Margaret River...Busselton...South Western Australia
National Association of Childbirth Educators (NACE)
Jay's Birth (by Natalie Burgess)
My first pregnancy, labor and birth was a little difficult, both emotionally and physically, so I was determined to have a more positive experience the second time around. I practiced yoga regularly and also discovered BirthSkills (HypnoBirthing)…it was important for me to learn how to relax and maintain my sense of self.
The day before I was due, I was feeling really emotional, and I was therefore really happy to discover that I had had a show when having a shower, and also excited to know that I would very soon be meeting our baby. The day passed uneventfully, but I felt really calm and relaxed.
I woke at 3am on my due date with a heavy pelvis and general period like sensation. I got up to the toilet and discovered yet more show. I did manage to go back to bed to doze, but just before 4am felt my first contraction. I wasn’t comfy lying in bed so got up, and allowed myself to enjoy being the only one who knew that I was in labor. I was really content to just be in my own company and when I felt a contraction coming I would lean forward and I just allowed myself to completely relax and withdraw into myself.
At 5am I got my hubby up, and our 3 year old woke up and came out to watch TV with mummy. At 6am I rang the hospital to let them know I was in labor, and woke up my hubby’s sister (who was to be a support person) and her hubby (who was to look after our son). Everyone had a cup of tea, until I started to get a bit unsettled and wanting my birthing space…which then decided for me that it was time to go in. My little boy gave my tummy a kiss goodbye and off we went.
I felt really special arriving at the hospital…I’m a midwife there…as the 3 staff on that shift were waiting for me in the foyer. A few days after I had my baby, one of the girls said it was like welcoming the queen.
I settled in to the labor suite, and continued to comfortably deal with the contractions (every 5 minutes), leaning forward and having someone rub my back. My hubby (Stu) and his sister were great, taking turns rubbing my back with Stu and my midwife(s) reminding me to go loose and limp. I had organized with a colleague to be my midwife/support person, so I was really lucky to have the shift midwife and my friend as well. 4 support people lucky me. Time lost all meaning and I felt really comfortable and totally relaxed…which I owe to all my practice with BirthSkills.
The girls suggested the bath…and at around 9am I made my way into the bathroom. Just prior to getting I the bath I had a really strong contraction, and knelt over the birth ball and made the most amazing sound…almost chanting. It felt so good to verbalize. Into the bath…which was absolutely fab…and now with every contraction chanting and breathing. I was so relaxed in between and really comfortable. I even commented that I was really enjoying myself…and I have some great black and white shots of me looking rather content in the bath.
At around 10am the contractions (still 5 minutely) started to get really intense, very tight with a bite right at the peak. I remember crying and squeezing someone’s hand (and I think biting on Stu’s arm), and at the back of my mind knowing this was transitional behavior, but couldn’t rationalize with myself. I wanted to go home and not do this anymore, and everyone just remained really calm and talked me through each contraction at a time.
At some stage I asked for gas, and it was fantastic. I remember simply floating in the bath, eyes closed with the mouth piece being firmly held by my teeth. I was still totally relaxed, and had at this stage completely withdrawn inwards.
One really intense contraction and I felt pressure, then a pop as my waters released. Then with the next contraction I felt my baby moving, rapidly, and I felt my vulva open and then the contraction ended. I put my hand down there to feel, expecting to feel a bit of head, and was shocked to feel that I had just delivered my entire baby’s head on my own. I think I freaked out a bit at this stage as I was still in the bath, and no one was behind me. My midwife friend moved behind me, and I heard her telling the other midwife that the head wasn’t crowning, the head was out. After that the next contraction delivered the body, and with a great whoosh of relief our beautiful baby boy was born. Both midwives later told me that I had not pushed, so I caught them a little unaware, and appeared so relaxed that my baby literally birthed himself.
I was amazed, exhausted and elated…I had just birthed my baby the way I wanted. Birthing in the bath was not part of my plan, but I don’t think anyone could have got me out without a fight. I had birthed my baby without fear, and even more special, I was the very first person to touch my baby (I had not had any vaginal examinations as requested in my birth plan).
Our baby boy is so calm and relaxed, and I believe that my ability to relax and let go through the pregnancy and in labor has had a wonderfully positive influence on our second beautiful son.
