Childbirth doesn’t always have to turn into a horror story!

Childbirth is one of the most consistently negative stories you hear as a pregnant woman. This is why I wanted to share our experience – because it’s not always a horror story.

Throughout my pregnancy, I was very lucky. A couple of months of Morning (all day) Sickness but no other complications. But I would never say I “loved” being pregnant. Grateful every day – yes. Enjoyed it – not so much. I was fortunate enough for this to carry on to Lila’s birth. It was certainly no walk in the park, but we were able to have a positive experience.

When I was approximately 24 weeks pregnant, Steve and I decided to do a Hypnobirthing class with Mel in Bendigo. We chose to do this class not to learn how to swing a watch and cluck like a chicken through birth, but to be more informed and feel more empowered in our decision making during birthing. We found it extremely valuable learning about birth as a natural, normal process and different tools and tips to help allow your body to remain relaxed to do what it needs to do! I began practising some of the relaxation techniques in preparation for the big day.

My due date came and went with no sign of labour being close. At 41 weeks exactly, I definitely felt ready and finally, bub decided to join us. 4 am on 4th July.

Regular contractions started, about 5-7 minutes apart to begin with. At 5 am I got out of bed and sorted any last minute jobs. By 6 am, Steve got up and made me some vegemite toast, as we knew how important it was to try and make sure I had some energy for the day. As I was 41 weeks, we had an appointment to have bub and be monitored to ensure everything was fine at 9:30 am. We were quite sure I was in labour so we called the hospital to see what they wanted us to do.

The midwives said to go in for the appointment anyway just to check. We were happy to do this so headed in and were told I was in good labour and that bub was still doing very well. I was already 4cm dilated and was offered to stay or go home again. We chose to go home.

ypnobirthing mum ElizabethBy 1:30 pm I began to feel like I wouldn’t be able to get through without the pain relief as we had originally planned and threw up. We decided it was time to go back to a hospital. We arrived by 2:00 pm and our midwife decided to see how far along I was. As far as she could tell I was already fully dilated and my doubts at home had been the beginning of transition.

The gas and air helped to take the edge off the contractions and helped me focus on calm, deep breathing. We hadn’t been there long before I felt like my body wanted to push. Steve and my midwife helped me get into a position leaning over the back of the bed to allow gravity to help move bub down. I continued to breathe through the contractions.

After about an hour I got a hindleak in my waters and it appeared they had meconium in them. My midwife requested that I lie on my back if I was happy to, to be able to monitor bub. I was happy to do this as I knew that even though she was past her due date, meconium can be a sign of stress. Bub seemed to be doing well so they offered for me to get back on my knees but I honestly couldn’t be bothered moving again and was happy on my back. After some time of actively pushing with my waters still intact and bulging, it was discussed with me and we decided they should be artificially broken to allow bub to continue to move down. Pushing was hard work, and at one point I did ask if they could “just pull it out from there”, which everyone chuckled at and told me I was doing well and to keep going. At 4:45 pm Lila was born.

Our Hypnobirthing course helped provide us with the knowledge and skills to be able to relax through each of my contractions and my body and hormones to do what they are designed to do. While I was by no means “In the Zone” the whole time, I did what worked for me, which involved being happy and interactive between contractions, right up to the end.

We were able to have the birth we had hoped for our darling little girl. It was mostly very calm, no drugs, no instruments, no cuts or tears and we were only in hospital 3 hours before she arrived. We had a wonderful midwife, student team supporting us. We were also lucky in the timing that we didn’t have any full nights of no sleep. We were proud that afterwards, our midwife said to us that we had a birth unlike any she had ever seen in a first time Mum and that she still couldn’t believe how calm and level-headed I was, happy to have a chat between each contraction and still smiling until the end.

Steve and I feel extremely fortunate for the way things worked out and progressed for us as many people do not have such positive experiences. I wanted to share ours because it is possible to have a positive birth, even though so many people beforehand told me otherwise. While often things don’t go to plan, fear can be one of the hardest things to overcome, so if my story can make even one Mum-to-be a little less fearful, then writing and sharing our story will be worth it.
Elizabeth, Steve and Lila
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