I woke up during the early hours of Saturday morning around 2 am to pee and as I’ve flushed and gone to walk back to bed I could feel a trickle down my legs that I knew wasn’t wee! Slightly excited but unsure really of what might happen, I followed what I’d read somewhere about laying on my left side for 30 mins allowing any fluid to pool and if you get up and there’s more then the waters had broken.. thing was I was too impatient and got up about 20 mins later but it didn’t matter, sure enough when I stood up there was definitely noticeable fluid that I couldn’t hold onto and I shimmied to the toilet and checked the colour for blood or greenish tinges of which there was none.. so all of a sudden i knew my waters had definitely broken!
With a slightly racing heart from anticipation I climbed back into bed careful not to wake Adam as he’d need all his energy and strength if this was really happening! I indulged a little and let my mind race for a short while about what may be ahead then tuned into my Hypnobirthing practice of deep breathing and tried to clear my mind and relax.. although I felt I lay awake for some time I must’ve drifted off, feeling only slight cramping on and off pretty much straight away.
Adam stirred around 7 am and I turned over, when he asked how I was, I whispered “my waters have broken” and his face was so startled! But honestly within seconds he composed himself, spoke in a soft and gently tone and was an absolute superstar the entire way through.
Adam and I would discuss throughout the pregnancy how he would have to take charge when my calm grounding presence was no longer able to be relied upon and that he would need to find within himself a way to keep calm and stay present. Needless to say he was exactly that.
The hours I laboured at home are a blur of course. Adam made sure the environment was warm, calm, dim and cosy, he helped me in and out of the shower with the fit ball when I needed it, would hold me when all I could bear was to lean onto a random corner of our room and moan through the contractions. He suggested different positions, fed me bliss balls and sips of coconut water and was everything I needed him to be. All while Adele’s Birth playlist was on in the background which was the PERFECT soundtrack to the start of my very long labour!
Roughly around 1pm, 11 hours after waters had broken, my midwife Ali came to check on me and see how far along I was.. the reality was that I was 2 cm dilated and as much as I tried to tell myself it was only a number, somewhere in the back of my mind I felt disheartened. I had tried really hard to be in a calm state and tried to visual waves crashing against a shore each surge but to be honest they were at times very infrequent and I could rest on my side on the bed and almost micro sleep between them as sometimes they went from 7 mins to over 15 mins apart. The overall message from Ali was keep doing what your doing and keep in touch.. so we did, labour continued like this at home speeding up and slowing down, all fours was EXCRUCIATING particularly in my back which I did not expect knowing he was anterior.
So I often would avoid this even though I knew I should tough it out I really simply couldn’t . As the hours went by, I started to struggle with the shear weight of my body.. standing my feet ached, squatting my thighs ached, all fours my back was on fire, I felt exhausted, wanting all the time to lay and rest but this slowed surges down terribly.. although I felt I was doing well, I must admit somewhere deep in my subconscious I felt something wasn’t right.
I started to ask for the bath or the hospital (which by the way I had no idea was only reserved for show time! When you were about to push baby out!! How did I not know that?!) or the gas or a change of scenery or something. I think I even wanted the security of the Hospital in some way as in my heart I wanted to be close to full dilation!
So around 9 pm or so, Adam made the call to Ali to update and she said if Courtney wants to go in that’s what we do. So with my eye mask over my eyes, Hypnobirthing tracks playing in the car off I was bundled to the hospital and the weird thing is that the car ride sped up my surges! I got wheeled swiftly into the birth suite and everyone patiently waited until I was ready to leave the wheelchair and peek out from my eye mask where once I did I heard Ali’s heavenly soft voice say “are you ready to hop up now hun, we’re here”.
I agreed to another check and you could imagine my disappointment when I was only 3 cm after what was now 20 hours of labour. The shower in the hospital was 10 kinds of amazing and I spent quite a bit of time in there. After a few hours we started on the gas and I wanted to sing hallelujah as it was nice to have some relief from the pain. I wanted the bath despite unbeknown to me Ali was trying to avoid, knowing it can slow labour down, but my wish was granted and everything was actually going really well, with Adam behind me, me pushing my butt in his face! Haha charming and not what either of us expected but in the moment just felt right.. but I vomited which of course I knew could be a good sign!
