Well here goes… It’s taken awhile to share this story for a few reasons, but one of them being that I kept writing how lucky I was to have such an empowering experience. There were no obvious complications or interventions required, so I guess that was lucky, but in terms of the actual birth- building my dream birthing team was nothing to do with luck, but careful consideration and planning.
I had a pretty massive phobia around hospitals and wasn’t sure that the sterility of the place would assist me in bringing my “A” game to labour. I missed out on the shared care midwifery program that Barwon Health offers and knew that I would need someone there that I felt comfortable with. Enter the magic of social media. I stumbled across Rosie’s Instagram page (@geelongborn) and immediately contacted her to see if she would be available to support Johnrey and I during our birth adventure.
At our first casual meeting, I instantly felt at ease and confident that Rosie was the perfect addition to our birthing team. Our three sessions prior to the birth were so informative. We were able to ask questions and discuss concerns. We came up with a loose birth plan, keen to embrace an active and natural birth, with minimal intervention, but also open to the prospect of things not going to plan. We attended a Movement, Mindset and Making Space workshop, also run by Rosie and her colleague Jo, and learnt about acupressure, relaxation techniques and different active labour positions. I read many positive birth stories and practised my breathing techniques and visualisations. I had a very dear friend, Mel, who also encouraged and inspired me with birthing tips.
THE BIG DAY
The night before had been muggy as hell and I’d eaten a big salad packed with sauerkraut. By midnight I was experiencing some unusual cramping and bowel movements, which continued throughout the night. I was certain it was food poisoning and felt like a right fool for allowing myself to get ill so close to my due date. It was quite comical, as well as annoying at the time. However, by 7AM the next morning, the cramps had intensified and my Mum said “I think you might be having your baby, darl”. The pain was like nothing I had imagined; not worse, not better, just different. I’d imagined making really primal sounds, but that didn’t work for me.
I focused on my breathing, moving into comfortable positions and Johnrey began applying some of the awesome acupressure techniques we’d learnt at our workshop. One in particular, two hands pressing firmly on the sacrum, worked tremendously. He was AMAZING! We started timing contractions and when it got to three in ten minutes, we called Rosie. She told us we should probably make our way to the hospital, so we also called the hospital and requested the room with the birthing pool. We had planned for Johnrey to drive us in, but by this stage his hands were so essential to my pain management that we asked my parents to drive us instead. Quite funny now looking back at it!
The trip to the hospital seemed to last an eternity, but we arrived around 2PM.
At the hospital we were greeted by Rosie with such a warm welcoming smile, that I instantly felt at ease. We were taken into our birth suite (which Rosie had managed to make look less like a hospital room) with the midwife on duty, Kath. From there, things are a bit of a blur. I moved into different positions, including the shower (that was lovely!) and over the fitness ball. I really got into the zone, finding my own rhythm, and time just seemed to fly by. As per hospital protocol, there was certain monitoring required. This was able to occur with minimal disruption and no internal examinations were needed, allowing me to maintain my rhythm and flow, and handle the pain.
All of this time, Johnrey was vigorously applying acupressure during contractions and soft massage between. We had a hypnobirthing soundtrack playing in the background, but all I can remember from it was the “oxytocin bucket” references. I did have some moments of extreme clarity, where I imagined other women around the world giving birth at the same time. Rosie offered gentle encouragement and suggestions of changes of position/location. Just looking at her for reassurance when some of the monitoring took place helped me to understand what was going on. I really did feel so safe and so loved.
Eventually, my waters broke (all over Johnrey’s legs!). It was rather spectacular and that’s when birth pool was set up. It took a while to fill, and in some strange way, I experienced something akin to intermission. I recall climbing into the pool with Johnrey and excitedly realising we were close to meeting our baby. The water relaxed me immensely and I was overcome with tiredness. I felt almost drunk. Rosie told me this was the “rest and be thankful” stage. So I rest my head on the edge of the pool for a little while, until I felt the urge to push. I asked Rosie to hand me my phone, so that I could put on some pre-selected tunes to get the job done. I remained on all fours, slowly rocking my hips.
Little Audrey’s head seemed to come out and then retreat, around a dozen times. This freaked me out a bit and I asked Rosie to remind me how to breathe. She reassured me that I was doing beautifully and that my body knew exactly what to do. After a few more pushes, over several minutes, Johnrey finally caught Audrey. And with our midwife’s help, guided her to the water’s surface just after 7PM. We fell in love instantly. I felt like superwoman! There are honestly no words to describe the “love bomb” feeling that followed. This feeling continues, even through the sleep deprivation and some initial difficulties with breastfeeding.
Every birthing mother needs a Rosie (and Johnrey!) on their team!
My name is Rosie Fitzclarence and I am a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator (Geelong Born) and a Hypnobirthing Australia Certified Practitioner.
I am based in Geelong and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about Geelong Born Birth Support options CLICK HERE
Or to join the next Movement, Mindset and Making Space Workshop CLICK HERE