Wow. In light of what I have recently achieved, I am totally in
awe of the female human body and the power it holds within. I have
known all along what my body is born to do; I just never honestly
believed that I could ever do it. Self doubt is an awful thing,
but when I look back on my first birth experience, I can see why
it has plagued me for so long.
I found out I was pregnant in the middle of November, but I had
known from conception that I was. I was excited but hesitant to
get too overwhelmed, as I still had so many issues from my last
birth experience to deal with. Andrew was happy, but he seemed hesitant
to want to discuss my want for a natural birth, and my want for
things to go differently this time. He still held onto some emotional
baggage of his own from Will's birth. I found myself spending many
a night sweating and crying over having to get this baby out of
me, I was already scared and was not focussing on the beauty growing
within me. It took quite some time to overcome a lot of fear and
anger, and going to yoga once a week turned out to be a fantastic
way to process some of those issues.
William was a year old when I conceived and I was determined to
not let my pregnancy affect our breastfeeding relationship, as I
truly believe in the benefits he was receiving through my liquid
The pregnancy was fairly uneventful apart from a couple of normal
hiccups. I checked with my GP to confirm the pregnancy within a
couple of days of getting a positive result. I had a scan at 10
weeks to date the pregnancy and check for multiples, as Andrew is
a fraternal twin. I was given a due date of 29th July. At 12 weeks
I was admitted to JHC with severe dehydration caused by hyper-emesis,
and after three days of re-hydration I was allowed to go home. I
continued to demand feed Will, but was starting to find the night
feeds very draining, as I was starting uni full time and still working
I was booked into KEMH to have my baby, as I had talked to Andrew
about where we would go and he decided that we might as well stick
with what we know. I had enquired with the CMP about having my own
midwife, but was knocked back as they believed the hospital would
require me to be too closely monitored for them to work effectively
in my favour. I was playing with the idea of accidental homebirth,
but was scared of being on my own. I knew in my head though that
when the time came to go to hospital it would be a battle to get
me to go.
I decided to go to antenatal yoga during my pregnancy, in a hope
to avoid the unfavourable foetal positioning which had been the
downfall of my last birth. I was determined to observe all OFP techniques
and religiously sat properly. My yoga instructor was also an independent
midwife so I knew I was in great hands for helping this baby come
At 25 weeks I was reading a thread on NP about an "accidental"
homebirth (MidlandsAngel it is you who inspired!) and I was crying
in front of the computer when Andrew asked why I was so upset. "I
want a homebirth" was all I could blurt out. So the next day I got
in touch with the Leederville Natural Childbirth Centre and asked
for the mobile numbers of every midwife in the northern suburbs
who would consider HBAC. I finally got a "Yes, I will come and chat
to you" from my wonderful midwife Lynda. I was so scared that what
I was thinking of doing was naively foolish, but I knew somewhere
deep down in my heart that this was what was going to heal me from
the inside. And that it was the best way for my baby to be born
my way. I continued to keep the hospital appointments in case I
changed my mind, and also so that if anything popped up I had a
backup plan that was well thought out. I listened to my VBAC preparation
CD and read my affirmations every day. I saw a homeopath and got
a tonic made up for strengthening the uterus, and controlling blood
At 27 weeks I unfortunately got a UTI which I didn't pick up on
until it was too late, and it irritated my uterus into contracting -
too early for my liking, so I went back to JHC and they fixed my
up. Sadly, that weekend was the end of mine and Will's breastfeeding
relationship. I think he picked up my exhausted vibe, and my pregnant
belly was becoming centre stage in my lap. I love that we fed as
long as we did, and I hope that it helped him become the little
boy he is meant to be.
For the rest of my pregnancy I was fairly cruisey. I finished of
my semester at uni, doing exams at 35 weeks. I kept up with the
yoga once a week, and tried to be as kind to my body as I could
At 39 weeks on the Sunday morning I woke at about 4.30am with a
really bad cramp in my legs. I decided to get up and go to the toilet
seeing as I was already awake. When I got there I found that I had
a show, and immediately I got my first real pre labour contraction.
