My Birth Story - By Ashleigh Wilson
I was due to give birth to my daughter on the 27th of January. It was my second birth, however it would be my first natural birth if everything went to plan. I was a week overdue on Friday morning the 3rd of February. I woke up around 6 when my partner Dan went to work and felt super energised. I got my 4yr old up and ready and we went for a walk to our local park. We spent about half an hour at the park and once we were home I started getting some mild cramps. I decided to spend some time on my fitball as I put a movie on to watch. I began losing part of my mucus plug and thought perhaps this was the start of something. I contacted Sam, my doula, to prepare her if things were indeed getting started. I continued to stay hydrated and relax between the couch and fitball as I focused on my breathing and imagined my baby slowly moving down and out. By 3pm the tightenings were gradually increasing with intensity but I was still convinced things would continue to move slowly. I lost more of my mucus plug and contacted Sam again to let her know how things were progressing. It gave me a real sense of calm to know she was there for me and reassuring me.
At 5:30 the contractions were still slowly intensifying. I let Sam know again that I'd lost more mucus plug (how much of that stuff is there!?) and that I still thought things wouldn't get going properly until the next day. Sam reassured me that every woman and her labour is different and that this could be it. At that point I still thought I would be doing this for ages before anything happened! My contractions slowly intensified and I tried lying on the couch for a bit as it got dark. They didn't slow down so I had a warm shower to help me relax at around 8:30. Dan tried to get some rest and I was starting to think I may need to call someone to watch our son. I called my parents at 9 and they arrived at 10 to collect Kaedyn.
The contractions had ramped up a bit so I was walking around and leaning over the couch or bench top and rocking through them. I still felt quite controlled and relaxed. I used the shower a few more times intermittently as the water felt beautiful on my back which was starting to get very sore through the contractions. Dan was trying to get some sleep on the couch at 11 when I was thinking about whether or not I should call the hospital. Sam had gone to bed early just in case and good thing she did too. I explained to the midwife that my contractions were coming every 3 to 4 minutes and lasting for almost a minute. I was feeling the contractions through and around my back and then down the backs of my thighs. I continued to lean over the kitchen bench through them and really focused on my breathing.
The midwife said I should probably come in so I got Dan up and tried to get everything in the car. The drive felt so quick and the contractions were making me swear through the peak at that point. We parked on the ground floor of the Toowoomba Base Hospital carpark and I slowly started the walk up to emergency. As we walked across the footpath my waters burst. I started to get anxious at this point because there was still a long way to birth suite. The contractions ramped up considerably after that and we quickly (well as quick as a heavily pregnant woman can walk in active labour) and let the nurse know we needed to go through asap. Emergency was packed ofcourse and everyone was staring. Funny that I remember that so clearly.
I realised at that point that I hadn't called Sam so quickly phoned her to let her know she needed to moved quick. She sounded so shocked haha. I ended up needing a wheelchair up to birth suite. I couldn't walk through the contractions anymore. The midwives got me into a room within 5 minutes and wanted to check my waters on the toilet. I knew straight away that there was meconium in my waters and as I sat there I felt a great urge to push. I couldn't help the involuntary feeling and pushed.
The midwife quickly got me back to the bed and got a reading of bubs heartbeat with the monitors to check she was doing well. Her heartrate was strong so I declined the head screw monitor. I declined being cannulated also as I didn't want the stress to effect my labour. They wanted to do this because I was a VBAC birth (vaginal birth after cesarean) and wanted to be ready if I needed another cesarean. I felt very uncomfortable on my side on the bed and said I wanted to move. I really wanted the shower but she thought things were progressing too quickly for that.
At this point Sam arrived and I was so happy to see her. Poor Dan was so shocked with everything he kind of just stood pacing around not sure what to do with himself. Plus I was so in the zone I hardly noticed him. So Sam came in and told me what a great job I was doing. She suggested kneeling on the need when I said I wasn't happy on my side and that was the perfect position. I was upright like I wanted and let gravity help the birthing process.
At that point the contractions were so intense I was really letting out primal noises, rocking my hips in the kneeling position as Sam kept me hydrated with sips of water and wiped my face and forehead with a cold washer. I remember feeling so safe with Dan holding my hand and Sam continuing to tell me I was doing so well.
They offered me gas with air to help me concentrate and focus. That did nothing for the pain (it was on the lowest setting apparently) but it helped focus my breathing again. I felt like bub was "right there" and I told the midwife this. They said she probably was haha. Then they said push if I wanted to so through the next contraction I pushed really hard.
At that point I'd chucked the gas and kept pushing through the contractions until they could see her head. They got a mirror so I could see and I was so shocked that it was really happening. It was amazing. It gave me so much power to keep going. Inbetween contractions Sam continued wiping my head and reassuring me I was doing great. Next thing I knew her head was out and soon after that with a little help from the midwife, she was born. At 12:52 am my beautiful Madeline Grace Tyson had emerged. She was so amazing, I felt an immediate rush of endorphins. She didn't cry or start breathing though and was rushed away. While that was happening I started to hemorrhage.
The next 10 minutes flew by as they got Madeline breathing and well, while they rubbed my uterus down to encourage the placenta to come and the bleeding to stop. They ended up cannulating me and giving me a drip. I also had the injections to help the placenta along. I swear that when they rubbed my uterus it was more painful then childbirth itself. When the rush was over, I wanted my baby on me to get the skin to skin I craved. They were going to take Madeline to the NICU because she was still having breathing difficulties but allowed us a cuddle first. Amazingly, once she was on my skin she slowly started breathing normally, and then latched beautifully to my breast for our first feed. It was a beautiful moment between us. We stayed like this for an hour.
I was so happy to get the healing birth I wanted. I am ever so grateful to have had Dan and Sam both with me. I'm also incredibly grateful that Madeline was cared for so well by the midwives and doctors.