But alas, bubs heart rate dropped and I was pulled from the bath and observed. Bub recovered well but now my lack of support that the water brought felt like a brutal reality.. back to feeling my entire body weight, tiredness became overwhelming and I agreed to another check, the timing now for me is murky but I know that I’d waved Ali goodbye from the bath and Anne was now in play so it must’ve been over 12 hours in the hospital alone.
When I heard I was still just 5 cm dilated I suddenly questioned if I could really do this, still labour until transition AND THEN push a baby out! Ha! I started to tell anyone that would listen that I couldn’t do it anymore, I started to cry, everyone was saying how well I was doing and that I could totally do this.. unbeknown to me Adam and Anne were conversing in the hallway about a game plan.. I was fading, we were on the clock from the waters breaking, we must’ve been nearing 30 hours of labour by now and I really wasn’t having consistent surges.
So I was offered an epidural for the pain which would allow me to rest but also syntocinon to try and improve the strength and frequency of my surges, which would help me dilate, to bring me closer to transition so I could naturally push bub out. It seemed the only way so I agreed as I still had hopes of a natural birth and I fell asleep for a few hours while Anne, Adam and Kate our student midwife monitored the contractions which at one point dropped to only 20 mins apart.. this went on for a number of hours and I would say it must’ve been around the 37 hour mark of labour, after hours of seeing how this approach was going, another internal showed I was only 6 cm dilated, and that was with drugs doing the work! Although bub was fine we seemed again at another crossroads.. I could continue on this way, topped up with more pain relief and continued syntocinon, but it wouldn’t guarantee further dilation.. alternatively we could consider going into an elective cesarean, allowing all my other wishes to be respected such as delayed cord clamping, skin to skin contact and Adam announcing the sex.
Whilst bub was fine this was all on the table, however if we persisted and bub got distressed, it would be hitting the red button, everyone running, skin to skin out the window and possibly even getting knocked out completely and Adam not present. So here we were, close to 38 hours after my waters broke, we could either soldier on (the sheer thought of STILL having to push a baby out was unbearable) only to have our birth become an emergency situation, or walk in eyes open, faces smiling and meet our baby on our terms.
And that we did. I just about cried from relief when I nodded in agreement to having the caeser and looked at Anne and she simply said “let’s go have a baby”. So here I was, this organic wholefood loving, Hypnobirthing student who detests all things unnatural crying with sheer delight that her baby was about to be cut out of her!
To be honest I feel totally at peace with my birth journey and couldn’t fault Adam, Ali, Anne, Kate and all the staff I encountered at the hospital. I felt supported, in control and empowered with how long I was able to last in labour, only possible by using all my knowledge and techniques I learnt from Carrie during our Hypnobirthing course, before meeting our baby.
It’s NOTHING like I could have expected but when they showed Rocco to us, and immediately he was placed at the crook of my neck and he stayed there the whole 20 mins while they stitched me back up, I couldn’t have been happier. I got my delayed cord clamping, we listened to Hypnobirthing music on Spotify whilst in theatre and as soon as he left me he was skin to skin on Adam right up until I joined them in recovery and Rocco had his first successful suckle at the breast and we were reunited.
Drugged, exhausted and having just had major surgery, I was happy and in love with our lil man. So there it is ladies, of course it’s not all been smooth sailing but I’m so looking forward to hearing your words and giving you big squeezes and being a part of your journey through motherhood because man, what a ride it’s gonna be!
It’s NOTHING like I could have expected but when they showed Rocco to us, and immediately he was placed at the crook of my neck, I couldn’t have been happier.
Adam was everything I needed him to be.
I feel totally at peace with my birth journey and couldn’t fault Adam, Ali, Anne, Kate and all the staff I encountered at the hospital. I felt supported, in control and empowered with how long I was able to last in labour, only possible by using all my knowledge and techniques I learnt from Carrie during our Hypnobirthing course.
Special thanks to the midwives at Coast Life Midwifery for supporting Courtney and Adam during their pregnancy and birth.