“I am actually sad at the idea that I may not get to do it again! Everyone thinks I’m crazy because I keep saying how much I enjoyed it! Ha ha”
Zachary’s Birth Story
On Tuesday 19th July I was 40+4 weeks pregnant and went to my routine OB appointment where he performed a stretch and sweep to encourage labour. At that point I was already 2cm dilated and 75% effaced so very favorable. I went home and had irregular tightening sensations all evening so I went and had a nap and when I woke up later that night, I lost some of my plug. I went back to bed and managed a good nights sleep. I awoke around 5am to stronger surges and at 7am lost the rest of my plug and began to get regular surges about 10 mins apart. At about 9.30am I went and lay down with my iPod and listened to my Hypnobirthing affirmations and relaxation tracks. By 10am the surges became easy to time and were 5-7 minutes apart and stronger in sensation so I rang the hospital to let them know i would be heading in shortly and then jumped in the shower to freshen up.
Once dressed I went and sat in the lounge room with Leon and watched tv in between surges which I was now having to concentrate on and stop talking through. They were coming steadily at 5 minutes apart. I ended up staying home longer than I thought as I didn’t want to go prematurely and end up being sent home or being rushed along when things were progressing so well on their own. I remember with each surge, visualizing a wave in the ocean and repeating “ride the wave” over and over in my head and when I hit the peak of a surge, I visualized the wave breaking. Around 12.30 I decided it was time to go to hospital as things were becoming more intense, so I popped my headphones back on and started listening to my affirmations on the drive in. Leon was fantastic as he just kept quiet and let me get into my zone, which was exactly what I needed.
Upon admission to the hospital i had the standard 20 minute monitoring which all came back fine. I spent the whole time in silence with my eyes closed, focusing on my relaxation and visualisation only stopping to answer questions and then to have an internal exam. The midwife was surprised to discover I was already 4cm dilated and in established labour as I was so calm and appeared to be sleeping, so she got the birth tub to the right temperature and I hopped in about 2pm. Leon set up my iPod dock so that I could continue to listen to it while in the water. I had a few different tracks to listen to but found the only thing I wanted was the affirmations so they ended up on repeat for the entirety of my labour and birth. They had this fantastic flotation device that I was able to lay back on and support my arms on at the same time and the weightlessness and warmth of the water was so relaxing. I stayed in a sleep-like state, in silence, with my eyes shut the entire time, save for sipping on water every now and again and asking for the tub to be topped up with warm water once. Time seemed to pass really quickly and im not sure of the exact time but I think it was just before 4pm in the middle of a surge when I felt my waters break and from there they intensified immediately. The only interruption to my labour was the midwife quietly putting the Doppler on my stomach to check baby was coping and I was so deep in concentration I barely noticed. Otherwise, she and Leon sat back and did nothing, which is exactly what was needed. Pretty soon I found the surges were on top of each other and i started to feel all tingly in my lips and legs and was struggling to stay still so i started rocking in the water and making Ahhh sounds as I deep-breathed and I knew at this point I was in transition and close to meeting my baby.
I suddenly got the urge to bare down during a surge so I started making loud groaning noises and breathing the baby down. Up until this point I had been completely silent and Leon tells me the noises I made etc were for about 2 minutes maximum, and apart from that you’d never know I was in the room. Just before the baby started to crown I said “I can’t do it!” and then a second later corrected myself and said “yes I can!” which was kind of cool since I was so aware of my thoughts and my attitude at such an intense moment. Leon crouched behind me and took my hands while I started breathing the baby down and I remember chanting “down baby, down baby, come on” over and over and next thing I knew I was crowning and his head was out! I didn’t even feel the “ring of fire” everyone mentions, and that I experienced with my daughter. I had to ask the midwife if his head was actually out! Once his head was out I felt some intense tugging and movement, and started to panic momentarily as it was such a strange sensation and Leon and the midwife reassured me that everything was fine so I said “come on baby, get out!” and in the next surge I bared down and out he came. I reached down and pulled him from the water myself but the midwife had to assist me as the umbilical cord was wrapped quite tightly around his neck, twice. It was a little scary to see but within a few seconds she had disentangled him.
Baby Zachary was born at 4.21pm after approximately 10 minutes of breathing him out…. And 15 minutes before my obstetrician arrived back at the hospital after rushing like mad to get there in time! I felt so empowered to not only have had the water birth I always wanted, but completely drug free! I remember saying “yes, I did it!!” and “that was awesome I can’t believe I did it!” to Leon numerous times in the first minutes after birth. I was completely ecstatic as the idea of drugs didn’t even enter my mind until seconds before I started to feel the urge to push.
Shortly after birth I got out of the tub and hopped onto the bed as I had requested a physiological third stage of labour. Within 10 minutes of birth Zac had latched onto the breast and begun feeding, wide awake, alert and very content.
His APGAR score at 1 minute after birth was 9, and at 5 minutes after birth was 10, so he couldn’t have been any more healthy and alert. After waiting about 45 minutes my placenta had still not expelled so the obstetrician gently pulled it while the midwife massaged my stomach and it came away shortly after, so an entirely drug free experience from start to finish I had no tears so required no stitches or any further examinations, so Leon cut the cord once it had finished pulsating and then Ashlee came in to meet her little brother and watch him get weighed etc.
He weighed 3546g (7 pound 13 ounces) was 53cm long and had a 35cm head. We named him Zachary Joseph, taking my mums partners’ name (Joseph) as he was born on Joe’s birthday and he is like a second father to me, so it felt right.
Zachary came into this world peacefully, lovingly and just as nature intended and my experience was the the most empowering, positive and memorable event after having a traumatic experience with my daughter, so I couldn’t possibly be any happier or have asked for anything more. The most surprising thing is, I can safely say I loved my labour and birth. Something I never in a million years imagined myself saying. I wish I had got it on video as I have never been more proud of anything I have done in my whole life…to go from a traumatic 18 hour labour with 2 and a half hours of pushing, drugs and every swear word under the sun spoken with my daughter, to a quick, easy, almost painless hypno-water birth…I just can’t even begin to compare the two experiences. Was just fantastic!!!
Emma, Nerang, NSW