Birthday reflections two years on.
Waiting for early signs
At 41+3 weeks pregnant, I decided to go for a mid-morning nap because I was feeling very uncomfortable and hadn’t been sleeping great. It was summer and the weather was hot. I had been having a lot of irregular surges for a couple of days but with this being my third child, I knew it was Braxton Hicks, which are practice contractions and don’t cause your cervix to dilate. As I lay down to nap with my toddler, however, I had a surge that made me take note. I breathed through it and went to sleep but 25 minutes later another stronger surge woke me up. I can sleep through almost anything so I knew it was showtime!
22 minutes later, another surge, and then I had the urge to go to the toilet where my show started coming away. I phoned Sebastian at work and told him to start thinking about coming home, as the early birth was starting.
We had planned not to go to the hospital until my surges were three or four minutes apart but I was struggling to concentrate on dealing with my surges because my two other kids were at home. Although my mum was on hand to help with the kids, the environment was not as relaxed as I wanted it to be. So, when the surges became 10 minutes apart we decided to go into hospital because I knew it would be easier for me to focus.
At the hospital
When we arrived at the hospital at 2pm, I was 4cm dilated and my waters were still intact. We settled into our room, put some nice music on and decided to chat about our other kids’ births. We reminded ourselves of how positive they were and recalled the funny things that happened during the birth, so that made us laugh and got the oxytocin flowing. My surges were regular, intense and powerful and each one got me closer to my little baby girl.
Just after 5pm I felt an urge to push even though I wasn’t fully dilated. So, I went to the toilet and my body completely emptied my bowels – which is a very positive sign of the baby’s birth being imminent. The surges were very, very intense. I stood up for each surge. It was overpowering; I literally had to stand up. The room was silent, as per our birth plan, which helped me focus.
I knew the baby was close because I felt like I wanted to give up (transition). From my hypnobirthing training I knew that the hormones were switching to adrenaline to facilitate the ‘pushing part’ of birth, and this change in hormone levels can make you feel doubt and sadness. My birth partner and midwife helped me into my preferred birth position squatting on the bed.
At this stage my waters broke, though it was more of a trickle because the baby was so far down, the waters couldn’t come out as fast as it does on tv shows!
An unexpected turn
At that point all sensation just went away. I had no urge to push or breathe or anything. Nothing. So we waited. A minute later, when I should have felt the urge to push, I still felt nothing. Nothing. I’m sure that if I hadn’t requested “no cheerleading or telling me to push” in my birth plan, I would have been encouraged to do so. But the room was silent. Then another minute passed.
My midwife asked if she could feel to see if there was anything going on and she realised that my baby was coming out like Superman; one hand first. If I had pushed, this would have hurt her and me. My body was telling me to do nothing, so that’s what I did. The midwife maneuvered her hand away.
Once my naughtly little Superwoman’s hand was moved out of the way, the surges came back and I had an overwhelming urge to push. Sofia’s head came out and then her body came out. I couldn’t catch her because her umbilical cord was very short but the midwife placed her between my legs so I could see her and… my goodness. She was beautiful! Perfect! I changed position so I could sit down and hold her and she immediately latched onto my breast and started feeding.
Sofia was out but there were still two more contractions and then the placenta came out, intact.
Reflections two years on
The midwives were wonderful. Very calming and professional. They explained everything very well and stuck to our birth plan.
Sebastian cried at how beautiful Sofia was and how awesome I had been, obviously.
The birth wasn’t exactly how I had visualised it. I would have preferred to stay at home longer with my mum and the older kids, but it was just too busy and distracting. We were able to adjust our plan very fast and adapt to having more time at the hospital.
Sebastian, who is now a professional birth partner, was amazing. He was comforting, encouraging and dealt with everyone else so I could focus on my breathing and listening to my body.
Two years on I can look back and see how this birth was very different from my other two. I learned how important it is to be in tune with and listen to your body and to remember: every pregnancy and birth is different.
With the right preparation you can feel in control and know what to expect, so that you can be in tune with and listen to your body.
Check out my hypnobirthing course to learn everything you need about listening to your body during birth.