Child Birth Story (Arrival of Our Cute baby girl Addison)
I’m really pleased to let you know that Aidan and I happily welcomed our little girl, Addison, into the world on Sunday 23rd June (2 days before our EDD), weighing 3.15kg (just under 7lbs) and 52cm long. It was a fantastic experience, that went almost entirely to plan, so please feel free to share this story with the rest of the yoga class.
Addison was born at home at 7:41 pm on Sunday after my labour started at about 11 pm the night before. I had been sure she would hang on for another week or so, as both Aidan and I were born a couple of weeks late, but it turns out she had other plans and proved me wrong – probably not the last time that will happen!
I was lying on the couch waiting to watch the Black Sticks women take on the Netherlands in a semi-final to qualify for the World Cup when I felt the first contraction. It wasn’t strong and I was a little unsure what it was at first, but a few minutes later I felt another one and thought to myself, is this what I think it is?
I had several more contractions over the next half hour and told Aidan that I thought I was in the early stages of labour.
The contractions continued like this for a while at roughly 5 mins apart, but as they were only lasting up to about 30 seconds each and were quite bearable I was comfortable to be on the couch watching the game using my yoga breath to help them pass while checking in on the timing every now and then to see if the regularity of the contractions had changed.
As we were planning for a home birth, it was so late at night and my waters hadn’t broken I decided to wait a while to see if there would be some more progress or a significant change in my contractions before calling my midwife Creaghan, so we went to bed to try and get some rest. Unfortunately, my contractions started to get a bit stronger (though not any more frequent) at this time, and I found it difficult to lie still, so I got up again and kept myself busy getting some of the home birth equipment ready for when we would need it.
During this time I discovered that the most comfortable position for me when a contraction came was holding on to our kitchen bench, circling my hips, concentrating on my breath, and doing some chanting like we did in yoga class. I also got some birthing oil diffusing in the living area, took some Birth Aid homeopathic spray and put a hot wheat bag on my lower back, then managed to doze on the couch a little in between contractions for some of the night, but didn’t really have any decent sleep.
The night seemed to pass by really quickly, and before I knew it it was about 6 am. I called my mum and my friend Bonnie, who we had also planned to have as support people for birth, to let them know that it was all on. When they both arrived at the house and were busy getting the birthing pool set up with Aidan I also called Creaghan to let her know where we were at. She came around about an hour later to examine me and I was about 3cm dilated at this stage, and my cervix was paper-thin. But as my waters were still intact and I had a good support group with me she left again to get a few other jobs done.
After the examination, my contractions started to intensify some more and got a lot closer together. The pain was really getting into my lower back now. Aidan was fantastic at this point, using the massage techniques that you taught us in the workshop to help me through each contraction, but after not having any sleep all night I was struggling with some exhaustion and still finding the pain difficult to handle. I decided to try getting in the birth pool at this stage to see if the water would ease some of this pain.
I found the heat of the water and the weightlessness helped a great deal, and this gave me some much-needed pain relief and a bit of a break to get my strength up. I sat in the pool for a couple of hours, keeping hydrated and snacking on ice blocks and some spiced apple cake that my mum had brought with her. The contractions continued throughout this time, but I was able to remain calm and be part of the conversation in the room for most of the time.
Creaghan had returned during this time and noted from some of her checks that being in the pool seemed to have slowed the progress of my labour, and although though the baby was not showing any signs of distress, she advised that if things didn’t pick up again soon I should get out and do some more moving around to get things going again.
By this stage, I felt a bit more rested and relaxed again, and I was ready to get some progress happening myself, so I got out of the pool. My contractions quickly picked up and became stronger and more frequent again once I was out of the water, and although I was tired I welcomed the progress this time with the thought that it was bringing me closer to meeting my baby. Creaghan examined me again after this had been going on for a while, and I was now about 6-7cm dilated.
We discussed the option of breaking my waters to help speed things up, but decided to give it a bit more time to try and happen naturally, as things were progressing well now and the baby was still not in any distress.
I walked up and down the stairs in our house a few times to encourage my waters to break, and just to do something different from holding myself up on the kitchen bench, but nothing much more happened. I think it was shortly after this that I went into transition, and things started to get a bit overwhelming for me. I could feel the pressure from the unbroken waters with each contraction and found this uncomfortable and very frustrating. Creaghan again gave me the option that if they hadn’t broken by 5:30 pm she could rupture them for me and hopefully speed things up.
I agreed to this as I was exhausted and very ready for anything to speed things up by now. When my waters were broken I felt relief from the pressure that had been driving me crazy and after a short rest lying down I ended up on my knees, holding on to Aidan who was sitting on a chair, circling my hips and having my back rubbed with each contraction.
It wasn’t long after that I got the urge to start pushing. A second midwife, Marti, arrived around then to assist with the delivery, and both Creaghan and her coached me through how to push. This was the main part of the labour that was not like anything I had expected it would be. It felt like it took a long time for me to figure out how to direct my strength and energy to the right place in order to help the baby come out, but eventually, I got used to it, and with a lot of encouragement and instruction from both midwives and Aidan I got her head out.
The rest of the delivery was quick and is a bit of a blur to me, all I remember is being handed my baby to cuddle and being with her and Aidan in a little bubble while everyone else went about their business in the background.
So, after almost 20 hours of labour we now have our beautiful little girl to enjoy, and although there were times towards the end of my labour when I doubted it, I am so glad that I trusted my body, my baby, and my midwife to do what was required to have a successful, drug-free home birth. Even though I don’t get a medal for doing it, I think I have an even better reward in Addison. She is very alert, but also very cruisy and relaxed, and is an absolute delight!
Thanks so much, Jo for all of the support and advice you have offered and provided throughout my pregnancy… In the yoga classes, the birth partners workshop, and the amazing massages! It might be a while before I make it back to the Yoga Room while we get ourselves settled, but hopefully, I can find some time to come for a postnatal massage soon, and perhaps bring Addison along to say hello too :o)