Brianna’s Birth Story
After a night of food, family, discussion (and even some Dutch tourists coming to camp on the grounds), I listened to my pregnancy/labour meditations and went to bed, peaceful calm and relaxed. It’s always lovely to have family around with Dad and my brother staying the night was great for Cooper too.
At about 2am, I was awoken by a kick so strong it gave me a bit of a fright, but that was it, and I went back to sleep.
At 2.50am, I woke again, went to the toilet as usual, and wandered back to bed in that early morning doze. I only lay down for perhaps one minute, and had a sense that something was about to happen, so got out of bed very quickly, and my waters broke straight away. Based on the way my last labour had progressed (very quickly although ended in emergency caesarean), I thought it best to give everyone plenty of notice, so waddled upstairs to get my phone and start to text my midwives Kathleen and Cheryl, and birth support Inez.
Unfortunately I had no credit on my phone, so up the stairs I went to get Richard’s phone. I came back downstairs to text, and then realised the sim was missing! Third time lucky, and up the stairs once more for his other phone, and to wake Richard up from a deep sleep after he had taken a sleeping tablet, I told him what was happening and that I was already having contractions. While I had a shower to freshen up (and enjoy the warm water) Richard woke my brother Hadleigh to help set up the pool and califont to heat the water that luckily we had just picked up from the Manawatu Homebirth Association a few days prior. During my shower, Richard called Kathleen and then timed my contractions when I got out. They were already 30 seconds long and 1 1/2 minutes apart. We realised that this little baby would be making a fairly hurried entry to the world.
Kathleen needed to pick up a homebirth kit as she had used one the day before, so indicated she would be there within the hour. I pulled on my birthing wrap and made my way down to the lounge. While Richard and Hadleigh continued setting up the pool, I sat in the rocking chair, and turned on the labour and birth track of my special relaxation and affirmation CD that was lent to me by Aileen Devonshire as part of the Holistic Birth course we had been going to for the last few weeks. The track is 48 minutes long and I had no idea that I wasn’t going to be able to hear the end of it!
Once the pool was up and beginning to fill, I told Richard that I would need him by my side to support me from that point on. The sensations I was feeling were a lot more intense and so close together I didn’t feel like I had time to rest in between. I started to feel Brianna move down with the contractions. This was a bit of an unknown for me from this point, as my son had been born by emergency caesarean and I hadn’t felt him move at all during labour. I reached down and touched our baby’s head, telling Richard that our daughter wasn’t far away from being born.
Richard and I had learned a number of skills to use through the birth of our baby, and transition was the time we put many of these skills to good use. Just working together, one contraction at a time, to release as much tension as possible. The instinctual response to pain is to tense up, making it harder for your baby to move through your body, so we used a number of different techniques to release that tension. Richard and I had learned deep touch and relaxation skills together, so he was able to model breathing for me, in through the nose, and controlled exhalation through my mouth like blowing out candles. This helped when the contractions got really intense to get me back on track and just focus on one contraction at a time. He also used touch by holding his hand on areas such as my hips that were obviously tense, making me aware and directing my breathing to soften that area. We had studied the Pink Kit techniques and used the sit bone spread, hip lift and sacral manoeuvre during transition and the pelvic clock closer to when the baby was being born. The reason I believe I experienced such a wonderful birth was a combination of many things, but the main ones were the Holistic Birth skills course with Aileen, the Pink Kit, and the dedication of my husband to be involved in the birth of our baby and help Brianna and I on that special day.
I spent my labour kneeling, but trying to keep my back upright and not hunched over, so that Brianna would move into my pelvis with her chin tucked in the easiest way for her to be born. My contractions started to space out and change – Brianna was going to be with us much sooner than anyone expected! Kathleen and Cheryl had not yet arrived and my good friend and support person Inez had not arrived yet either. Because we live so far out of town, it takes a while to get here and service on mobile phones can be sketchy so Richard wasn’t able to get hold of them since the initial calls.
I reached down and her head was right there, only a few contractions away at the most. We would be delivering our baby girl ourselves, together. The water level in the pool was just high enough so Richard helped me into the water. The hot water was so relaxing to drop into, it was absolute bliss, and after a few contractions trying really hard to breathe instead of consciously push, I felt her head being born. I kneeled and caught her while Richard supported me and held on to me so I didn’t have to balance. She was so peaceful in the water, and as we brought her head to the surface, she coughed a few small coughs, then just lay there in the water. The cord was very short so I just leaned over her, keeping her in the warm water until everyone arrived.
Richard let my father and brother know, and they were astonished at the timeframe. It had only been 2 and 1/2 hours from start to finish and no one had heard any noise from me or the baby! Inez arrived 10 minutes after Brianna was born, and started to help me straight away. Kathleen was not far after her and she was able to clamp and cut the cord so that Brianna could be wrapped up. Richard had her against his chest for skin to skin and to warm her up.
My placenta was birthed not long after that and then I went into shock. Probably a bit scary to see, but mum had told me about it happening to her so I wasn’t that fazed by it. It made me shake uncontrollably. Inez had some fruit baby purees in squeezy pouches that she squeezed into my mouth, made me a cup of milo, and incredibly, gave me her own lovely warm wool clothes and cosy socks to wear and warm up. I highly recommend having a birth support or doula to attend your birth if you can find someone with the same values as you, to work with you and help you through it. Inez was brilliant to have there, very reassuring and quick thinking. I needed a few stitches, and after that, had a shower and came back down to sit with everyone in the lounge and feed my baby. She was so sleepy and relaxed she couldn’t muster up the strength to breastfeed, so we hand expressed colostrum onto a teaspoon and gave it to her.
What an incredible morning. By 9.30am, everyone had gone home, and our new little family could just be together and get to know each other. Our baby girls journey to be with us was empowering, peaceful, intense, serene and healing for all of us. I was smiling a very proud and happy smile for quite some time – it was perfect.