We always wanted four kids but I never actually thought I would sit down and be writing out my fourth child’s birth story… yet here I am doing exactly that! After three very different birthing experiences I wanted this one to be my healing birth, one that I had some kind of control over.
Before I go on, I want to go into my previous experiences as I think by doing so it will be much more understood as to why it was important for me to have the birth that I did indeed go on to have, in a hospital setting.
So here goes…
With my first birthing experience we arrived at the hospital and had the routine dilation check, I was sure I would have only been around 2cm however to my surprise I was actually 7cm dilated. My plans for any pain relief were put on hold and instead I decided to hop in the bath. All was going just perfectly and the time had come for me to meet my baby. His head was out and I was calmly resting in between the contraction and it was then my midwife panicked after seeing my baby’s hand and head coming out together… she didn’t let me wait for the next contraction and rather told me to push and she pulled him out. After 17 hours of labouring without any drugs what so ever I was now being told i had the ultimate tear and was being taken away from my baby. I was then given a spinal block so I could be operated on as her pulling resulted in me having a FOURTH degree tear. I didn’t get to see my baby for another 2 hours after the operation as I had to wait until I could feel my arms again. Needless to say I felt robbed of what was going to be a beautiful birth. The midwife popped into my room the next morning and apologised as well as offering me counselling but the damage had been done and I asked her to leave me. Little did I know it would affect my mood and every birth plan thereafter.
The next time I fell pregnant it was just assumed I would have a c-section becuase clearly my body wasn’t made to birth babies… I broke down and cried followed by pleading for them to believe me when I said I know my body, I did all the exercises, I have no issues… but still they refused to believe me and I was placed in the high risk catagory. I remember leaving the hospital that day with a fierce determination to prove them wrong.
I researched and researched. I had done all my exercises and wasn’t experiencing any issues since the operation so why couldn’t I do it again? The compound delivery and midwife panicking was the only reason I tore. I found out that if I was to side lie next time I could slow the delivery down and with warm compression on my perineum could minimise tearing again.
I fought for my rights as a mother to give birth naturally backed by my evidence and as a result I was laughed at and NOT supported in QLD. I looked into having a home birth but we couldn’t afford it and with low blood platelets its too much of a risk for me, sooooo I did what any stubborn mother would do. I had my baby in a different state and guess what?! he came out and yes I did get a second degree tear but I am going to bet my money on the contributing reason being that he was 4 kilos!!!
Unfortunately soon after he was born he got very sick with a cold resulting in pneumonia – nothing to do with the birth but it sure did take away that feeling of pure joy as now I was panicking about his life while sitting next to him in the intensive care unit.
Time went on and another baby was brewing. This time I got into the midwifery group practice who supported me and my desire for another vaginal birth. All was running smoothly that was until I was told I had gestational diabetes… only it was considered borderline so I just had to control my diet and all should be ok. As I approached the 36th week I had an appointment with a endocrinologist at the hospital who out of nowhere just about yelled at me when I said I didn’t want to be induced as there were no signs of my baby requiring an induction (yes I had a scan and all came back perfectly well). She bullied me into agreeing to the induction. I never thought I would ever be that mum sobbing like I did, feeling so helpless but when a doctor tells you that if you don’t do this you are likely to have a stillborn baby… what are you going to do?
I was shaking as I left her room. I actually thought I might even go into labour out of pure distress. How could she say those words to me? I came home and talked myself out of wanting anything anymore. A healthy baby is all I cared about. The induction was booked for the Wednesday and so we arranged to fly my mother in-law up on the Monday night.
Monday came and my midwife popped over to do a check over me. She was just as upset for me as I was. She did a stretch and sweep but told me to prepare for the induction as I wasn’t showing signs of being close to labour at all. I was 37 weeks along. I did experience mild contractions for the rest of the day but by 6:30pm they were getting a little more regular. My husband had to leave to pick his mum up from the airport, so while he was out I bathed the boys. It was then that I realised I might actually be in labour and of course my phone was DEAD and we had no landline.
