Birth. It is the most incredible, indescribable, unpredictable and miraculous occurrence. Bringing life into the world is an experience that is personal and precious beyond belief. Each delivery is different to the next, and yet I feel that despite the varying differences it is something so special it can actually bring us altogether. I’m pulling together a range of real birth stories to share in the hope of expanding our knowledge and expectations of birth, and to dwell in the wonder that is the gift of life, in the countless forms it may arrive in!
Name & age at birth:
Anna – 37
3rd of October
Cravings during pregnancy:
All the carbs – toasted cheese sandwiches, salty food at the start like two minute noodles, and even greek yoghurt, and more sweet foods towards the end of the pregnancy, like chocolate cake with cream, couldn’t get enough of cream (I never had sweet cravings with the boys/previous pregnancies)
Shocking morning sickness from week 7 until 17 weeks! This was the worst out of my three pregnancies. There were days where I couldn’t get out of bed and I had to crawl to the toilet because my blood pressure was so low. I couldn’t drive and I couldn’t even drink water. I was nauseous from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. It was debilitating. I only felt some relief if I laid down flat. I ended up going to the hospital and going on medication (Zofran) which didn’t really help at all.
Although this was a super tough time, eventually when the sickness passed, I really enjoyed everything about the pregnancy, I had lots of energy and was able to exercise up to the birth.
Ideal birth plan:
I had gone into each of my three births with the plan to have as natural a birth as possible – no drugs/intervention and a vaginal delivery. I planned to use hypnobirthing techniques and to have my mum and husband with me as supports. I liked warm water as natural pain relief, with a water birth if possible. The shower was the option if I was induced (warm water had been a life saver in my second birth).
Hours in labour:
2 hrs 16mins, pushing only – 12mins.
This was recorded on the paperwork, but from the time the waters were broken until birth was 5 hours.
How we went from wombmate to roommate:
It all starts a whole 12 days over my due date… This had happened to me before as I was 14 days overdue with my first.
After being monitored by my doctors at 41 weeks, given the ok, I requested to go home and wait for this baby to come naturally on its own. Unfortunately this baby had other ideas. After going for long walks everyday, having a sweep, seeing my Chinese herbalist for intensive acupuncture, this baby was not coming on its own. So on day 12 of being overdue, I reluctantly and very grumpily headed to the Women’s Hospital to get induced. In saying that, of course I was looking the part. I was covered in fake tan, had the fresh nails and lash extensions, hair curled…If I couldn’t control when this baby would come, I was going to damn sure control how I would look when they did eventually come.
At around 5:30pm I was assessed by the midwives to find I was only 2 centimetres dilated, and was given the gel. It worked straight away and contractions started instantly. I put my headphones on to listen to my hypnobirth sound track and walked around the hospital with my husband. The contractions would come and go, but being my third birth, I knew that this was just the start. So I just rested and breathed through them. Then (which I found weird) they sent Paul home around 9:30pm with the plan to break my waters in the morning.
I could feel the contractions getting more intense but I was happy to breathe through them – again I knew from experience that these were not the bad ones yet, so I watched a little Frasier to distract myself.
Around 11:30pm the midwife came in to tell me the monitor was showing that things were moving along really well (she was impressed at how I was handling them) and to call my husband. They moved me into the birthing suite. Paul arrived at midnight & I fell asleep listening to my hypno, though I was woken at 3am by the midwife and doctor who informed me I was 4cm and that they were going to break my waters there and then.
From the ‘get go’ I had been determined to give myself as much time as I could to limit any intervention. So when the doctor insisted the drip should go in straight away after the waters were broken (I recalled my experience with Stanley’s birth with the drip where the contractions came on at an intense rate with no breaks in between), it was a clear no from me. I had my Birth Plan written out and the beautiful midwife Katie was all for this. I was so grateful she advocated for me and together we pushed the notion that I was to do this on my own with no drip for at least a few hours and then be reassessed.
We were able to follow through with what my birth plan outlined. We turned off all the lights, turned on all my LED tea light candles around the room and we turned my hypno music up loud on the Bluetooth speaker. I changed into my bathers, because I remember Katie saying “Let’s get in those bathers, cause as we know, birth is messy…”
The doctor broke my waters and the contractions started straight away, albeit at a tolerable pace. I started by just breathing through them, with Paul massaging and cuddling me, rocking on the exercise ball and using gas.
