My labour started with a bit of a dress rehearsal! On Tuesday 28th January, I saw my GP who I was doing shared care with for a stretch and sweep and she advised me that I was already 2cm and 50% effaced! Later on that afternoon, I had 4 hours of Braxton Hicks contractions which seemed to be stronger and more frequent than usual. I was confused about whether this might be labour because with my first baby I started off with period pains followed by proper contractions. I decided to practice my Calmbirth® breathing techniques that Tracey showed us during the class and found they really helped to reduce the intensity of the contractions. As soon as I lay down on the couch to watch TV, the contractions died down and at 8.30pm they had completely stopped – just in time for a good night’s sleep!
On Friday 31st , 2 days before my due date, I woke at 2am to go to the toilet and was extremely hungry so I made myself something to eat, drank a cup of pregnancy tea and went to bed and read for a while. I started getting strong Braxton Hicks contractions again but this time they were lower down and started turning into period pains with pains in my lower back as well. I was pretty confident that I was in early labour so I woke up my husband John and asked him to heat some wheat bags for me and I took some pain relieving herbs which also help induce sleep. He stayed with me for about half an hour and then returned to bed because the contractions were only coming every 10 minutes or so. I put on my Calmbirth® CD and managed to fall asleep during the contractions. At 5.30am I decided to wake up John again and sat on the Swiss ball – this really helped to relieve the pain but I noticed that the contractions weren’t as strong. My 8 year old daughter Taylah got up around 6am and was so excited that I was in labour and she was finally going to meet her baby brother! I decided to have a shower and noticed that standing up and walking around made the contractions stronger and closer together – I had about 3 of them in the shower. I decided today was definitely the day so I took some high dose arnica, applied some aromatherapy massage oil to my abdomen and lower back and texted Tracey who was my support person to let her know. She contacted Deyna who ended up being my midwife on the day and they both came over to my house. We sat around chatting, laughing and drinking cups of tea – I sat on the Swiss ball and used wheat bags on my abdomen and back to relieve the intensity. During every contraction I used the calm breath technique and this really helped to keep me focussed and in control.
Around 9.45am I decided I wanted to go to the hospital because the contractions were more intense. In the car I started timing my contractions – they rapidly went from 5 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart. As we approached the hospital I had one that lasted for 2 minutes then a 10 second break before another one – it was the first time I felt slightly anxious and needed to focus on my breathing to help me relax. As soon as we arrived at the hospital I jumped into the bath and felt the tension melt away. For the next few hours I listened to the music on the CD’s that I had prepared for my labour and focussed on breathing through the contractions. Taylah poured water over me and she and John held my hands while my girlfriend’s words of encouragement helped to keep me focussed and calm. John also gave me Rescue Remedy whenever I felt anxious. My contractions started slowing down and so Deyna suggested I get out of the bath to speed things up again. I sat on the Swiss ball under the shower and had 2 overwhelming contractions which had me asking for the gas. I got back into the bath and my midwife checked to see how dilated I was. When she told me I was only 5-6 cm I felt I still may have a long way to go and felt a bit deflated and asked if I could have an epidural. My midwife knew that once I was upright I would progress a lot faster and gave reassurance and positive words of encouragement. We walked into the birth suite where there seemed to be no break between contractions. I got down onto all fours on a mattress on the floor using gas while John massaged my back. The massage made me relax and within 20 minutes my body started pushing involuntarily. The feeling of my baby moving through the birth canal was incredible and I felt so empowered once he was delivered. John’s first words were “You did it! I knew you could do it without an epidural!”
What an amazing day filled with so much love and happiness. I feel so grateful that I got to experience my perfect labour and birth and I’m sure a big part of that was being prepared emotionally through the Calmbirth® course, preparing myself physically during the pregnancy and labour with herbs, supplements and homeopathics I prescribed myself as a naturopath and having fantastic support people.
-Nikki & John
In the last few weeks of my pregnancy I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes and was devastated!! I thought it was going to mean c-section or at least lots of intervention. I had a wonderful obstetrician who managed it so well with me and because I was so well controlled by diet he just treated me as a 'normal' pregnancy.
