Four years ago i had the most magical unassisted home birth of Mason, so when i fell pregnant i knew in my heart that i wanted the exact same again but as a wise friend of mine told me "you can't replicate a birth,each is different and will bring with it is own magic" - i needed those words to get me through a turmoil of emotions that presented in the last weeks of my pregnancy.
As the universe had it, we moved house while i was 22 weeks pregnant with our third baby. Don't get me wrong, it was and has been the best move for our family and of course having a big belly meant i got out of most of the lifting and unpacking
When we got to our new home i went in search for a midwife to care for me through the rest of my pregnancy and the birth. Being the third and with both previous pregnancies and births being trouble free, i was relaxed that i would be fine. Well, seems we moved into an area where independent midwives are a rarity and if they were there, they were booked out completely or charging more than our income would stretch too.
My only option was a birth centre in a small hospital around the corner from our house which had no obstetricians so if you needed one you would be transferred half an hour away to another not so great hospital. I was heartbroken, after all my research into home birth last time i knew the interventions, time restrictions, red tape and general pushiness of hospitals was not what i wanted to be stuck using. My biggest fear was that i would arrive at this birth centre, tense up with fear and stall my own labour resulting in a c-section.
My hands were tied, i contacted every doula i could find i the area to see if they would attend just a birth only to make hubby feel more comfortable with free birthing but insurance and liability makes this all too difficult.
I had no answers, i had exhausted all avenues and as my friend also shared "put it to the universe,be open to what is meant to be" so right up until 39 weeks i was searching for another birth support other than going into the hospital system.
39 week appointment at the birth centre...The dreaded "At our next appointment we will talk about ways to bring on labour" i replied "i won't be at the next appointment as i will have this baby before then"
I had planned in my mind when he would arrive, the previous two kids had come 4 days early and so will he :)
39+ 1 i lost my mucous plug in the afternoon! Fantastic i thought, with #1 i lost the plug and had her within 24 hours, with #2 i had him within 4 hours.....He is on his way!!!! Hmmm, first lesson learnt...when you loose your plug only means one thing....He is on his way....sometime...
39+2 Hairdressing appointment that i knew i had to make. A newborn and two older siblings means mummy time gets very limited so it was my last chance to feel human before bub came and i was determined to make it, even if i was sitting in the chair feeling light contractions warm up my body for the big event. Later that night i put the kids to bed and race up to get some last minute groceries to stock the cupboard for the visitors and weeks ahead i plan to snuggle down and stay inside cuddled with our newborn. The face of the checkout lady when she says "how long have you got to go?" staring at my belly and i reply "well actually I'm in labour now :)" I have never seen a check out lady pack away my groceries so fast, worried i was about to pop this baby out in her checkout isle!
39+3 Today was spent with the kids, we spent all afternoon dancing around the play room wiggling this baby down. Figure eights, stomping, jiggling and just rocking it out with mr 4 and miss 7 while we each took turns on choosing our favourite songs off youtube we bonded. Just the 3 but so soon to be 4. "Hey mama" by David Guetta was the favourite played over and over until i had a big brother and big sister exhausted and ready for bed.
I knew what i had to do, i had been mentally putting off this labour, till i had the groceries, till i had my hair done, till the children were asleep so now it was baby and my time. I had to let go. I texted my mum to keep the phone close and I went to change into my labour gear, a black jumpsuit, crop and a necklace i made myself that i strung with every teething necklace both children had worn while little. This was important to me, i needed to have a piece to hold, see and feel that not only helped physically with the pain-all those little amber beads melting on my skin but also to remind me of how loved this baby already is, with two eager siblings waiting for his arrival.
Resting,walking and trying to let everything go and the next thing i see the sun coming up, had i really been focused and in such a trance that a whole night had gone by? Letting hubby sleep a full night was the right thing as i knew i would be needing his help and having him rested meant a rock of support.
It was 5am when i called my mum who was 2 hours away as i knew if the kids would be waking soon i would need her to help occupy them so i could focus. By 6.10am my mum gently knocked on the front door, she says it was the quickest she had gotten to our house before. It was lovely that we were all so excited to meet our new addition, even being the third!
While mum went ahead with the morning routine, hubby and i spoke about how he would trust me to tell him when i needed to leave to go to the birthing centre. I guess I'm a hard book to read when it comes to labour. I am focused, quiet and withdrawn. By 9am i said i think we should time the contractions, they were not taking my breath away just requiring more focus and deep breathing. They were 3 mins apart. The children came and looked on while i laboured in the playroom trying to move and use gravity to bring bub down. By mid morning i decided to go up to the baby's nursery and lay on a mattress on all fours just being alone and enjoying all the hormones kick in surrounded by our soon to be newborns cloth nappies,feeding chair and swaddles, it gave me that surge to keep going.
I knew my mum would be getting tired minding the two kids after being awake most of the night in anticipation, i suggested to hubby we call his mum to help out with the kids as it would be nice for her to be close for when bub arrives anyway and she had to travel 2 hours to get to us.
