Michelle’s Birth Story
I knew straight away that I was pregnant with my third baby, but I had suffered a miscarriage earlier in the year so I was a little apprehensive about this pregnancy holding. Unlike my other two pregnancies I suffered quite badly with morning sickness and had the added worry of losing the baby. Once I got to 12 weeks I knew this little baby was going to hold on and join our family so I started making plans for where I would have it. Just like my other two babies I immediately called the Birth Centre and booked in. However it was not to be and within a few days I had a call back that was going to change the entire journey of how this little baby would be born. The birth centre called to say that after reviewing my birth records I was ineligible to attend their centre for my birth. There had been suspected shoulder dystocia with my second baby and it had been written on my records as such so I was no longer able to use the centre. I questioned them about the shoulder dystocia and was told that I would probably birth a bigger baby and had a high chance of having shoulder dystocia with this baby too. This made me incredibly angry and sad as it only left me with one option, or so I thought, to have the baby at the local hospital which is something I really didn’t want. I wanted my water birth that I didn’t get to have with my other two.
After this setback I decided to take my birth into my own hands and I started researching my options and looking at all the statistics on shoulder dystocia. Going down this path lead me to Vanessa from Simply Midwfery when I was 4 months pregnant and my journey towards having a home birth began. At the 19 week scan I was given the news we were having another little girl but it also showed that I had low lying placenta and the baby was holding urine in its kidneys. Both of these issues had the potential to change before her due date but we wouldn’t know until closer to the end, this really had me worried as it could have changed all my plans I was trying to make. I spent the next 5 months working through my emotions and fears, getting to know Vanessa and Peta, my midwives, and meeting some truly extraordinary people within the birthing industry some of which played a very important part at my birth and some that will be lifelong friends. All of the people I met during this journey helped me even if they don’t know it even those people who were negative or unsure about my decision to have a home birth helped me get my mind and body into the right place to birth my baby. I had another scan at 36 weeks and it showed that my placenta had moved well out of the way and the baby was no longer holding urine in its kidneys so all was well and I now had it in my mind that all was set for a home birth.
I knew my baby would be late just as my other two were but it is always hard to hold your resolve as you get to the end with everyone commenting on when your baby would arrive. At 40 weeks plus 1 day I started having contractions, they lasted all night but stopped the next morning, I then found out my friend had her baby that day. At 40 weeks plus 5days I had another night of contractions with them again stopping the next morning, once again I had another friend go into labour and have her baby. I was starting to get annoyed with everyone else having their babies and mine was staying put so when I got to 41 weeks plus 4 days and saw Vanessa we started making plans of what we might do to help her to come out, but we agreed to just wait a few more days until doing anything as I really didn’t want any interventions of any kind this time around. That night things started moving along. I was sitting watching TV and my Braxton hicks contractions really became strong and quite regular, I didn’t say anything to anyone just in case it didn’t go any further or stopped like it had previously so I went to bed to wait and see. When I woke up in the morning I just had the feeling that it was all going to happen, so after getting my older child off to school with a friend I sent a text message out to my midwives, my doula and my birth photographer just to let them know to be prepared in case it did all happen.
My husband asked me if he should prepare the birth pool, I said no and told him he would know when it was time because I would stop talking to him. I went about the house tidying up, getting the bed ready and making sure all the things I needed were in place including setting up the alter next to the area where the birth pool would go. Once everything was setup I started making some banana bread that I had been meaning to do for a few days, I also thought it would keep my mind of the growing intensity of the contractions. Moran, my doula and close friend, sent me a text message asking how I was going since she hadn’t heard from me but she was at a conference and I hadn’t wanted to interrupt since my contractions were still manageable. I had wanted to get the bread into the oven so I told her I would time my contractions after I finished it and then let her know. I sat on my fit ball and checked the timing on my contractions and worked out they were 1 minute long and 2 minutes apart so they were much closer together than I had thought. Moran rang me while I was timing them and after I told her what was happening she told me she would make her way and just hang out with me if needed. By then I thought it was a good idea so I also texted Vanessa to let her know what was happening and she said she would be right over with Peta. Not long after I sent the messages out to everyone that things we moving along I felt the need to go to the toilet. When I sat on the toilet I got a really intense contraction and then had a show of blood so I quickly sent Vanessa another message about what happened and she told me to tell my husband to setup the birth pool. I then called Belle the birth photographer and asked her to make her way over.
