We welcomed our baby girl Inara Bethlynn Hart-Cook to the world on March 16th. Her birth was one of the hardest things I have ever done but also the most instinctive and powerful.
In the months leading up to the birth I had been regularly listening to the Calmbirth meditations and using the Calm breathing techniques.
We had been waiting both patiently and impatiently for our little ones belated appearance. I had experienced false/early labour for three days before finally going into active first stage at 41 +1 weeks. I was on the phone to my brother in Canberra having a good laugh at 4pm in the afternoon on the 15th when my contractions that had been irregular surges became powerful and regular.
I fed our horses and moved around as much as I could for the afternoon. Tried to eat some dinner and then hopped in the shower at 7.30pm. The surges were coming about 5 minutes apart by then so I retreated to the dark and quiet of my room and listened to my meditations and find that awesome calm place in my mind. By 8.30pm the surges were about 3 minutes apart, I contacted my midwife Brigid and we both decided that it was time to head to the hospital. We had about an hours drive so we didn't want to leave it too late.
The car drive was a challenge as the discomfort I was feeling was in my bum so sitting in the backseat of the car was not pleasant but again the meditations, breathing and the fact that it was night allowed me to go back to my calm place. It was during the drive that I started to quietly vocalise during surges and that really helped me keep my breath even.
We spent a bit of time when we first got to the hospital hooked up to a monitor to see if I was established and I think they forgot about me. It must've been shift change as the next midwife came in and said you didn't want any of this did you, let's get it off!
I quietly laboured in our room, swaying and rolling on a ball. By 11 my midwife had been called and had arrived, she moved us to birth suite pretty swiftly and I got in the shower which really helped. Dan set up my affirmations on the wall, the battery candles and my music (Sarah Mclachlan) while I got ready for the shower.
Just before midnight I asked to get into the bath and when I got in the relief was lovely, floating in the water. Not long after though I felt I needed some help so started some gas and air.
Around 1am I felt the need to push so Brigid said to gently try and see how it felt. The first time I tried it didn't feel quite right but with the next contraction my body took over and started to push on it's own. Brigid had to turn the gas off eventually though as I was to sleepy to concentrate on the job at hand and once she had I really committed to it and started to push. I've never felt so vulnerable yet so powerful in all my life as I did in those moments of second stage breathing my baby out into the world. I never felt hurried or like I wasn't the one in control. My obstetrician Kirsten, Brigid and my most amazing partner Dan made sure I felt loved and supported through the whole journey.
My darling girl was born at 2.39am into a lovely warm bath and her Daddy's hands en caul it wasn't until he lifted her onto my belly that her waters finally broke and she was born again. Her little eyes looked calmly up at us as we cried and Sarah sang my favourite song Angels as we became a family.
We lingered in the bath allowing the cord to keep pumping her valuable blood to her. After 10 minutes Dan got to cut the cord and we transferred our little love fest to the bed so we could have skin and she could attempt to feed. My third stage was physiological and after a shower we toddled back to our room to languish in the oxytocin and endorphins fog.
I am so proud of the three of us, we had the birth I had dreamed of, so much so that all the midwives kept coming in to comment on how much they loved our birth plan and that Brigid and Kirsten had raved about how beautiful and calm the birth had been and that could we call them for our next one so they could be a part of it.
Thank you again Tracey for enabling us to let go of the fear and let ourselves have a wonderful birth.
Love Kellie, Dan, Levi and Inara
On the Wednesday (3 days late) I had a 'stretch and sweep' and my midwife told me I was 1cm dilated and almost completely effaced. My mucus plug came out later that day. On Thursday evening I started having contractions and my husband Daniel and I were really excited, I called our midwife and she suggested I go to bed and try to get some rest. I slept through the whole night and when I woke up there were no contractions. Friday morning I already had an accupuncture appt booked so I went to that and he did some labour inducing techniques. Throughout that day I had a few strong contractions and these fizzled out too.
