18th of December. 40 weeks.
Millie June’s due date.
I woke at 6am after what felt like MJ doing a giant somersault and then some minor cramping. I got up, made my coffee and put on one of my many birth prep playlists. I sat and journaled to MJ (something we had been doing throughout the pregnancy). I had a feeling that perhaps she was on her way to us.
We had our 40wk appointment that morning. The midwife offered a stretch and sweep if we wanted to speed things along or to see if my cervix was ripe ?, but we declined. We left the hospital talking about the wild possibility of Millie not arriving for another 12 days or so, and a “just-in-case” induction was booked in.
That afternoon we had some spicy pho for dinner, took Luna on a sunset walk, did some perineal massage (Paz’s favourite) whilst listening to my Hypnobirthing Australia tracks, and other things that have been said to help induce labour au naturel ?
At 10pm as Paz was playing what we now know was his last game of WoW, and whilst Luna and I were snuggled up in bed, some surges started. Paz had just also locked in a 5am bike ride with a friend. I called out from the bedroom, “Hey Paz, how locked in is that bike ride with Steve??” “Why, are we on?!” “I think we are on!!”
I got out my tens machine and we started to settle into bed. We had done the hypnobirthing course and also some amazing one-on-one work with Megan from @your_best_birth. I was really feeling the visualisations and affirmations throughout the course, so I went into my “bubble of comfort” and began getting relaxed and prepared for what might be ahead. At one point I actually said to Paz, “Oh my gosh, these surges are the most beautiful and empowering thing ever” ?
Luna, Paz and I snuggled whilst I tuned into my breath, my surges and my affirmations and visualisations. Paz gave me lots of light touches, support and kept me fuelled with drinks and snackies (unfortunately I started vomiting a few hours in which made it quite difficult to stay in the zone and eat all the snackies I wanted).
We spent about 4 hours like this until things intensified and I felt it was time to hop into the bath. Paz set up the bathroom just as I had imagined when visualising my labour throughout my pregnancy. Candles, affirmations, snacks, birth playlist, Luna (didn’t quite envisage the vomit bucket that would be required ?).
I spent over an hour in there continuing to focus on my breath and the excitement that we would be soon meeting our little Millie June.
When I felt like I couldn’t lay down any longer, I moved to the shower. Although it was too damn hot and hard to breathe well because I’m incapable of having anything other than a scolding hot shower (absolutely no Wim Hoff for me ever, thank you very much).
After 8 hours of labour I got to a point where I didn’t think I could handle being at home any longer, so we called the hospital for advice. After them asking “Have your membranes ruptured?” and us realising “Oh, yeah, I think that happened about an hour or so ago”, we knew it was time to head in.
By this point, I was quite nauseated and the tens machine was no longer giving me any relief. My surges (hypnobirthing term used instead of contractions) were intense and lasting about 1 minute or so, and were 2 minutes apart. I was also vomiting with almost every surge.
I really regret the decision to try and time every surge because it was quite counterproductive to me trying to stay in my Hypno zone. But we did this from the beginning because my surges seemed so close together from very early on.
As a healthcare professional, I really liked trying to de-medicalise the birth and labour as much as possible to get myself out of my paramedic head and to not picture myself as a patient. The hypnobirthing terms really helped with this. I’m not sure what I had originally planned or pictured wearing to hospital, but it certainly wasn’t this getup.
It’s a 2-minute drive from our house to maternity, so I thought I would hopefully only have to have one surge whilst being in the car. Unfortunately, Paz thought he was at work, so drove to the ambulance bay ? So I had another surge in the car as we pulled up to the right entrance.We got to the hospital around ~6:30am. Advice: try not to time your arrival when AM/PM staff handover is soon to begin. I spent the first hour or so in an assessment room while the midwife tried to get a good trace of Millie. This proved to be quite difficult due to my vomiting and the intensity of the surges. I recall mentioning an epidural to Paz, partially if we were told Millie was posterior (she wasn’t ??).
We were finally introduced to our labouring midwife, Jan, who was an absolute delight throughout the labour and birth (and was also one of my midwives upon readmission).
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go into the water to continue labouring or for the birth, but I had prepared for this and got into the zone and found a position of comfort (standing and leaning with my hands/forearms on the bed) where I spent the next hour or so. I did the pushing phase side-lying as she was being a little stubborn.
Jan was incredibly supportive of our hypnobirthing. Paz, Jan and I made an amazing team and I felt calm and empowered to birth our little darling, even though I wasn’t in the water.
Our little Millie June arrived at 9:28am.
Just under 12 hours of beautiful, intense, and completely overwhelming unmedicated labour; fuelled by love, breath, nausea, profanities and the tools of my hypnobirthing preparation.
I laboured in absolute power; calm, connected and supported every step of the way. Our midwife, Jan, thanked us for her part in what she described as an incredibly special hypnobirth.
We were lucky enough to have (and capture) a breast crawl. Which was, and will always be, a very special moment for us.
In some ways, the labour and birth were everything I had visualised and could have hoped for. In other ways it wasn’t. There are decisions we wish we questioned, queried or had been a little more vocal about, but at the time felt so overwhelmed by all that was happening. There is still some trauma that I am processing and letting go of, as I am sure is the case for many post-birth, regardless of whether it “went to plan” or not.
But all of it are important parts of Millie June’s birth story and I am incredibly grateful for our happy, healthy, freakin’ adorable MJ and her beautiful, giant eyes. Also super grateful for the chip kebab Pazzy fetched for me post-birth.