Laura, first time mum, family birth centre, drug free water birth

"I woke up around 6am to mild period like pains which I had been having on and off for the past few days, I went to the loo and then got back in bed. I woke up again at 7:50am to go to the toilet again and I noticed a small amount of “egg white” discharge so I went out to my husband Jaxon and told him that I was pretty sure I just lost some of my mucus plug, during this time I was still having the period pains which I then realised were mild surges because they would start and stop. I hopped into the shower and had the hot water on my back - something I had been doing over the last two weeks when I would experience some discomfort - all while Jaxon kept timing my surges which at that point were all over the place. I noticed that more of my mucus plug kept coming out and the mild surges continued so then Jaxon called my Mum and told her the news that she had been longing for.

My Mum arrived and the two of them took turns with keeping me company while I was in the shower. Jaxon made me some toast and cut it into tiny pieces so I could nibble on it when I wasn’t having a surge (bless him). After being in there for about 40 minutes, I got out and the three of us were in our bedroom talking until another surge would come, during this time at 8:34am, I noticed a trickle go down my leg so I quickly hobbled to the bathroom and got back in the shower and the surges quickly got more intense. Jaxon called my Midwife to let her know that it was all happening. She arrived at 9am and asked if she could check me, to which I agreed. I laid on the bed where she was able to check, this resulted in my membranes releasing even more but the feeling of being checked was extremely uncomfortable so I decided that I didn’t want to have any more examinations as I couldn’t imagine going through that again when my surges would become more intense later on. She told me I was 2cm, and that she would leave for an hour to two hours and see how I would progress being at home. Back into the shower I went as that was the only place which took a small amount of pressure off my body. An hour went by and I could feel everything becoming stronger so I told Jaxon to call my midwife and tell her to come back, while we waited for her, I held onto Jaxon and my mum during each surge, it was the best feeling being so supported by them. My midwife arrived and started to get some paperwork ready at the dining table while mum sat with her and I leant over the kitchen table as the surges kept coming.

I hobbled to the car once I was ready to leave only wearing a dress, no shoes and no knickers! For all I know, people in the cars next to us probably seen me flashing my bum in the window but I did not care at this point! I was on all fours in the back seat while Jaxon followed my midwife to the Family Birth Centre, with Mum sitting in the passenger seat. We arrived at 11:30am and I got out at the entrance with mum while Jaxon parked the car and brought all of our bags in.

The room was nice and cool (as it was a 41 degree day!) and felt homely. Jaxon closed the blinds and set up my candles and speaker to create a peaceful vibe. Everything seemed to slow down when we got there and my midwife had told me that this may happen due to being in a new environment. After about half an hour things started to pick up again so I got in the shower and stayed in there for about 2 hours.

Jaxon sat on the chair in front of me while I leant on him and he stroked my skin, whispering positive affirmations in my ear, telling me I was doing great. I was able to tell myself that my body was doing an amazing job and it knew exactly what to do.

I eventually got out and walked around the room, leaning on the bench and often rising to my tippy toes during each surge. I was sipping on coconut water to keep hydrated while Jaxon and Mum kept misting my face with a spray bottle. My midwife came back in and asked if she could check me again, but I declined and she was very accepting of my decision. My breathing became too fast during my surges, so Jaxon and my midwife kept reminding me to slow it down and that helped me refocus again. I tried to go on all fours using the sponge mat on the floor but being in that position just didn’t feel right or comfortable so I got up and headed to the shower again. Once I got out, I sat backwards on the toilet to help open up my pelvis and for my mind to realise that my body can relax and release to help bring our baby down as this is a known position for our bodies to open up and release. Jaxon put my travel pillow on the back of the toilet and I stayed resting there for about and hour. He fed me strawberries and blueberries during this time and it felt good to snack on something light and refreshing.

