“Before I was pregnant, I thought I’d just have an epidural and all the drugs, I wasn’t really phased and didn’t have the knowledge and education. But it really does mean so much on the other side to have such a calm, intervention & drug free experience. I’m so proud of myself and hope by sharing our positive experience with people that they are aware they can have that too.”
Alex, Peaceful Birthing Mother
The last few weeks of pregnancy seemed to take forever, I was trying to stay calm and relaxed but I’m not one to sit around! I did try gentle natural induction techniques including a few acupuncture appointments, but baby comes when they’re ready! After the 40 weeks mark, we didn’t feel any pressure from the Midwives to be induced, but the Doctors were keen to book in inductions, and even tried to move forward appointments.
“Josh and I just spoke about it away from the hospital, it’s just too hard to make those decisions when the energy in the room is stressful. We felt comfortable in declining induction as we’d learnt all about this in the Hypnobirthing class with Simone, and we’d done our own research, we knew baby was safe as we had monitoring in the hospital. “
I had a follow up appointment at 40 weeks + 10 days, and that day I was really agitated, worried I’d be pushed for an induction, but also the waiting was starting to get to me, so Josh took the next 2 days off work because he could see I really needed him. At the induction appointment, I felt so blessed that we got the Midwife we did, she said ‘My babies didn’t come until 10 days over. The Doctors are busy right now, so how about you just come back Monday if you still haven’t had the baby?’! She just completely brushed it off, didn’t even mention induction. So much support and no pressure. That night I went into labour!
I woke up Thursday morning around 12.30am at 40 weeks 11 days, and started to feel tightenings and cramping, which I’d had every now and then for the last few weeks, but this felt different. I was able to rest for a while, but when I started to get uncomfortable, I had to get onto my hands and knees, that’s when I decided to wake Josh. We put the TENs machine on, and from there, around 2am, it started getting more intense. We timed surges intermittently and I wasn’t getting much of a break, maybe 30 seconds and the surge was about 2 minutes long. I felt we did really well at home labouring just the two of us, we made it through the nights and decided to message Jess (our Birth Doula) at 8.30am. At this point Josh was sure the baby was coming because I wasn’t getting a break. He said ‘We’re going to the hospital’! We told Jess we’d meet her there, but she asked us to stay at home just until she arrived and we’re so glad we did.
“As soon as Jess set foot in our home it was instant relaxation and calmness, she just bought me back to my breath. She was amazing. She massaged me, reminded me to during a surge, and telling me everything was fine and I was doing an amazing job. Josh was incredible, but having someone in the space that was familiar with birth was a game changer.”
She just knew what to say and when because Josh says I wasn’t listening to him! Even just with water and food, he would offer, and I’d say no, then Jess would offer and I’d take it. Sorry Josh! Amy our birth photographer was such a calming presence too.
I felt like I was out of my body, but at the same time I could hear who was talking and I can remember what was being said. Amy came in a few times and massaged me when Jess went to the toilet and provided words of encouragement through the day. I was blown away by how amazing they both were.
“It was such a calming energy and it allowed Josh to be up close to me, holding my hand and within my vision. I felt so safe and it was just such a beautiful space. I was able to get into a trance like state, Josh said my eyes were even rolling in the back of my head! So primal, it was a big eye opener for Josh. “
We spent time in the loungeroom on the birth ball and on my hands and knees, then when things stepped up again, we went into the shower. The counter pressure on my back from Jess really helped, as well as the massage and light touch. Josh even saw the purple line moving up my bottom which was a sign I was progressing nicely. Incredible!
“There were moments when I really struggled, and I’d say I can’t do this, and Jess or Josh would give me the verbal lift I needed to keep going. “
I was in the shower for hours, until we finally left at 3pm for the hospital. This was a big moment, I was so reluctant to get into the car, even though it was only a 5-minute drive! I ended up going with Amy as she had a bigger car that I could shift positions in, and Jess and Josh met us at the hospital.
“Once we arrived at the hospital, eye mask on, we were blessed with the allocated Midwife! I had seen her at an earlier appointment where I gave her my birth preferences, and she was just so excited! She said “I love this, Hypnobirthing is amazing, I just hope I can look after you in your birth”. She then took the preferences in to show the other midwives and they all were so excited to see this! “
When we arrived, this midwife had just started her shift and she was stoked to see us! I could tell she was so passionate about supporting our birth preferences and making the space safe. I remember her saying ‘bear down with the surge’ and it stuck in my mind. A midwife would be so used to saying contraction, and it just illustrated how supportive she was.
We were hoping for a waterbirth, but this is really new for Gympie Hospital and the trained midwives weren’t available, so I hopped straight into the shower. It was in there for hours! Josh in my line of sight for most of the time, and Jess behind me providing physical support.
After a few hours, I was began to feel the urge to push, and I was pushing for quite a few hours, but baby’s hand was blocking the exit. After some time, someone suggested a position change to lie on my side, and I was so tired that sounded good. I left the shower and got onto the bed on my side. Our midwife asked for permission to have a look and see if she could see what was happening. I couldn’t get on my back to do this, it was far too uncomfortable, so she ended up doing this on my side. I had a cervical lip, so she pushed it back and that moved things along again. I’m so grateful this worked!
“Another moment that our wishes were supported of not being on my back. She was so calming, saying ‘are you sure you’re ok for me to touch you?’, we were blown away by how amazing she was.”
The Midwife and Jess did some optimal position techniques to relax the tendons and fascia. I had no vaginal examinations the entire time; Jess and the Midwives could tell things were progressing, so there was just no need. That was one of the amazing things about having a Doula!
“Eventually our baby moved into position, and I gave birth on all fours, Josh caught our baby, she was so slippery but a very special moment! We were beyond thrilled, but just so so exhausted. I was able to lie on the bed, gazing into our daughters’ eyes for the very first time! “
The placenta was birthed without any problems, and the midwife showed us it’s incredible tree of life pattern. So beautiful!
Afterwards I looked back and thought, I can’t believe we did that, even Josh was tired! And the girls massaging me, I felt sorry for them! Then I remembered I just pushed a baby out!
“I just never thought I’d have a birth like that. Before I was pregnant, I thought I’d just have an epidural and all the drugs, I wasn’t really phased and didn’t have the knowledge and education. But it really does mean so much on the other side to have such a calm, intervention & drug free experience. I’m so proud of myself and hope by sharing our positive experience with people that they are aware they can have that too. “
We decided to get the placenta encapsulated as well, and Natalie was just another beautiful soul that came in and lifted us! The people that we have been surrounded with have just been so perfect. We feel like the seed was planted from the Hypnobirthing class, a huge eye opener to birth and what it could look and feel like, and from there we did so much research and decided to go for whatever we felt would help us to have a positive birth & start to our life as a family of 3! And it absolutely has worked for us.
The main things that really worked for us was the Hypnobirthing education to help us understand birth and to feel calmer at the time, having the Birth Doula, the TENs machine, the shower, light touch and massage, and a sprinkle of luck with our Midwives at the hospital.
From a partner’s perspective on a birth doula Josh said: ‘I wouldn’t have had it any other way; it was great. We had the guidance, and Alex was able to get into a trance, and we all worked as a team. In terms of financial outlay, I wouldn’t even put a number on the incredible experience we’ve had.’
Welcome earthside baby Henley!
Henley was born on 21st September 2023 at 8.03pm