I was so excited. I was finally getting my chance to feel childbirth
for real! I went back to bed and the contractions continued. I didn't
sleep much, but napped when I could. The cramps were too exciting,
so I started to count sheep! Sunday morning when we all woke up
I decided that this baby was not too far away so I asked Andrew
to go away for the day and take Will so I could just relax by myself.
He sent Will to his parents and left for a friends so I hopped in
the shower and SMS'd Lynda to let her know what the go was. I also
SMS'd Fay and Vicki, my two birth buddies, just so that they could
prepare their own families for what was about to come, as I had
no idea it would take so long to kick in.
Vicki was so excited (this is my stepmother), that she decided
to drive up later that afternoon, as she lives an hour away and
didn't like the idea of driving in the dark if things happened overnight.
Fay decided to come too, and we all ate crappy takeaway and laughed
watched my belly contract. They were awesome to see. The muscles
would bunch up real tight and go real hard, and I would breathe
and then it would go back to its round netball shape. We spent hours
watching my belly; Fay has some great video of my contractions -
something to show you all when I can!
We watched some movies and Fay went to sleep in the spare room
with Rohan (her youngest, who she brought with her as he is breastfed).
Andrew went to bed as he was coming down with the flu and Vic and
I fell asleep on the couches. We decided to spread some plastic
out just in case my waters broke. Will stayed with his grandparents,
who didn't know that I was planning a homebirth.
Monday morning Andrew went to work. I had spent the night groaning
in my sleep, and had been up since about 3.30am as the contraction
had seemed to get more "bitey". I spent the day rocking and swaying
and telling myself this was all part of the journey. Vic went out
and bought some trashy magazines and Fay did my grocery shopping.
She also did all of her washing as her washing machine broke down,
so there was a perfect opportunity for her to catch up on some stuff.
I made brownies, as I wanted to keep my mind busy. I was still rocking
and breathing through the contractions, and was starting to swear
with the odd few. Will came home for a visit, but I found it hard
to cope with him as my mind was elsewhere. I asked Andrew's parents
to come and get him for another night. That afternoon Vic went to
a friends place in the next suburb, and Fay and I decided to take
a walk. We only made one lap of the block as I couldn't cope with
the pain in my pubic bone all that well, and we live in a hilly
part of the suburb. We got home and decided to look up natural methods
of induction. We decided that castor oil was a no go as neither
of us could stomach the idea, but we gave evening primrose a go.
Yes I had to stick it "up there" while Fay laughed at my prudishness
from the other side of the toilet door. We tried looking for the
breast pump to give that a go - but I still can't find it! Lynda
came out to check me, and said that I was doing fine and this could
go on for days yet, so just relax and have fun. Yeah - sure! I was
a bit stressed that things weren't moving more quickly, but Lynda
told me I had to get to the fed up point, and lose control a bit,
and then we'd be right.
Andrew came home, and Vic made us an absolutely delicious Thai
Green Chicken Curry (yep it was worth a shot). I ate three serves.
At some point the previous day Sundarii's husband had dropped off
some bush flower essences and other supplies so Fay got to work
on learning what to do with them, and getting me into gear. I relaxed
and let her do stuff to my ears, and I felt good while the contractions
continued. We watched more crappy movies and talked and laughed
about how this was probably a false alarm, and how everyone should
just pack up and go home tomorrow because it wouldn't happen for
another week. The girls went to bed, so I decided to make Andrew
help me with this labour a bit. Let me tell you, he was not complaining!
It felt a bit weird, we stopped before things got too heated, as
we both felt a shift inside me, and we figured that we had done
I went to sleep groaning on the lounge room floor, while Vic slept
on the couch so I had someone near me. Andrew had come down with
a full blown flu.. At 3.30am on Tuesday I woke with a sudden urge
to roll over onto all fours, and felt a gush from between my legs.
