The Birth Story of Mahala
It’s 2:20am. 24 hours ago I was giving the final pushes to welcome our baby girl into the world. I find myself wanting to document the events now whilst it is fresh and before I am completely flooded by all the new memories, emotions and hormones that we will be sharing over the coming months.
Labour started at around 830pm on Wednesday night at 39weeks and 4 days pregnant. I had, had a sleep in that day and then was off to meet some lovely mummas and their babies for a long lunch (also all fellow midwives) we lunched and deserted and spoke all thing babies, birth, motherhood, midwifery and life! I think this really got me in the mind frame and the hormones flowing to start labour. It started very gently, contractions coming every 10-15 minutes like period pain in the front and wrapping around to my back, this continued all night and I napped in between, I was excited that this was the start and that my baby was on its way.
By morning the contractions dropped back to around every 20 minutes but were longer and stronger, my husband stayed home from work as we thought things were moving along, things continued at this pace so we rested and napped and went out for lunch (steak and chips have never tasted so good!). It was all happening but at a very gentle pace where i was able to go with it and let it slowly build. By around 5pm it started to get a bit more intense and contractions coming about every seven minutes. I showered, I swayed and hooked myself up to a TENS machine. At around 830pm and after a particularly strong contraction, my husband said it was time to call our midwife and get her to come around to see where we were at. I laughed at him and said “we have ages darling, I don’t even know if this is proper labour”. He insisted we call and I trusted him and was excited to know where we were in the process. After calling our midwife, I was scared and mentally preparing myself to be about 1cm dilated and told to go to bed as often can happen with first time mummas. Luckily this wasnt the case, I was 5cm dilated which stretched to 6cm with contractions.
I couldn’t believe it! I was in shock,I couldn’t believe we had already come so far and it was time to leave for the birth centre. We gathered our things, text our birth photographer and headed in. Once at the hospital, we did the necessary things like a quick set of observations and then it was into the birth pool for me. It felt incredible! The weightlessness, the ability to twist and turn and change positions with minimal effort and I could feel all my muscles softening.
After around an hour in the birth pool, things started to get serious, and pretty intense. Transition was intense, I swore and carried on and told everyone “I’m done, make it stop, I want to go home now”. I knew I was in transition which made it a little less scary but still felt quite overwhelming at the time. This was met by my husband, midwife and photographer by simple words of encouragement but mainly they just held the space while I did what I needed to do. As transition made way to second stage of labour (the pushing phase) I felt the panic feeling less and less which each contraction and the feeling of pressure and my hips opening up to allow my baby to descend.
The urge to push built up with each contraction and I just let it wash over me (not that you have much of a choice but is best not to fight against it). Before long my body was bearing down and pushing my baby out with no instruction from myself or anyone around me, my body just took over and did what it needed to do and what women have done since the beginning of time. It did feel good to push, I knew I would meet my baby very soon. After around forty minutes of this my baby had arrived. My midwife helped her to the surface as I was using my arms to support myself and brought her straight onto my bare chest. My husband and I were completely overwhelmed, we bawled our eyes out without a spoken word for what felt like minutes. This was the moment we had dreamt of for years, the birth of our first child. We instantly recognised each other and felt completely in love and bonded, we stayed in the tub for a little while just getting to know each other until I was ready to get out and birth the placenta.
We left the umbilical cord in tact until I birthed the placenta unassisted about 40minutes later. I then needed a few quick stitches, had a beautiful long breastfeed, baby was weighed, measured and checked over and we were walking out the door about 4 and a half hours later to go home and start our lives together.
As I sit here now, unable to sleep, still on a high with a perfect sleeping baby in my arms, I know that the fourth trimester will be my favourite trimester. We have spent the day in bed and on the couch, taking turns of skin to skin contact, lots of kisses and in complete awe of our perfect little person. Watching my husband bond with our baby has been incredible, his confidence and calmness with her is beautiful to behold. Breastfeeding has gotten off to a great start, Mahala is latching beautifully with lots of assistance and support from hubby and I am determined no matter what to make it work. Already it is an incredible bond that just her and I share.
Thank you for reading my birth story, it is not an uncommon one and it is one that is achievable for the majority of women having a healthy pregnancy. I should disclose that I too am a midwife so I felt very empowered and aware of my options and knew the way in which I wanted to birth but this information is out there for each and every one of you no matter your situation. Take control, research, read and learn!
If you are able to choose a midwifery led model of care or birth in a birth centre please very much consider this option. Educate yourself on all of the options (BornOnline is a way for you educate yourself and assist you on your journey to an empowering birthing experience). surround yourself with positivity and know you were made to birth your baby, our bodies are not lemons!
You can read my husband’s version of Mahala’s birth here.
(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).