Today I’m going to open myself up and talk about the birth of my second child, my sweet Marlie Grace. One day I will tell you about my first experience with birthing a child, my amazing Mason James, but for now, I’m not quite ready to put that down in writing.
Marlie came rushing into this world in early May 2015 and has been in a hurry ever since. It’s funny because I wasn’t in a rush to have her. With Mason I was drinking Raspberry Leaf tea non-stop from 37 weeks, I’d had labour preparation Acupuncture, I was bathing in and burning Clary Sage essential oil. I was ready and I wanted to meet him. Second time round I didn’t feel that urgency. Even after some past-trauma clearing Hypnotherapy, I felt slight trepidation about my journey ahead. I also wanted to spend as much time with my darling boy just the two of us, before another baby joined us earthside.
As with Mason, my first sign of labour was a mild contraction. I’d woken at around 2am to Mason crying out in his sleep. After putting him back to bed, I lay down beside my husband ready to drift back off. I was now 40 weeks + 1 day.
The surges were very mild and came every so often. I tried to sleep but my excitement increased. If this labour was like my first, then it was unlikely that the surges would slow down or stop. I got up, careful not to wake up Andy and set myself up on the couch. I lit a fresh candle and put my headphones in. I listened to a playlist I’d made months ago of Birdy, Lana Del Ray and Asgeir. I relaxed and breathed and every surge melted away.
I was surprised. This experience seemed in stark contrast to my last. I wasn’t scared; I just kept telling myself that my body knew what to do. I pictured all my muscles relaxing and my baby moving to where it needed to be. At around 5.30am I went in to wake Andy. I knew Mason would be up soon and wanted just a few moments with him. He was so calm and collected as always.
I think it was around 6am that Mason woke up and climbed into bed with us. I snuggled up to him and breathed through each surge. They were feeling stronger but still manageable. About 7am, Andy called my mum to come and get Mason. I also called the hospital to let them know I’d be in sometime that day. I think that was the final piece of resistance I was hanging on to. After Mason and mum had gone, things really ramped up.
Andy applied Acupressure to my lower back as continuously as possible. I also had two combs (yep, hair combs) that I held in my hands, which is another Acupressure technique. I found both these actions instrumental in managing the intensity of my surges.
I hopped in the shower for a while but was missing leaning over something as a surge hit. I had been leaning on the bench earlier and missed that feeling.
At one stage I sat down in our kitchen and contractions stretched out to every 15-20 minutes. They had been around every 5-7 minutes so this was quite a difference. I became torn about what to do. I wanted to rest and was nervous about leaving the house to go to hospital however I knew that sitting would only prolong things in the long run so up I got. As I stood and swayed, I got a strong feeling that I wanted to leave for the hospital.
I told Andy my feelings and we decided to give the hospital another call. I was going to Box Hill Hospital who had brand new birthing pools in each room and I was looking forward to some water therapy. When I called, I explained what had been going on, how I was feeling and that my contractions had been stopping when sitting. The midwife on duty said it sounded like early labour and she recommended laboring at home for a bit longer. Something in me felt differently and I told her I’d like to come in and be examined to see how far along I was. I told her if it was early stages, I was happy to go back home.
I remember bits of the car ride. I remember squeezing Andy’s hand and him wincing. He’d crushed it earlier that week at work and it was very painful but he knew I needed him. The ride didn’t seem as long as I thought it would. I had my birthing affirmations playing in my earphones and told Andy I was fine for him to park in the underground car park and we would catch the lift up. I knew that route and I was uncertain about how things would work if we went to Emergency. Our car park ticket read 10.35am.
I remember feeling so self-conscious in the lift as people got in but I tried to tune into my affirmations and tune out the stares (or not-stares as people politely looked away). We got to Reception and I managed to chat with the midwives. I had an intense surge whilst standing with them and remember one of them telling me well done. It gave me a little burst of confidence. They told Andy not to worry about going to car to get the bags, that they would check me but probably send me home. They still thought I was in the early stages. Little did we all know!
We were shown to a room. In between surges I looked around, peeked in drawers, checked out the birthing pool and the bathroom. Andy noticed that the birthing pool was out of order, so we were shown a new room. We were left alone for a few minutes and I felt my surges escalate. I was starting to feel overwhelmed and scared at that point. It took a lot to focus back in a remember to trust myself and my baby. I kept breathing and chanting my mantra of love, love, love in my head.
I told the midwife I needed something to lean on and she raised the bed for me so I could stand leaning over the side of it. I suddenly felt the most intense surge I’d had so far and huge pressure between my legs and my waters broke. As they broke came the urge to push, which I told my midwife. Poor lady had literally been in the room a minute or two, was getting ready to examine me to probably send me home and I’m groaning at her that I’m pushing.
I can laugh about it now but at the time I was in another place. The midwife lowered the bed as quickly as she could and Andy removed the clothes on my lower half. I told her I couldn’t climb up but somehow did and knelt with my arms hanging over the raised bedhead. I quickly felt between my legs and felt what I thought was head about 3cm inside. At that point I felt like I was outside my body. Everything felt too intense. My first labour had been long and I’d pushed for what felt like forever. I couldn’t wrap my head around that fact that we’d just arrived and it was almost all over.
Another surge and the head was out. My husband didn’t see this with our first so this was incredible for him. He was going from me at the bedhead to the foot of the bed. He offered me a sip of water at one point which was so sweet but I couldn’t even think at that point. Next surge and out came our baby. I felt the midwife place the baby on my back while they gave her a quick rub. I then rolled over, sat and they placed her on me. A quick check told us that we had a little girl. I was stunned. I had always dreamed of having a little girl but felt like this would be another boy. It was 11.39am.
I held my sweet girl and she began rooting around immediately and self attached easily. Unfortunately, due to the speed in which she was born, I required a bit of attention for around 30-45 minutes. Andy held our girl and sang Bob Marley songs to her. Apart from some tiny cries now and then, she was happy.
I then had around 3 hours of skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding for most of that. It was so incredibly special. It was everything I had ever wanted and it was as beautiful as I had dreamed it would be.
The midwife later classified me as having a ‘precipitous labour’ which can include ‘the sensation of pressure including an urge to push that comes on quickly and without warning’. I don’t think I’ll ever know if that is true or if my HypnoBirthing knowledge got me through most of Stage 1 & 2 with relative ease.