from here. I did beg for some better pain relief a number of times, however I was progressing so fast, nand my midwife Karen knew I wanted minimal intervention, so she kept me on track. I lay down for a while on the bed, and spent some time on a bean bag. The pressure was so great at this point that I was worried Jack would fall out! It was quite unnerving changing positions, and I was certainly not ready to push!
The rest of the birth was spent standing, leaning over the bed with my Mum and Christian supporting me from the other side, holding each hand. Photos of my dog and my Nanna’s Rosary beads kept me focused.
I figured I was getting closer when more people started to enter the room. (This was distracting, though apparently my contractions had really slowed down). Professor Jones appeared and also gave me some words of encouragement. The gas was taken away from me when they needed me to push, so I could concentrate better. After almost an hour of pushing, a bottom appeared, the legs then flopping down. I remember watching the machine monitoring Jack’s heart rate, reminding myself that it is absolutely crucial that we get his little head out now, and to stay focused. After what seemed like an eternity, his head appeared.
I always thought I would be too shy to chant or sound out “ooo” during labour, but it certainly worked, helping me to release some pain.
I had tears of surprise when Karen advised there wasn’t any tearing. Eventually we left the Birth Suite, and Karen allowed us to spend the night in one of the beautiful Birth Centre rooms (they were empty at this stage, and was where I had wanted to birth). Day two was not fun, as the Pediatrician thought Jack had a bowel obstruction, and he ended up having every test under the sun, when in fact there was nothing wrong with him and all we wanted was to go home. I was up and walking around, slowly but fine. We went home later that day.
The continual phone support from the Birth Centre for several weeks after was fantastic and we never felt alone. We cannot thank Karen Hollindale enough for her brilliant support prior to and during labour. Without her guidance we would be without the magical memory and sense of achievement we experienced, birthing our Jack, NATURALLY, as we wished. Women of Karen’s calibre and all the Birth Centre midwives are truly a credit to the RBWH.
A sincere thank you from Katie, Christian and Jack Anthony
We often talk, as Mother’s, of our birth experience, and the memories of how we felt, and how that day impacted us. To celebrate Father’s Day, we felt it was appropriate to hear from one of our many Birth Centre Dads, and hear, from his perspective, about the day his son was born.
Thank you Paul for sharing your wonderful story with us.
I will remember the 29th of September 2010 for a very, very, VERY long time. Basically from Leanne saying: “um, Paulie . . . I think my waters just broke” onward, will be permanently etched in my mind.
Our path to the big day was wonderful. I felt confident and secure in the process, preparation and care given by the capable midwives of the RBWH Birth Centre. Leading up to the big day, I guess I essentially saw it as my role to maintain calm, provide moral support and to ensure that whatever came our way was sorted without drama in the best interests of my young family.
I have to admit, there were some very tense moments when I thought our baby was going to be born at home or in the ambulance on the way to hospital. But once we arrived at the A&E and were greeted by midwife Tanya, I felt an enormous sense of relief. From then on, I knew everything would be ok. Rowan was born just before midnight and I was incredibly thankful to be able to spend the remainder of the night and the next day with my wife and our new son.
It was always important to me to play a meaningful role in the birth of our baby. The thought of being at the pub with a cigar and a beer while Leanne was left ostensibly alone with potential strangers to endure the most incredible pain or to potentially fight for her life & the life of our baby fills my stomach with a sickening emptiness. I’m forever grateful that a facility like the RBWH’s Birth Centre enables companionship, professional guidance and moral support for the most significant moment in a parent’s life.
Our little boy is an absolute treasure. I’m very proud of my wife and the enormous strength & courage she showed on that day. I have gained a new perspective that has strengthened & fortified our family forever
An opportunity to encourage awareness and support for women whose birth experiences, either by necessity or informed choice, brought their beautiful children into the world as ‘belly-born” babes.
It is a chance to celebrate ALL birth experiences, and to highlight the vast range of emotions that accompany a Caesarean birth, which can often be misrepresented as the ‘easy’ option.
To celebrate, I am sharing the story of my daughter’s Caesarean birth, and I encourage any of you who have also had a Caesarean birth to share your experiences – either below in the comments, or by sending us your story to feature on the website.
We are all Birth Centre Mums – regardless of whether we birthed in Birth Centre, or our personal circumstances meant our journey included a Caesarean birth, we all have benefited from the fantastic Continuity of Care model, and Midwife support that makes the Birth Centre the amazing facility that it is!