I pottered around the house for a little longer, sitting on my fit ball, doing some yoga and helping my husband get the pool ready and then everyone turned up. First Vanessa and Peta came and then just after they arrived Moran turned up. We all had a chat and they started getting things prepared while Moran and I took a walk in my backyard chit chatting about random things. Belle, the photographer, arrived while we were outside and joined us in the backyard for a couple of quick snaps. We moved back inside and I was expecting things to get a little harder but the contractions were still pretty comfortable so I got on the floor and did some yoga lunges to try and help speed things along. They weren’t that comfortable so I decided to get back on the fit ball to get some hip rotations and bouncing in. It was quite a good spot to sit and chat and Moran could easily massage my back and rub in some oils. After a little while I said to Vanessa that I felt the pain was continual so she checked bubs heart rate and at that point I felt the contractions were getting to a point were massage and the fit ball just weren’t helping so I asked if I should get into the pool and she suggested having a shower. I got into the shower and immediately felt the relief of the water but I had one contraction and felt something bulging so I quickly called Vanessa into the bathroom and she said to get into the pool as things were about to happen.
I made my way to the pool and got in, it was amazing how good the water felt. The bulging had been my water sack and that broke after 2 contractions. I then felt her move down through the bend which is something I have never experienced before and she started to crown. I remember hearing Moran telling me to breathe and Vanessa telling me not to push but I was just annoyed as my hands had seized up and I really wanted to keep my hands where I could feel her. It was only moments and then her head was out and I knew the hardest part was over. It seemed like forever before the rest of her came out, Vanessa kept asking me if I was having a contraction yet and I just kept saying not yet. Finally it came and she slide out and Vanessa guided her into my hands and I brought her up out of the water as slow as I could manage. It was amazing how quickly I felt fine and normal and so excited and in love with my new little girl. She was just perfect and I held her for as long as I could as close as I could to try and savour those precious first moments together. She was just like her brother and made her own way to the breast and fed strong and well for some time. William woke up just after she was born and was able to be with us all to meet his little sister for the first time. Only minutes later my mum called and I got to tell her the wonderful news of her 7th grandchild being born via a beautiful natural home waterbirth. It was incredible to be in my own home surrounded by the most amazing friends, my wonderful husband and my little boy, relishing in the event that had just taken place. We all laughed and delighted in the way this little girl had come into the world and how beautiful she was. The placenta wasn’t as forthcoming and after I think about an hour I finally gave up holding my little girl, daddy cut her cord and I moved into a better position to get the placenta out and daddy got his first cuddles.
I moved into my bedroom and snuggled down in my own bed with my little girl. We were both checked, I only had a small 1st degree tear and she was weighed and measured. After everything was tidied up and put back in place, the people who had helped me realise my own potential to create my dream birth left quietly so we could spend some family time getting to know our newest member, Willow.
I will be forever grateful to the 4 most amazing women who came into my life during my pregnancy with Willow. Vanessa is like a mother and a sister rolled into one, she is kind hearted, overly generous and has a beautiful soul. Peta, quiet & sweet, she is there when you need her and her smile is contagious. Moran has become my sister, she is tender and knows what you need, when you need it and will always be there for you no matter what. Belle, I have only just met but you can’t help but love this woman when you meet her as her excitement and enthusiasm is infectious. All these woman and many others I met on my journey enabled me to realise I was a strong woman and my body was capable of birthing this baby on its own. I had nothing to fear.