It was getting close to midday and my waters still hadn't broke, all i knew is that labour was feeling great, i was managing fine, laughing and enjoying how my body was slowly gearing up for his arrival. I had floated in a warm bath and hung, squatted and lay on my side. I felt the urge to push, it wasn't like the last two births, their waters had broken and i could feel their heads but this was just so much pressure, like a huge beach ball just sitting there. I wanted to push him out but something was stopping me. I hadn't heard his heartbeat, i felt i needed to hear that he was ok before i pushed him out.
I spoke to Hubby and we decided to call the birth centre and let them know we were coming in. It was only 3 minutes away so i figured we had plenty of time. Hubby spoke to them and all i could here was "oh ok then what are our options?" Options! i thought, what options, we were coming in, we just needed to meet our midwife there and have this baby. Well, it turned out that wasn't what the universe had in store for this birth.
I was told the centre had been super busy and with it being the middle of winter some midwives were unwell so they were left with only one midwife who was already caring for a lady in labour and can't legally do two alone. I had a choice.... give birth in the emergency room of the hospital with just a curtain around us or travel half an hour to a bigger hospital to their maternity suites.
Well we chose the bigger hospital, i figured we would call an ambulance and then i could hear if bub was ok with a doppler and also get there quicker than if Hubby drove.
We kept speaking to the midwife on the phone, her voice was angelic, so calm and reassuring. I let out an emotional cry when she said to me "You are doing perfectly" Looking back now, i see that that assurance from someone else means so much to me.
In only a few minutes the ambulance arrived on our driveway, Mason now 4 had eyes as wide as dinner plates and asked so sweetly "Can i have a look inside?" Haha, "Of course! have a quick look" i say as i waddle down the driveway trying my hardest to hold in this baby head.
With Mason out and Hubby in the front seat i lay down and ask for a doppler to check heart rate, well now i find out ambulances don't carry them. "If a baby is coming, there isn't much we can do" I think to myself, yes i know that feeling -ITS HAPPENING TO ME RIGHT NOW!!
I'm still not sure if anyone, the Midwife, the ambo, even hubby believed how far i was along. I kept saying i was ready to push but as there was no water breaking, blood or screaming it was all calm and enjoyable. I remember laying on my side in the stretcher while reading every sticker on the truck, just as the midwife on the phone had suggested, trying not to think about pushing when i looked over at hubby and did our usual "hey babe?......love you!" and he returning the love.
The ambulance man who sat with me in the back questioned me about why i didn't want pain relief and then offered it to me again 2 more times. He spoke small talk to me and every now and then i would stop, breathe out a contraction then continue with my answer. 130km down the freeway and we were at the hospital in 20 mins. As they lowered the stretcher off the truck i had one more contraction that i asked them to stop moving me for. Straight into the birthing room and i notice a bath running, i later find out that angelic midwife from the birthing centre had requested the only bath suite and for it to be ready when i arrived. The older midwife introduces herself and asks if its ok if a student male midwife care for us and i quickly agree and ask for a doppler to hear bub before i push him out.
She asks me to get up on the bed, i hesitate, this is why i didn't want to end up here. I wanted choice not red tape. That sound....hearing bubs heart beautifully thumping away like the beat of a drum. I was ready to see him!
The midwife asked me to give a urine sample, i took the cup and walked into the bathroom then straight back out again, handed it back to her empty and said, sorry its too late and hobbled over to the running bath. I looked at the midwife straight in her eyes and said as seriously as i could "I want a hands off birth"
The midwives were busy setting up the room, filling out forms and talking to each other so Hubby and i huddled in the corner of the spa bath. He held my hand while i gently and slowly pushed through the pressure. I said to him "Please make this be the last one" The feeling was not painful,not burning but just powerful and taking my breathe away. I place my hand down to cradle his head and remember his sac had still not broken so i ask Garrett to get some pictures.
I put him to my chest and only then look up to see the midwives starting to come see what we were up to.
They hurry over and while i nurse they ask about the placenta, i will deliver it naturally i inform them and i get a reply of "well if you start to bleed we will have to intervene. hmmm so tempted to fight back with "well i could just eat some placenta to stop the bleeding" but refrain too caught up in my newborn.
The midwife hurries me along to give bub to dad while i push the placenta out but i decline. I want that hormone inducing baby to stay close to me for as long as possible. I hold him and get to my knees and give a cough to release the placenta into my other hand.
I'm asked to get onto the bed and bub is left with me to snuggle. We gaze in awe, another perfect human bought into our lives making our awesome foursome now a fantastic five!
We are left with just the student midwife now as the older midwife went on her break. He tells us that he is doing his midwifery component as he is becoming a flying doctor. He tells me that he has only seen 5 natural births in this hospital in a whole year. WOW!
It is now that i can get my head around where the universe was taking me on this birth journey. Was it the perfect birth? No. Was it in the comfort of my home where my heart wanted to be? No, but it did create awareness for a student midwife about natural intervention free childbirth and it did allow me to walk out of a hospital with a healthy baby in my arms knowing i stood up for my body and were able to be at home within 3 hours of birthing to introduce baby Brody to his siblings.
My first two birth's taught me to trust in my body, this time around i had that made, i still had a lesson to learn though....trust in the universe!
Brody has joined our family like he had been there all along. Such a smiley baby that brings so much joy to us all :)