Matthew Wayve Gillam Potter (by Donelle Gillam)
Birth was beautiful. My waters broke 6am 22nd (due date) and I was in active labor by lunchtime. I was 10cm at around 5pm but at 10pm was transferred to KEMH as bub wasn't coming down. I tried really hard for 4 hours to push him out in the bath but he wasn't up for it (little monkey). By the time I got to the hospital I was pretty puffed and it was looking 50/50 emergency Caesar. Anyway, I had an epidural and pethidine (went into shock after epi) and the Dr said his head was deflexed and it wasn't coming through the pelvis but they would do their best for a vaginal delivery. By the time I got up to theatre Wayve had managed to get himself in the correct position and they could see the head (FINALLY). Forceps delivery got him out after three pushes. I remember laying there and they were cheering me on to push. In my pethidine mind I was thinking "Nah, I’m not doing anymore you guys can sort it out" - luckily Potts must have seen into my head and worked out what was going on so had a word to me and I mustered up some energy.
Despite the yucky bit, knowing I couldn't get him out and getting to the hospital, we had a wonderful experience. The birthing venture was amazing and that’s where we will go next time. WE found it to be a very spiritual and bonding experience and it certainly took our relationship to a whole new level. WE spent the first week oohing and aahing at our creation and we still just look looking at him. I get what you mean about intuitive parenting - I think this is what I seem to be diverting naturally. He is sleeping quite well, 3-4 hours at a time through the night with only 15mins needed to settle him to sleep. I am finding this quite reasonable given the little guy has only been around 5 minutes.
Thanks for your help in preparing for the birth. I think what I took most from the day was the need to relax and the confidence to trust my body. In the midst of severe contractions I said to Potts" ITs not that hurts so much but it is just SO intense" and I think that really is how I remember it. It hurts, but it’s the intensity of what’s going on that blows you away. AND, how hard is pushing - that is the hardest work I have ever done in my life. Epidurals take all the fun away.
is Ashrani's birth story
Birth Story of Finlay Cutbush (by Anna Cutbush)
Wed 10th rolled around and I knew something was different. I just felt achy low down but continued about my day as normal catching up with a girlfriend and doing some last minute shopping. I went to bed that night feeling unsure of what was to come but excited all the same. I woke up Thurs (11th) morning and went to the toilet only to discover I was losing my ‘plug’. Contractions started pretty much straight after this, very very mild. I plodded around the house all day trying to stay active to speed things up. I had rung my midwife earlier to let her know things were happening and that I would keep in touch.
Before I go on I should explain that at the beginning of my pregnancy I hired an independent midwife who did all my antenatal checkups and would deliver my baby. I had discussed with her the option of having a water birth at the hospital and although this was going to be tricky she was happy to try and make it happen. She had delivered many babies in water and was supportive of our decision. This decision was not an absolute but rather an option up my sleeve. If things went pear shaped I was open to anything, all we wanted was a healthy baby, but it was great having something to aim for.
Thursday proceeded very slowly with my DH and I taking walks down to the beach. We wanted things to get moving and meet this baby already!! 7pm rolled around and I asked my midwife to come over and do and check. She was happy with everything and left us to it, telling us to ring when things heated up. I felt like I was managing really well, a bit tired but happy. I sent DH to bed around 10pm I think and I tried to rest on the couch, ha what a joke! The contractions were stepping up and getting ‘bitey’. I changed positions for each contraction, using my yoga poses, rescue remedy and heat packs to help me get through them. I managed on my own until about 11:30pm and then had to get DH up (who hadn’t slept a bit!) to help me focus through them. At 1:30am I told him to ring my midwife and tell her to ‘get here now!’. I had started to worry about the 40min!! car ride to the hospital and how on earth I was going to get through it in such pain. My midwife arrived at 1:45am and I wanted to leave then! I had always planned on being at home as long as possible but I felt like I was ready now! She smiled and said “Nah we’ll hang here for a while” knowing that I still probably had a while to go yet! By 2:30am my contractions had stepped up again and were coming 3minutely. I really had to concentrate through them now. Although I had wanted to avoid internal examinations unless necessary we decided to do one before leaving for the hospital just to double check I was dilating. Things were definitely on there way and I was 5cm dilated.
3:40am we arrived at the hospital after a painful 40min car ride. The only thing that kept me going through it all was just breathing through the contractions and staying calm. I kept telling myself we were almost there, it was extremely hard but keeping calm and focussed was my key to getting through. My midwife who had driven in a separate car had called ahead to tell them we were coming in and to fill up the bath. They said they couldn’t as there was a lady in there who didn’t look like she was getting out any time soon. My poor midwife freaked out! Just before we left the house I had said to her how I couldn’t wait to get in that bath. She was considering ringing a friend to bring her homebirth bath pool over but thought she’d hold off. As we walked through to our room a midwife informed my midwife that the lady had gotten out of the bath and would be ready in a few mins for me. I was very surprised and relieved to hear this and jumped straight into the shower whilst waiting for the bath.