I called out to Vic to get me a towel, but I had already made a
bit of a mess on the mattress. I got up and had a shower, and SMS'd
Lynda that I had fluid leaking, we assumed it was my waters as there
was so much of it, so I got really excited. I knew though that I
only had about 18 hours because I had group B strep, and Lynda would
have to take me in after that, so I figured I would have a baby
As the morning went on I started to head butt the wall through
the contractions. And when Andrew got up and kissed me goodbye to
go to work I cried. It was the first time that I really let myself
get upset by the fact that he wasn't going to be there for the birth.
But we needed him to work, as we were desperate for money, and if
he missed any shifts that week he couldn't get work till the end
of September. Vic and Fay just held me and let the contractions
continue. By about 10am though they had completely stopped again.
Fay had an appointment at the Breastfeeding Centre and had to get
home to check on her kids and her new washing machine, so I told
her to go, and I would call if anything changed. I was fed up and
starting to think that it was all in my head. I asked Vic to leave
me for a couple of hours, so she went shopping to get stuff for
Lynda came out to check me in the afternoon, as things had completely
stopped, so she needed to make sure it wasn't my waters that had
broken. The baby was doing fine, but the amnicator thingy tested
negative to amniotic fluid so we assumed that it was just increased
discharge - discharge that splashes on the floor - I don't know. After
Lynda left I lost it. I locked myself in my bedroom and cried my
heart out. It felt so good. I let Vic and Fay know that it wasn't
my waters, and that this was all just me being a sook. Fay decided
to stay home for the night as her kids needed her. Vic stayed, but
rang Dad to tell him to bring the kids up tomorrow. She took me
to her friend's house around the corner who has a huge deep bath
so that I could just get in there and float as I was exhausted from
not sleeping and all the emotions running through my head. I poured
a whole heap of oils in there (thanks Rach!!) and jumped into the
hottest bath I have ever had. I stayed in there for 2 hours, just
closed my eyes and slept. It was so warm and relaxing. As soon as
I got out I felt weird. Like I was exhausted but needed to eat.
Andrew's Mum and Dad brought Will back to have dinner with us; Vic
had cooked a roast lamb, pork and chicken. I tried to eat but had
trouble focusing on cutting up my food. The contractions were biting
but I was refusing to let them get to me. After tea Andrew's parents
came and got Will again, as I was so tired.
I went to bed with Andrew, thinking that I might as well sleep
in my own bed as there was nothing going to happen. I crashed as
soon as my head hit the pillow. At about 12.30am I woke with some
sharp pain and a tingling sensation in my legs. By 1.30am I was
in the shower, just humming to myself and telling myself that this
was all part of the pre-labour. I got out of the shower and went
and wrapped myself in a blanket and lay on the floor in the lounge.
The contractions had kicked in again, and I was really gritting
my teeth through them. At about 2.30am I decided that I was scared
of being on my own. So on between contractions I hobbled to the
spare room to wake Vic. She started timing them and they were about
4-5 minutes apart. She went and got the wheat bag heated up and
I knelt over the arm of the lounge suite with the heat working on
the small of my back. The arm of the seat was just at the right
height for me to hang over between contractions and rest when I
By 3.30am I wanted Fay to know what was happening so I SMS'd her.
She put Rohan and Xander in the car and drove straight up, getting
to my place by about 4.30am. She put Xander in Will's bed and Rohan
in the cot, and got straight to work with the pain spray and the
bush flower essences. Fay looked at my feet and told me that this
was the real thing because my feet were moving. At 5.30am I wanted
Lynda, so we rang her and she arrived by about 6ish (I think, I
could be wrong there). It was probably a bit early in hindsight,
but at the time I really needed her guidance. She made me put on
an amnicator pad to double check that my waters were intact. It
showed a positive result to amniotic fluid, which is very odd. But
we just decided to ignore it.
