After weeks of preparation and anticipation, mixed with a lot of nerves, Zara Sage was born on 1/2/20. It was a vastly different experience and birth to my first daughter’s- which although not traumatic, was a lot more medicalised, and prolonged. I also had an epidural in my first labour, which definitely meant that a lot of the sensations I experienced this time around were new territory! I am grateful for both of my birthing experiences, as it brought me two happy and healthy girls. I am also so happy to have been able to try a different approach and experience birth in an entirely different way this time around.
On 30/1, I woke up with some spotting. I had experienced irritable uterus since 35 weeks pregnant, so was accustomed to random tightenings and some aches and pains, so when these also started up, I didn’t think too much of them.
The next day, 31/1, I had my final obstetrician appointment. An hour before the appointment, I went to the bathroom and had the ‘bloody show’. At the appointment, my doctor did a scan and confirmed that baby was sitting nice and low, fluid levels looked good, and offered a stretch and sweep. I had been on the fence about getting a stretch and sweep, but after doing some reading about them, and due to the fact that I had already had the bloody show, I went ahead with it. She said that although my cervix was still posterior, it was very soft and favourable. She then said that if I went for a big walk that day, she was fairly sure it would send me into labour!
At that point, I got pretty nervous at just how close the birth seemed to be. With my husband at work and daughter at day care, I was a bit scared to go into labour all alone, and wanted to make sure I could pick up my little girl from day care as her drop off that morning had been a bit tearful- and I didn’t want that to be my last moments with her before she was no longer an only child! So I took it really easy all day, and just rested.
That night I was super uncomfortable in general, and had some lower back pain. I tried to sleep as best I could- it was also super-hot and humid!
In the morning, after a semi restless night, I woke up at 5:45 with some more obvious tightenings and tiny surges. I got up and ate breakfast as I was ravenous!
When my daughter woke up and called out for me, I went into her room, and although we didn’t know the gender of this baby, and she also had no idea that I was having the beginnings of labour, she sat up in bed and said “I’m going to the hospital today! My sister is being borned!” I thought this was amazing!
I told my husband that I thought we had better get dressed and ready fairly early as today might be the day. He then rang his parents and asked them to be available to pick our daughter up that morning.
Surges ramped up around 8am. By the time my in-laws arrived at 8:45, the surges were around every 8 minutes.
Once they left, with my toddler, I felt I could get into the “zone” much more easily. I looked out the windows into the treetops and listened to a mix of chilled out songs I had made, including songs from our wedding/ early days of dating etc. I found it comfiest to bounce on my fit ball and when each surge arrived, I closed my eyes and visualized the “surge of the sea” sequence that I had practiced each day (usually while putting my daughter to sleep for her afternoon nap!). In between surges my husband Zac and I talked and laughed- it was actually bizarrely calm and relaxed!
The surges began to become more frequent and stronger, and I used the TENS machine I had rented. This was an amazing tool to help me remain in the zone and focused during each surge.
When surges were around 2.5 minutes apart, we decided it was time to head to the hospital (we live three minutes away from it).
We arrived to the hospital at 11am and got settled into the birth centre, and my amazing midwife walked in. I knew her through a mutual friend, so seeing a familiar face was really nice and helped me to feel even more at ease. I continued listening to the playlist, and bouncing on the ball while the midwife felt my tummy during each surge. Around 11:40, once the bath had filled (this took a while as it was so big!), I hopped in there, which felt amazing! But after only a few minutes, I suddenly felt the urge to bear down. For a moment, I considered getting out of the bath and running to the toilet as it was a definite poo type of sensation! But then it occurred to me that this was actually probably the transition stage!
My midwife hadn’t yet finished writing up my notes, as we had only been there 45 minutes at this stage. She hurried over to the tub as I had involuntarily started to bear down! The pressure was like nothing I had ever felt, but I was able to stay calm and focused, and although I was vocalizing a bit by this stage, it still all felt ok. After 14 minutes of pushing, Zara finally slipped out at 12:07, still in the caul! It was the most amazing, empowering experience. ❤️