Sunday morning (3rd Dec) at 6am I woke up with a contraction, and I just thought they would fizzle out so I ignored it, I was very emotional by this stage due to all the false starts. I slept on and off between 6am and 10am and my contractions were stronger and about 15 mins apart so I could no longer sleep through it. I told Daniel I just felt like I had to be alone. I stayed in bed in the dark, there was a really strong storm and really heavy rain, I just concentrated on my breathing and the sound of the rain. At midday I suddenly felt like I needed Daniel with me, and my contractions suddenly became very intense! I tried the gym ball and leaning over the couch in the loungeroom. Daniel did some light touch massage on my back and put on some music and aromatherapy and I tried to eat something.
By 1 or 2pm we decided it was time to call our midwife. I had 4 contractions in 10 mins. She came over within 30 mins, by the time she arrived I had a constant pain in the right side of my belly, it didn't go away after each contraction and felt like a sharp stabbing feeling. It was so painful I couldn't talk and I could hardly breathe through it. We both agreed it was time to go to hospital (SCUH). The car ride was very intense and I was very noisy, I was still having 3 or 4 contractions in 10 mins and the constant pain. When we arrived I said I could walk, but I couldn't! I was wheeled straight into birth suite and had the monitors put on, and soon after arriving the sharp pain went away! We never worked out what it was. Our midwife checked me and I was 4cm. After the sharp pain had subsided I became a lot calmer and more relaxed.
I got straight into the shower and both shower heads were angled onto my lower back and I was on my hands and knees. When that wasn't enough anymore I got into the bath. I then had a surprise visit from the beautiful Tracey! Tracey was working in birth suite that night. It was so good to see her and a familiar face. Thanks to Tracey and my private midwife our wishes for a calmbirth were respected and encouraged.
By now I felt a lot of the contraction in my lower back. I started using the gas during my contractions. My midwife checked me in the bath and I was 7cm. The pressure in my lower back was becoming overwhelming and I could not find a good position so Tracey and my midwife gave me the sterile water injections and my back felt so much better instantly. And they weren't that bad! I had the injections again later too.
After spending what felt like a few hours in the bath, I felt like I needed to try different positions. I sat on the toilet, I stood up, I think I was on my knees for a bit (I don't remember all the positions!). The whole time I just kept concentrating on my breathing, counting the in breath and the out breath so I would focus more on that instead of focusing on the intensity of the contractions.
Our midwife checked me again and I was 10cm and was told I could push! This becomes a bit of a blur, I didn't use the gas while I was pushing, cause it was taking away the power of my pushes because I was concentrating on the gas instead of the push. After a long time pushing (maybe an hour?) in different positions (birth stool, squating, standing) there was no sign of baby's head. I was encouraged to try rebozo and shaking my hips etc to encourage baby to come down, but I had no energy and I could barely stand up. I was so dissapointed that there was still no sign of his head. It was probably about 11pm by this stage. I'd had such a long day and I was so tired in every way, when I realised he still wasn't coming out I felt very disheartened and wanted to give up. I got up and crawled into bed and said 'I just need to have a rest'. By then I had 3 beautiful midwives encouraging me, telling me it won't be long, and tried to encourage me not to get into bed. Despite their encouragement, I had no energy and kept telling everyone to just 'pull him out of me' and kept asking 'how many more pushes do I have to do', 'why haven't you pulled him out yet' and I stayed in bed and pulled the covers over me! At this point the midwives kept saying I'm so close!
I asked to have the gas back and I lay on my back on the bed and kept pushing with every bit of strength I had. Our beautiful little man was born on Sunday 3rd December at 11:53pm.
Your Calmbirth class has seriously changed our lives, from when we first started talking about having babies years ago I always said to Daniel how scared I was to give birth and I'd only do it if I could have a planned C section... and look how far we've come since then! I still think about Archer's birth and how proud and amazed I am at myself for doing what I did! What an incredible experience! And the crazy thing is I'd do it again haha. I can't believe how in love we are with our little man.
