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:
Natalie Faulkner, nearly 36.
1st September 2018.
Cravings during pregnancy:
Cheese on everything and lots of butter and salt. I just wanted heavy carbs, and anything refreshing with ice.
So much morning sickness that went all day. I could barely move without being sick. I was scared to go out in public. This lasted until 26 weeks, then I started to feel much better.
Biggest concern about birth was:
Something happening to the baby or myself during labour. I was terrified the midwives would ignore me if I wanted drugs and I was worried I would have an anxiety attack and be too overwhelmed.
Ideal birth plan was:
Water birth as long as I could, and to have candles and relaxing music. My first pregnancy I had diabetes so I was classified as high risk and was not allowed in the water. This time I really wanted to try a water birth to try to calm myself more. I had everything packed this time around. The first time I really got caught up in the labour pain and became overwhelmed. This time I studied breathing and affirmations and although I was nervous, I was excited. I wanted drugs at some stage but I also wanted things to be calmer around me. My playlist was set and I was so stoked I didn’t get diabetes and was told I could certainly try getting in the spa in my birth suite for a while when the time came.
How we went from wombmate to roommate:
I was 38 weeks pregnant on the dot and had been having braxton hicks all week. They were uncomfortable but bearable, and I noticed they were becoming regular during the night on this particular Friday. I timed them and they were consistently 5 minutes apart. I called my midwife and she said it doesn’t sound like full labour but if I was concerned to come in for a check up. I called my friend who lived up the road to tell her and asked if she could mind Jude (my 2 year old son) while I pop into the hospital for a check up later that day (we have no family nearby) She immediately turned up and said ‘go now, I just have a feeling!!’ Luckily because baby was born around 45 minutes later!
We arrived at the Gold Coast University hospital and I had one very strong contraction in the car park that brought tears to my eyes. I said to my husband Blake ‘oh gosh maybe it is more than braxton hicks!’ But then once I checked in and saw my midwife, I hadn’t had a contraction for nearly 15 minutes. So I thought it was all a false alarm. The midwife checked me and said ‘You are 2cm dilated so you are in early stages of labour, but still a while away yet. Go home and rest and give it some time.’ I suddenly had this vision of birthing in the car and started crying and said ‘No I don’t want to leave the hospital. Can I just hang in the food court downstairs?’
She sensed my concern and said ‘Look no one is using this room so feel free to hang around for a little while. Hop in the shower and I will check you again in 10 minutes after my tea break.’ She then went for morning tea. I immediately hopped into the shower and my husband Blake put the shower hose on my lower back as I had a sudden contraction. Then I had another one close together. They were so irregular. I walked around for a couple of minutes when I suddenly felt the urge to go to the toilet to poo. I said to Blake Quick tell someone I want to poo. I am certain it’s a baby’s head!!’ He ran out and grabbed the first midwife he saw. Two came casually into the room to look and sure enough, there was a head! It hadn’t even been a full 10 minutes since the first midwife went on a break.
They quickly tried to get me down the hallway to the birth suite. I was practically naked, not even slightly caring who saw me – a couple was checking in for an induction as I was wandering half nude down to birth suite! We walked into the room and the two midwives were rushing trying to get a gown and gloves on. I shouted ‘tell someone I want an epidural now or some drugs of some sort!’ I was hell bent on drugs. I was scared of feeling the pain. I had an epidural with my first and was happy with that. A contraction started again. The midwife said ‘No time for drugs dear! This baby is coming now! Listen to what I tell you and breathe.’ We had only just walked into the room and I had just made it to the edge of the bed and put my hands on the bed for support.
The next minute was a blur. I literally pushed twice and out came my baby, so fast while I was standing up! One midwife didn’t even get time to put her gown on. My waters broke all over her! My husband was on the opposite side of the bed and watched baby come out while looking under the bed. It was so fast he hadn’t even gotten around to my side of the bed. I was leaning over holding his hand and as she came out I reached down and grabbed her! She was quietly blinking and looking at us and we all just burst out laughing. We couldn’t stop! We were all in shock. She was so calm and quiet but arrived so fast!!!
I then laid on the bed as they cut the cord and checked me over. Just cuddling her and laughing. It was crazy! I was so amazed I was able to do it drug free. I thought I wouldn’t be able to, but it was so fast. I didn’t feel exhausted like my first labour. I was hardly even sweating. I was totally amazed. I had a slight graze that required 1 stitch just to be careful; but other than that I had no tearing. I was able to have a shower and walk around which was really different to when I had my epidural for my first birth. She was a bit bruised on her face from the pressure of coming out so fast, and she had lots of fluid in her ears. But other than that she was fine.
My husband and I then stayed in the birth suite for about an hour just to bond and they brought us some sandwiches and cordial, then we walked down to my room. The Gold Coast University hospital has amazing rooms. I had one all to myself so I rested with bub while Blake went home to grab our son Jude to bring him back to meet his baby sister. It was just so lovely! That whole day she was so quiet but gosh she came alive that night and cried every time I put her down hahahaha! I was also sooooo thirsty all night which made sleeping very hard because I had to keep waking up to drink so much water. I recommend taking a good drink bottle to the hospital!
Most vivid memory during labour:
Two moments that are etched into my memory are me thinking surely I am not having this baby yet! I have hardly had any contractions! And then when it was happening just feeling so excited to meet her and literally smiling through my final push. I was like YESSSS I can do this people! Look at me go!
Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
Probably when the midwife that had gone on her tea break told us she saw the other two midwives run to our room when I said I had the urge to go to the toilet. She asked what was happening and someone said “the Faulkner girl who was only 2cm 10 minutes ago thinks she is about to give birth.’ And then she told me she spat her tea out when they said I was at 10cm. They all couldn’t believe it.
During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
To have a baby so fast.
A myth/misconception I believed prior that I now don’t is:
Picking up babies will spoil them. IT DEFINITELY DOES NOT!
Sorry for shouting, but picking up a baby and cuddling and loving them does not spoil them. They are so little for such a short amount of time. Lots of love and cuddles will actually help them thrive and to feel safe. I encourage anyone with a baby to cuddle all day long (ok that is not possible but enjoy it when you can!)
Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Lola Eve Faulkner, 18/8/18, 3140g
Baby’s name was almost:
Time spent in hospital post birth:
2 nights. Mostly because I wanted a rest before I went home to my crazy toddler hahahaha! They said I could have gone home that day otherwise.
Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Bath the baby with a clean cloth nappy wrapped around them. It makes them less slippery and eases them into the bath. Lola screamed without it! Also when they scream in the car, flick the radio off station slightly and you have your own white noise. It made her quiet instantly!
Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
Love to dream swaddles, jumpsuits with zips and a soft wrap carrier that keeps them close to your body.
Also – white noise machine.
If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
You look amazing no matter how terrible you feel. Take lots of photos.
If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
You are bloody incredible. It is worth any pain!
If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
Relax. Who cares about the housework? Have a nap.
Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
Do some breath work, have affirmations and a birth plan but don’t be hell bent on that plan. Be open to all possibilities and just be kind to yourself. You are growing a human and you are amazing. Birth is beautiful in every way. You got this mama!
Any further notes you’d like to include:
New mamas, make sure you take care of yourself in those early days after birth. Everyone fusses over the baby but you need attention and fuss too. Your body aches, feeding can be exhausting, you feel different and tired. Delegate help when you can with family and friends and look for assistance in your local area with midwife programs, clinics and mums groups to get check ups and don’t burn yourself out. Your health and mental well being is very important.
If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue celebrating this incredible life changing event!