What an amazing journey having a baby is! Our beautiful baby daughter arrived in her own way 36 hours after my labour started spontaneously at home at 3.30am Monday morning. I laboured at home for 10 hours, before making the trip to hospital. (I had to send my poor hubby Dean down town while I was labouring at home to pickup a huge home delivery grocery order I had placed the day before but knew we wouldn't be home when it arrived!). I was 38 weeks, and had 'planned' to spend the week cooking and baking ready for bubs arrival. So much for planning!!
Dean supported me amazingly at home while I laboured, constantly keeping in touch with Carrie who was our Doula, and the midwives at Buderim. It was at this point I realised he had taken on board everything and more that we had learnt through Carrie at the 5 week hypnobirthing classes. I could really sense his excitement. I was not afraid of what was to come and just focussed on breathing through the surges. Dean timed them with the contraction app to make sure we were not leaving it too long before venturing to hospital.
When the surges were 4 minutes apart, we phoned the midwives and Carrie to let them know we were on our way in. Dean had nicely packed away the plethora of home delivered groceries, had brought the car around to the front door, finished packing my bag and his, and laid towels down on the front seat as my waters had not yet broken. With my sunnies on, Rainbow Relaxation playing on my ipod, we hit the road for the 40 minute drive. Dean was very calm, talking me through each surge in the car while driving.
On arrival, Carrie met us at the hospital entrance. It was here I first cried because of the relief that we had made it and how real this all really was. We had come to the hospital as a couple and were going to leave as a family. Its funny, because you go over in your head how you think it might all go, but in reality, its so surreal. Carrie helped me walk up the ramp into the main entrance, calmly talking me through my surges while Dean parked the car.
Once in our room and the midwives aware we were hypnobirthing, they were very respectful of our birth plan and what our wishes were. I laboured in the birth pool, shower and in the suite for 27 hours. Bubby was posterior which we were aware of through regular consultation with my wonderful Obstetrician. I had tried every exercise under the sun to turn her and talked gently to her encouraging her to turn. She had not turned by the Thursday prior so I was prepared to birth her posterior. And I was not fearful. We would calmly met whatever turn our birth would take.
Dean soldiered on through the entire 27 hours supporting me through each surge. I have no idea where he summoned the strength to go with me the entire way. Carrie too was there gently and calmly reassuring me and supporting Dean as well. We were so grateful she was there with us.
I was 5 cm dilated when the Obstetrician came in at 8.30 pm and we talked about progress. She was entirely respectful of my desire to carry on as I was coping quite well with the increased surges and not in pain as such. My waters had broken early Tuesday morning. An internal examination by the midwife and we were at 9 cm. I felt like I got a second wind after that news and carried on intensely focussing on my breathing bub down. We continued on, in and out of the shower and birth pool all night until 4 am when I was mentally at my limit. I had laboured drug free for 27 hours and was physically and mentally exhausted. An internal examination revealed I was now 7 cm and I was experiencing considerable pain from her position. We agreed to have some gas to take the edge off the pain but I really lost focus once on the gas and started to get frustrated. I had tried my heart out to remain calm for so long and to hear she had retracted had made my heart sink. I knew what this meant and I had an epidural at 5 am to allow me (Dean and Carrie too!) to get some sleep and continue labouring in a few hours. Our wish for a water birth was over, but we discussed the decision together, the 3 of us, and when made I was ready to again met whatever turn our birth would take. I continued with the breathing techniques even though our birth preferences had changed.
I had about 3 hours sleep and then we continued on the gym ball and lying on the side of the bed to try and shift bub. By 12.30 pm she still had not progressed. I remained calm through this entire period continuing with the hypnobirthing process and listening to the rainbow relaxation. When my Obstetrician walked through the door and drooped her shoulders I knew we were at the end of the road. We would be preparing for a c-section. I cried at this point to allow myself to let go of the emotions I'd held onto hoping and praying our precious baby would change her position.
Once I had made peace with the decision, I again refocussed and discussed with my Obstetrician what my 'new' birth preferences now. We were clear we wanted our baby put straight on my chest immediately on her arrival and no wipedowns or removing her vernix. We also were clear we did not want the cord clamped until it stopped pulsing. Our Obstetrician was again agreeable to this. She even encouraged and welcomed Carrie to attend in theatre to which we were so happy she could be there after the marathon effort she had been through with us. She was now a very important part of our family and this amazing event in our lives.
Once we were prepped for theatre, the staff were jovial and excitement was in the air. Funky music was playing in the theatre and it really made it a happy environment. When I was wheeled in, so many of the staff came up and hugged me which I thought was just incredible. They really made me feel so welcome and special and I could not wait to meet our little girl. Once my Obstetrician was ready for the surgery, she came around to see me before Dean and Carrie came in to reassure me and we had the biggest hug. It was absolutely lovely and I'll never forget how personable she was towards all of us. We had after all built up a great relationship over 9 months watching our baby grow.
At 3.54 pm, our gorgeous little girl was born. Our wonderful Obstetrician's words were 'hello gorgeous' which immediately made me burst into tears. She then allowed us to announce her gender and waited until the cord stopped pulsing after which she was placed onto my chest. We finally came face to face and met our little baby girl, Jessica Charlotte. What a relief. Her cord was wrapped around her neck twice and she was chin up, posterior. And the cord was wrapped around her little legs so this explained why she had retracted in the birth canal. We felt relieved knowing that this was the safest option in the end for her to arrive.
We are totally happy and content with how the birth process played out. We did everything we could with hypnobirthing techniques and way of thinking, we really did calmly meet every turn the birth took and were blown away with the hospital staff and our Obstetrician's commitment to our birth preferences. We never once felt pressured to make decisions without time to discuss all options.
We are forever grateful for Carrie both being there for us, and for teaching us a wonderful technique that will stay with us for life. We have recently enjoyed a home visit from Carrie and made sure Jessica gave her heaps of cuddles as well!
And most importantly, my relationship with my husband changed forever that day...for the better...as we became so much closer working together through the birth as a team. He stayed with us in hospital experiencing everything (including major loss of sleep!!) to help me out post-birth. Our daughter is the luckiest little girl as she has a wonderful, caring and supportive father who is absolutely smitten with her. I have fallen in love with him all over again. After 17 years of marriage, we are finally a family!
We tell anyone who will listen about hynobirthing and how it has dramatically changed our lives. Thank you Carrie and the staff at the hospital for supporting us through this wonderful and crazy time in our lives. Julie xxxx