At 3am on Friday I woke up knowing that contractions were starting, however they were still 10-15mins apart and knowing that this was still too far apart I left my hubby (daddy) sleeping and got some much needed sleep myself. At 7am I let Dal know and timed them again, they were still about 10-12mins apart. Knowing that we might get to see our Bub today, Dal just ducked into work to finish off a few things and then was back home at 10:30am.
I just rested and pottered around at home and by that stage contractions were then 7mins apart. I was due to get a scan as Bub hadn't grown much for the last 3 weeks so they wanted to check on his size. After talking to my midwife, we cancelled the appointment as there was not much point in getting the scan if we were going to see our man the same day. At 11:30am my waters broke, only showing as a small trickle. We waited a half an hour to confirm that it was in fact my waters, which it was☺️
After calling my midwife again we then finished packing the hospital bags. My second midwife (through the midwifery group practice program) was going to see me when I got there and Nic would come into take over at 6pm. By this stage the contractions were getting quite uncomfortable and I was really needing to focus on my breathing which made a big difference, along with my hubby massaging my lower back. At 1:15pm we left the house to travel the 30mins to the hospital. I was so keen to keep the contractions going so I keep focusing on my breathing, and made light of the situation by turning up the fun radio music.
Once arriving at the hospital carpark we took our time to walk the halls to the birthing suite. A beautiful volunteer offered to get me a wheelchair when she spotted me leaning on my hubby and focusing on breathing as we paused at each contraction, which were now 5mins apart. However knowing that walking helped to progress labour I was happy to take our time to get across the hospital.
Arriving at the birth suite we were met by my midwife Laura and got settled in our room... leaning on the bed during each contraction. Unfortunately the food that I had earlier that morning didn't stay in my tummy, so I needed to make several dashes to the toilet. I swapped between leaning on the bed, sitting on the birth ball and leaning on my hubby or Laura during each contraction.
Due to not having the last scan earlier that day meant that the doctors were keen for me to have the heart monitors on to keep an eye on bub's heart rate. This did make each contraction more uncomfortable as I had the straps wrapped around belly however shifting positions helped. We found when I was leaning forward that the monitors recorded both mine and Bubs heart rate together making it hard to tell if Bubs heart rate was low. Laura made more adjustments to make sure the monitors were sitting right.
When those positions didn't seem to be helping as much I tried sitting on the toilet for a bit, the change of position was good however each contraction was now very intense. Concentrating on breathing was all I could focus on. I jumped in the shower for a bit, however the contractions were definitely becoming closer together. After coming back into the room, my midwife checked me between the next contraction to find that I was fully dilated with I was thrilled about. It was only the first time she had checked me and with how intense the contractions had become, part of me was bracing myself to hear that I was only semi dilated...
The next part seem to go so quick. We tried a few different positions including rebozo in between the contractions. However no position that I had previously tried felt comfortable at this stage, I struggled to express anything at that point. It seemed like a short time after that when I feel a strong urge to push. Laura had started to fill the bath while I had been in the shower however it didn't fill up quick enough😉
Instinctively I got to my knees, concentrating all my focus on breathing and after a few more contractions Bub was almost out, after only 3 hours of active labour. As the monitors were recording our heart rate together again in the position I was in Laura let me know we might need to get Bub out soon incase his heart rate was low. The mummy instincts in me kicked in with a stronger push, instead of breathing him out more. However within seconds Liam had arrived and we were overwhelmed with joy as I held his tiny body to my chest. It was the most amazing experience of our lives.
Thanks so much again ☺️
I came to Tracey and her Calmbirth course in my fourth pregnancy and as a midwife. So as far as birthing goes, I know the drill but wanted to try something new! After 3 previous inductions where I did NOT feel in control and could not take my "midwife hat" off I felt I had not been able to say I enjoyed any of my births and I wanted my last baby to be different.
Ideally I wanted to avoid induction but also knew it was a high possibility for me and I wanted to learn ways in which to just 'BE' and let my body take over without overthinking it all (my biggest issue). I also had used pain relief (gas, morphine and epidural) for ALL of my first 3 and really loved the idea of not doing this 4th time around.
