So, it’s been six weeks since our beautiful little Lucas arrived and I am still pinching myself whenever I find myself staring at his beautiful face! It’s our baby! He’s finally here!
Lucas’ birth was so amazing I still cannot believe how it all happened. He was born quite “late”, 13 days over his due date, and I have to say, they were the hardest 13 days in the whole pregnancy, which was actually an absolute bliss (except for some minor discomforts such as really bad heartburn).
We never expected him to be so late, but the knowledge we’d gained in the hypnobirthing course we did with Melissa, and through our wonderful doula, Gabriella Ambrose, and the many books I had been reading (e.g. Gentle birth, gentle mothering) kept telling me to trust my body and my baby and that there must be a reason for him to take a bit longer. During this time, my husband was great at keeping me on track as well, as I was growing increasingly concerned about baby being okay and the possibility of a medical induction.
The whole process started about 3 weeks before he was born when I lost my uterine seal (a week before his official EDD), during this time, I also had a few nights of practice labour, I would have strong surges and after a while they would go away. I also kept releasing lots of fluid which made me think my membranes had been released… every night I would go to bed (with Melissa’s hypnobirthing tracks running in a loop on my iPod and with clary sage in the oil burner) thinking something may happen… only to wake up feeling disappointed nothing had happened.
On the week of our due date, our OB wanted to do an internal examination (the first one in my pregnancy) and after much hesitation, the fear of having released my membranes made me give in… but my membranes were still there! We had to keep waiting. We had to have another internal the following week as I kept releasing fluids, experiencing strong sensations in my cervix and lots of practice labour… the examination revealed my cervix had thinned and become quite soft but no opening was taking place just yet, my OB was confident that labour may start naturally in the next few days… but just in case, she booked us in for a medical induction starting with gel within four days (8 days over the EDD). In the meantime, I had already started taking homeopathic remedies to try and avoid a medical induction, when the day the OB booked for us arrived my husband and I decided NOT to go into hospital and booked an acupuncture session instead. We just called the OB’s office to let her know and said we would re-schedule the booking for the following day. The next day came and went and we were still the same… we still didn’t go to hospital trusting something would happen. By then I was starting to go a bit crazy with worry that baby was still okay and started wondering if there was a reason he was not coming naturally to us… I think, in a way, he helped us put all our beliefs and convictions to the test. My husband and I really had to stand together against all the fear and we did just that with the help of our doula who kept reassuring us.
Just in case on the 11th day over the due date we went into the hospital to have a trace, which checks baby’s heartbeat and mum’s blood pressure. By then, the stand-by OB had contacted us and booked us in for an induction starting at night time the next day. So, on the 12th day over the EDD, I woke up and after breakfast started feeling quite ‘off’, I had a bath and rested for a while and still felt a little bit “different”. By the time we had to go into hospital I had started spotting so I thought, this is it, no matter what, we are definitely staying in hospital, something could be wrong… we waited as long as we could possibly wait… I was starting to feel some surges and very strong sensations in my lower back (our baby was posterior) but much to our surprise… by the time we got to the hospital and they did the internal check they said they could not apply the gel anymore as I my cervix had already started opening, however, I was not in full active labour yet so I could stay or go home and go back first thing the next morning… we chose to go home.
The next 12 hours before we left to go into the hospital were grueling, the surges became quite regular and strong, I think it was only thanks to my wonderful husband who kept reminding that I was “a strong woman” and that “each contraction was bringing the baby closer to us”, that I could make it. By the time we got to the hospital the next day my cervix was about half-way through the opening process. We then got to the birthing suite and started playing Rainbow Mist in the background, surges kept on coming, I only accepted gas to take the edge off the strong lower back sensations. When our doula arrived she guided us through lots of exercises to help with the surges: slow dancing to the rhythm of the music, lying on the fit ball, having a hot shower, etc. she also kept reminding me to drink water and have some biscuits to give me strength (I hadn’t eaten for over 12 hours!). Finally, after about 4 hours in the birthing suite, the OB came in to check on our progress… and with this, another big decision, did we want to know? What if I had not “progressed”? I didn’t know if I could keep going for much longer. My husband and I reluctantly decided that we needed to know but, as per the birthing plan we had put together with the help of our doula, I had asked the OB to only give this information to my husband and doula, just in case. Much to our surprise when she examined me, she looked up and said with a big smile, “I know you asked me not to give you this information directly, but I thought you may want to know, you are fully dilated!” I was so out of it, I asked… “So, what do I do now?” Birthing my baby of course! (“pushing” in medicalese). My husband and doula then helped me find the right position on the bed to birth the baby. My doula was amazing here, she massaged my lower back and kept reminding me to drink water, put essential oil drops on my forehead… and together with my husband, supported me through 2 hours of hard work! My membranes were finally released around this time! Baby was coming… unfortunately, I was so tired… I kept panicking with the strong sensations and surges, and though our baby was ready to come out, I was not able to fully open and release him. Our OB came back and we changed positions, now seating on a birthing stool she asked me to stop panicking and work with her. I thought to myself, “This is it! I have to do this!” She had to help me a little bit, but after a couple of strong birth breathings, he was out! I was in complete shock! I had no words… my beautiful baby was finally here! I only had very minor tearing which I absolutely did not feel! We had asked to delay the cord clamping so our baby could benefit from the blood flow, so once this process was complete, a pediatrician was asked to come in to check on him because there was meconium in the water I’d released (they attributed this to him being 13 days “overdue”). After a quick check he was put back in my arms! I just held him for as long as I could!
So, I didn’t manage to have a completely “relaxed” birth – I screamed a little through the last surges – but I was quite calm overall, and by the time bub came out, I was over the moon, it was so exhilarating!! We did it! We had our baby without any medical intervention! My body and my baby worked together so well! I am convinced now that my baby came exactly when it was supposed to… giving my body all the time it needed to prepare for the big day! I feel I could no
t have done it without my amazing husband by my side, he felt truly empowered by all the knowledge he gained in Melissa’s Hypnobirthing course, and, of course, our wonderful doula, Gabrielle brought the most calming, gentle and supportive energy to help us birth our baby.
Adriana & Fabio, Wooloowin, Brisbane