MILLA’S BIRTH STORY
I fell pregnant for the first time a few months shy of my 34th birthday. Due to some ongoing health conditions concerning my thyroid and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, we were not actively trying for a baby, rather we were aware that pregnancy may indeed not come easily for us when we did decide to enter the ‘trying to conceive’ phase of our lives. So, safe to say, finding out we were expecting was a surprise, but a very welcome one.
Once the news sank in, we were both incredibly excited and happy about what was to come, but my anxious mind immediately went into overdrive trying to process what this meant in terms how my health would affect the pregnancy.
My pregnancy progressed relatively uneventfully, and my mind was put at ease when blood tests showed that my thyroid levels were remaining consistent, which meant not only was my baby developing well, but my general health was good as well.
After researching all of my options for my Pregnancy Model of Care, Josh and I decided on giving birth in the Birth Centre, and after a tense wait of first seeing if we were successful in securing a place in the Birth Centre through the ballot (we were!!), I then had to wait and see if my obstetrician would sign off on my acceptance, wiht Birth Centre only able to accept low-risk pregnancies (my thyroid and PCOS issues could have me considered as high risk). Thankfully, after passing TWO 3 hour glucose tests with flying colours (not the most enjoyable part of the pregnancy, that bright green drink is the worst!!) I was accepted into the Birth Centre and met my wonderful midwives Annie, Corinne and Tania.
The middle part of my pregnancy flew by. I was doing a lot of research and reading regarding Hypnobirthing techniques and principles and was eagerly awaiting the moment I would welcome our baby into the world.
I wanted to try for a natural, drug-free birth, in a calm and relaxed environment with my partner, and trusted midwife by my side, and I was hopeful that with being in the Birth Centre, and armed with my Hypnobirthing techniques and knowledge, that this would be my experience.
Josh and I spoke many times however, that it was important that we be flexible in our expectations for the birth, and our birth plan, and that our ultimate priority would be to bring our baby into the world safely and healthy.
At 20 weeks, along with finding out we were being blessed with a healthy baby girl, our anatomy scan showed that she was comfortably settled in breech position, and that her head measurement was on the larger end of the scale. None of this raised any red flags for us, or my midwives at the time, and I happily marched towards my third trimester.
One of the benefits of the Birth Centre model of care, and one of my key motivators for wanting to birth in that environment was the continuity of care aspect. I had gotten to know my midwife team extremely well, and they informed and supported me as a first-time mother. I trusted them implicitly and felt incredibly comfortable with them and looked forward to our ‘catch ups’ at my appointments.
"The 'C' Word"
When I reached 32 weeks, it was recommended that I have additional ultrasounds to check the position of the baby, as she was still in breech position, with her head tucked up near my ribs, and facing towards my back. Scans at 34 weeks showed she was still comfortably tucked up in the same position, and measurements showed that her head circumference was still measuring big. This raised some concerns for a natural birth, with regards to the potential risk of her getting ‘stuck’ in the birth canal as she would be coming feet first, and her head measurement being what it was.
My midwives were incredibly supportive, and discussed all of my options with me, but the possibility of Caesarean was raised should my baby not turn into the correct position before birth. A Caesarean was something I wanted to avoid, as I truly wanted to experience labour and birth, and also, the idea of surgery just didn’t sit well with me. My midwives guided me with information and suggestions including particular exercises to encourage her to move into position, chinese acupuncture and many other natural methods to encourage movement, all to no avail.
Despite all of this, there was the reminder of the additional consideration of our baby’s head size – whilst in proportion, the size of the head posed a higher risk to me attempting birth naturally. Knowing my hesitation and concerns regarding a C-section, my midwives advocated for me with the obstetricians who were recommending a scheduled c-section, trying for as long as possible to hold out on a final decision to give my baby time to turn herself.
I cannot speak highly enough of my midwives, who were strongly advocating on my behalf for me to stay in the Birth Centre and try for my natural birth, but they were also ensuring I had all of the necessary information on the process for the c-section and were preparing me emotionally for the possibility that this would be my outcome.
At 37 weeks and 5 days, a scan showed my baby was still in breech position and the decision was made – a scheduled c-section was the answer, to avoid the risk of me going into spontaneous labour and risking an emergency caesarean.