Fast forward to the birth of my final baby, my wee boy. Yes another induction, but NO pain relief apart from some gas, and a completely different birth. I focused NOT on the midwife side of things, I let my beautiful midwife do her thing while I just focused on my own body and my baby. The birth went super fast and pear shaped but in a space where I could have easily completely lost it - I held it together.
I trusted my midwife and medical team and I trusted my body and my baby. This can only come down to Tracey and her techniques. She instilled in me, more than ever before, that I COULD do it. Even knowing as a midwife how it all works (I see it every day), I had not been able to get to a point with my first 3 in where I could relax and let things happen. Thank you Tracey so much. My final birth was the one I was waiting for. My body did it and I was able to be in the moment and STOP thinking. I highly recommend this course to anyone! You will not be disappointed.
It all started late Saturday night the 20th of may. I had to get up yet again out of bed to go to the toilet and noticed my mucus plug had come away. It took a lot of self control not to wake my husband Andrew and tell him that the day of meeting our little bub was getting closer.
It took another 48hrs before around 11pm Monday night I had a small leaking of waters and contractions started. As the contractions were very far apart I went back to bed and was able to sleep between them. So by the morning of the 23rd Andrew and I were feeling quite refreshed and excited with anticipation for the day ahead. We were able to take our dog for a walk in the park as my contractions started to get closer together. Back at home, we listened to our favorite music and had clary sage in the diffuser. Just before midday with 3 contractions every 10 minutes we headed to the hospital.
Unfortunately contractions slowed on arrival at the hospital. Was not until 3pm with a change of midwife and advice to start walking that contractions picked back up again. Within an hour I hit the transition stage, not that I realised it at the time. I was ready to throw in the towel but Andrew managed to get me through each contraction at a time. The midwife at this stage started getting the bath ready and not a moment too soon as I had involuntary urges to bear down just before getting into the water.
Being in the water gave me a new sense of energy. I was able to completely relax into Andrews arms in between each contraction. The involuntary urge to push was the strongest sensation and overall it was the hardest I have ever worked in my life. As bub started to crown our Obstetrician arrived (who had been in Brisbane all day for a funeral and was still in her casual clothes). Five minutes later our beautiful baby rushed with one push into the water and was immediately placed on my chest. Andrew and I were in awe. It wasn't until a few minutes later that the midwife asked if we wanted to know the sex. We had given birth to a beautiful baby boy. George Alfred. 3.485kg and 53cm.
Our midwife respected our birth plan and Andrew ended up being my main support throughout the entire labour. While it was the hardest thing ever done. It was amazing. No tearing either! Even had the planned physiological third stage.
We are so happy. Thanks for all your support throughout the journey.
Helen, Andrew and George
Well our lil man arrived a couple of weeks early at 38 + 3 weeks all happy and healthy 😇😊 Beau William entered earthside on 12/6 @ 1.26pm, 2.975kg and 48cm long. I ended up having an all natural labor with thanks to the help of Calmbirth with the use of breath, positive mind and trusting my body and baby to do what it needed to do 😊
I birthed very similar to my first son with Beau turning posteriorly as he was coming down so lots of back pain labor but with thanks to Kirsten, hubby and midwives doing the acupressure points on my back it got me through. Lots of movement during labor which was great but I ended up having to get out of the bath as it was slowing things down and the last thing I thought I would give birth on but I had him on the birth stool!!
The experience this time was amazing and having the knowledge from Calmbirth gave us the confidence and trust to know what was happening each phase.
Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and knowledge to understand the birthing process.
Renee & Josh
I just wanted to thank you again for the Calmbirth classes.
We had a little girl, Agnes Lee on 24 May. While I didn't have the natural birth I had hoped for the classes provided me with the ability to stay (relatively) calm in the most overwhelming and stressful situation I've ever been in.