About 10 days before I was due I started having early labour signs. I had an examination on the 12/1 at 1pm and by 8:30pm I was having contractions about 3 mins apart. Was at the hospital by 9:30pm, 5cm dilated. I used lots of the things we talked about; tens machine, gym balls, breathing, positions, the shower etc. I got to 9cm within a couple of hours, had a shower and was then ready to have my baby! I used some gas for a few contractions then pushed for an hour (needed a little help from the obs) and we had our little man, Leo James Hasted. He was 9pd 1oz, and 56cm. Our obstetrician supported us to delay the cord clamping for a number of minutes while Leo and I had a cuddle and he started his crawl to find milk!
I don't think there is really anything that can fully prepare you for the marathon of childbirth but I now know what I did do through Calmbirth was the best preparation I could have done. I was able to control my mind, my breathing and find a deep state of focus, at times holding onto nothing more than the knowledge that my body knew what to do and I just had to trust it. So, thank you for your knowledge and support to have our baby just the way we wanted!!
-Chelsea & Owen
We welcomed a beautiful little girl into the world on 11 December. Due date was 25 but i was induced at 38 weeks due to high blood pressure.
I was a little apprehensive about the induction and after a day of 2 failed prostin gels we tried again the next day and my waters were broken to get things moving. Progressed to 4cms and was put on the Synto drip. Things progressed quickly from there. 3.5 hrs of active labour, 40 mins pushing and bubs was here. Completely drug free vaginal birth with no tearing.
I found the rhythmic breathing worked so well for me during the contractions. I didn't get the water birth i so badly wanted but it was an amazing birth experience all the same and I wouldn't change it!
I'm still amazed that i managed to bring this little treasure into the world!
-Stacey & Steven
When I first found out I was pregnant a cacophony of emotions rushed through me all at once. Amongst the joy and suprise and happiness there was definitely "fear" and "apprehension" as well. Before even taking the time to truly embrace what was happening to me and marvelling at the awesomeness of it, I was frightening myself with the fear of the unknown, and the idea of excruciating pain. I knew I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and focus on the positive aspects and I recalled a friend mentioning CALMBIRTH to me, a quick search on the internet led me to Tracey and I will be forever grateful to my friend for mentioning the word "Calmbirth".
Through the classes my partner Simon and I became acutely aware that this pregnancy was not just about me, not just about the baby, not just about Simon... It was about all of us. A journey to becoming a family and that even though I would be the one delivering the baby, I was not on my own. Calmbirth taught us that I had to let go of the fear and embrace what my body was made to do, my body has all the tools necessary. My body, my baby, my partner, my mother, my midwives- we were all in this together, I was not alone and I was more than capable.
Simon and I listened to the meditations nightly and practiced our breathing and visualisations until it became second nature to simply "slip" into that world where all that existed was my breath. When our due date came and passed I was advised to book in to be induced. Through the Calmbirth classes I was aware of what was involved and as I had no risk factors decided to wait as long as I could in hope of having as natural a birth as possible. The wait paid off and the night before I was booked in to be induced I went into labour. I did not feel panicked or scared, I was calm and focused. I immediately fell into my breaths, whilst Simon and my family made our home a quiet and comfortable space like we had planned. I laboured at home from 8.30pm - 12.20am, when I felt a contraction strong enough that made me feel like I needed to be in the hospital. By 5.30am our midwife offered to break my waters to assist progress, which I agreed too. Immediately the contractions came faster and stronger. I went into the shower and continued to focus on my breaths holding onto Simon and moving around as much as we needed too. By 6.30am I was moved into the bath to have my planned water birth. Just like I had learnt in the classes I could feel myself transitioning into the next stage and feeling the urge to "go home" as the pain increased. Simon was able to remind me that this was important and meant we were close to meeting our baby. However, due to a cervical lip after two hours although I had a strong urge to push no baby had arrived. I was tired and exhausted and feeling as though I was ready to give up. My mother, Simon and Tracey continued to remind me of my low breaths and to visualise, this helped tremendously. The Doctor arrived to help the baby pass over my lipped cervix I also used the gas to help me through this stage of labour to take the "edge" off. We moved from the bathroom to the room again where I felt like I gained a new strength and energy and an even bigger desire to push. I was able to move around and change positions and in no time I felt the burning stretch which was mentioned and although it was a new pain it gave me the biggest surge of energy because this time I KNEW that I was so close, and sure enough Wylie arrived and was placed onto my chest by Simon.
