“I just felt like there was so many bumps in the road! After a good cry, I just kept labouring with the gas, breathing through the surges. I spent some time in the shower and kneeling on all fours on a mattress. Luke & Simone continued to tell me how amazing I was doing, which was so essential in those moments when I wanted to give up. ”
Mirinda, Peaceful Birthing Mother
The last 3 weeks of my pregnancy was really challenging mentally. I had it in my head that we’d go early, I think because at the 32 week mark we were told the measurements of our baby’s abdomen was on the large side so we may need to be induced at 39 weeks. But no further conversations evolved, so we just continued along with our birthing preferences!
“After all my own research, doing the Hypnobirthing Australia course and engaging Simone as our birth doula, we were adamant about labour beginning spontaneously. Thankfully the hospital were really respectful of our wishes. “
At the 41 week appointment I decided to schedule in an induction even though I had no intention to follow through, I thought this might help satisfy the hospital and reduce any pressure from them. But unfortunately it really made me feel as though I was against the clock, I found it increasingly difficult to feel calm, and felt disappointed each morning when I woke still pregnant! At 41+5 I agreed to head into the hospital to monitor baby, and we were really relieved to find all was well. I had an induction booked that day and requested to cancel it, the hospital supported this if I came back for monitoring atr 42 weeks. Perhaps that did the trick, as the tightening I was having that day eventually turning into labour!! I was so thankful.
“By 7pm I was sure this was labour, and I was happy breathing through the sensations. I encourage my partner Luke to head to bed early, I wanted him fresh for later! The sensations got really strong in my back, so a few hours later I decided to wake Luke. I just couldn’t get comfortable and the feeling were so consistent.”
Around 1am I was getting quite distressed so I asked Luke to call Simone. I felt like it was too early to call but I felt I needed her support. She encouraged us to stay home, and arrived about 45 minutes later. She helped ease my mind that everything was ok, and to stay home for longer, and recommended trying to get as much rest as possible in these early hours.
“Luke and I snuggled on the couch for most of this early labour with the TENs machine on, and in between I was getting up to the toilet which was a real effort. “
My mucus plug was starting to come away, and it had some blood so I asked Simone to check. She said it looked fine. As a first time Mum it was so nice having support from someone who was experienced at this!
Once the sun was up, Luke & Simone encouraged me to become more active so I decided to hop into the bath. I needed it super hot! The surges had become more regular, 3 every 10 minutes, and I was coping quite well, enjoying the relief of the water. I did have to have a cold shower at one point though! My membranes had released so I called the hospital to let them know how I was progressing, and they advised to make my way in slowly, in my own time. Over the next hour we got ready, everything took so long as I had to stop each time I had a surge, and the walk to the car felt like a really long way, and by 10am we were on route to the hospital. I had my eye mask on and headphones in and that really helped keep my focus inward.
“I was wheeled up to the ward in the wheelchair still with my eye mask and earphones, and I was so deep in the zone by now I don’t remember even seeing the midwife. Luke gave her our birth preferences, and as we declined vaginal examinations only my blood pressure was taken along with mine and baby’s heart rate and then we were left to it.“
I was struggling with the sensation being so intense in my back, so I decided to try some gas & air (which I later found wasn’t turned up very high despite me asking if it was even on!). I didn’t feel like it did anything to reduce the sensations, but it did help regulate my breathing and gave me something to focus on. The midwife pulled Simone aside to see if she thought we should offer water injections. This was one of the many examples of the midwives being so respectful of our birthing preferences as we didn’t want any pain relief offered to us. So Simone mentioned this to me as we’d talked about it earlier at home, and I agreed to try it. Very shortly thereafter, two midwives each gave me two injections either side of my spine. I was really painful, but I immediately felt the relief in my back, and realised how different the surge felt without the back pain.
“After the water injections I felt so much better, I was able to breathe through the surges with the gas, I had the TENs machine on, and Luke was right by my side which I found so incredibly comforting. “
About an hour later I felt like the relief from the injections was wearing off, so I decided I wanted to go in the bath. The midwife recommended either a vaginal examination or a visual using a speculum to assess how progressed I was. She advised that entering the bath too early might slow down labour, and because my waters had released there was a small risk of infection by getting into the water, so it’d be ideal if we had a gauge to reduce risk. After discussing with Luke & Simone, we decided to go ahead with the speculum. It took me some time to get onto my back as it was really uncomfortable, but we were pleased to hear the midwife could see babies head!
So although I’d be given the green light to get into the bath, the next challenge was being told my temperature was up so I needed to take some Panadol and wait an hour before getting into the bath. This was mentally devastating as I had my heart set on the warm comfort of the water. Unfortunate timing where Luke had left to have a break (his first and only!), and I really needed him. Simone called him back, and as soon as he was by my side I burst into tears.
“I just felt like there was so many bumps in the road! After a good cry, I just kept labouring with the gas, breathing through the surges. I spent some time in the shower and kneeling on all fours on a mattress. Luke & Simone continued to tell me how amazing I was doing, which was so essential in those moments when I wanted to give up.”
An hour later my temperature had gone down enough to get into the water. Before I did, I decided to get another round of water injections, incredibly unpleasant again but I found the relief from the back pain I was looking for. It was around 4pm when I finally got into the water. Sweet relief! For the next few hours I laboured in the bath, Luke by my side, with the help of gas. I felt like I was gently bearing down, but I didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to push. I conveyed this to the midwife, who suggested we do a vaginal examination as this really was the only way to be sure. Again after discussing this, I made the decision to go ahead with the examination. I asked the midwife to tell Simone what the number was, and she said with a big smile ‘do I tell only her even if it’s good news?’ so I changed my mind and we were all thrilled when she said I was fully dilated! It was a huge confidence boost that I needed. It was about 7pm, I’d been in labour for 24 hours now and was exhausted.