At about 4:30pm, I decided that I wanted to head to the birth pool which was filled up in another private room only a few metres from my room, I waited for my mind and body to build up enough courage to make the short journey down the corridor which took a few surges until I felt ready because walking was difficult at this stage. Jaxon supported me as I slowly walked out of the room. Another surge quickly came upon my body as I was in the corridor - they were coming on much closer together and much more intense.

The room with the birthing pool was dimly lit with more candles which were already provided by the birth centre and Jaxon had already brought in our speaker so the atmosphere was extremely welcoming and cozy with meditation music playing softly in the background. He helped me up the 3 steps and then I took my first step into the water, it was nice and warm. I lowered my body and felt that the all fours position was the most comfortable to begin with - it’s amazing how gravity vs. no gravity can completely change how a position feels. Jaxon held the travel pillow on the edge of the bath while I rested my head into it and held his hand during each surge.

Jaxon and my mum kept telling me how proud they were and how good of a job I was doing and this helped immensely because I was able to tell myself the same thing.

Although the sensations my body was going through were extremely intense, I remember thinking to myself during every surge, “I am completely aware of the fact that I can be transferred to the hospital and have as much pain relief as I want but that isn’t how I want my birth to go, and I know that I’m going to bring our baby into the world completely drug free!” I knew my mind was extremely powerful and my determination was so strong!

At 5pm, I changed my position into a squat because I started to feel the urge to do a number 2! My breathing became faster when a surge would appear and my midwife and Jaxon would remind me to slow it down and this helped me to refocus. I would bear down every surge and my midwife asked me to see if I could feel the head coming, I could only put about 2/3 of my middle finger in which meant the head was pretty close! Shortly after, the head started crowning but then it would slide back in and this went on for about 45 minutes. After each surge passed, my midwife asked if I felt like changing positions so that I was leaning back - I had my upper back pushed against one side of the pool and my legs pushed against the opposite side (in a semi reclined squat) and this position really opened up my pelvis because our baby’s head popped out at just after 6pm and during the next surge, our baby was born at 6:09pm. The cord was wrapped around baby’s neck once, but baby had their hand in between almost as if to naturally protect themselves. My midwife unwrapped the cord and placed our baby on my chest. Oh the feeling of relief!

I held onto our baby and closed my eyes, I couldn’t believe he/she was finally earth side! My husband kept kissing me on the head telling me how proud he was while my mum was sobbing her heart out trying to video the whole thing. For some reason, I didn’t cry which surprised me because I always thought I’d ball my eyes out whenever I had a baby but I think my adrenaline and every other emotion was taking over. About 5 minutes went by, and then I asked my husband if he wanted to check to see if it was a boy or girl so I lifted baby’s leg and he said it’s a GIRL!!

Our little Adaline Mae was wide awake and so alert when she entered the world, it was the most beautiful experience! My midwife asked me if I felt any pressure to birth the placenta, but I didn’t feel anything at that point so she asked if I wanted to stand up to see if gravity would help and sure enough, as soon as I stood up, it came right out! I barely felt it!

Adaline’s cord drained the blood super quick! It was completely white after about 10 minutes so they clamped the cord and Jaxon got to use the blunt scissors to cut through the rubber (well at least that’s what he said it was like). I made my way out of the pool with the assistance from Jaxon and my midwife, and we headed back to our room. I got comfortable on the bed and we were left alone for an hour which was on my birth plan to allow us bonding time with our new addition. We FaceTimed our family and told them the news and then simply bonded the remainder of the hour.

Once the midwives came in, they helped us establish breast feeding and she latched on very quickly - it was amazing to see nature take its course.

After her first feed, the midwife did all of the measuring. She weighed 8 pound 7! (3950g), her head was 34cm and she was 54cm long!We had the paediatrician come in and do a final check on Adaline before we were discharged 5 hours after birth and off we went to start our new life with our little girl.

We are beyond thankful to Renee at The Birth Space for opening up our minds and educating us to prepare for the most beautiful birth experience we could have wished for. Everything went so smoothly and to plan. We couldn’t have done it without her knowledge and passion for birth.

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Renee Bradfield, Perth WA

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