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