All birth stories are different and we want to empower and support all kinds of births. We all have individual reactions to reading birth stories; some make us happy, laugh, cry or feel sad. Here at The Merge Journal we hope to give the mother who writes her birth story a sense of empowerment. A time for reflection. We respect all the different types of individual birthing stories.
Esther has bravely shared with us here, the birth story of her daughter Lyra:
On Wednesday the 4th of March we had our regular midwife appointment – I was four days past my due date and completely convinced I was nowhere near going into labour. At the appointment I mentioned I had been experiencing some cramping type of sensations but figured they were just Braxton Hicks becoming more intense – I had been noticing a tight stomach for weeks now. After the appointment Levi and I went into the city with Dylan to get coffee.
That night – the same as the last few nights – I really was hoping baby girl would come but still was sure that I would be pregnant for another week at least. I remember scrubbing the toilet floor three times in a row quite late in the night (I didn’t think it looked clean enough the first time … or the second) and putting a load of washing on, I did the dishes and tidied the house for the thousandth time. I had been nesting for a while so didn’t really think much of it. I made some more burp cloths, had a bath and expressed some colostrum then went to bed – I was trying to get as much sleep as I could.
At around 2.30am I woke to period type cramping which I still thought was just my body getting ready for labour. I was drifting off to sleep but would then wake for each one. I kept getting up to go to the bathroom and since the cot was next to the bed and it was awkward getting in and out with my big belly I got up and laid on the couch. I was listening to my hypnobirthing tracks for a bit before Levi suggested I call the midwife. I didn’t really want to disturb her because I still really felt like I was experiencing practice labour, I had heard that real surges start from the top of your uterus and the pressure in mine was entirely at the bottom.
The midwife arrived at our house shortly after I called and we realised that I was actually 6cm dilated at this point. She couldn’t believe how calm I was! I couldn’t believe I was that far along either. I really didn’t think Lyra was going to come for another week. I remember looking at Levi in disbelief as he was grabbing things for the hospital bag and saying ‘We’re leaving now and coming home with a baby??’ Haha.
On the way to the hospital Levi called Mariah who was taking photos for us, she met us at the hospital with Dylan and we got comfy in the birthing centre. It was about 3.30ish by this point, and our midwifery student arrived shortly after. They began to run the bath for me and said it would take around half an hour to fill – as soon as it did I got in and it was soooo relaxing. When I was in the bath the surges seemed to come further apart and weren’t as intense, so after a couple of hours I got out for the midwife to check if I was any more dilated than I had been when I got in. When she realised I was about 8cm she said to me ‘whatever you’re doing it’s working, so keep doing it’.
I got back in the bath but I was getting really cold being half out and half in, so I got out and had a shower which felt amazing. I was so nice and warm and comfortable. I had a little nap on the couch afterwards all wrapped up in a blanket and I remember feeling bad when I woke up because everyone was just hanging around waiting and there I was sleeping haha.
I was 10cms dilated at about 11.30am, the feeling of pushing was coming only when I stood up, but I really wanted to have Lyra in the water. She definitely had other ideas and I realised after a while that instead of doing what I wanted to do I had to actually listen to my body. I tried a few different positions, the birthing stool, squatting against Levi, leaning against the bed, sitting on the toilet, and none seemed to have the same feeling as when I was standing. Eventually the midwife started to get a little nervous that I had been fully dilated for so long and told me that Lyra was posterior which seemed to be delaying her exit. She suggested she try and turn her during my next surge, which she tried, but only got half way through. It was at this point she said that she would need to get the doctor to come in as it was looking as though Lyra would need to be delivered by forceps. I was getting a bit pathetic by then and felt more exhausted than I had ever been in my life, I remember looking at Levi and saying ‘I wish I just got an elective c-section!’ haha. I also remember as our student was measuring Lyra’s heartbeat laughing and saying ‘She’s having a party in there, she doesn’t even caaaaarreee!’.
To be seen by a doctor I had to walk down to the delivery suite, during the walk my waters broke and I had quite a few really intense pushing surges. To be honest I’m kind of surprised she didn’t fall out in the hospital hallway. Once we got to the delivery suite I laid on the bed and the doctor came in shortly after. He checked and said to the midwife that she was in a perfect position – I really think that the threat of being delivered by forceps made Lyra decide that she actually did want to be in the right spot and flip around, haha. He told me that he was just going to leave me to it is as he was convinced I would deliver her in the next half hour. This gave me a second wind and after pushing for half an hour (he was so right – great doctor) baby girl entered the world at 3.52pm on the 5th of March. She did the most enormous poo on her way out which got over almost everyone that was there, cried for a few seconds and grabbed hold of Levi’s finger when he reached out to her. She latched on almost straight away and fed for around twenty minutes, I was so amazed. I couldn’t stop saying happy birthday and telling her that I loved her. Seeing Levi hold her for the first time filled me with the kind of love I had no idea even existed. I’m so incredibly grateful that I was able to have the natural birth I had hoped for.
Photos courtesy of Mariah Anzil
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