4am Into the bath I went. It felt fantastic! I gripped onto my DH throughout each contraction and breathed through each one. I found that if I let myself relax in between contractions I was actually falling in and out of REM sleep, then I was ready and prepared to breathe through the next one. If I didn’t do this and just worried about the next one hitting I ended up almost hyperventilating during the contraction, so my aim was to just breathe deeply. I also used my DH and midwife to help me through them by just staring into their eyes and listening to their encouragement.
6:50am By now I was feeling exhausted and like things had slowed down. Contractions were still coming hard and fast but my waters were intact and causing lots of pressure. Another hour passed (where did the time go!) and finally they exploded! I remember my midwife had ducked out of the room and all of a sudden this huge pop and blast of water hit my leg, I told my husband that I think my waters had finally burst and to get my midwife back in, I don’t know why but I was stressing out! She told me to remain calm. The ‘pressure’ feeling had subsided but the contractions intensified again. I’d had enough by now and asked her for some gas to get me through. The gas didn’t do much for the pain, just took the edge off them and mainly helped me to keep breathing deeply. I was 10cm dilated and waiting for the ‘pushing’ feeling.
8:50am I remember being almost scared to push when the feeling came over my body. It was such a strange sensation and for some reason I wanted to fight it, I guess I was getting the hang of dealing with the contractions and now I had to learn to do something new! I was having trouble pushing so my midwife suggested I give up the gas, reluctantly I did and it helped a lot. I was now able to feel my body doing what it needed to do and I could focus on the pushing. I remember after each push I could feel him slipping backwards and I was almost crying saying ‘No No he’s going back in!’ But by now I was determined to get this baby out and soon, Id had enough! On the next contraction my midwife guided my breathing and all of a sudden I felt a pop which produced his head! I felt instant relief. My husband and midwife watched as DS rotated himself, boy that felt strange! I was laughing at how bizarre it felt. On the next contraction, which seemed to take forever to come, I gently pushed his body out. My midwife lifted him up and we heard his first cry, she placed him on my chest and I just kept staring at him in amazement! I’d done it! He was here!
All up I was and am extremely pleased with how my birth experience went. I had a plan and wanted a ‘natural’ birth in water, and I got it. Although I ended up having 40mins of gas I am still extremely proud of what I did. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt but I couldn’t imagine doing it on land without the help of the water!
Welcoming Finn into the world: My first birth (by Natalie Burgess)
As a midwife I yearned to experience pregnancy and birth, wanting to capture for myself that magic moment of birth.
I remember being distressed with morning sickness, and then at 26 weeks needing to finish work due to an irritable uterus. Swollen ankles and not feeling connected with my body in pregnancy was how I spent the time leading up to the birth of our first son.
I thought I was prepared, regular yoga and the knowledge of birth as a midwife, plus the wonderful and caring support of my Obstetrician.
I was fearful of going post dates and requested an induction at term. A prostins induction was booked, due to a hard and unfavorable cervix.
The insertion of the prostin gel immediately caused a period like sensation, I was uncomfortable already and I had not really started anything yet. DH went home and I had a shower, intending to go to sleep and wake up the next morning ready to labor. My body and my baby had other ideas.
Regular period like discomfort came in waves, I was uncomfortable, tense and apprehensive. The midwives on night shift suggested a warm bath to help me settle, and oh the bath was so good. As soon as I got into the bath the waves came with increasing intensity, all in my back, and I remember thinking ‘the bath was supposed to settle things down, not speed them up’. I started breathing through the waves, focusing, breathing, relaxing in between, and then a pressure and a pop as my waters broke. I suddenly felt vulnerable, fearful and wanted out…it was too soon, I was not ready, DH was still at home. I got out of the bath, and wham the waves came at me hard and fast, no break in between (so it felt) and so painful…I was crying and getting distressed that it was all happening too fast. An examination was suggested to see how I was doing, and I just couldn’t get on the bed and my one thought was to make it stop…I requested an epidural, and my DH.
To cut it short…the first epidural fell out, the second one was patchy…I was numb and couldn’t move but had a lovely patch of pain on the right side of my belly. I was 9cm when finally the third epidural worked. I wasn’t happy, crying and begging anyone to please make it stop. This is not what I imagined birth to be.