“The next part of the birth continued to be challenging. For whatever reason, my surges slowed. I was getting 1 or 2 surges every 10 minutes, and they were really short. In hindsight, I’d say it was my body desperately needing rest before the final stages, but now that I was fully dilated and we all knew it, it was hard to go with my body when I was now on the clock. “
Simone & the midwives suggested a few ways to get things going again, hypnosis tracks, acupressure points, different positions, and the one that worked was nipple stimulation and walking around. I ended up on all fours with the mirror so I could see what was going on, and at this point I really felt like there was something stopping baby from moving down. The midwife encouraged me to feel for my babys head myself, and I felt like there was a bit of membrane. The midwife tried breaking the waters thinking perhaps it hadn’t completely gone, and although she wasn’t really sure, I felt more fluid leaking out. At about 930 the midwife, who I felt a really strong bond with, said that she’d really love to see our baby being born. Her shift finished at 11pm. She was trying to give me positive motivation but I really did feel more pressure.
“I felt a shift in energy, concern was starting to creep into the room. I’d been fully dilated for hours, and I was really questioning how long I could keep this up. Beyond exhausted, I asked the midwife what our options were.”
She advised we could either use syntocinon to make the surges stronger and more frequent, or we could try some directed pushing. I decided the most natural way forward was the directed pushing, so I got up on the bed again, legs up to my chest, and when I had a surge the midwife would put her fingers inside my cervix and tell me where to direct the pushing. This obviously worked, because it didn’t take long for the midwife & Simone to start seeing baby’s head crown! The challenge was that each surge baby would come out, then retract back in. The midwife directed me to hold her there at the end of a surge, and then push again when I felt another surge. Then came another incredibly hard moment –a change in midwife shift. Talk about terrible timing. So, as with labour up until now, I went with it. I still had Luke & Simone with me, and the new midwife did the directed pushing but it really did halt the flow.
About half an hour later at 11.30, the midwives advised that as I’d been fully dilated and pushing for so long, an Obstetrician wanted to chat with us. He came in, spent quite some time talking in length about the risks of our situation, and to be honest I wasn’t really able to take it in, but the end result was that he suggested using syntocinon. When he was done, Luke asked if we could have time to discuss. He didn’t seem to want to leave, so Simone had to ask again for time to discuss. He said ok, that he’d be back in 10 minutes. This was not at all what I’d be hoping for. I felt like I’d fought off the induction for so long, and now here it was again. I felt defeated.
In this moment, I remember looking up at Simone for help. She said ‘Mirinda, you’ve done this your way the entire pregnancy and labour. You don’t need drugs. You can do this.’ And just like that, my determination returned! Simone suggested to change positions so gravity could help, I’m pretty sure she read my mind! So the midwife brought over the birth stool.
With Luke by my side, Simone supporting from behind, and one midwife at my feet with a mirror, I could finally see my babys head, and the finish line. Two surges later her head was out!! The energy in the moment was electric. The midwife asked Simone to push the call button as there needs to be two midwives in the room, and she reached over and unfortunately pushed the emergency button so two midwives came rushing in wanting to know what the emergency was. They were told will glee that the head was out!!
A moment later her body slipped out into the world, and directed by the midwife into my arms! I couldn’t believe our daughter was finally here!
With help, I made my way over to the bed to birth the placenta. As I was pushing for so long the midwives recommended having the syntocinon shot, so we waited until the cord stopped pulsating then I had the shot. While this was happening, we had skin on skin and our first breastfeed. I was just so relived it was all over, and couldn’t quite believe that I’d done it!
I ended up with a third degree tear, and needed surgery to do it, sadly with a spinal after going through the labour with no pain relief. But it was all worth it!
Welcome earthside baby Quincy!
Quincy was born on 29th April 2023 at 11.54pm
Each time I’m invited into the birth space, I feel an overwhelm of gratitude, followed by excitement, then accountability.
I’m acutely aware of feeling accountable to support the couple to bring their child into the world in their own individuals ways, most calmly and joyously, and most importantly in a way that leaves them feeling in awe of what they’ve achieved, together. So powerful, smothered in so much love.
This particular birth however, will stay with me forever, as it formed how I view birth from a place of heart centred knowing, that agrees wholeheartedly with what my evidence based brain wants to understand, and what I teach in Hypnobirthing.
The learning for me was how imperative it is for the birthing woman to have someone, or people, in her space that she trusts, who are able to give her strength in the moments where she feels defeated. When it all feels too much, the birthing woman will look for someone to either save her, or give her the confidence and support she needs to continue on.
Luke proved to be a loving and devoted birth partner. However, there can come a time where birth partners who are unfamiliar with birth (which is most partners) feel out of their depth. They may feel drawn to saving them from the sensations they are experiencing.
In the final moments before Quincy was born, this incredible couple felt the had hit their moment of desperation; but in reality a confidence boost was all they were seeking. They had prepared themselves for an empowered experience. They had protected their birthing preferences, together as a team, when they needed to. They were not fearful of the process. In that moment, when Mirinda started to doubt herself, she needed someone to tell her she could do this.
I’ll be forever grateful I was able to be this person for Mirinda, Luke & Quincy.
Mirinda had spent many hours working her way through her surges, and navigating challenges, to get this this point. It felt so natural to guide her over this final hurdle.
And my gosh, it feel more exhilarating than a bunjy jump!
Birth is pure awe inspiring magic.