Last week I shared my pregnancy story of my last born here. I found this easy to write, with the words and emotions just flowing out of me. Now that it is time to write his birth story, I am blocked. How can my words give justice to one of the most magical moments of my life? How can I truly express all that was going on for me in that moment of time?
The weeks leading up to Jack’s birth were challenging. I worked up until 36 weeks, we had a range of illnesses in the house, my younger two boys weren’t sleeping and I was exhausted. I had been having early labour symptoms since I finished work at 36 weeks. With all of my pregnancies, my labours had a pattern of starting and stopping numerous times without progressing into established labour.
Emotionally and physically, this was exhausting. We had a hospital visit where I was so sure that I was in established labour, however, once we got to the hospital everything slowed down again. I was hooked up to the monitor machine and only small, irregular contractions were found. The nurse told me that for now, nothing was progressing and that it was time to go home and rest/wait for it to start again. Tears rolled down my face. I was so exhausted and I was so ready to meet my baby. I don't do the waiting game very well.
I noticed the head space that I was in and I knew that this was not how I wanted my labour to start. Yes, I was so ready to meet this baby but first I needed to draw back and surrender to that present moment. I left the hospital and came home and slept for hours. I was still very emotional but I allowed myself to sit with this and to truly feel all that I needed to. I had a bath and listened to my positive birth affirmations cd and then went to bed.
The next two weeks brought more stopping and starting of labour. I continued to ride this roller coaster and make sure I was looking after myself and taking care of my body. I was getting regular massages, eating well, meditating daily, visualising my birth and how I wanted this experience to be. I was resting as much as I could with two young boys and regularly using moxibustion sticks to help my labour to progress.
I went into established labour at 38 weeks. The day had started like any other day. I was at home with my two boys and I was still feeling exhausted. I decided to put on a movie for them and we had a quiet morning of not much activity (god did I need it). The contractions started again around 4.30pm but this time I felt different. I was in a good headspace. I was feeling calm. I was feeling positive. By the time my husband got home at 5.30pm, the surges were still there. I had spent all afternoon (mostly all day) bouncing on the fit ball. By 6.30 pm we were putting the kids to bed and I had to remove myself so I could continue to go with my "flow". My husband wasn't really thinking too much of this because we had already had a number of false alarms.
I knew it was different though but I was still not wanting to get my hopes up. I had to continuously draw myself back into the present moment. My husband went to bed early and I continued doing "my thing" downstairs. I had space and that was exactly what I needed. I continued to bounce on the fit ball whilst listening to my meditations, continually drawing my focus back to my breath. I sat on my fit ball and burned the moxibustion sticks on my acupressure points. I was also using clary sage massage oil and timing my contractions. I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible.
I woke Chris up and called the hospital around 10.00pm when the surges were regular and close together. I had my in-laws come over and look after our two sons while we made our way to the hospital.
I felt calm. I was breathing through the surges. I felt excitement. The day was finally here and this time I knew there was no stopping. I would soon be meeting my precious baby boy.
We arrived at the hospital and I was taken into the labour ward. One of the first things that I did was put on my hypnobirthing cd. I knew I needed to remain centered and in my "zone". I had an internal examination but to be honest that is all a little bit of a blur right now. I know My midwife called my doctor and she was there within half an hour. This was really unusual for me. I expected my doctor to only arrive last minute, not to be at the hospital when I still had quite some time to go. Dr. Sharif came in to see Chris and me. Once again she instantly made me feel calm and safe. She told us that she was going to have a nap in another room and wait for us.
By this stage, I had the Tens machine on and using it as a natural pain relief. This is the first time that I had used it and I found it to be helpful. Other things that worked for me was massage, fit ball and focusing on my breath. I paced up and down the hospital room for hours. The surges were strong and very close together but I felt calm.
There was a Jesus statue on the wall above the bathroom and every time I paced back and forth, this was where I had my focus. This brought me an overwhelming sense of comfort. I felt supported and guided by a higher power. I know I was not alone in that labour ward.
What surprised me the most was my thought patterns. Flowing freely and naturally "You have got this", "You will meet your precious baby soon", "Just breathe", "Every surge brings you closer to meeting him". This feeling of calmness and peace was overwhelming. I knew all the hard work and commitment that I made in preparing mentally for Jack's birth was paying off. I knew my body was designed for this and that everything was going to be okay.
The pushing stage came around 12.30-12.45am and by then I was SO ready to meet him. I had Chris, Dr. Sharif and my midwife at my side. Breathing through every push, knowing that I was getting closer and closer. I had no pain relief and I honestly didn't feel I needed it. It was incredibly painful, but I knew I could do it. I knew how I wanted to birth my last baby. What happened next was not a part of my visualisation. It was time for Jack to arrive earth side and Dr. Sharif told me to deliver my own baby. "You have done all this beautiful work and now it is time for you to deliver your baby with your own hands". I was overwhelmed. I hadn't even thought this was possible. I reached down and helped Dr. Sharif deliver my own baby. My hands were the first on him. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.
I was so incredibly proud of myself. I felt the strongest and most empowered I have ever felt in my entire life. Tears of joy streamed down my face as I now held my beautiful baby boy on my chest. My little miracle baby. The exhaustion soon hit but in this moment, not a single thing in the world mattered. The ability to use my own hands to bring my last child into this world was more than I could have ever dreamed of. For this, I have the utmost gratitude for our doctor.
Jack's birth really highlighted to me the power of our mind, having a regular meditation practice and the art of mindful awareness. I know this is only my story and that no matter how much you may prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for birth sometimes things can still go wrong. I wanted to share my experience with you all as I believe that we need more sharing of positive birth stories. All birth stories are important. The highs. The lows. The fears. The joys. Your story and how you felt matters. If you have wounds from a previous birth, know that you can seek professional help for this. Clearing the path of past traumas can help you to move forward with confidence in future pregnancies and births.
Thank you for allowing me to tell my story.