At my routine 38 week appointment my blood pressure and proteins in my urine saw me admitted to hospital and diagnosed with severe pre eclampsia. I was monitored overnight and induced the following morning. Just after lunch I was having regular contractions and in a good frame of mind focusing on a positive birth experience using what we had learned in Calmbirth.
Suddenly 9 people walk into my room with blood test results from that morning that indicated baby needed to be born now. Within 5 minutes I was being prepped for an emergency cesarean. It was unexpected, overwhelming and I honestly don't know how I would have coped in that situation without the preparation of Calmbirth. I used the breathing techniques the entire time.
I am so grateful that Calmbirth prepared me to be able to accept changing circumstances and remain calm throughout. I dont feel disappointed about the caesarean and intervention, I know that I had the birth that was right for me. At the end of the day it came down to keeping me and bub safe and embracing rather than resisting each change in circumstance. We have a gorgeous healthy little girl and that is all that matters.
Thank you again for everything.
Lisa & Brad
I was just shy of 35 weeks when I had some friends come stay for a weekend. I had a wonderful pregnancy and was feeling very healthy and not expecting labour at this stage.
At 5am on the 16th April I woke to my waters gushing. I called the hospital to let them know. After convincing the midwife that it was I fact undoubtedly my waters breaking, she told me to come straight in and bring my bags (which I had conveniently just finished packing a few days earlier).
I had to wake all our friends staying in our spare rooms to let them know we might not be there when they wake up! Once admitted, I was hooked up to monitors to check both heart beats. The on call obstetrician informed me that they would put me on be rest and have me induced on the Monday. However, my body had other plans. My contractions started by 10am and could not be mistaken for my regular Braxton hicks.
I danced my way through the first 10 hours of labour as, listening to Whitney Houston classics and using the fit ball as my contractions intensified. My husband Chuck was an amazing support making me laugh and giving me regular massages as my contractions got closer. I had two injections of steroids for the babies lungs as I was just short of 35 weeks.
By 8pm I tried having a shower but the vomiting started, which the midwife told me is a normal sign that things were starting to move quickly.
I was moved into birth suite by 10pm and by 11pm I decided to have the epidural. I was happy to prolong it as I preferred being able to move around during the active stages of labour. By 2am I was fully dilated and started the pushing stage shortly after. Both babies were very cooperative and were head down so I was able to attempt a natural delivery.
At 4.31am I gave birth to my first girl, Arinya (Rinnie/ Ari) Ocean who was 2175g and 45cm. Twin two had moved positions but my doctor and I had discussed the options prior. Twin two was still head down but facing head up. He understood a natural delivery was my preference. I had a minor cut to ensure there was no serious tears. 25mins later Tallulah (Lulu) Capri Christie was born at 4.56am 17th April at 2045g and 44cm. It was the most incredible experience holding my first born in my arms whilst pushing out my second baby.
So they are all the facts but they don't come close to describing the experience and feelings associated with my birth experience. I am so grateful for the for the amazing women I have met over the past few months, encouraging and empowering me to trust my body to do what it is built for. My labour was incredible and I felt calm and in control through the whole experience. I kept reminding myself to let go and trust that my body knows what to do. I had a smile on my face the whole time, breathing through each contraction, satisfied knowing every push brings me closer to my girls.
A big thank you to you for the amazing two day Calmbirth class. Having the knowledge about the stages of labour, allowed me to enter each stage relaxed and prepared. All of the techniques for breathing were excellent and came in handy especially for my final push- the doctor said to me the head was coming out and told me to stop pushing and Chuck shouted "hot chips!" And I straight away remembered how to breathe like I was blowing on hot chips! Chuck was calm and motivating throughout the experience and that's a credit to you for the priceless education you provided, ensuring he didn't freak out when seeing me in pain.
Thanks again for all your support!