Although our birth plan was to have a water birth, I am completely fine with how our baby came into the world. For the most part I felt completely calm and focused, and for those moments I didn't I had such a great support team who reminded me to breath and focus on the outcome. I would recommend Calmbirth to everyone and anyone. It is amazing and gave me so much valuable knowledge and practical skills that led to the calm, safe arrival of our baby boy.
Thank you Tracey :)
-Lisa & Simon
Being a midwife, I knew I wanted to have the calmest birth possible. I also knew that I wanted to have my baby in the privacy and comfort of our home so we chose to have a homebirth. During my pregnancy I learnt about the Calmbirth course and instantly knew it was something that would help me understand how to control my mind and breath during labour, and I wanted my husband to have a deeper understanding other than what I had told him!
We started Calmbirth with Tracey when I was around 30 weeks. My husband and I thorougly enjoyed it. Tracey had such a lovely set up and we felt it was a really lovely opportunity to not only learn some valuable skills but also for my husband and I to have time connecting with our baby. The Calmbirth course was invaluable for our experience. The cd and also the breathing skills were used to keep me calm from the very first tightening....
And also what I really liked about the course was the strategies if things didn't go to plan. I never wanted to focus on these as I was trying to stay positive, but I was also realistic that 'plans' can change. And for us-it did.
I developed pre eclampsia at 37+5 days.... My midwife phoned to say that we need to go to be hospital immediately. We hadn't even packed a hospital bag so after the initial shock, we quickly packed a bag and off we went. As soon as we sat in the car to go, my focus became my breath.... I knew how important it was to stay calm both for me and our baby. The Calmbirth course, I feel, prepared me to deal with this situation as best I could..... My condition progressed to HELLP syndrome (a serious complication of Pre-Eclampsia) but with the awesome midwifery care I received plus what my husband and I had received from Calmbirth, I was able to have a natural vaginal birth, with no analgesia, and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. It was the best outcome we could have asked for.
I would highly recommend Calmbirth with Tracey!!
Thank you Tracey xx
-Brooke & Rikki
On the 13th March 2015, my 4th baby’s estimated due date came and went and I was feeling a little deflated as I was expecting my baby to be here by then after my last baby Mia was born on her due date 2 years prior. I realise now that I needed this extra time to release any energy I was holding on to and accept that my baby will arrive at the time that is right, and I needed to trust and surrender to whenever this may be! I used this opportunity to read my Calmbirth booklet that re affirmed that everything I needed was within me and that I needed to let go of what I could not control. In the days before his birth I experienced lots of overwhelming pressure in my pelvis due to his deeply engaged position and knew my baby and body were preparing well for the birth. I also experienced lots of tightenings combined with this pressure leading to many nights of wondering if this was it, but these sensations would eventually fizzle out allowing me to sleep and I would wake up in the morning feeling impatient and frustrated that I was still pregnant.
On the 16th March, I woke at 1am to my usual tightenings but this time they seemed ‘different’. Not only was I using my calm breath to breathe through, but I also felt the need to lift my belly from just above my pubic bone and I knew this sensation meant my cervix may be opening. In the previous days I had been willing these sensations to establish into labour but on this night I felt a real sense of calmness wash over me. I paced around the house whilst my family slept peacefully, enjoying the time with just my baby. It was a warm but pleasant night, and I felt a real desire to look outside to the stars in the sky that were beautifully illuminated on this perfect night. One star in particular shone the brightest and I felt an amazing sense of peace and comfort that my mother who had passed away shortly before I discovered I was pregnant was here with me. It was at this moment that I felt so deeply connected to the spiritual nature of birth and how it is so much more powereful than our thinking part of our mind can comprehend.
