I woke suddenly at 4am. This was not unusual and usually required a trip to the loo. I got up, peed and waddled back to my cosy, warm bed. I was full of anxiety, which was normal throughout my pregnancy - but this time it was intense. And then I felt it. At first it was a warm trickle in my undies. I closed my legs tightly and pretended to ignore it. I couldn’t. So, I stood up to check. As I stood, water gushed everywhere; like a bucket had been thrown over me. My waters had broken. I was 35 weeks pregnant.
And so began the birth that would last over 40 hours. At first I had no contractions and the doctors at Geelong Hospital hoped bub would stay in there another 2 weeks - with me loaded up on high doses of antibiotics, of course. I hadn’t finished work (and work for myself) so I was frantically wrapping things up from my hospital bed; much to the amusement of the nurses. Laptop on my knees, tethering wifi through my phone - I must have looked a little nuts.
And then the contractions started. Oh my God. There was no more work happening now. We were on!
Back and forth I went, from the birthing suite to the shared ward, and back again (3 times in total). I broke down in tears after a night spent writhing in the hospital bed (listening to other woman birthing in rooms nearby), when the doctor said to me bluntly - you’re not in labour yet, so you’re going back upstairs. I was beginning to regret my strong views (for myself) on pain medications and the epidural. To help deal with the pain, I took the advice of my amazing birth support, Rosie. I moved constantly, squatted, had the lights off, sat on the toilet, stood in the hot shower for hours… and breathed, and breathed and breathed.
After almost two days of pre-labour and 5 hours of pushing, I was done. My contractions slowed down to every 15 minutes, and I had no energy left to push. The wonderful doctors offered help by performing an episiotomy and applying suction to bubs head. A few more pushes, using all the strength I could muster, and there he was: My beautiful boy, Banjo.
My birth plan was detailed and informed, especially on pain management; skin to skin contact; cutting the cord; and birthing the placenta naturally. But I always knew my fate was ultimately in the hands of the midwives and doctors. I was stubborn (probably too stubborn) about the pain medication, until it was too late and so I birthed by baby naturally - a vaginal birth with no pain medication (except a bit of gas). Having beautiful Rosie helped me stay strong, and guided me in decision making when I needed it. She gave constant support and advice to my mum and partner, and they all worked as a beautiful, supportive team, along with the incredibly strong, caring midwives, to bring my boy into the world.
Beautiful Rosie being part of our pregnancy and birth helped me more than I could ever imagine. She was a constant support, offering us guidance in all our decision making. If i’m ever lucky enough to give birth again, Rosie would be by my side. Her calm, caring, compassionate and understanding nature made us all feel at ease, even when I went into labour at 35 weeks! By the end we felt like Rosie was part of the family.
*Because he was premature, Banjo Ted was in the Special Care Nursery for 2 weeks after birth. The little champ started kicking goals immediately, and is now the happiest, healthiest little 8-month-old. He makes us smile every day.
Hi, my name is Rosie Fitzclarence and I am a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator (Geelong Born) and Hypnobirthing Australia Certified Practitioner. I am based in Geelong and can be contacted by email at email@example.com or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about Geelong Born Pregnancy, Birth and Postnatal Support CLICK HERE.