Kahu’s Birth Story


In March, a positive pregnancy test confirmed that we were expecting. I was really nervous throughout the first 3 months because I had had a miscarriage at around 8 weeks just 2 months earlier. We found out the sex early at our 15-week scan and were told we were having a boy, which Clyde was especially happy about. I had a really good pregnancy. I had some nausea and tiredness in the first 3 months, the second and third trimester were fine apart from constantly rushing to the toilet and heartburn. I continued to work at my two part time jobs as a homecare worker and pharmacy technician. I worked until four days before I had Kahu.

I read a lot about pregnancy and birth throughout my pregnancy and had decided that a home birth in water would be an amazing way to bring our baby into the world. My midwives were very pro homebirth so it was always understood we would have baby at home as long as everything went well.

At my 38-week check-up I had high blood pressure, which was unusual for me, two days later at 39 weeks on a Saturday night I went to the toilet and realized I had had a “show”. I was shocked, as I had told everyone I would have my baby early and not be overdue as is expected of first time mothers, since my own mum had all of us 2 weeks early. After showing Clyde I called my mum who told me to just wait, things will take a while. I managed to get to sleep but could not believe it was all finally happening. The next day I spent with Clyde and was getting period like cramps on and off most of the day. I thought I would go into real labour anytime. We went up to mum and dads for dinner and my two best friends Tui and Juanessa came for tea too and we went for a long walk together to try and bring on my labour. I had decided I wanted Tui and Juanessa as well as Clyde and the midwives there to support me during labour. After all that excitement, the contractions died away and I managed to get to sleep Sunday night. I woke up a few times with really sore stomach pains which faded away.

On Monday morning I was sure that today would be the day. I had decided I wanted to cook to pass the time, so I baked cookies, a cake and made a huge lasagne for my support team. Juanessa and Tui arrived around noon and I was getting cramps every 5 or 6 minutes by this time. We went for a really long slow walk and I had to stop every 3 minutes and wait for the contractions to pass. When we got back Clyde put on the movie Boy for us to watch and it helped pass the time as the contractions got stronger. Mum came round a few times during this time; she was so excited to meet her grandson.

The midwife knew I was in labour, but she was trying to hold off coming to see me until I really needed her, and I knew this was in my best interest. I didn’t want to be disappointed and find out I was only 1 cm along when she came. By 7 o’clock the contractions were really painful and I had convinced myself I was in transition. Juanessa kept convincing me to wait to call the midwife for a bit longer; she got there around 8 o’clock and did an internal which did not hurt at all. Betty was happy with my progress and said the longest part of labour was over and I was over 3 cm. She also said my cervix was spongy and my hips were wide so there was lots of space for baby. She was so positive that it made me feel better, even though I thought it would nearly be over! She left and said the other midwife Milenna would be around later once she had finished with someone else and to call her if I needed to. I went and had a bath and that really helped when the contractions got really sore. I didn’t make a lot of noise but breathed my way through the contractions. The pain was intense, and the contractions felt like a horrible pain in my back and across my lower stomach and thighs. I was starting to get a bit crazy around midnight, pacing the house and crouching and leaning and hanging of the furniture. I couldn’t get comfortable at all, and the contractions were so painful.

Milenna finally arrived around 12.30 and as soon as she arrived, I asked her for an internal. I was relieved to find out I was 8 – 9 cm dilated, and baby would hopefully be here soon. As soon as she got there she took charge of the situation she had me standing up holding on to Kahu’s cot and moving my hips in slow figure 8 motion which really helped, and she taught me how to breathe through them properly. It was so good having someone to coach you through the contraction as it became unbearable, she would say “it’s nearly, over. You’re doing so well.” The coaching helped me so much. I took off my nightdress and all worries of being naked in front of my friends were gone. I couldn’t care less. Milenna got Clyde to sit behind me and support me and I leant against the wall of the pool. The contractions were really strong, and I pushed as hard as I could. Milenna got Clyde to come and hold my hand as he lay on the bed and I knelt in front of it for about an hour and Milenna massaged my back, which felt really, really good.

The contractions felt horribly painful and intense and I found myself concentrating really hard to get through them. Milenna told me to rest on the bed and propped me up with pillows and Clyde lay beside me. I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t handle the contractions laying down it was much too painful. Milenna got me to walk around while they filled up the birthing pool. The water hot water ran out and they had to boil pots on the stove. Milenna made me brace myself on the couch and continue the figure eight with my hips and breathe through the contractions but they were getting so painful I would sob a bit and they would take my breath away but I would get my breathing rhythm back. I remember thinking it was just so painful and it was so intense. I really wanted to hop into the water so badly and I remember feeling a bit of hatred towards Milenna for not letting me get in. I told her I felt like I really wanted to go for a pee, which I had been feeling for a while but every time I went to the toilet nothing would come out. She told me to go and labour on the toilet for a while with Juanessa. My vagina felt weird like something was coming down and Milenna told me to see if I could feel anything and I was shocked when I could feel a rubbery ball like skin. She told me it would be my waters which were still intact. She told me to see if I could feel anything hard behind it, and I could only a little way up and it was his head. We all went into the room and she checked me again and said I was fully dilated and babies head had come down. Straight after I stood up, I ran as good as I could to the toilet and had the urge to push which was really different from the contractions. I made grunting noises which came so naturally, and I knew that this was what pushing was. Milenna told me I could hop into the pool which was warm and deep enough and I was so happy to climb in. I had laboured in the bath twice earlier and the water was such a good pain relief.

Pushing was so much better than the contractions before, because I could do something to stop the pain! I was sitting with my back against the pool side with Clyde supporting me from behind and I could see the waters coming out of my vagina and slipping back in through each contraction. Seeing that really motivated me to push extra hard. I remember how I would begin to push and then my body would take over. It went on for about an hour, but it didn’t seem that long to me at all. Soon Milenna was saying baby will be here in the next contraction or two and I could not believe it. I pushed really, really hard and I felt him crown. It was not nearly as bad as what I thought it would be and I knew I hadn’t torn when his head finally popped out. My contraction was still going and Milenna said I could push his body out if I could and I did. It was relief when he was out and I said, “My baby!” and he was put onto my chest. He was covered in white goo and had bright red lips and purple skin. He cried for a few seconds then just looked at me. Juanessa told me later that at that moment her, Tui and Clyde all tried really hard to hold back tears. I felt really overwhelmed and slightly in shock. I couldn’t believe I had done it. The pool must have filled with blood and I had to get out but they didn’t want to cut the cord yet so I had to stand up while Clyde held Kahu and I pushed out the placenta with the first contraction I felt, it didn’t hurt. I looked down and blood was running down my thighs, and I felt a bit worried something was wrong. By this time Betty had arrived and I had to lie down on towels and they pushed my stomach and massaged it to get the rest of the blood out and then I had two injections to stop the bleeding. I am really afraid of needles and they did not hurt at all. I felt quite lightheaded and remember feeling jealous I could not hold the baby. My mum arrived sometime during my bleeding and everyone was just pouring over Kahu.

After maybe 20 minutes I was able to sit on the couch and try to breastfeed him. I felt really, really tired. He latched on well after a few attempts and after a shower and a pee which didn’t hurt at all I was wrapped up in bed with a new baby and Clyde at 6am. Looking back on my birth experience I feel really lucky to have had such a problem free birth and was able to do it my way. I am so glad I had a healthy baby which is really all you can ask for. I felt so strong and proud of myself for doing it the way nature intended without pain relief and amazed my body pulled it off! It was such an amazing and beautiful thing giving birth to my son, but at the time I was totally absorbed by the pain of each contraction.

Kahu is now 5 weeks old and weighs over 12 pounds. The midwives are amazed at his huge weight gain and he is a really big boy. He is really active and loves doing his exercises, and sometimes blesses us with a smile! We love him so much and look forward to the rest of our lives spent with our special little man.