It is important during hypnobirthing to keep the atmosphere calm and consistent (as I learned from my previous two births, that moving from my calm home set up to the bright hospital rooms, I lost that hypno state). We moved into the bathroom – keeping it dark, the candles lit, with the speaker following us to keep the flow of my breathing the same. Then as the contractions got stronger, I moved into the shower still on the ball, using the shower head on my lower back were the pain was. What I noticed more about this birth compared to the others was that I felt in control of my body, and aware of what was happing around me. With my previous births, I didn’t know who was next to me, who was in the room and I spent the whole time just getting through the contractions.
This time, even with few minutes in between, I felt like I could sit up and talk to everyone and take the chance to rest and build up my strength. It was just an all round better experience. Once I was in the shower they told me to call my mum and close friend, Alicia (who was studying midwifery and wanted to be in the room with me) as it was getting close to the end.
Mum arrived, who had been a great support and birth partner during all my births (she was a nurse previously). I would not want to do it without Paul and her by my side. She turned up in a red & white stripy top and thanks to the gas I just referred to her the whole time from then on as “Where’s Wally”!
The midwives were having trouble finding the baby’s heart beat in the shower, so we moved onto the bed where they needed me to move the monitor around to find the baby’s heartbeat. It was extremely uncomfortable because it wasn’t the position I wanted to be in. They tried to get me to push but I could feel it wasn’t time and when they checked I was only 9cm. Eventually they had to put a scalp monitor on the baby’s head. Then I was able to get into any position that made me feel comfortable, so being on the bed, I closed my eyes and somehow (not entirely sure how) I managed to completely zone out and get myself into a relaxed hypnotic state where I went still, closed my eyes, and used what I had learnt in hypno to get through those last contractions. My mum and Paul immediately both thought it meant things weren’t progressing because I was so still, but the midwives advised that on the monitor they were still coming strong.
Then I had the strong, natural urge to push! Which made me stand straight up and just walk right to the toilet. They all ran after me to help, telling me that the baby was coming at any minute.
Once I was done there, I felt ready to push. (I remember joking with Alicia I wasn’t going to do that while pushing in front of her and I don’t care how close we were). They told me to get on the bed into a position that felt comfortable, and without thinking about it, it felt right to just climb up on all fours.
The midwife guided me to breathe out and down into the bottom of my stomach, and then do quick, little breaths instead of just pushing, which really worked (unlike with the boys births, where I felt I needed to really push). Again an example of how during this birth, I was so aware of my body and in control. It was such an empowering feeling. The way the midwife instructed worked well and was a less painful birthing experience overall. I could feel the baby coming down.
This stage lasted 12 minutes. Her head was out, and I could hear baby noises. I asked with my head down in the bed, still on all fours “Is that my baby?” The midwives, mum and Alicia were all telling me “yes it is!” The baby was already making noises before she was out! I didn’t know that was possible, but maybe that was a sign of what is to come…
Then came the shoulders and arms and I looked down between my legs, grabbed her, guided by the midwives and pulled her out!
I pulled her towards me onto the bed underneath me and there she was just so perfect.
Most vivid memory during birth:
The feeling of pulling her out and having her little body in front of me in my arms. She was right there in front of me and the overwhelming feeling of empowerment and relief that I had done it and it was over. She was here and healthy.
Then after a minute the midwife said have a look what sex? That wonderful moment to look down to see that “It’s a girl!” Then I made them check about three more times.
Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
When I could hear her making noises already when her head was only just out! It was a sign of things to come I think!
During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
That they would break my waters in the middle of the night – at 3am in the morning.
Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Goldie Jones Kimber, 8 pounds, 16th of October
13 days overdue – so much for being worried we would share a birthday, as she was due two days after my birthday on the 1st of October.
Baby’s name was almost:
If she was a boy, her name would have been Sidney Jones Kimber.
Time spent in hospital post birth:
Only just the one night which I did with all my babies. We were lucky to have our own room though. I wanted to be home with my family as soon as I was able and Stanley my eldest wanted us home with him.
Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
The Dockatot – I can’t say enough good things about this product. It replicates a ‘womb-like’ environment which became Goldie’s bed in the day and we put it next to us during the night in our bed. She loved being in it as it created a nice, safe, comfy space. It is portable so I could take it with me to my mum’s house when I would stay over. We would put her in it up off the floor to keep her away from the other two kids in the early days. A lifesaver.
Baby Bjorn Mini – having a baby carrier is necessary as all my kids loved being close to me and would spend hours in there when chasing the other crazy two.
4 Moms Rocker – she loved it from day one, and it meant I could get a good length shower and make dinner when she was in there. She still likes it at 6 months.
(have to add a fourth) TommeeTippee Click and Twist Nappy Bin – saved hundred’s of trips to the bin, and helps that it doesn’t look to bad in her little room.
If you have a birth story you’d like to share then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation!