Ha I don’t even know where to start this!
So maybe I’ll just get right to the crux and chat to you about the good shit..
After a really long, mentally challenging wait for our little baby, I was induced 10 days over my due date. On Thursday 14th of June, after a week of heavy monitoring by my obstetricians and the Epworth Geelong Maternity team I was admitted and had a prostaglandin gel administered to get things going. After having lots of pre labour signs for the two weeks prior, my body was gagging to labour but was just struggling to get over the line.
After the gel was administered and Ben was sent home, I got set up in my ridiculously massive room (one of the reasons people have nicknamed it ‘Hotel Epworth’) and put on one of my Hypnobirthing affirmation meditations to send me to sleep.
Ben and I had taken on the incredibly lovely Rosie from Geelong Born as our birth support who also runs the Geelong Born Hypnobirthing Australia™ course which we were always keen to do. So over two Sundays a couple months prior we learnt all about acupressure points and how breathing would help me through the labour. Having had my fair share of health stuff over the past couple of years and been pushed to the highest levels of my pain threshold, I knew where I could go in handling pain and knew that I could either freak the fuck out and let it go to my head or I could calm the hell down and breath through it and get it done. Anyway, more on that later.
After cramping pretty heavily all night I had one more CTG at dawn to check the baby was happy, which it was and then at 8am I had my membranes ruptured by my wonderful obgyn Dr Emily Huning. After a few cracks to burst them (they weren’t going to pop anytime soon given their thickness) I felt a strange release and a big gush of fluid. We were on our way!
Contractions started immediately but were super manageable, so I bounced happily on my favourite thing ever and the thing that got me through the pregnancy- the exercise ball! Chatting easily in between contractions I was then given Syntocinon via a drip to really get things going and BANG! It was all on. The contractions immediately went from zero to hero and I was deep into it. I spent the next hour bouncing on the ball or leaning forward onto the bed riding the waves, whilst breathing in my aromatherapy and having my pre made music playlists guiding me through.
After an hour and a half of this things started getting really serious and without anyone really knowing, I went through the transition phase. If you don’t know what this is, it’s just before you start pushing but you don’t realise and you are flat out trying to pack your bags to leave the hospital because you just don’t want to do it anymore. My reaction was to demand where I was at and how dilated I was. Because the baby was so far down and engaged it was really hard to monitor and her heart rate was so relaxed the nurses still thought I had some time to go. Nope, in my usual style.. my body was in no mood to dick around and just wanted to get things done! After an hour in transition of me kneeling over the ball on the floor, my body started to naturally push and I went with it.. 20 minutes later as my husband continued to rub my lower back as my only form of pain control and with the midwives were around the front of me trying to get the babies heart rate he was astounded to so quickly see the head crowing and just as he looked up to let the nurses know, by the time he looked back down- the baby was lying on the towel covered floor!
It all happened so quickly that no one was prepared for it and the baby and my body were so ready, out came a tiny little baby girl much to everyone’s surprise! As she was handed up to me I was in total shock.. what amazingness just happened??
Had I really just given birth to this vernix covered little ball of baby, in 3 hours, naturally with no drugs?? Yes I bloody did.
I don’t say this proudly as a boastful thing, as I know so many of my friends and other mummas have had really tough labours but I say this because I was genuinely so shocked at how much I loved the experience. Especially because the whole pregnancy I had been freaking out that I was having a caesarean after a medium had told me I was!! Note to all mediums- don’t tell mums to be they are having a caesarean!!! A sure as hell way to destroy their confidence!! But I was chuffed to have proved her wrong and to have had such a wonderful labour.
And I did with the help and support of my incredible man, who calmly and reassuringly supported me the entire time and Rosie, who was so gentle in her support. It was with her experienced guidance she was able to stop me getting into a higher state and allowed me to sink into myself and go deep with my experience. As she knelt in front of me and Ben behind, these two wonders kept me calm and empowered.
And the result of those incredible 3 hours was our little baby girl Adelaide Lily O’Connor, weighing 7.2pounds (what, me.. give birth to a small baby?!) and 47cm long with big feet like her mumma!
The 6 days following that spent at the Epworth was a blur of no sleep, constant staring at this little bundle of magic we had created and overwhelm. Man, how overwhelming it all was. Especially the breastfeeding side of things!! Nothing prepared me for how hard this was going to be. Addie and I were learning together and we both had no idea what we were doing! I hadn’t done any classes on how to breastfeed, which in hindsight I kinda should of because I had NO idea how to get her to latch and she too, sucked.
We eventually got home and the past 5 weeks have been a roller coaster. It took 3 weeks for me to get the breastfeeding down and man, I have never been pushed into a dark corner so quickly as what I did trying to get through the pain and stress of it. But once we both finally got into the swing of it things started to settle and as she grows daily I see her starting to interact more, smiling & gurgling and our time together doing this makes all of it make sense. A big shout out to my two lactation consultants.. Donna at Epworth Geelong and Margie Neyland for when I was home. These two women saved me!
I’d be lying if I said this has come as naturally to me as I thought it would. I might be quite a maternal person but my independent soul has struggled with staying home all day and being her life line. But that’s ok. I realise that it's ok to feel like I've been slapped in the face by the experience. It is fucking hard!! And I’m proud that I don’t pretend that I’m mum of the year, I am going to keep it real because I love when other women portray their truth and not hide behind the perfection of life. So I’m gonna do the same!
I’ve really appreciated other mums who have reached out to check in to see how we are, particularly how I am. I guess they too understand how challenging and isolating this experience can be and women who stand strong for others when they stumble inspire me constantly. We have the power to change someone’s day so rather than beating them down with judgement or their own opinions on how something should be done, its been really lovely to see women simply offer support and a cooked dinner.
There is no one road, I’m learning that leads to success or a well raised, happy child. Everyone will find their own path and as rocky as it may be, its their path to walk. And how amazing the path I’m walking is and I cannot wait to lead Adelaide down it for a short while until she takes the reigns. I will empower her to see the world for the beauty and magnificence it has but most importantly showing her all the beauty and magnificence she holds within herself.
Hilary's birth story was first published on the Hilary Holmes Makeup blog page on August 7, 2018
Hilary's birth resources...
Rosie at Geelong Born www.geelongborn.com.au for birth support & the Hypnobirthing Australia™ course in Geelong & the Surf Coast.
Epworth Geelong Maternity https://www.epworthgeelong.org.au/our-services/maternity/
Geelong Maternity Group http://www.geelongmaternitygroup.com.au/