It started with a twinge…
At 38 weeks pregnant, we were out at dinner for Chris’ birthday and I began to feel twinges that felt a bit different. They were infrequent and irregular but made me wonder if something might be happening.
I went to the toilet during the evening and discovered what must have been the mucus plug or ‘birth show’ (though it was clear so not quite what I was expecting). Not thinking too much of it and thinking that this was probably just pre-labour niggles, I let Chris know the feelings that I’d been having and we both went to bed.
I woke up around 2am and noticed I was feeling fairly regular period-pain type feelings. Could this be labour? I got up and went to the toilet, returned to bed and the surges continued. I decided to begin timing them.
They were regularly lasting for 1 minute at 5 minutes apart for an hour, so I thought it was probably time to contact our midwife. Our midwife suggested going to the hospital to meet and see how things were progressing. I made the early morning phone call to my Mum to come and watch our son while we made the trip from Warwick to Toowoomba.
We arrived at the hospital at 7am and our midwife did an internal examination and discovered I was in early labour.
We were fortunate to have my cousins house available for our labour. We spent all day there, with labour gradually progressing and me very grateful for the peaceful, homely environment to be in. We had oils burning, music playing and a comfortable bed to relax on.
By the afternoon, surges were still consistent but I was beginning to feel like maybe I needed to move around a bit to get things going more. I walked a few laps of the house and then sat outside in the sun, falling asleep in the chair between surges.
I remember feeling so blissful, having these little naps in the sun and then being woken with each of my body’s surges. My waters broke during this time. After my waters breaking, the surges became more intense and I moved inside to rest. I was very focused on breathing and staying relaxed.
By around 6 in the evening, I was beginning to wonder how far along I was – things seemed to be getting more intense and I felt that it was time for a change of scenery. To the hospital we went!
I remember feeling so blissful, having these little naps in the sun and then being woken with each of my body’s surges.
Baby is on the way…
Our midwife had been attending another birth during the day and would be a little while before she arrived. She had arranged a birthing room for us though and we were warmly welcomed by the hospital staff, who were very respectful – we felt that they were there if needed but in no way intrusive.
They’d made an effort to make the room inviting and comfortable, the lights were dim and we were able to play music. By this point the intensity was ramping up and I had a shower. I was beginning to feel a change in where I was feeling each surge (for the day it had been low at the front and now it was moving around to my lower back).
Our midwife arrived and to get an idea of how things were going, she did an internal examination and discovered I was 6cm dilated. Whether it was because of the internal or just because of the stage of labour, the intensity and pain of surges seemed to ramp up at this point.
Our midwife prepared the birthing pool and I got in, but couldn’t allow myself to make the most of it because by this point, I felt like I needed to sit on the toilet! Because this birth was a vaginal birth after ceasarean, it was recommended to have baby monitored throughout labour. The midwife had tried attaching the mobile monitor but it was having trouble picking up baby’s heart rate.
Between surges, she attached a monitoring device internally to baby’s head. Again this internal experience ramped up the pain for me and I actually jumped off the bed while the midwife was attempting to attach the device (she had managed to swiftly attach it though). By this point I remember thinking ‘I just need to lie down and rest’. This was it, baby was nearly here.
Giving it my all…
The final stage of labour involved a whole lot more effort and noise than I’d anticipated (the HypnoBirthing women seemed to make it look so calm!) and while I attempted the J-breath I found I just needed to give it my all in those final moments.
I had been kneeling, leaning against the bed to give birth and at 10:50 pm, our baby girl entered our lives. As she emerged, she was passed between my legs, into my arms.
We moved to a laying down position on the bed and cuddled, skin to skin. After about half an hour, she latched on unassisted and has been a very happy feeder ever since.
Around 45 minutes after her birth, the placenta hadn’t emerged and our midwife suggested having the injection to help move it along.
We consented to this and it very quickly emerged. After more time feeding and cuddling, I was able to have a shower while Chris had time with our baby girl.
Words from Alison
When I reflect on our pregnancy, labour and birth and finally meeting our daughter, Ruby – the word calm springs to mind. Though labour and birth was not painless, Chris and I felt that we were able to stay calm and confident throughout.
It has also struck us how calm and content Ruby has been since her birth, taking the world in her stride. Our HypnoBirthing sessions and having Brooke as such a passionate guide, gave us valuable knowledge and skills that were very helpful in preparation for and throughout labour and birth.
Our HypnoBirthing experience also made me reflect on the previous birth of our son, which had been a ceasarean birth. I saw his birth as joyous and beautiful, which gave me the confidence that the birth of Ruby could be the same, whichever way she came into the world. And joyous and beautiful it was. ❤️
A huge thank you to Alison and Chris for sharing this gorgeous story as well as those first moments of birth. A beautiful story of Vaginal Birth After Ceasarean birth. I appreciate and love my couples taking the time to share their honest journey’s with others. B x