Empowering birth | From hospital to home birth - My birth story - Part 1
From a 'Hollywood style' hospital kind of birth to a planned hypno homebirth. Two births. Two completely opposite stories, and the story goes like this...
My first daughter Marley was born in 2009 in a Hollywood style hospital birth. My youngest, Sydnee, was born in 2015 in a planned hypno homebirth. Two births. Two completely opposite stories, so here is my story.
I was 20 years old when I fell pregnant to my daughter Marley. As like most women when they fall pregnant for the first time, I had no clue on what I was doing so I engaged a local obstetrician to look after me while I was pregnant. I had a fairly active and healthy pregnancy and did lots of yoga, aqua aerobics, and treated my body like a temple, all those things you do when you are pregnant. I remember that I never gave much thought to the whole birthing process back then and I read, Kat Cooke’s ‘Up the Duff’ and the good ole ‘What to expect when you are expecting’, attended all the hospital birth classes and thought I had my 'shite' sorted for birth... I got this! On Marley's due date, I woke up at 2am and noticed my waters had broken. No braxton hicks, no pain, no nothing as a warning to my surprise, but I rang the hospital and told them I’d be on my way soon. My contractions slowly built in intensity and as the it got close to 8am we arrived at hospital and I was at the stage I could not talk during the contractions. I started to feel nauseous and dizzy like I needed to vomit and it really threw me off! I started to panic and it all went down hill from there, I had no idea what I was in for and I basically gave up there and then so I begged for an epidural and my drug free birth plan went out the window but I didn’t even care. . After my epidural I was 'high as a kite' for two hours just laying in the hospital bed, smiling and even laughing, thinking why didn’t I just do this earlier. But when I had the epidural my body closed up and birthing slowed down. I remember having three different hands being shoved up my vagina (the nurse, the OB and the student midwife) watching them debate about how dilated I was. Note to self, they don't tell you that happens in your child birth classes. But slowly I got to 10cm dilation and it was time to push, but then I heard, 'let’s turn down that epidural so you can push my dear,' the nurse said. 'Whaaaaaat?' I thought I had my free ticket to a pain free birth with that epidural but no, they apparently turn it down so you can actually feel what you are doing (another thing they never tell you in child birth classes). What happened next is that I felt every bit of birth 'pain' anyway, despite the epidural which I just spent $800 for! In the end the epidural took away my ability to push Marley out, so I needed as much help as possible to get her out. I ended up in stirrups with my feet as high as my face and four people screaming 'P-U-S-H' as I went beetroot face. With no progress at all, they placed a vacuum on Marley's little head and in two pushes they pulled her out. Thank f*ck that was over! However unfortunately I tore pretty bad, really bad actually, with a third degree tear (from my A to B). I remember watching the obstetrician sew me up like I was some sort of dress hem. Marley also had the biggest cone on her head and screamed and screamed until her second night of life. Her entry to the world was nothing like I had planned, but I was just happy she made it and was safe in my arms. In the days after Marley's birth, I struggled to walk as I recovered from the epidural, the birth and my tear which saw me having two salt baths everyday, and consuming cocktails of laxatives just to go to the bathroom. In total, I spent a week in hospital recovering before I took Marley home.
Now, I hope I have not scared you away from reading, or made you think the most horrible things about birth, because the next part of my story is where the magic really happens.
Six and a half years later my husband and I were surprised with the pregnancy of my daughter Sydnee in December 2014. We were not planning to have any more kids so we didn’t have private health insurance for pregnancy so we had to go through the public system. Unfortunately at 7 weeks pregnant, I had an an incident with the public hospital (which I will not talk about here) that lead me to look for other options for my pregnancy care. I looked at having a baby privately without cover but I found out it costs $1000 a day to have a baby this way, and god forbid there would be complications that require a lengthy stay in hospital so I realised I didn’t have many other options. So I started looking for a midwife who could be look after me and be my 'wing woman' in the public system. This is when I found Mary Young from -Know your midwife - changing birth on earth.
When I called Mary first the first time I found out she conveniently lived in my street, it really couldn’t have gotten better than this. I started seeing her and found out that she did home births. My attitude towards home birth at this time was fairly negative. I thought it was dangerous and selfish and that it would expose the Mum and baby to unnecessary risks. There was absolutely no way I would have a bar of that, but at this time I was clearly uneducated about home birth. But slowly after each meeting with Mary, I gained trust in her and let my guard down slowly becoming more open to the idea of home birth. It got to the point where I realised I was actually a good candidate for home birth and it was a totally safe thing to do in the right circumstances so I got comfortable with the idea, especially as Mary only lived up the road from our house. Mary's birthing classes were so different to the birth classes I experienced in hospital with my firstborn. Mary spoke about calm birth and hypnobirth and I began to dive deeper into this concept preparing myself for this style of birth every single day of my pregnancy. It was kind of like training for a marathon. My husband and I finally made the decision to home birth and I as I approached full term pregnancy, I felt so confident and prepared with the decision we had made.
It was a Friday night and Simon and I just had dinner and put the kids to bed at about 8pm and were watching TV. I went to the bathroom and I found out my waters had broken. It was just like what happened with Marley, my waters broke first with no signs of labour beforehand. I rang Mary and told her it was on. I started to prepare myself mentally and tried to relax as much as possible. The contractions were intense to start with but very spaced out. It was 10pm and I was cruising along at home, so excited I couldn’t sit still. I remember it got close to midnight and I was sitting on my computer posting a family photo on Facebook book which read ‘our last moments as a family of four’. Shortly after midnight my midwife arrived and my contractions suddenly went to minutes apart. This is when things became a blur as I progressed so quickly it got to a point there was no break between my contractions and I was opening up fast. At this time, my husband and the midwife were racing to fill up the birthing pool but couldn’t do it quick enough so they put a towel on my lounge room floor as I was already pushing. With 15cm of water in the pool I quickly jumped in, I was so in my head and in my body at this time, just me and my baby, it was pure magic and I have goosebumps all over me as I write this. I remember in the minutes before Sydnee was born, I was in a state of pure pleasure, it almost felt orgasmic, the contractions were feeling good (that kind of sounds crazy right?). It didn't take long but in two beautiful breaths, I gently breathed my baby down and out. The first breath I reached down and could feel her head, and in the next breath, I felt her body and I scooped her up in my arms. I had delivered my own baby and there are no words to describe how this experience was. It was 2am on a gorgeous full moon and my baby girl was born. Sydnee was so calm that she had not even realised she had been born, there was no tears, just this moment of pure bliss. In just two hours I had birthed my baby, in my living room, at home, with no drugs, and no tears!! Not long after she was born we jumped into our bed as a family. I remember the our older kids woke up during this time and jumped into bed with us and their new sister. We had our first feed and it was close to 4am when the midwife simply tucked us in, kissed me on the forehead and then left us alone to enjoy the moment. It was at this time I realised I did it! I had healed from my first birth traumas through our home birth and felt this incredible sense of empowerment and connection to my woman essence and energy and all women around the world both past and present. No words can how incredible this feeling was.
I’m going to leave this story here for now on a high note with some pictures of Sydnee's birth below. However in a part two, I will share my birthing video and my journey into hypnobirth and home birth discussing how this process healed my past birthing traumas. I will also be sharing my secrets on hypnobirth and home birth if you are interested in knowing more about this style of birth.
Birth photos captured by the one and only Melissa Jean. You can visit her website here. And if something resonated with you in this article, please share it with your friends, email me or leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Until part two, stay tuned.