Every person is different, just as is every babe and his/her arrival. I have two birth stories now, Princess and Ragamuffin, both different but both equally as special. Both born on a Tuesday, and in the same birthing suite.
With Princess, as I have mentioned previously, I tested positive for Strep B, which meant I had to be at hospital at 7am after my waters had broken in the wee hours of the morning. Consequently labour slowed & then came to a halt. My waters hadn’t completely broken so the doctor did that and then I was induced. I used the gas to get me through from 2-4cms and at that point had pethadene. I don’t regret any part of my labour with Princess but looking back I realize how the pethadene also made some of the events fuzzy in my mind.
This time around, I did not test positive to Strep B, which I knew meant more time at home. I prepared myself by reading the book Bith Skills by Juju Sundin, after seeing it in a friends Instagram feed. I did not know if or how this book may help but now i can say i am more than glad I read it. As I was reading it, there were things I knew I had done during Princess’ labour that came entirely naturally, but there were many other simple skills I could employ this time around. I can now say I highly recommend this book!
On Labour Day I woke, going to the toilet to find blood, a show, something I did not experience with Princess. Initially I was a little worried but finally when I realized what was going on, I tried not to get too excited that labour was near. Instead I spent the day (which was yet another hot one) lounging on my bed, reading and watching TV.
At 2am on the morning of the 12th of March, I woke with strong labour pains. I snuck out of bed and headed to my study without waking hubby. I sat there surfing the net, all the while timing contractions to make sure this was in fact not another rehearsal. When I was sure, I went back to bed and lay beside Hubby and told him he wouldn’t be going to work that day. All the while, I knew that today everything would change, I would no longer be pregnant by days end, instead I would be holding the fourth member of our family tight in my arms.
I ran myself a nice warm bath & lit some candles, one of which I used as a focus point during contractions (a Juju tool). I stayed there for a while before venturing back to lay beside Hubby. When things got too much again, I jumped back in the bath while Hubby contacted my sister so that we could drop Princess over at her house. She waved goodbye to me in the bath and I blew her a kiss. I teared up a little as she left, knowing it would be the last time she would be my one and only. In a matter of hours, the shape of our family would change.
I alternated between bath and laying beside Hubby on our bed until things became too much. I made Hubby have a shower and brush his teeth before ringing the hospital. I was worried as we drove the short distance to to the maternity ward that when I arrived I would be examined and told I was 2cms dilated and to head back home.
When we arrived, I had to stop as I got out the car and then again twice down the hallway for contractions. My beautiful midwife Rebecca and a student midwife led me to the birthing suite which I had welcomed Phoebe into years earlier. Did I mention too that this day was to be the hottest in Autumn on record?! Baby was monitored and doing well, and finally I was examined……..my heart stopped when the student guessed after her examination that I was 3-4cms, however Bec promptly corrected that to 7cms!! I was wrapt! I’d managed all on my own at home to get to this point, all by using some skills I had read in a book!
Throughout the labour I made it through drug free by using the shower, using my legs, sitting on the toilet (which seemed the most comfortable), through controlling my breathing, using visualization and focusing on some key words in my head. All of these skills came from the book I read and amazingly worked for me.
I would not however have gotten through without Hubby. When midwives comment afterwards on how amazing, calm and focused he was, and how their job would be easier if more birthing partners were like him, you know you have a winner. When I was at breaking point and had had enough, he could refocus me in seconds. He anticipated what I needed and where I wanted to go even before I could. He was and is, all types of amazing.
My waters broke just as I began pushing our beautiful boy out. I could not, as much as I wanted to or tried to, move off the toilet. My midwives were so accommodating, refusing to move me unless it was medically necessary. Instead, I shuffled forward on the toilet seat, holding hubby’s hand and listening carefully to his words. And so at 11:41am our baby boy Ragamuffin was born and laid on my chest as we cried joyful tears.
I had thought I was carrying a son our whole pregnancy, Hubby thought a girl. We both cried happy tears as I cradled our son in my arms for the first time. Together we made him, together we bought him into this world, together we were one bloody awesome team.
We spent some great quality time with Ragamuffin before Hubby headed off to get Princess. She was, as she should’ve been, the first to know of her brothers existence. She guessed he was a girl before unwrapping him like a present to discover he in fact was a boy. She gave him a gift and in return he gave her one. Instantly a love between them was born, that of brother and sister, and now our family was complete.