Thank you for stopping by to read the next story in our Birth Story Series. My goal in creating the Birth Story Series is three things. First, to empower women, and to change how we feel about birth. For so long I felt such fear. I want other women to feel confident in their birthing abilities, especially since I know how it feels to not feel confident. Secondly, I want to let women know that they have options. When I gave birth I didn’t know what a midwife was. I had no clue what a doula was. I want that to be different for you. I want you to know that you have choices. And finally, I want you to know this: whatever your story was, or ends up being… it’s yours. I want to demonstrate through these women’s beautiful stories that each and every birth is unique. No two stories are alike.
Disclaimer: These stories are not meant to serve as medical advice. The only person that can decide what’s right for you and your birth is you, your partner, AND your health care professional. So please consult them appropriately. I do however, want you to enjoy these stories. I cry almost every time I read them, and I’m sure you will too.
ASHLEIGH’S BIRTH STORY
I had moved cities a month before my due date and had to appoint new doctors, midwife and choose a new hospital. This was a bit stressful along with having to move in and decorate a new home but having had no spaces in my chosen hospital I had only one other choice which wasn’t somewhere I really envisioned having my baby.
I was booked into my antenatal class which was based at the hospital’s midwife led birth center, I got to have a look around the birth center and met the midwives who were lovely and really great with preparing me for the big day. The center was great and had lots to offer with aromatherapy and birth pool options, in fact i didn’t even look at the hospital birth rooms as I knew straight away that I wanted to have my baby at the midwife center and because I was low risk it was available for me.
I was a week overdue and was booked in for a sweep to bring on the labour but I was hoping not to have to go that way so I was trying everything from taking long walks, eating pineapple and eating hot curries…the latter really helped. I had contractions the night before the sweep and was at the birth center in the morning after having no sleep.
We arranged for the birth pool and got the news that the boiler wasn’t working so they had someone called out to fix it, I was feeling the pain at this point so couldn’t really feel any worse. The midwifes checked on me from time to time and were convinced that I might be sent home as they didn’t think I was that far gone but I had to keep telling them I really was feeling the contractions quite close together so they measured me and to their surprise I was 9cms which meant I was definitely staying and they got everything ready for us.
The boiler was being fixed and I was drinking a lot of water as I had been sick from the baby moving and from the heat, it wasn’t pretty I’m sure but my partner was there holding my hair back just like after a big night out.
He was given some aromatherapy oils to run in my back which really helped but bless him I think I wore his fingers down to the bone and when ever he stopped for a rest I snapped because the pain was just constant. Once we had a rhythm going it was great and the pool was finally ready for me to get into.
The warmth of the water was great on my achy body and helped take my mind off the contractions. I had my birth music on which was relaxing at first and got faster to help me push, at one point I remember Salt and Pepper coming on, Push it real good and this made us giggle. The midwives were great keeping my mind distracted by talking throughout the experience, asking us what we planned on calling the baby and telling me how good I was doing. I had family in the waiting area and apparently I sounded like the Hulk when I was pushing which was when it was getting very close. At one point the midwife said how she could see my son’s crown and how much hair he had and she had my partner have a look, wasn’t a good angle but when you’re in the moment none of that matters.
I got to a point where nothing was happening, I had gotten so tired that I couldn’t push as hard anymore and I think the midwives were getting a bit worried, they gave me some kind of essence to smell that would hopefully give me more energy and I remember them mentioning that they may have to cut me to allow my baby to come out. I was given a stool to sit on that would help open my pelvis which really helped but I ended up in the wrong position pelvis skyward and gave a push which I believe contributed to me having a second degree tear. They sat me back into the water and it was back to nothing happening so they wanted to get me out of the pool and as soon as I went to stand I felt the urge for a big push and as I was pushing I felt a big release from within and I knew my baby was coming out. I straight away sat back in the water before he did come out and I just saw this little figure float in between my legs, I naturally scooped him up and took him into my arms, it was just breathtaking.
The midwives asked me to give my baby a little rub to get the blood circulated as he was a bit blue in colour and hadn’t actually cried but the colour quickly came back although he didn’t really give out a cry for a few minutes but I think that came down to the water birth as they say that the babies are born in a more calming environment and are more relaxed. We sat for a moment just enjoying having our son with us and my partner was sat just behind looking into the pool at his little boy and I could see how happy he was. He was given the scissors to cut the cord, which he got to keep for memories.
Our little angel was safe and sound in daddy’s arms whilst I was getting my body repaired by the brilliant Midwife, she really did a fantastic job at stitching me up thanks to her sewing hobby.
Sore and tired, I just wanted a cuddle from my baby so daddy passed him over to find out he had done his first poop in daddy’s lap and it wasn’t a particularly pleasant one. Daddy wiping himself down, I was passed our son who needed his first feed and he latched on perfectly and looking at his little button nose and that full head of envious hair, it just blew my mind how perfect he was and how this moment was going to be something that I will remember forever. That first night we just couldn’t stop looking at him and I think we did the whole week after that.
1. What was your favorite memory from your pregnancy?
Well we had quite a disorganised pregnancy because we had been living apart due to us having been traveling around Australia the year before and living with parents to save money. We had to start being responsible and find our own place, so about 2 months before our son arrived we were in the process of moving and that can be stressful in itself, but even though I spent my last months before birth painting and cleaning I absolutely loved it and I think I took the nesting experience to the next level. We made ourselves a home and it as soon as Dylan Hunter was born we had this to return to.
2. Did you do anything specific to prepare for your birth?
I just had my music with me to be honest, looking back I think I would take part in hypo-birthing classes as that appeal to me very much. I think sometimes you can over think things, and this is something I do a lot so it helped me to not prepare too much and just go in with a clear mind because some things never go to plan. I attended an antenatal class that showed me the basics of what to expect which helped and we had baby dolls and knitted boobs to practise on which I think made us all laugh but at the same time was distracted us from thinking about any negatives.
3. Who served as your support system?
I had my partner, my mother and numerous midwives in the room. I had a whole ward to myself it was brilliant and the support was second to none. I also had my step father and my sister in the waiting room so I was quite blessed to have this many people around means giving me positive thoughts throughout.
4. What is your fondest memory of giving birth? (Other than the moment where you met your baby.)
The one thing that sticks in my mind was when our son’s head had started crowning and the midwives had pointed out that he had such long flowing hair. It was a bit strange to have a mirror pointing at my ‘lower regions’ but at the same time seeing what they were seeing was pretty amazing and now wen I look at my son and see his beautiful long hair I can’t forget that moment.
5. Is there anything you wish you could change about your birth story?
I would have liked to have been in the water earlier on to help with the contraction pains but nothing else at all, it was perfect! I had gas and air with some essential oils to induce the labour and that to me was about the most I was O.K with having. I was determined not to have an epidural or any stronger drugs to induce me. I over heard my mother saying how proud she was of me for having the birth I wanted and being strong willed and that just made the whole experience for me.
6. What advice would you give to first time moms or moms who desire a natural birth?
Don’t let anyone put you off, if you want a natural birth then stick with it. Have someone with you at the birth a friend, partner or parent because it helps to have someone there to distract you and to comfort you. Have a look into natural methods that can help such as hypo birthing or aromatherapy because they can really calm you and focus your mind on the most important factor….meeting your baby. I did not read too much about natural births and I am glad I didn’t because some of the stuff out there can really put you off, listen to the doctors as long as they are happy for you to have a natural birth they can advise you and sign you up to any classes in your area.