Alicia's water birth story...
Alicia’s Birth Story
Born 10 June 2008
3.6kgs (7lbs 15oz)
Hamish took me in to the Birthing Centre at Flinders Medical Centre at 10am where our midwife, Mandy, induced me by method of rupturing my membranes. The breaking of my waters happened around 10:30am. As we weren’t sure how long it would take for this method of induction to “bring on” my labour, we discussed with Mandy the option of going home and doing the first part of labour at home. She suggested we go for a short walk around the hospital as she wanted to monitor me for the first hour and make sure that the baby’s heartbeat was stable and wasn’t becoming distressed due to the induction. We went for a short walk, and by 12 midday, I started to feel the aches and pains of labour beginning. Mandy again asked us if we wanted to go home to do the first part of labour at home, but I really didn’t want to leave the birthing room and I couldn’t stand the thought of getting into a car at that point. And so, labour began…
Waves of contractions became stronger over the next 4-5hrs and we used active birthing techniques and positions to encourage progress. Hamish was with me the whole time, he was absolutely wonderful – comforting me with massage and his gentle way of being. He made sure I was listening to great music that I love (we listened to 2 Pat Metheny albums and The Very Best of Bill Evans) during the whole labour and birth. Mandy was also fantastic, she brought in some Sage oils as aromatherapy to encourage the contractions and labour, and consistently offered us suggestions for pain management – baby and I had the perfect support team.
As the contractions became stronger, I went into the shower – the warm water running over me was wonderful in helping me relax and deal with the pain. When they became stronger, Mandy offered me 2 x Panadeine Forte to help with the pain. I asked if they would make me feel groggy and slow down the labour, and she said they would not slow down the labour, but they may make me feel a bit drowsy and would also help with the pain. I accepted. The Panadeine came on strong (I’m not used to taking pain meds) and I certainly started to feel drowsy which I almost didn’t like, but it gave me a chance to rest a little while Mandy ran the warm bath in preparation for the water birth we had requested.
As soon as the bath was ready, Mandy helped me in. That was a huge relief. The weightlessness of my body in the water, and the warmth, was really relaxing. I had Hamish sitting on one side of the bath and Mandy on the other. Hamish was helpful by offering me chipped ice in cordial to keep me hydrated. He also made sure the top half of my body (that was out of the water) didn’t get too cold by constantly squeezing warm water from a face washer over me – and if ever he missed a beat, believe me he knew about it! Haha!
I totally trusted in my body during the whole experience. Our bodies are so amazing, and at every transition, I instinctively knew that something had changed. Whenever the pain changed or became too much or I began to think “I can’t do this,” Mandy would check my dilation and the baby’s heartbeat and confirm that we were onto the next stage. We had arrived at the “pushing” stage – where the baby’s head slowly makes it way down past the coccyx bone and into the birth canal. This stage took some coaching from Mandy who was instrumental in helping me understand what I needed to do to progress through this stage quickly. It was hard work, but again, when I came to the point where I thought “I can’t do this,” Mandy would confirm that we had arrived at the final stage of the birth.
Mandy told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head! I reached down and I could feel baby’s head – what more motivation did I need?! We were almost there! Hamish and I were so excited… this was the moment we had been waiting for for 9 months… we were about to meet our baby! It took two good pushes to get baby’s head out. We waited for another contraction, and then another push and her body followed. Mandy and Hamish quickly put her onto my chest and as Hamish and I held her there, Mandy organised the clamping of the cord and scissors for Hamish to cut baby’s umbilical cord. Hamish cut her cord. We named her Alicia.
Our first moments as a family were overwhelmingly joyful. It is a feeling that words are too limiting to describe. All I could say over and over as Alicia lay on my chest was, “Oh!..Oh!..Oh!” She is perfect.
Hamish took Alicia, and Mandy helped me out of the bath. She helped dry me off as I was shaking from the pure adrenalin I was experiencing – our natural hormones are wonderful! - and assisted me onto the mattress she had prepared right next to the bath for the delivery of the placenta stage.
We stayed in the hospital for another 5 days as I had a significant tear and needed stitches. We arrived home 3 days ago and are settling in well. Alicia is breastfeeding really well and mum is adjusting to life with little sleep! She's absolutely the joy of our lives and we are so overwhelmed with love. It's a very special time.