By the time my husband walked in I was still trying to get the kids out of the bath. My phone had finally charged and so I called my midwife. The thing is when I am in labour I am pretty calm and unless you have seen me labour before you wouldn’t know how far I was because I can indeed talk through them… right up until the end that is!
My mother in-law gave presents to her grandsons and I went and took a bath… a bath that resulted in my body fully relaxing and getting ready to bring my baby to me. I just had no idea I was this far along. My husband walked in to see how I was going and I just closed my eyes and was no longer apart of this world. He started timing my ‘contractions’ and it was then he insisted I get out and get me to the hospital. I insisted I was fine but stood up to go to the toilet… It was then I realised it was too late. My body was now ready. I was either going to have this baby in the bathroom or in our bedroom. I opted for the bedroom.
I crawled onto our bed and stayed on my all fours (it seemed like a good idea at the time!) while my husband called for an ambulance as well as being talked through what to do by my midwife. I was surprisingly calm, I mean there was nothing anyone could do. It was all up to me and my baby and so I just did what came naturally… I focused on breathing and let my body do the rest.
He was born as the paramedics arrived. A healthy 3.2 kilo baby boy at 37 weeks!!! My poor husband was a little stressed as you can imagine… me… I was on cloud nine!!! We did it! We beat the induction!!!
Fast forward to Valentines Day 2016. My fourth pregnancy had been hard but mainly because I was now running after three boys aged 6, 4 and 2. I didn’t however get the gestational diabetes this time which was wonderful but I did have a lot of birthing fears creeping up on me as we neared the 37th week. I was beginning to doubt myself and my bodies ability to do this the way I wanted it the first time around. No interference. No panic. Just let my baby come to me and to be surrounded by caring people who were going to keep me safe.
I started doing the hypnobirthing fear release meditation along with physically writing out my fears one by one and overcoming them. I was now 39 weeks pregnant and it was the day before Valentines Day. I finished reading my hypnobirthing book and remember walking out to my husband Michael and telling him that I am ok with going over if she isn’t ready. She will come to me when she is ready.
I went to sleep that night feeling at peace with the world, the pregnancy along with all my previous experiences. I surrendered, what will be will be.
So naturally, I woke up at 3am the next morning with surges. I didn’t know whether it was in my head or not, so I just quietly sat in our dining room snacking on some toast. By 4:30am I decided to wake my husband up and contact my midwife as well as my student midwife. I also tried to make contact with our babysitter… only her phone was off. Thankfully I have lots of mum friends who are up at this time and my friend was happy to look after our 3 boys.
By 5am the surges were coming 3 minutes apart, however I felt very calm and they were not bothering me all that much, but going off my previous experiences we packed the kids in the car and made our way to the hospital.
We arrived at 6am and were greeted by my wonderful student midwife. We had to wait for a room, so I just swayed in the waiting area. When we got in I was asked if I wanted a dilation check. I politely declined and because I had a wonderful midwife she just watched me and assessed me that way. It was clear I would be meeting my baby soon.
We headed to the birthing room where I was hooked up to a cannula incase of bleeding as I had low iron and a low white blood count throughout the pregnancy. Once that was done I was free to do whatever I wanted. So I sat on the birthing ball, ate toast and focused on my breathing.
I remember that long surge, the one that took me over to the next phase. I changed position and visualised her coming down and meeting me. I still couldn’t believe it was happening just as I had envisioned it happening. We worked together and before I knew it she was in my arms. Incredible! We did it! And guess what?! She came out with her hand and her head, yes another compound delivery just like my first experience but this time with a very very happy ending. NO TEAR! A slight graze but nothing requiring stitches.
We came home five hours later and she has been loved up ever since. I am forever thankful to my midwives, who truly cared about me throughout the pregnancy and kept me feeling safe during the birth.
It really was the healing experience I needed…
Roseann & Michael
You can find your closest Hypnobirthing Australia Classes HERE.
Find out more about our Hypnobirthing Online Course HERE.