"Happy Birth Day!"
The day our daughter was born was hands down, the single most wonderful day of my life. Despite my apprehension regarding the surgery, I was able to mostly focus on the fact that by lunchtime, we would have our baby girl safely in our arms. Josh and I arrived at the hospital at 6:30am, and after the checking in process, and some final ultrasounds and blood pressure checks etc, we were sitting in a waiting room, both in hospital gowns, waiting to be called in to the Anaesthesia room. Knowing that the epidural being put in was something I was super nervous about, Josh sat in front of me, holding my hands and looking into my eyes and telling me we would be meeting our girl soon, and before I knew it, the epidural was done! Hurdle one cleared, and I had survived!
The atmosphere in the operating theatre was so happy and positive – not what I had expected at all. Everyone was smiling and talking, and before I knew it, the surgery was started. Josh sat next to me, and because he could see the reflection of the surgery in the lights above me, he was giving me his own humorous description and ‘commentary’ of what was happening, in an effort to lighten the mood. As a result, we were both smiling, and laughing a lot, as were my midwife Tania and the nurses. A couple of minutes later though, the expression on Josh’s face changed dramatically, and he was wide-eyed and serious – “She’s here! She’s here!” he called out, and his face broke into the biggest smile I have ever seen, just as I heard my daughter’s cry for the first time, and they lifted her over the curtain for us to see. Josh kissed me and followed the midwife as they took our girl over to be checked over and weighed.
Our precious girl Milla had arrived, and we both could not be happier.
After all of my fear and apprehension regarding the c-section, and the disappointment of not having the natural birth I had so badly wanted, the reality of how Milla was born was actually incredibly positive. I had Josh, and one of my fabulous midwives Tania, with me, Milla entered the world to the sound of her Dad and I laughing, and I spent 45 glorious minutes in the recovery room after surgery, enjoying skin to skin contact with my daughter, and breastfeeding her for the first time – after I had to practically wrestle her out of her Daddy’s arms because he didn’t want to give her up! 🙂
My physical recovery was quick and relatively pain and complication-free, and we were surrounded by so many loving family and friends eager to meet and hug our baby girl.
I know I am lucky. Lucky to have been blessed with a healthy pregnancy, and the opportunity to be a Mum. I am lucky that I was supported through the challenges of my pregnancy and birth by my boyfriend, family, friends and midwives. And I am incredibly lucky and thankful that by having the c-section, we were able to bring Milla into the world safely, and not risk harm to her or myself.
But in those first weeks of motherhood, and even those first six months after, I experienced so many varying emotions regarding the caesarean. I felt cheated out of experiencing labour. My water didn’t break, I didn’t have a single contraction. None of the things that you associate with giving birth. I felt guilt that I should have fought harder to wait just a little bit longer to see if she changed positions on her own before scheduling the ceasarean. I felt like I have failed. Failed my daughter and failed myself by not being able to do something that we are told our bodies are made to do. In these moments I let myself simply feel the emotion – I cried, I wrote to get my feelings out, whatever it took, because my feelings are valid. It is natural to feel this way. Even now, as we prepare to celebrate our little girl’s first birthday, I still have moments where I feel a flood of emotion regarding her birth.
But ultimately, what I keep telling myself is that I wasn’t cheated. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I don’t need to feel guilty – I did all that I could to encourage her to change positions, I could do no more. And I tell myself that I DID NOT fail – we told ourselves at the start of the pregnancy that we would do whatever we needed to do to ensure she arrived safely, and that is exactly what we did.
To help me deal with these feelings, I attended a morning tea held by the Friends of the Birth Centre. It was a turning point for me.
The support I have received from this group, and being able to talk with other Mum’s about their birth experiences has helped me immensely. Ultimately, I am a work in progress. When I think back on the day my daughter was born, the day I became a Mum, my overwhelming feelings and memories are those of happiness, joy, and more love than I thought possible. The way I felt is natural, and like all things, time and having the support of family and friends was what helped me to experience and validate what I was feeling, but also to realise that, in its own way, a Caesarean birth is just as beautiful and emotional an experience as an other birth.
The birth experience is different for every Mother and Child. Every pregnancy and every birth are unique, and most importantly, there is no right or wrong way to do this. The story of how Milla was born is our special story, and it is an experience I will be forever grateful for, as it is what made me “Mummy”, and brought this wonderful little girl into our world.