Finding out you are going to have a baby for the first time is the most exciting news. My husband and I couldn’t have been happier to find out the little bundle we had planned for was finally going to enter our world in many months time.
In the first half of my pregnancy I put the birth to the back of my mind, but as we approached the half way mark I started to think about how it would all go, what it would feel like and if I would be traumatised from the event like so many of the horror stories I had heard from family and friends.
Our obstetrician suggested we complete the calm birth course run by Dr Homar and midwife Sally Crothers. He said that other couples who had completed it had said they had great experiences after doing this course.
I booked our course and we completed it via zoom one weekend in the comfort of our lounge room. We both loved the information on the process of birth, the importance of hormones and strategies to deal with your mind and what was happening in your body. Lanziz and Sally helped us realise birth is not something to fear but what happens in your body is a natural process to embrace and enjoy.
In the lead up to my due date I wrote down what was important to me in a birth. I wanted to have a vaginal birth if possible and wanted to avoid an epidural. I did a lot of relaxation, mainly soaking in the tub with calming music playing, in the lead up. I practiced mindful breathing and used self talk to tell myself I was strong and that my body was made to birth this baby.
I’m not going to lie, as every first time Mum, I did feel nervous. I tried however to focus on the positive. I was determined to have a positive birth experience no matter the details.
At 40 weeks 5 days my Obstetrician decided to induce me. This wasn’t exactly the birth start I had hoped for but decided to trust him and embrace it. I want into hospital the night before and a balloon was inserted to stretch my cervix.
After a sleepless night I actually felt calm in the morning. I showered and had my waters broken at 6 in the morning. At 7 the drip was inserted and my husband and I decided to play a game of chess. I had my bag of tricks prepared for the birth with games, music, heat pack, etc. Within half an hour I was getting small contractions that felt like intensified period pain. As they got greater I used my breathing through them. I felt confident. I must say we didn’t get very far into our chess game.
The midwife had discussed what I would like in terms of relief during my labour. I explained I didn’t have a big plan but wanted to be as natural as possible and wouldn’t mind using the tens machine or possibly gas if needed.
As the contractions intensified I used the tens machine. It let me think of something else during the tightenings but I found breathing to be my number 1 strategy. I also tried to keep as upright as possible and move around in between contractions.
After being sick and having a shower things moved into transition phase very quickly. I can remember being in the shower on my hands and knees and thinking ‘these contractions are not ending’. I just kept breathing.
Once out of the shower my amazing midwife suggested I lean up on the edge of the bed. I felt like pushing already. I was offered the gas and loved it! It really helped me to focus on my breathing more than anything. They wanted me to get on the bed to be checked and I couldn’t wait to get off it and stand again. I just felt like being upright and letting gravity work it’s magic. I felt in control in this position.
When back upright it was time to push. My husband was placing pressure on my lower back with each contraction and it was so good. I have to say that I actually enjoyed pushing. I am not sure why but it just felt right. My midwife talked me through each push. I can remember looking up at the clock and it was 11am. My husband told me not to watch the time and just concentrate. That had been something I had said I would not worry about - how long things were taking.
I used breathing and vocalisation to help me with every push and contraction. I could feel the baby moving down and out. I knew when it was close. Gabriella Rosa was born at 12.05pm after 2 hours of pushing and only 5 hours since the drip was inserted. I was so happy. They passed her to me through my legs and I looked at her and couldn’t believe how perfect she was.
My husband said he couldn’t believe how much I squatted in 2 hours of pushing and I didn’t even have sore legs! My midwife was a young lady with no children and she said to me that I have renewed her faith in a good 1st birth experience. I truely believe it was such a positive and wonderful experience because of the confidence the calm birth course gave me in my ability to birth my baby the way I wanted to.
- Written by Selena