Andrew got up and left for work by about 8 and I was starting
to make a fair bit of noise. I didn't like to be touched sometimes,
and at other times I was begging the girls to put as much pressure
on my lower back as they could. I was now kneeling on a large cushion
on the floor bent over a foot stool with pillows on it. Lynda and
Fay sat on the couch watching me and every time I cried through
a contraction telling them I couldn't do it, they just kept telling
me I was doing it. The contractions were hard, because they never
settled into a regular pattern. Sometimes I got a break of 3 minutes,
sometimes 7. It made it hard to rest in between because I wasn't
sure how long I had till the next one. In this part of the labour
I could still talk in between them. I just kept chanting to myself
"I can do this", "I can do this". I even remember telling Fay that
it was easier than I thought it would be. Lynda worked on the pressure
points in my feet, and I had Fay and Vic alternating with putting
extreme pressure on my lower back as I leant over a foot stool,
I was becoming more vocal with each contraction.
At 10.30 or so I wanted to know where I was at. I had decided that
I needed to know how far along I was and Lynda agreed to do another
swab to check for amniotic fluid and then do a VE. I still had my
undies on, as I was refusing to take them off, I didn't think that
I would be comfortable showing my "bits" to everyone in the room,
but Lynda convinced me that she couldn't do a VE if I kept them
on, and besides, the baby had to come out that way! So off they
came, much to my embarrassment. The swab came back negative for
amniotic fluid so she checked me and said I was 6-7cm. I didn't
know whether to laugh or cry. I was getting somewhere, but I still
had a way to go. I was frustrated with myself for thinking that
this was going to be over quickly. I had a few contractions while
still lying on my back and I found them unbearable, Lynda suggested
I go to the toilet and sit for a bit, and it was such a relief to
get off my back. Being in the toilet was hard though because I had
nothing to grip onto during contraction, and our toilet seat is
not the steadiest!
From the toilet I demanded that the girls run me a bath and I
jumped in with my singlet still on. Just fell into the water and
demanded that it was hotter. I lay there with Fay pouring hot water
over me, and covering me in hot towels while I closed my eyes and
cried. I got really scared while I was in the bath. I don't actually
know what I was scared of, but I kept telling Fay that I had had
enough that I would be happy to let them cut me open now. I kept
telling her that I was tired and I wanted to go to hospital. She
just kept chatting to me about going to the beach and eating ice-cream.
I kept barking at her to pour more hot water over me, and I napped
in between contractions. I never understood how you could sleep
in labour, but that's what I did. I slept, and dreamt some awful
dreams, then all of a sudden I felt a warm gush between my legs,
and I yelled out that there was something coming out. Whoops! Should
have made it clear that I meant fluid, not a baby!
I decided then that I wanted to get in the shower. My hips ached
from the bottom of the bath, so with a splash I stood up, and we
all marvelled at this fluid streaming out of me! This was definitely
it! I ripped my singlet off and got in the shower. It was awkward
and I was frustrated, but I stayed there for a while gathering the
strength to walk back to the lounge room.
As I went back in the lounge, Andrew came home from work. I got
back on the floor and was really vocalising now. I lost all sense
of time and space, but I knew that I didn't want Andrew in the room.
His voice was making me angry, and he was asking questions which
frustrated the absolute shit out of me. So half an hour later, he
decided to go back to work, and as he shut the door I felt myself
let go. Apparently my Dad showed up at the door not long after and
never made it inside as he left in tears after hearing the sound
of natural childbirth going on. I had had enough of being on all
fours, and I could feel that this baby's head was so low, so I figured
I was close, and rolled onto my side and had Fay hold my leg in
the air as I began to push. I could not get comfortable at all and
I tried to lean into the bean bag, but my back was just too sore.
I gripped the bean bag with white knuckles as my body just completely
took over and began pushing on its own. I kept telling Lynda that
I wasn't ready to push, and she just kept telling me that if I was
pushing without pushing then this baby wanted to come. She knelt
down to get a better look at things and as she got near me I felt
something snap inside me, and water splashed out of me everywhere
with a POP! We were all in hysterics as Lynda had narrowly avoided
an amniotic fluid bath! Don't know how I ended up with my waters
breaking twice, but they did!