I went outside to breathe in the fresh night air and admire the stars more closely. This brought back many fond memories of our second child Jono’s birth 9 years prior when I had spent time during labour sitting outside in the birth centre courtyard admiring the stars. After a short while I went back inside and sat on the birthing ball leaning over the bed resting my head on pillows whilst breathing through the sensations that although I intentially was not timing to avoid getting in the thinking part of my brain, I guessed were coming around every 10 minutes. I thought about waking Matt and calling Deyna, my midwife to give her the ‘heads up’ but knew there was a possibility that it may fizzle out again like previous nights and thought it would be best to get a bit more sleep first and that is exactly what I did. As I lay down in bed I remember thinking luckily I did not wake anyone as by then the sensations had stopped and I accepted this was just another evening of my body preparing for when labour would eventually begin. I accepted that if tonight was not the night it simply meant another opportunity to immerse myself in my evening ritual of a relaxing lavendar and clary sage essential oil bath that I would enjoy whilst listening to my Calmbirth or relaxing music CD followed by a belly massage with some beautiful birthing oil that my lovely friend Karen had made up for me.
At 4am after a few hours of a refreshing sleep I was woken by the sensations now coming every few minutes and lasting 15-20 seconds and I once again felt the desire to lift my belly upwards by applying light pressure. After 10 minutes of these sensations I realised that this was most likely the ‘real dea’l (but was still not completely convinced!) and woke Matt to tell him he maybe should ring Deyna to let her know things may be happening but as I had only been having tightenings for 10 minutes there was no need for her come just yet incase it was another false alarm. He went downstairs to make the call and began setting up the birthing pool. I used this opportunity to jump in the shower standing and leaning forward over a stool, swaying and breathing through the sensations as the warm water ran down my back. I could see Mia sleeping peacefully in our bed and I was wondering if the excitement would wake her up. I also had a moment of feeling it was unusual that Matt had not come back upstairs yet and I had a moment of doubt that he was having an issue with setting up the birth pool as I was aware he had not done a practice run with the tap fittings! After a short moment of feeling irritated I decided to let any concerns go, especially things I could not control and accepted that if I needed to birth right there in the shower that would be ok. Minutes later I could here Deyna and Jo’s familiar voice downstairs (Deyna, being the intuitive midwife she is, knew better than waiting for a second call and was at my house within minutes as she knew the birth would be relatively quick) and decided to go down. As I walked down my birthing space was exactly as I imagined. Soft glowing candlelight, Angus & Julia Stone CD (the same music from Mia’s birth), the soothing sound of the birthing pool being filled (the tap attachments did work!), my blessingway tree and birth affirmations hanging on the wall. I remember feeling so grateful about how perfect everything seemed. I was greeted by Deyna and Jo and felt so excited that I was sharing this experience with them and that today was the day that we would meet my baby. I once again had a desire to labour outside under the starry sky so I stepped outside to breathe and sway my way through the sensations and said to Deyna and Jo how grateful I felt. We went back inside and as I was standing at the kitchen bench rocking my hips I felt pressure and said this to my birthing team followed by ‘pressure is good’ and of course they agreed! I now knew I could completely let go and I embraced the rush of oxytocin and endorphins that I felt surge through my body.
Deyna had a listen to his heart rate with the doppler and it was lovely listening to the reassuring gallop of his heat but instictively I already knew from my connection to him in labour that all was well and I had nothing to be concerned about.
The sensations became stronger and I knew I had to use my breath to relax and release and let the energy continue to flow. ‘Let it go, let it flow’ was the affirmation I kept saying to myself and it helped immensely. Soon after my friends Ali and Sophia, who were also my midwife and birth photographer arrived. I was wearing my blessingway necklace and also a birthing beads necklace that my midwife friend Sarah leant me and I felt so empowered being able to draw on the strength of so many women around me.