Then some sleep and no pain…just a drug haze, people coming and going, DH looking drawn and pale. I became a midwife, dissociating myself from what was happening. I watched the monitor. My Ob visited, still posterior but fully dilated, let’s wait for the head to come down. An hour passed and it was suggested I try a few pushes. Nothing…I could feel nothing…no urge, no sensation, nothing. I watched the monitor…heart rate was dipping with slow recovery after each push, no descent. I was in midwife mode, and suggested a vacuum would be in order. Still not wanting to be the mother on the bed…wanting to be the midwife, calm, reassuring, it will be ok.
Finn was born with vacuum. I had no sensation of his delivery. I remember thinking of anything other than being the woman on the bed, feet in stirrups, exposed and vulnerable. My lovely Obstetrician placed Finn on my chest…was this my baby?...I looked at DH and suddenly felt some emotion. It was over and I could rest.
I wanted to breast feed, but Finn had a temperature and a high respiratory rate, and was taken to the neonatal unit. No skin to skin, no first breast feed.
The next few days passed in a blur, Finn in neonates, I still could not quite believe that I had a baby. I felt disconnected and dared not share this with anyone. I was a midwife, we are supposed to just get on and know how to feel and what to do.
I gave up breast feeding after 4weeks. I was diagnosed with PND when Finn was 10 weeks.
I can look back now and see my path of anxiety and fear. My second birth I was fearless and welcoming, birth was intense, amazing, powerful, enjoyable…everything I imagined it could be.
Today I use this experience to work with women, understand why they fear and share with them how birth can truly be beautiful.
The Birth of Neave (VBAC – vaginal birth after caesarean) By Terese
The birth of our first daughter Millie was an unexpected caesarean section, and this is my story of Neave’s birth, which was a wonderful journey of self awareness, understanding and empowerment of my birthing ability.
The evening before my expected due date I experienced what I now know to be early labor. I had a show a few days earlier, and continued to lose small amounts of my mucus plug over the days leading up to labor. It was a Wednesday evening and my husband, little girl Millie and I were out for dinner at around 7pm when I became aware of an increasing tightness from hip to hip and around my navel, a heaviness in my pelvis and a generalized lower backache. I felt a little withdrawn and quiet, and rather emotional, nauseas and thirsty all at the same time! On returning home I went to bed and felt the gentle surges quite rapidly develop into stronger and more insistent sensations, occurring every 5 minutes. After 4 of these the surges they once again became gentle, occasionally becoming more intense, I drifted in and out of sleep that night and felt the presence of my baby’s head deep down within my pelvis.
The next morning I awoke to a gentle period like sensation, and the day passed with the normal activity of our 2 year old daughter, until 9pm when I was sitting on the couch with my husband and suddenly became aware that something was…’pop’ and my waters broke. I felt very emotional with the sudden release of my bag of waters and as I moved into the shower I started laughing, feeling so very excited and elated that this was it, labor was starting. At 9.35pm I felt the first surge, and at 1015pm I wanted to be in my birthing space (at the local hospital). There was no pain, just an intensity of the uterus working and I felt very relaxed, comfortable and focused.
At 11pm we arrived at the hospital and we made our way to the delivery suite. The surges where coming in waves of 3 and then I would get a break. I was focusing on seated forward bending positions that encouraged my focus and pelvis opening, while my wonderful husband massaged my lower back. At some stage after my arrival my obstetrician came in and read my birth plan, outlining little to no intervention, I was expecting some resistance to this but he seemed happy to accept my wishes as long as he could ensure my progress in labor with vaginal examinations. After a VE I was thrilled to discover I was 5cm and fully effaced, which was very encouraging.
The bath was suggested, but was soon abandoned as it was simply too small for my comfort and I soon found myself settled sitting on the birth ball in the shower, resting my arms and head forward onto the shower rail, husband rubbing my lower back and moaning away. I felt so wonderfully focused and relaxed, with no awareness of the passing of time. Then a sudden urge to push and a desire to move out of the shower. I moved onto the bed and assumed a forward bending position that I had favored throughout pregnancy and labor (from yoga). I then moved from an all 4’s position to side lying, until finally finding comfort laying back on the bed with my feet as close to my perineum as they would go, knees pointing upwards. The urge to push increased and I found that I had lost some of my focus and breath control and remember asking for the gas as I breathed through the last few surges until the urge to push became an overwhelming sensation.
I birthed Neave with my feet on the hips of 2 people with my hands under my thighs, essentially a deep squat but on my back and with a mirror I was able to watch as my baby’s head began to appear, and as her head came out I observed a little hand neatly tucked under her chin. I turned away at this point (hoping to not tear) and then as she was birthed she turned her head to look at me as she was bought onto my chest and then took her first beautiful cry.
Our beautiful Neave was here.
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