This is the birth story of my first born baby, Zander Dean. After a spicy meal on Monday night, I woke on Tuesday morning (38 weeks +5) at 3 am with some mild period-like pains. The pains quickly subsided, and I continued to sleep in until late that morning (which was unusual as I had been waking early and cleaning the house like crazy for four days). Early in the afternoon around 2 pm, the pains resumed. They were so mild and irregular, so I assumed it was false labour. However, as the day went by contractions became stronger. A definite pattern began at around 5 pm, with contractions occurring every 10 minutes. I didn’t tell anyone about the pains until 8 pm when contractions were 5 minutes apart, when nothing was relieving the pain.
After a hot bath, I rang my midwife Sue who enlightened me by saying “Sounds like we might be having a baby tonight!” I couldn’t believe that I was actually in labour. I laboured at home in the nursery, listening to Cat Stevens, while sitting on my birth ball. I was feeling the contractions in my back, (which I later found was because bub was posterior) so my mother helped by massaging my lower back. As the night continued, contractions became more intense.
Ken, Zander's father, arrived looking anxious! When he arrived I just lost all control and burst into tears. He thought it might be a good idea to call Suz (My midwife). She could hear how upset I was in the background, so we decided to go to the birth centre at 1pm. After an examination, we found I was 5 cms dilated and fully effaced. I quickly jumped into the shower, and felt so much relief being on all fours with the hot shower on my back. As my back labour was intensifying, the only way for me to cope was with Ken pushing my hips together during my contractions. He had to use a lot of strength, but it helped tremendously.
I then decided to try the birth pool, but felt the water wasn't as relieving as the hot shower. I experienced the transition in the birth pool. I found myself becoming louder and louder, and the noise I was making truly surprised me. It’s a sound that can’t be replicated, but is almost like an animal growling. At this stage, I was completely in another world. In my head, I was talking about wanting a caesarean and asking for it to stop, but only once did I say out loud “God help me”.
Before I knew it, I had the urge to push. I resisted for a few contractions but after Suz’s ok, I began pushing at approximately 3:30 am. Pushing was such a relief; finally I could do something with the contractions instead of just experiencing the pain. I was pushing for a fair while without progress, and we realised that bub was still posterior so I needed to change position to help him move around. Firstly, I tried leaning over the bed, almost in an upright position. I had a hold of mums hand and Kens, and was squeezing with all my might. Still, nothing was happening and I was getting exhausted. I so badly wanted to give up and sleep. We then tried a squat position using the rope suspended from the ceiling. However, this was even more exhausting. I had been pushing for about 90 minutes at this stage.
Suz could see how exhausted I was, and after saying “I have had enough, I’m so tired”, she suggested we get the doctor and that maybe I would need the ventouse or forceps. For me that wasn’t even an option. I had come so far, and I wanted to succeed at having a completely natural birth with minimal intervention. We then moved onto the next position. After seeing the birth stool, I wanted to try sitting on it under the shower. After a few strong contractions, I felt him moving down. Wow, what an insane feeling. I can only describe it as an intense pressure and burning sensation.
Mum was in the background filming, Ken was behind me holding my hand, and Suz was in the front row. After hearing the excitement from Suz and Mum, I reached down to feel his head crowning. I then informed the room that he had hair! Shortly after a few more pushes, his head was almost out, but Suz told me to stop to allow the perineum to stretch. That was the longest 30 seconds of my life having to sit with the pain, but because I had so much trust in Suz, I had to comply.
Finally, one more push and his head was out. What a relief! The next contraction he was born. After two hours of pushing, Zander was born. I squealed for joy as he was placed onto my lap. He opened his eyes and let out a cry. Luckily for me, I only had a few grazes and no tears, which surprised Suz and I. He was born at 5:26 am on Wednesday the 20th of February, weighing 7lbs 9oz and 54 cms long.
My beautiful little surprise, Zander Dean, has brought so much joy into our lives. The day he was born was a life changing day. My advice for first time soon-to-be-mums, is just trust your body. Don’t fight the contractions, just relax and go with in. Women’s bodies are designed for birth, and with the support of the amazing midwives at the Birth Centre, giving birth can be such a beautiful experience rather than a scary painful experience. Lastly, thank you Suzanne Pierssene for supporting me to deliver Zander safe and sound, and for helping me to realize my own inner strength.