Pushing was easy. I love saying that. It really was. I had no control
over it, my body just pushed and rested in waves, it was like surfing
this huge wave and crashing down the face of it every time. I gripped
the bean bag and Lynda told me she could see the head. I figured
I had another half hour at least, so I talked to myself, and just
decided to go with each push with all my might, and let my body
guide me. As I looked down I could see three fabulous women, all
cheering me on and telling me what they could see. They wanted me
to touch the head as he came down, but it freaked me out a bit so
I lonely did it once. It was also really hard to let go of the bean
bag, I think my knuckles were fused at that point. Every push was
huge, and I could feel the baby crown. Then they were cheering,
"His face, we can see his face!!" I closed my eyes, and I felt a
wriggle and a kick as my baby moved his shoulders inside me and
slid out onto the mattress. Lynda lifted him up and I cradled him,
as I laughed and cried. "I did it! I did it!!" I put him straight
on the breast and he fed like a fiend. I sat up, and felt fantastic.
I could tell that I hadn't torn, I felt so alive.
Lynda moved me to the couch so I could cuddle my baby properly
and feed better, while we waited for the placenta. The cord turned
white and Lynda asked if I wanted to cut the cord, I asked if we
could wait till the placenta was out and she was happy to wait.
About half an hour later, my placenta quite literally fell out of
me, and we investigated my healthy baby growing machine. There was
a complete sac which had housed my baby, and on the outside there
was a smaller sac, so we figured that's why my water had seemed
to have broken twice, very bizarre! I asked Vicki to ring Will and
let my in-laws know that I had birthed. Then she called my Mum and
Dad too. She couldn't get hold of Andrew as he has to have his phone
switched off at work, but I really didn't care, because he was due
home soon enough.
Vicki made me some crumpets with honey and a Milo (I craved sugar),
as my back up midwife arrived. I had only pushed for 20 minutes
in total, so she was surprised to see me with babe in arms and everything
over with. Fay and I fed our babies on the couch together and then
she decided to go home as her kids were needing to be looked after
and Mikayla was due to finish school. Marilyn (the backup) also
left very shortly after arriving as everything seemed to fine.
Not long after they left I asked if could get up and have a shower.
Lynda wasn't keen as I was still looking a little too pale; when
all of a sudden I felt this amazing urge to push again. Lynda just
kept telling me they were afterpains and that I could get through
them. But my body was pushing. I sat over the edge of the couch
and pushed out HUGE clots of blood, the size of bread plates. She
cleaned up the gory mess, and I lay down so she could check for
any signs of wounds on the outside. There was nothing there. I fed
Loch some more and we decided to weigh him, as I was curious as
to how much this scrawny baby weighed. I passed Loch to Lynda and
rested. I don't remember him being weighed and measured. But they
put him back in my arms. I then begged them to take him away again
as I felt the need to push once more. It was the worst pain of all.
I screamed and screamed. Vicki grabbed the baby, as Lynda jumped
on the couch and pushed down on my abdomen as blood clots the size
of dinner plates were passed. She pushed on me inside and out. Then
I passed out.
At some point they rang an ambulance and my Dad. The ambos turned
up and Lynda had already given me the shot of Syntocinon and Ergometrine.
She had the oxygen on me but I couldn't hear and my vision was dim.
They were talking to me, trying to keep me conscious but I kept
passing out. Lynda catheterised me on my lounge suite, but I felt
nothing. The ambos tried to get a line into my arm but my veins
were collapsing. Lynda was trying to explain to me what was happening
and where we were going, but all I could do was stare into space.
At that moment I thought about dying. Just stopping and letting
the world go on without me. I closed my eyes and woke up in the
ambulance with the ambo guy telling me why we had lights and sirens
My Dad followed us to the hospital with Vicki as she held onto
Lochlain in the back seat of their car. We weren't allowed to take
him in the ambo, but I don't know why he wasn't in a car seat -I
don't really care either. As Dad drove to the hospital he drove
past Andrew, who didn't know that I had given birth yet. I arrived
at the hospital within 7 minutes of leaving home. I was rushed into
the ED, and had two large IV lines inserted in my arms. They pushed
through 5 litres of fluid straight away. And I had people talking
to me, giving me their names and telling me what they were going
to do, and why. I don't remember any details. But I do remember
an obstetrician sticking her whole hand inside me, which caused
my one and only tear. For some reason they gave me morphine which
at the time I begged them not to do, but Lynda thought that it was
for the best so I agreed. They were booking me in for theatre, and
I was screaming for my baby.