Soon after Lilly and Jono, our 11 and 9 year old came downstairs. I remember seeing Jono looking all dishevelled with his bed hair. His eyes lit up with excitement when he realised what was happening and he soon jumped into action asking if I wanted some coconut water that I gladly accepted and I loved knowing they were both now part of my birth team.
Soon I felt the very familiar sensation of pressure towards my bottom and I knew it would not be too long before we would be meeting my baby. Instinctively I dropped to my knees leaning over the birthing ball while Matt and my midwives provided wonderful emotional and physical support. I felt a wave of nausea and appreciated a cold compress of peppermint oil on my neck and back that was so refreshing and soothing and quickly eased the sensation of nausea. I felt my body working hard and I concentrated on my breathing and allowing every muscle to be soft and relaxed to prevent any tension and allow an easy pathway for my baby to turn and navigate their way through my pelvis. I could feel each movement my baby was making and instinctively knew I was in the best position to allow this movement to easily happen. Soon after I could feel my hips opening to allow even more room for my baby. (This sensation of being so in tune to what was happening with my baby and body is a sensation that I have only felt in my last two births where I used Calmbirth to deeply relax and feel so connected to what I instictively needed to do and it really is such an incredible feeling!). As my baby moved down I felt the pressure and intensity increase even more and my body stretch and open further and at this stage it felt good to use vocalisation and I was aware of the deep, low primal noises I was making that were coming from so deep within. Soon I experienced my first involuntary urge to push and I used the power of my breath to bring my baby down. At this point I remember thinking it would be so easy to tense up and resist this overwhelming sensation but I made the conscious decision to instead relax and release and trust that my body and baby knew exactly what to do.
At this point Jo suggested it may be a good time to enter the birthing pool that was still filling. I wanted to first use the bathroom so knew I had to time it between contractions. While sitting on the toilet I realise I didn't need to go to the bathroom after all and that the sensation I felt was actually his head moving down and the midwife in me was coming out as I knew exactly what that sensation meant! I had another strong urge to push that I went with while sitting on the toilet and knew I had limited time to now make it back to the pool. I had a moment were I realised it was all about to happen then and there but I was determined not to have my baby on the toilet! As the sensation ended I ran as quick as I could down the hallway and leapt into the birthing pool. It was quite a site for my birthing team! I leaned forward onto my hands and knees and felt the familiar soothing relief of the warm water. Matt also entered the pool to help raise the water level and provided welcome pressure by pressing on my lower back. I knew at that moment I needed to surrender to the intensity and go even deeper within to allow my primal instinct to take over. My next sensation I completely let go and surrendered to the powerful sensation of my body pushing my baby down even further. With the next sensation I felt my bag of waters release and had a feel of my baby’s firm head covered with soft silky hair. I focussed on my breath to bring my baby down gently as did not want to rush this stage as I wanted to allow my body to stretch and open as it needed to. Very soon I felt the very familiar stretching sensation of my baby crowning. My baby’s head gently birthed and I waited for the next sensation as I felt my baby’s shoulders rotate and moments later he swam from my body into Matt’s waiting arms. With a bit of leg manouvering due to a short cord my baby was placed on my chest and I was escastic to discover we had another boy! He was beautiful and perfect and I felt an instant rush of love and appreciation. I looked around the room (my eyes had been closed for the second stage of labour) and it felt so special to be surrounded by my family and wonderful birth support team. Lilly woke Mia to come downstairs to join her siblings and meet her new brother. After some amazing first cuddles in the pool breathing in that newborn smell and appreciating the silky feel of his vernix covered skin I emerged to await the birth of the placenta. Ali made a comforting cup of honey and water which was just what I needed and my placenta was birthed shortly after. As we cuddled as a family I processed what had just occured after only one hour and 40 minutes of active labour. My birth was perfect, exactly as I had imagined it. I felt so grateful for all the wonderful support I received from my midwives, family and friends in the lead up to and during Oscar’s birth and was proud of the preparation I used to achieve the birth I desired. I feel so grateful to once again be able to use the techniques of Calmbirth to find my inner strength to birth my baby calmly and with confidence in an environment where I felt safe, nuturured and surrounded by people I love.
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