Brooklyn Maci was born on 10th July at 5:26pm… A healthy 7lbs 1 oz !
This birth was a totally different experience to the birth of my daughter (almost 19 years ago!) where I had no idea about breathing techniques and after being induced found I was unable to cope with the pain of the contractions and willingly took pethidine (which was the first and only form of pain relief offered to me). With the edge taken off the pain of the contractions I was able to relax and as a result my labour progressed quickly, dialating from 4 to 10cm in just over an hour. My daughter was born 1 ½ hours later, affected by the pethidine which was still in my system. Fortunately she had no long term side effects from this less than ideal introduction to the world.
My daughter is now 18 years and in her first year of a midwifery degree. Our birth plan was ideally to have a drug free labour without any medical intervention with my daughter assisting my midwife with the delivery. I believed if I could work with my body this time and relax without the need for drugs this was an achievable plan. I started taking mum omega (a supplement of Omega 3 and omega 6–essential fatty acids) early on in my pregnancy to give my baby and me the best advantage.
There had been concerns about my baby’s size and I had been having growth scans from 30 weeks, with induction having been discussed as a possibility if the interval growth was not satisfactory. I appreciated you taking the time Jo to remind me these were my decisions to make… Not the doctors, and sharing stories of other women who’s pregnancies sounded similar to mine and delivered healthy sized babies.
Although my fundal measurements were significantly smaller than they should have been the growth scans continued to show that my baby was growing well, she was just tightly packaged.
I had acupuncture at 39 weeks and 3 days to encourage a natural induction. (as although the growth had remained satisfactory induction after my due date had now been recommended due to my ‘advanced maternal age’) The acupuncture worked! I had mild period like cramps from about 8pm. Although these were not painful the sheer anticipation and excitement of what was to come meant I got very little sleep. My waters broke at 8am the following morning. I phoned my midwife to let her know and she was happy for me to stay at home as long as I was comfortable and to let her know when the contractions were stronger. My contractions were 5-8 mins apart at this stage and very mild so we had breakfast and I enjoyed a nice long shower.
By 11am the contractions were getting slightly stronger so we drove to my parents house in Castor Bay so we would be closer to the hospital. We stopped at Kennedy Park on the way and went down and up the stairs (this had always been part of our birth plan as I believed it would help the baby to get into a good position for labour) I did not anticipate how quickly it would speed things up though! When we arrived at Kennedy Park my contractions were still about 5-6 mins apart… After decending and climbing the stairs just once the frequency increased to every 2 mins. When I had to stop for a contraction half way up the stairs, again at the top and once more as we walked back to the car my partner felt we needed to call the midwife again! We got to my parents place at about midday, and my contractions continued at 2 minute intervals but the intensity was quite strong now. We decided to head to hospital just before 1pm.
They monitored my baby on arrival and she was coping well with the contractions so there was no need to continuously monitor her. My midwife examined me and I was 3cm dialated. It was a little disheartening to hear that I was not far along at all as the contractions were quite strong at this point.
I had always said I did not want to be confined to the hospital room during my labour and had planned to walk around, but found at this point I was most comfortable kneeling on the bed leaning on the raised end. From this position I focused on breathing through each contraction… With the emphasis on trying to remain relaxed! I did not look at the clock once and focused on just getting through each individual contraction. My partner was amazing… Supporting me mostly in silence, offering words of encouragement at just the right times. The rest of my support people remained respectfully quiet in the background. (My daughter Nikita, both our Mums, our midwife and a student doctor were also present during the labour and delivery)
Despite the somewhat crowded room, it was peaceful. I kept my eyes closed and breathed… Focusing only on myself. I wanted to delay using the gas for as long as possible hoping that by doing so it would be the only pain relief I would need. I remember hearing my Mum say that the contractions must be getting really intense now because she can see with each one I was curling my toes… And she was right… The intensity had got to the point where I could no longer remain relaxed. At this point the midwife said she would like to examine me again. I asked for the gas as I could not bear even the thought of having a contraction lying on my back. I must say the gas was AMAZING! I had pretty much reached the limit of my pain threshold and the gas was such a welcome relief, making me feel in control again. What was even better was upon examining me my midwife said I was almost fully dialated! I was so surprised and relieved that I cried! I looked at the clock and it was 4:30pm. My midwife gave me the option of waiting for the last of my cervix to dialate, or she said she could simply push it back herself… I chose to wait. I was enjoying the gas… Probably a little too much!
By 4:50 I was ready to push… But I wasn’t ready to give up the gas yet! After quite a few contractions of, as my midwife put it ‘ineffective pushing’ I agreed to lay off the gas and focus all my energy on pushing. The contractions without gas were not as bad as I had expected… Definitely not as intense as they had been previously. I guess as I focused all my energy on pushing it seemed to distract me from the pain. This stage was the most exciting of all as knew we would soon meet our baby girl. Being able to feel my baby move with each contraction was really motivating, and my family were really encouraging. My daughter, who admitted to me afterwards had felt quite nervous during the earlier stages was now gloved up and buzzing as she watched my baby’s head crown. My midwife then took her hands off Brooklyn’s head and Nikita was able to watch how she independently turned her head navigating her way into the world.
Brooklyn was born at 5:26pm, my daughter assisted my midwife to deliver her, and together they lifted her up and onto my belly. She was all pink and perfect! I had forgotten how real the saying “love at first sight” is when you meet your child for the first time. Her birth was such a positive and incredibly emotional experience for us all. I was so proud of Nikita and the very important role she had in Brooklyn’s delivery. Brooklyn took her first breath at birth. We enjoyed skin to skin contact and Brooklyn was looking to latch on within minutes of birth. We were able to delay the cord clamping. I delivered the placenta at 5:35pm. Brooklyn latched successfully and her first feed was close to half an hour long!
I was delighted with my entire birth experience. And my perineum was intact!! Nikita was overwhelmed with excitement about her chosen career. It was so special that her little sister was what midwifery students refer to as ‘her first catch’. The student doctor thanked me for allowing her to observe such a peaceful delivery! My midwife told my daughter that births are usually only as peaceful and relaxed as mine when an epidural has been administered and not to expect the next birth she observes to be the same!
I know that attending pregnancy yoga, and your words of wisdom gave me such an advantage in achieving my goal of a natural birth. I have been recommending your classes to any pregnant Mums I speak to.