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Amelia's Empowering Water Birth

Amelia's Empowering Water Birth

At 40+4 weeks, just before bed, I noticed some watery loss which I suspected was a hindwater leak. I had a midwife appointment the next day and she confirmed it was my waters.

I was in an MGP model of care so my midwife was aware of my preferences. She told me I had the option to have an induction that day or wait and see if my body would labour naturally. I chose to wait and agreed to come in the next day for another discussion at 8am. I knew I was now "on the clock", but I tried to not focus on that and instead worked to create our oxytocin bubble to promote labour.

I went to bed that night feeling calm. I did my hypnobirthing mediations and listened to the affirmations track. I trusted that whatever was going to unfold would be a positive experience and I tried to let go of the disappointment that I may not get the experience I had hoped for...

During the night I had some mild tightenings, and my waters continued to release. At 4am I felt a surge that was different to the mild tightenings. I chose to ignore it and lay back down. Sure enough, ten minutes later another surge came. After about 40 minutes, I could feel that this felt different and that labour was most likely beginning. I also knew that my labour was most likely going to be quick like my with my first daughter, so I woke my husband so that he was able to get ready calmly.

Once I showered, I put my tens machine on that I had received from @thebirthstore. I then lay down to get some more rest. After another few surges, which were now 1 in 8 mins, I didn't feel comfortable laying down and moved to sit on my gym ball. It was around 6am now and I placed some music on my headphones and continued to labour with my tens and birth comb. The surges were building in intensity but I was able to continue to breath through them. The tens machine was an incredible tool in this part of labour.

At 6.45am my midwife called me to check I was still coming in for my induction of labour discussion. I let her know that I'd been having surges for the past couple of hours. She was happy for me to continue to labour at home. I remember she said 'keep going at home and I'll see you in a few hours'. I had a feeling that I would be seeing her a lot sooner but didn't want to get ahead of myself, so I just agreed.

About 45 minutes later, something felt different. I felt my baby move down and had a feeling of pressure. Not to push but a definite change.
My surges were still fairly spaced apart but I felt a change and knew I needed to go to the birth centre soon. I called my midwife back and told her I was coming in.

I told my husband we could calmly gather our bags and go to the car, and that there was no immediate rush. But then I had a surge and knew we had to leave right away. All of a sudden my surges were closer together and very intense. I started vocalising, and so we gathered our things and made our way to the car (crouching in between the cars in our garage on our way to cope with the surges 🤭).

The car ride was difficult. Luckily it was a Saturday, so no traffic on the roads. We made it there in just 10 minutes. We arrived at the hospital carpark at 8am. I remember the receptionist asking for our Medicare card, but once she saw me crouching with another surge, she did not argue when I said "we don't have time".

I couldn't be more relieved when we made it into the birth centre. I could feel myself starting to slightly lose my composure. My midwife set up the bath for me, while my husband and student midwife helped me take my tens off and strip down. I kept my birth comb with me as I was finding it very helpful. Looking back I was definitely in transition and experiencing the classic 'crisis of confidence'.

"I remember saying "I'm scared" and was struggling with the intensity of the surges"

Once I got in the water I remember saying "I'm scared" and was struggling with the intensity of the surges. The transition to hospital left me feeling exposed. My husband and student midwife quickly set up my music and the next time I opened my eyes, I was surrounded by LED candles and my affirmation cards. I had made an affirmation card with Lily's picture on it, and in that moment my mindset shifted. I knew I could do this. This was the birth I had longed for and I knew I was more than capable.

Up until this point my support team were saying beautiful, encouraging words to me. I knew she was close and after an enormous surge I felt her drop, and my body started to bear down. I really felt that I needed silence to concentrate on pushing her head out slowly and controlled. I couldn't fully voice this, so I quietly whispered "Shhhhh" - it was all I could manage to communicate. Birthing her head in the water was an incredible experience. I had no prompting and allowed my body to do it's thing. I was completely quiet with my eyes closed while pushing out her head. I reached down and felt her full head of hair and knew she was so close. Once the head was born, I changed positions to lean back slightly. I remember saying "Help. Please help" and heard everyone reassuring me. But what I was trying to communicate was that I felt that I was falling back and needed support from behind. My husband must have sensed this and quickly moved to support my back.

After another huge surge, I birthed my baby's body into the water. I opened my eyes and saw my daughter come into this world through the water and into my arms. I received her and brought her to my chest without assistance. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life. We did it! All up, I was only in hospital for 35 minutes before my daughter was born.

I wanted a physiological third stage but felt very uncomfortable in the water after a few minutes because the adrenaline from the quick labour was making my legs shake. I was helped out of the bath and onto the bed. We waited quite a while for the placenta to detach but after some bleeding, I decided to get the syntocin injection to assist with my third stage. After the injection, I birthed the placenta quickly and easily. My husband cut the cord and we were left to enjoy our little girl. Even though I was still very shaky, I felt amazing.

Our room was kept dim and candle-lit the entire time through the golden hours, skin to skin, and all the checks.

We left the hospital that same afternoon and returned home in time for dinner.

So much education and vision casting went into my second birth, and every moment of preparation was so worth it. Navigating any unexpected circumstances became so much easier as I was strong in my preferences and knew how to advocate for myself. My physical and emotional recovery has also been so much easier than my first daughter. I've learnt to accept help with more grace and lean into newborn life, knowing how fleeting it is.

The birth of Eve was the most magical and empowering day of my life and my midwife captured it all on film for me to remember. 

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