My husband & I were fortunate enough to do Calmbirth with Tracey a couple of months ago. My contractions started 1am Tuesday 14th March & after a big team effort of the amazing midwives at Nambour Hospital including Tracey and my husband Jay we were so proud of ourselves being able to have a natural birth using gas for pain relief & the shower. Our bubba also managed to rotate from a posterior position. Willow Grace Fischer arrived on her due date Wednesday 15th March at 1.56am at Nambour Hospital weighing 7.2 pounds, 50cm, we are completely in love 😍
We wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to the wonderful Tracey for all your support with Calmbirth & your magic help on the day of our labour. I cried when you walked into our birthing suite from pure relief you were there, we know we wouldn't have been able to do it without your amazing Calmbirth course as well. I've learnt that believing in your body & having a supportive partner & birthing team is everything on the day of labour & Calmbirth prepared us so well for this life changing event. Oh and the breathing really was everything I just kept hearing Tracey's voice in my head. We will be recommending you to everyone Tracey, how lucky we have been to learn from you. Lots of love Kirsty, Jay & Willow
We are so pleased to announce the arrival of Theodore Andre Kriel, 2850gm, born 2/3/17 (37w)...... 4 hours after my calmbirth refresher!
My second pregnancy was quite different to the first. I was a busy fulltime working mum with an almost 2 year old. I struggled with morning sickness, fatigue and some episodes of low blood pressure. So this time I'd been relaxed (lazy) with my birth prep.
By 30w I'd done the occasional calmbirth meditation, a couple of Osteopath appointments (for optimal baby positioning and joint/muscle prep) and I'd just started my Accupuncture (recharge, positioning and plan for gradual induction Accupuncture at 37 w- as I did with my first baby). I became increasingly anxious about my lack of prep and phoned Tracey to organise a refresher. My anxiety about labour 2 crept up on me...... But as Tracey had pointed out- even though I'd had a beautiful 12 hr waterbirth first round- I'd been exposed to negative labour stories over the last 2 years which had worked their way into my subconscious.
I'd arrived at Tracey's on the morning of the 2/3 at 8am with what I described as 'warm up' surges. I explained that I was sure it was.just warming up and we began the course. Tracey was able to tailor the session to address my specific needs - labour stages, positioning, breathing and transition. I loved revisiting the breathing, the meditation and refreshing my knowledge of the hormones and the reminding myself of the deeply primal ("I can totally do this")experience of labour.
After the meditation practice I realised my warm up surges were getting longer and stronger. We had some lunch (although I couldn't really eat) and I felt the familiar 'space cadet' beautiful labour haze come over me. I decided I should head home and bath at 2pm.
By 330pm I'd arrived at hospital and had multiple offers of wheelchair when walking down the hospital corridor. Coincidentally the midwifery educator walked by and kindly insisted offered to walk us to birth suites saying "you're a woman who looks like she's going to have a baby any minute". This was this first time I realised that this really was about to happen ASAP- I felt a bit excited .... like I was in an episode of ER!
The midwife assessed me- 9cm dilated! I high fived myself and realised that nausea I felt in the car- was transition! I was feeling really positive.... we went to the bath where I laboured for a further 3 hours.
The 3 hours was hard work- I won't lie.... I had to squat, pelvic tilt, figure of 8 - in the bath. My membranes hadn't ruptured which was causing the delay. I found the breathing invaluable. I took myself to another place in my mind- visualising a holiday and relived details. I also repeated my mantra in my mind "my body knows how to calmly and safely deliver this perfectly healthy baby". I also began to talk out loud to the baby - which I hadn't done first time. It was so powerful. This time- the surges were intense but very manageable, I could keep my focus and picture my baby in my arms.
My wonderful midwife with my consent ruptured my membranes while I was in the bath and Theodore was born 9 mins later. He was alert, wide eyed and a fabulous 6lb.
I'd highly recommend a refresher to everyone- but don't leave it to the last minute like me. I'm so thankful to Tracey for 'getting me on the right page', reminding me that I can absolutely do this, and equipping me with the knowledge and beliefs to support me through now two beautiful waterbirths!
I've had a lot of people say to me "you're so lucky to have had 2 waterbirths". I have reflected a lot on this and I feel like it wasn't luck- my body took control and new just what to do.....