The following link takes you to Dayton William Dix’s birth story. It is a wonderful read about a mothers experience of her pregnancy and birth. She describes how she moved from a fear of labour and birth to being empowered to be courageous and have confidence in her body to labour and birth her baby leaving with a lasting positive memory of the birth.
Dayton explains how she gained her confidence through support from doula. This affirms the importance of continuity of care and carer throughout pregnancy which is important not just for empowering women to make decisions about their labour and birth but also has many health benefits including improving identification and treatment of mental health disorders in pregnancy and the postnatal period.
The Birds and the Bees: Birthing Bombadillo
This story is the first to be added to my blog on positive birth experiences and what a delight it is to read. Kindly contributed by Catherine Bell a mother of three, please visit her blog at http://www.bellabirth.org
Many thanks for donating this wonderful story.
After a wakeful night, I woke feeling sensations.
I wasn’t sure.
I lay a while concentrating. They weren’t very strong or long, seemed fairly spread out. Might be the beginnings of labour. Over breakfast I timed them, and was surprised to find they were 5 minutes apart. Still mild and easy to ignore, after breakfast I thought I’d light my candles and have a shower. I messaged my circle of women, and enjoyed a shower. Full of hope and wonder on what was dawning into a beautiful spring day. After my shower the sensations slowed down and became irregular. Frustrated, I tried to maintain the headspace, but my 5 year old wanted to play ‘fish’ and it seemed unreasonable not to. Then she wanted to watch a video. Feeling agitated, I left her to the video and went back to bed. After a while I gave up. It seemed like labour wasn’t going to kick in, so I may as well do something.
By morning tea time I was doubting the labour and thinking of messaging the women to say ‘scratch that!’. I was hungry, so I put delicious spinach triangles that had been made by my friend, Emma, in the oven and walked (ok, waddled) down to the dam to tell my husband and son to come up soon. We ate outside, the bees humming, the birds fluttering around us and singing a merry tune. It was a gorgeous day. I was feeling bored and annoyed, and yet blissed and happy.
A bit before noon, I saw a message on my phone from my friend, Louise, who was on standby to come and be with the kids when I was in active labour. She was checking in, asking if we needed anything. I responded: “no, not in active labour, going to have a bath”. The kids were outside with their dad, clearing away scrub and towing it away on the tractor.
In the bath, I watched the steam curling away, gazed out the window to watch the clouds, listening to the birds and the bees. It was so serene and peaceful, so relaxing. I willed the contractions to start again. After a while, a wave hit. I stayed in the bath for four sensations, it felt like ages, but it was probably less than an hour. I mused that if I stayed in a bit longer I might have a water birth. Out of the bath I went to check on the family, they had loaded the trailer and were going to go to the tip.
So the idea was abandoned and they came up to the house. I was feeling comfortable only if I sat on the toilet, I didn’t get anymore sensations. All I was feeling was pressure, and it was regular. I started to think I was defiantly in labour now, but the pressure was confusing. I felt inside myself, not sure what I was doing, but it seemed useful. I felt a hard, dome-shaped thing. Could it be a head!
I asked Andrew to dial the midwife. I spoke to her for 7 minutes. In that time I had 3 pressure waves. I was able to describe what was happening with my body and my head, and said I wanted to push, but given the lack of ‘first stage’ wasn’t sure. She said to go with my body, see what happened. With the next pressure wave I bore down. It felt good. She listened, said I was doing well and to be ready.
I texted Louise: “come now please”. “Ok” was enough to let me know she was 20 minutes away. Whilst I was on the phone, Andrew thought he’d go put the tractor away. When I heard the tractor start up I was mortified! What was he doing! My daughter called out “dad, the baby is coming!”, he responded something like “yes, just going to put the tractor away”…another wave, I bore down again: nope! No time!
“Andrew! Get off the tractor!”
Tractor silenced, Andrew was in and scrubbing up, changed his shirt at superman speed. I receded to the bathroom, dragging a camp mat and some towels to prepare for the birth. Down on my knees, I worked with each wave, needing to vocalise. Conscious of purple pushing, I patiently worked with each wave, giving enough to be productive but not forced. With each wave I could feel the ball of my baby’s head moving closer to the outside. My pelvis opening to make way. Just breathe. Breathe. No rush.
As my baby crowned I could feel the ring of fire, slow down, breathe, don’t push. Wait…I held that until the next wave, the fire passed I could help again. A forehead appeared, another wave and a nose and mouth and a gush of water, another and the blissful release of a full head. I could feel a wiggle and knew my baby was fine. Another wave and we had a belly and a cry! Another wiggle and my baby was in daddy’s arms. As Andrew passed my baby through my legs, I felt what could only be a scrotum.
I held him close, he had no vernix, was a bit dry even. A wonderfully pink baby. His eyes were closed. His hair is dark, but there isn’t much. Still on my knees, I held him near my breast. Andrew rang the midwife: with instructions to call again if the placenta took more than ½ hr, he focused on us again. I shifted my weight and felt the placenta drop, Andrew put the bucket under me, and Plop! A healthy placenta fell. With a bit of manoeuvring, Andrew helped me into my dressing gown and pants with a blanket over our son. I went out to the lounge room, to properly meet the family.
My daughter (5) was fascinated, my first son was a bit unsure (he is 3). With baby nursing beautifully, we relaxed and drank in the moment.
The birth was 2:15pm. We estimated about 25 minutes of labour… Louise made me toast and made sure the kids were attended to, about 4pm I had a shower. After that we cut the cord and weighed our son crudely on the kitchen scales. 3.3 kg.
Back to the lounge, the sun streaming through the window, a big brother asked to hold his baby brother. “Hello baby” he said, and baby brother opened his eyes to gaze intently upon his big brother. It was love. Big brother kissed baby brother gently, and promised to show him how to ride a bike.
Andrew put the placenta in the fridge, we will bury it under a fruit tree.
Louise left us a bit after 4, Andrew heated up a delicious casserole my mother had made us. It was wonderful, we ate together as a family, and then it was off to bed. Overnight I nursed my precious new son, listening to gentle rain fall.
I had anticipated a fast labour…I had prepared for that. I had not anticipated no ‘real’ labour! It was only when I felt the pressure that I started to think I was having a baby. There was no slow build up, no regular contractions getting closer together, no leak of waters, no show of any worth… Interestingly I had dreamt early in pregnancy that I woke to find myself having the baby, and just like that my baby was born. In the dream it was a dark haired girl. I am glad I prepared myself and my family for a fast birth. With an 1 ½ travelling distance to the birth centre, I was very conscious and concerned about a roadside birth…or worse complications caused from holding on to avoid a roadside birth. I did not wish to drive in at the first sensation, in case it was all for nothing. I felt safe and comfortable staying home, it was calm and peaceful . My birth plan was very thorough, so much preparation went into this day to ensure we were safe. A check up with the midwife two days before the birth had revealed a head down (LOA) bub, and healthy stats for both of us. I birthed with confidence and support, safely and gently. As it should be.