Where to begin my birth story? Well technically the journey began in a little café in Waurn Ponds when I was 7 weeks pregnant. My husband had arranged to meet a woman he found on the internet to discuss our birth options. The “woman” was of course Rosie Fitzclarence, and the “random internet search” turned out to be the most fortunate stroke of serendipity. Rosie, in her beautiful way and without any bias, explained all the options available to us, and we walked away from that fortuitous meeting deciding on the Geelong Maternity Group (GMG) at Epworth. Unfortunately we decided we probably wouldn’t be needing Rosie’s services as GMG already had such a great team of midwives, so we said our thanks and left it at that.
Weeks passed and I was living in the land of “preggie brain” and I honestly couldn’t think beyond anything greater than my protruding bump, when a beautiful customer came into the store I worked with her gorgeous baby boy. We got into a deep discussion about her birth journey and she mentioned Rosie was her birth support and how she couldn’t have gotten through the most difficult parts without her. Then another pregnant customer randomly mentioned to me that Rosie was her hypnobirthing instructor and birth support woman, and how comforted she felt under her care. I didn’t need any more signs. We booked Rosie that night.
We chose to have the Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes in the privacy of our home in Aireys Inlet, and I 100% attribute my calm and easy attitude towards the approaching birth to these classes. All my questions were clearly answered and Rosie’s honest advice helped us to make some difficult choices, particularly when coming up against the conventional medical system whose methods may not be in line with our desire for a natural birth. So there we were, armed with our meditations, salt lamps, candles, essential oils, acupressure points, playlist and birth plan. I was equal parts curious, excited and apprehensive.
Fast forward to the 2nd of December, aka “D Day”. I was having what felt like period pains and I knew something was happening. I went for a long bush walk with my dog, treated myself to a massage, ate dinner, had a bath and hopped into bed feeling a little disappointed that things hadn’t kicked off. That night I dreamt that my baby was posterior and that my waters broke. I awoke to my waters actually breaking in bed. I quickly hustled my husband out of bed and we frantically made up my hospital bag and jumped in the car headed for the hospital. On examination, the midwives concluded that I had a premature rupture of membranes, and that I should go home and get some rest because whatever happens (induction or not) this baby was on its way. So that’s what I did. I slept. Ate some grilled cheese on toast. Went to the supermarket. Twiddled my thumbs. Watched Netflix. To say I was having a surreal day is an understatement. I was having a complete “failure to launch” experience.
My obstetrician called and informed us that I would be induced at 24 hours and it was strongly encouraged that I get the intravenous AB as I was GBS unknown. This scared us into action. Out came the Swiss ball, the sage essential oil and the acupressure point “cheat sheet” and BOOM! At 21 hours post membrane rupture we had lift off! It was 10pm.
The contractions began strong and fast. There was no gentle build up with long extended beaks that we had been expecting. It was almost as if the ‘failure to launch’ was really a flood gate keeping at bay the power of those surges, and once those gates began to open, all that built up energy radiated from my back through to my front and literally took my breath away. In fact, the pain was so intense and isolated to my back and pelvis I knew my baby was posterior, and this frightened me. After 2.5 hours of labouring at home, we decided the contractions were too strong and close together, so we made the decision to leave for the 30 minute drive to the hospital.
That drive will be etched into my memory forever, as it is the closest I will ever get to being shot through time and space. Memories come back to me in flashes. I remember opening my eyes to see my husband driving and timing my contractions. I remember pulling up on the seat handle with each surge (which were coming every 2 minutes and lasting for 45 seconds by this stage). I remember seeing the ocean, a field, street lights and the turn off sign to the hospital. I remember stumbling into the hospital with the help of my husband and the security guard. Falling onto the bed (I could only lye on my side, any other position was agony). I remember Rosie running in, putting her bag down and coming straight to my side to hold my hand. The room was completely dark except for the phone torch the midwife Jo (AKA “Head Torch Jo”) used to examine me. My amazing obstetrician walking in and coming straight to my side to whisper encouraging words into my ear.
My birth plan requested that I have “minimal examinations”, the theory been that it might discourage me if I wasn’t as progressed in labour as hoped. However, I was sure that I had transitioned either during the drive, or when I walked into the hospital and swore to high heaven that the baby was posterior. In retrospect, this was probably my “fear moment” (the moment when I wanted out), so I really wanted to be checked for progress. My obstetrician was sure that I wasn’t far along and was therefore hesitant to check. At 2am (4 hours since the beginning of active labour) I was 9cm dilated! All five of us laughed! Me, Rosie and Phil cried tears of joy! This was the greatest news I had ever received (besides finding out I was pregnant). And I was right, my baby was previously posterior, however my obstetrician said she watched him swing around to the favourable occipito-anterior position during her examinations.
For the next three hours and 15 minutes I put my head down, breathed and let my body intuitively ride the contraction waves. The only pain management I had was the gas, and it helped me to breathe deeply through the surges. My husband was by my side the entire time administering ‘light touch’. There was no sound other than my deep primal groans and the gentle words of encouragement coming from my team. At 5.15am, just as the sun was rising, I gave birth to our magical baby boy Jamieson. And that’s when the adventure really began.
Em, Phil, Jam and Moggy (the dog!)
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 email@example.com or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about her Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes CLICK HERE