How are you? We have been super busy as you can imagine with welcoming our beautiful baby boy, Fionn (pronounced Finn) Anthony, who arrived on September the 20th at 9.35pm. Fionn is a rare boy already, being among the small percentage of babes who arrive on their estimated due date! This was unfortunately due to having to be induced, as the fluid around him was really low and although we advocated to stay at home for an extra few days, sniffing clary sage, walking constantly, getting our lovely midwife to do a stretch and sweep at home to move things along, drinking raspberry tea and lots of spinning babies moves to try and turn him as he was posterior- we had to be induced on the Friday as the risk was too high.
Both Jimmy and I are stoked to say that although things didn't play out as we expected, Hypnobirthing still saved the day! Most importantly, it gave us tools to use during birth and ensured that we, as a birthing team were really in sync throughout the whole process. Jimmy was the BEST birth partner, even the midwife said afterwards that she felt she had nothing to do until the big show at the end because Jimbo "had it covered". Such a show off! Although, the staff were incredible and had gotten to know us as a couple and knew we had done hypnobirthing, so really supported us to make informed choices, especially when navigating some of the more bureaucratic parts of the system. They were kind, caring and gave me the hard word when I needed to 'hold it together'!
Let's not stray from the true heroes of the story though, Fionn and my body working together to get the job done. Due to all the practice I had done with the affirmations and meditations, I was able to stay calm despite having to have continuous monitoring and being in hospital from start to finish, which was not part of my preferences or how I had imagined my birth going. Despite this, I overcame my fear, and we were able to set up the room how we wanted, with music, low lights, my clothes from home and we got really active, moving around, utilizing the props available (ball, yoga mat, shower, bed, windowsill etc) in the space and feeling confident to do so. We advocated to turn the beeping on the machine off, as it was anxiety provoking and Jim helped me navigate moving the IV drip around, so much so that I didn't even notice it was attached to me by the end!
The TENS machine was a life saver for the earlier part of birth, I had a lot of back ache so it was a great distraction and tool to use. However, I had to ditch it as baby had to have more monitoring (I guess that's how it goes.) I was able to overcome this by getting in the shower and using other positions and mainly my kick arse frame of mind, being able to breathe through surges, knowing they had a peak and then they would end, if only momentarily. I also hugely relied on Jimmy during this part for comfort and encouragement, I wouldn't even let him have a dinner break!
The birth was intense from the start, I feel like I didn't get a warm up but I think it was because my body and Fionn were ready, so the surges came hard and fast. It was physically and mentally exhausting but having Jimmy there and the midwives, and for the last part, my super mum, helped so much. I felt in unison with my body and Fionn and knew when my body was in transition as I felt Fionn turn to an anterior position and move down. The midwife thought I would be hours away, but I knew it was closer!
Then came the baring down, but I will call it pushing, because I got super active and pushed and pushed, with control and from deep within myself! It was awesome and like nothing I have ever experienced before and I made a sound I had never heard before! I had used gas a little bit up to this point, but the midwife told me to ditch it. The Doctor was there standing by to intervene in the last stage, but after about 40 minutes, she knew she didn't need to be there, I was going to do it. With Jimmy on one side and my Mum on the other, egging me on, I pushed my beautiful boy down the birthing canal and into the world! I knew the sensation of crowning, as a burning one or the 'ring of fire', so I knew the head was coming out. With the guidance of my midwife, I was able to exert control and push him out slowly to prevent a tear and with a 3.3kilo baby I don't know how it was intact, but it was!
I have an amazing photo our lovely student midwife took of the moment Fionn, Jim and I meet for the first time! It captures the emotion in so many ways that words cannot. I had a preference to try for a physiological third stage, but due to being induced already, I thought, what's another bit of syntocinon in my thigh to move things along. That came out nice and easy, not that I cared because I was already breastfeeding my son for the first time and having lots of skin to skin.
Thank you so so much for everything, everyone at the hospital in Warrnambool rave about the 'hypnobirthing' parents they get coming through, about how empowered they are and how they achieve a 'positive birth' experience due to the shifted state of mind and epic teamwork that comes from going through this journey together.
We are exhausted now, we were so focused on the birth that we almost forgot the (worthwhile) challenges that lay ahead on the other side! Breastfeeding is incredible but has been difficult so far and the lack of sleep is something else, but all is worth it for the little love of our lives!
Love Jim, Hayley and Fionn
Rosie Fitzclarence is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator (Geelong Born) and a Hypnobirthing Australia™ Certified Practitioner.
Rosie is based in Geelong and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about her Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes CLICK HERE