Late evening on the 12th July i started having what felt like period pain... nothing crazy, and certainly nothing that was in any sort of pattern, i would have a bit of a surge and then wait 9 mins, then the next would be 2 mins later, the next one 7 mins later, all over the place, and not 'painful', just noticeable.
I was 39 weeks.
I called my midwife, who said i didn't sound like i was in labour - i agreed, but said that in fact all my previous midwifes have said the same thing when i called them. My surges were as i mentioned all over the place, and lasting for 30 seconds in length.
Shelley came to our place to check, and found i was 5 - 8 cm dilated (with the bag of waters still in tact) ... so with MIL Maggie already at our place, my hubby Andy gave my 1000iu of Kogente FS intravenously, for clotting after the birth, and we headed to the hospital after calling my girlfriends to meet us there.
My neighbor Denise (mother of 6) hopped in our car, as she was a part of my support team, and we excitedly talked about the arrival of my daughter as we drove to the hospital.
On the way there was a police stop, and i would like to say that i have always imagined being stopped whilst in labour - and rather enjoyed saying as we stopped "i'm having a baby !!" - Such fun!
Needless to say, Andy was not breathalyzed, nor was Shelley following behind.
We arrive on the ward and my awesome girls are there already - Simone, Olive, Sara and Tahli (with camera at the ready) it's all a bit of a buzz, i get checked again and i am 8-9 cm dilated, but still in fine form talking and laughing... we decide to walk the halls to get things going as the surges are still random, and lasting for about 30 seconds... my hilarious friend Sara has me doing the chicken dance, whilst Olive thinks up ways we could get the waters to go... none of which we attempt, but there is a lot of humour . There was talk of playing 'handbag roulette'.... ( and, in the pic to the left there,
the sign says no loitering...)
Throughout it all with each surge one of my girls would rub my lower back, i found this so helpful.
In the weeks before the birth i had prayed in to this birth, casting my fear upon my good and gracious God, and trusting completely in Him.
I believe that in natural birth the biggest thing that gets in our way, is fear. It has no place in birth and yet it raises it ugly head throughout pregnancies in birth stories that don't go well, in parents fears, and spouses, not to mention our own fear... Fear is of no use to a birthing mother, what a woman needs to hear, what she needs to believe is that she was made to do this. That her body is strong, That her baby is strong. A woman needs to hear she can do it. Because she CAN do it!!
I had one of my dearest friends make a cd for me of worship songs to encourage me, so through out my labour there was the music that lifted my very soul, the words that spoke to my heart and took me back to my center. The sounds that quietly told me i was not alone in this.
I had also written down scripture, and words to encourage me, my girlfriends sat in the corridor with a page each and spoke them to me, i was so encouraged at one point tears of happiness and of joy, came to my eyes. This birth was a spiritual experience for me. I cannot explain it exactly but i felt 'held' though out.
I was waiting for the pain i had experienced before in my other births, the 'rocky road' as we call it.... but it did not come. I simply did not feel the need to cry out in pain, Quite simply it wasn't all that painful.
By 4.25 am my waters had still not broken... and after bugging my sweet midwife enough times, she broke my waters.
I hopped off the bed, and felt pressure and as i walked toward the door to head to the birthing pool, i had the urge to get down on my knees, on all fours, i knew i would not make it to the bath at that point.I was in the middle of the doorway...
I felt pressure and when i reached between my legs, my daughters head was completely out... i expressed this and a friend lifted my skirt to see her entire little face with my hand cradling her head.
My dear hubby Andy is not a man who likes blood and gore, yet his instant reaction was to catch our baby girl as she entered the world. .... Which she did on the next surge, one push from me, and Miss Ava Elizabeth was here. It was 4.32 am! (On the 13/07/13)
At that point baby Ava was facing everyone else and i had not seen her, i stood up and she was passed between my legs. Ava is perfect. There are no words to describe that moment when you see your child for the first time. I wanted to capture the moment, to bottle it, as time seems to stop in those first moments, their little hands, and tiny toes with tiny finger nails - all perfectly made, beautiful eyes , little button nose and wee rose bud lips - wonderfully made. In those moments i understand psalm 139:14
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well."
My placenta was tummy massaged out as it took more time than expected, and during which Ava fed. In fact she fed for a good 2 hours ! This was such a lovely memory, my husband curled in behind me, resting, as Ava fed and looked up at me with those baby blues.
Afterwards Shelly my midwife said to us that she had not seen a labour like it, it looked as though it would fizzle out at any point.. but it didn't. I thank and praise God for a joyful easy birth ! I thank God that i am surrounded by women who will stand in faith with me, and a husband who does not stumble in his faith.
What tips would i give to an expectant mum?
#1 - Cast your fear. (this is a must - to enjoy the experience)
#2 - play music that speaks to your soul
#3 - have the people who encourage you surround you, the ones who have faith in you. Have them massage or put pressure on your lower back during the surges.
#4 - prepare yourself, write down things that encourage you. YOU ARE STRONG. YOUR BABY IS STRONG, you can do this!!!!
#5 - (Cast your fear again if it has returned)
#6 - during the surges squat down, strait back - knees apart and swing those hips girl!!
#7 - in labour - DO NOT LIE ON YOUR BACK!!!!
#8 - walk around as much as you can - stand and deliver as it were!
#9 - stay cheerful... this too shall pass.
#10 - remind yourself you only need to get through this one surge. Do not focus on how long it will be... just ride the wave when it comes.You were made to do this!
I imagine when learning to fish, casting is a bit of an art. I think it is also with casting our fear... takes a bit of practice.... if the fear and anxiety keeps returning, cast it again and again. By trusting your body, remind yourself this is how we as women have always brought forth life from the beginning of time. You are no different. You can do this. You were called for such a time as this.
Love and blessings x