Andrew walked in with tears rolling down his face, holding his
newborn son. Looking at me, and crying. He just stood at the end
of the bed like an apparition as I fell in and out of consciousness.
My Dad and Vicki stood off to the side, just watching silently.
Andrew came and laid Lochlain on my chest and talked to Lynda about
what was happening. I just laid there whispering to myself, "I did
it. I did it."
I was taken upstairs to the delivery suites for an ultrasound,
where they could see another huge clot sitting inside me. The obstetrician
was explaining to me what they were going to do but I was already
screaming again, as my body prepared to push once more. The ob put
a speculum inside me and began to dig out more clots, and then she
pushed down on my belly as my body pushed and the biggest clot yet
was passed with a gush. I screamed and screamed. I had hold of Lynda's
hand as she had tears in her eyes I was squeezing so hard. I was
begging that lady to get her hands out of me. Just let me die. It
hurt so much, and I couldn't hear or see. I was so scared. Luckily,
the morphine kicked in then. And into LALA land I went.
I was stabilised and people were allowed into the room. A lot more
happened while I was in that room, but I was only partly conscious
for most of, so I don't know -Every midwife I had, and every Dr introduced
themselves to me, and explained everything to me, but I have no
recollection of the details. At some point Andrew was asked to signa
consent form for a blood transfusion, and he did ask me if it was
ok. I had 3 litres of blood and a Syntocinon drip put up for 12
hours. I was not allowed to sit up, but I was allowed to feed Loch
on demand. I was fasted in case I needed to go to theatre, but from
what they could tell there was no rupture and no retained products.
I kept telling them that my placenta was in the fridge and Dad could
go get it. Lynda left at about 7pm, Dad and Vic drove her back to
my place. Andrew went oback to his parents to check on Will, and
let them know what had happened.
I was sponge bathed by a really nice midwife as I was covered
from head to toe in blood. It was so different this time though,
as after I had Will was absolutely humiliating, but now, I was thrilled.
The midwife asked a lot of genuine questions about my decision to
HBAC, and was really keen on learning more about my previous birth
experience. They let Loch stay by my side in my bed al night, and
only took him when I needed to shut my eyes for a bit, the midwives
held him and walked up and down the halls with him while I rested;
I watched their shadows moving under the door.
The next day I was allowed into the normal maternity ward, after
begging for a shower. By the time I got there, after being wheeled
down the hall I was exhausted. So I figured I was not ready to go
home, as I was very light headed and still seeing stars. By that
afternoon I had developed a fever and I was still having heavy gushes,
so they put me on antibiotics, and fasted me again, just in case
I needed theatre. I slept most of the day, and then Friday morning
I was sent for a proper ultrasound to check that everything was
settling down. I was given a clean bill of health but I still had
a fever so was kept in till Saturday. I was diagnosed with an Atonic
Uterus, and no other explanation was given for what happened, other
than, "You were tired and your body was tired, but it shouldn't
happen next time".
It took me a few weeks to get over the trauma of the last bit,
but now I am so happy with my birth experience. I know that I did
what nature intended women to do, and I am so proud of myself for
having faith in myself enough to get through it all. I am healed
of all my past hurts through this birth. That may sound facetious
but it was all I needed. To know that I CAN give birth. It was the
most awesome feeling walking out of the hospital to arrive home
and look at the spot where my baby was born and feel shivers up
and down my spine as I realised what I had done! How much I had
achieved and how far I had come. Some of my family were reeling
from the shock of seeing me in not such a great state, and Andrew's
family vented their anger at not being told about my home birthing
plans. But after a few weeks it all settled down, and I was given
a chance to explain myself. I don't think they really understand
my motivation and determination to do things my way, but they have
also not shared the journey I have travelled since having William,
and all that that entails.
So that is the story of my second baby - oh how different to my