10 Oct TJ’s Home Water Birth
I give thanks to my hypnobirthing instructor, to all the yoga that I did, and the positive mind set that I kept up, despite all the crazy ups & downs.
I was 10 days overdue, and at this stage, had tried many different things to bring on my labour from eating 7 pineapples, spicy food, sex, bumpy roads , and even ran 3km the day before the birth. It was great that my midwife & gynae were supportive of me waiting it out. The doctor said I was already 2cm dilated (for like a week), so it would be any day now. They did perform a stretch & sweep in the hospital, but the next day, still nothing!
My Birth team was my Midwife, Liza, my hypnobirthing instructor/ Doula (Dr Megan Medina), and another Doula (Dr Taryn Turner) (I always joke- one for me, one for (Let’s call him A for Andy) They had to drive from Ballito to Umzumbe, 1.5 hours, when I said “go”. We ended up having a third Doula, and now dear friend, who supported us while we waited for the team to arrive.
It was a cool Friday morning on A, my Husband’s Birthday, 25 April 2014, we woke up to gift giving, and my husband decided he wanted to exchange my gift at the shopping centre. I was feeling a little funny, but pregnancy was full of these little funny feelings, so didn’t think too much of it. We made it about 5 minutes in the car, when I had a wave, still in denial, but made him stop the car. Actually, switch the car off completely. I told him I couldn’t really be seen in public like this, so we decided to turn around & take our doggies for a walk on the beach instead. On the beach, I opted to rather sit in meditation, as I wasn’ t really in the mood to walk, but still, I couldn’t possibly be in labour. (I had experienced period pains like this before, and in my mind , it had to be way more excruciating than this!) We dropped the doggies off at A’s Backpacking Lodge. While sitting in the car, one of the staff was chatting to me, and every now & again, I held my hand up to take a minute, but alas, I couldn’t possibly be in labour!
We went home, A decided to watch a movie while I had a nap, and around 2pm, I was standing in the lounge, swaying from side to side, still wondering if I was in labour. My domestic at the time and mother of 4 wanted to go home or get me to a hospital ASAP. She knew.
Previously, to my joyful surprise, while doing my perineal massages, I actually felt my 2cm dilated cervix, so I decided to have a shower & check myself.. I was 5cm!
My husband had been calling our midwife, telling her she needs to come, but because of the calmness in my voice, she didn’t think it was happening. If she had actually seen me with the phone in the hand, hunched over the couch, she would have got to me much quicker. “I checked my dilation, and I am…” She stopped me right there, “You don’t know how to check!” She said! But I know what I know … She said she has a client at 4pm, then she will pick meg up & make her way to us… on a Public Holiday, through Friday afternoon traffic…
anyway, the Doula Taryn called up her friend, Kristin, also a Doula, and asked her to pop in and see how we were doing to ease my husband’s nerves.
I had my birth ball set up, with a hot water bottle, which REALLY helped to ease the sensations, and the ball took pressure off me. I laboured here a while, circling my hips to bring the baby down.
Kristin arrived while I was in the outside jacuzzi, watching the waves and doing my thing. I just remember seeing her face, and letting out a mighty roar, and labour really stepped up a whole nother level. I had definitely been keeping my cool for the sake of A, and felt like I could let go more, and tap into my primal feminine instincts. It started getting cold outside, and I kept dipping my face and sucking water up instead of air, so I wanted to get out.
I made my way to the toilet, where I felt very comfortable. You can really “let go” when sitting on the toilet. As much as I was offered another position, I wanted to stay on my throne. I found it a great help . I remember Kristin saying if you need to push, DON’T, you have to wait for Liza!
Eventually, I was feeling really tired, so they got me onto the bed, in where I laboured in all 4’s until my wrists just couldn’t take it anymore. I remember making A kneel to hold me up. The waves were coming on fast & strong and I needed a million pillows to prop me up comfortably in total floppy doll relaxation (for like 10 seconds rest) before the next wave came crashing. Then when the wave hit, I had to throw all the pillows away to labour on my knees, and when the wave had passed, reorganised a million pillows for those few few seconds of rest in between.
FINALLY, the team arrived! Around 7pm, after dark & getting lost, Andy ran up & down the stairs a million times with the amount of equipment they had to bring in to the room.
Liza checked me, and put the CTG on me, which was probably the worst part of my labour, as I had to be on my back, and the machine wasn’t ready, so it was frustratingly painful! She checked me, told me that she is going to run a bath, and I can climb in & we can have this baby! I was 8 cm at this stage.
I went back to the toilet, where there was really no holding me back, and on the next wave, my waters were released.
The bath was finally ready for me to get into. I lay in it for about 5 or so minutes, and suddenly had this massive undeniable urge to push! Taryn told me to listen to my body, and I got into my squatting position in the bath , husband one side of me, Meg on the other (the bath was the perfect set up for a birth!… ) and Taryn & Liza in front of me. I remember NOT being able to NOT push… I just HAD to! This is the rush of adrenaline that kicks in too. I pushed a mighty push, felt the crowning. They offered me to touch the head, but at this stage, I wanted it out. I remember jumping twice as Tara adjusted her position inside me. THAT was a crazy feeling! Taryn reminded me that this was the ring of fire and pushing through will bring my baby to me. (I can never think of Johnny Cash’s song “Ring of fire” the same way!) I doubted myself at this point, when Meg put her hand on my heart, looked me in the eyes, and breathed the J hypnobirthing breath with me. I did it, breathing baby down & out, and released my new-born into the world.
I felt invincible. Like I had just won a war. The relief, the joy, the ecstaticness of it all was indescribable. I immediately told myself I could do that again.
Each person attending my birth had a magical, valuable role to play. I had such a beautiful birth because I was in my own safe bubble of love and with people that understood what I needed. That, along with my practices, preparation and connection to my inner voice, is what allowed me to completely OWN my birth experience. And THAT is why I now do what I do.