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.