“The process of birth can be very simple, if we avoid disturbing it.” – Dr Sarah Buckley.
We are all given one heart. But at the time of a womens pregnancy, for a limited 9 months, she is given two… sometimes even three. Tell me what could hold more love than a women with more than one heart? Only the women she becomes at the end of that 9 months… a Mother.
August 20th 2017, from 7pm onwards.
Zac is in the kitchen cooking me soup, he plans to go out to a gig close by, just for a couple of hours as there is a spare ticket floating around.
I am blabbering on about a new vegan ice creamery just around the corner from our place that I am DYING to go to.
It doesn’t close till 10 so I demand we go tonight before he goes to the gig. I call my mum and tell her to come eat ice cream after dinner.
We go. It’s delicious! Zac leaves for the gig and mum drops me home.
I am 40 weeks and 4 days. On the car ride home I talk to mum about the possibility of me going to an acupuncturist to help get things moving along, she smiles and tells me that it’s a good idea but we both know I won’t be needing it.
Zac comes home before I get into bed, he tells me he felt weird being out and about, like he wasn’t where he was meant to be.
We go to bed around 11.
August 21st 2017, from 2am onwards.
I’ve woken up to what I somehow knew was coming tonight, my first real contraction that tells me my baby is going to be here soon.
Zac wakes up and I tell him that I think this is the start of labour. He falls back asleep and I fall in and out of sleep till about 8am.
I have started humming through contractions which are about 15 minutes apart. They have been like this since I first woke at 2. I am so tired that I sleep through most of them. I wonder why I haven’t gotten up yet. I know that one of the best things for a labouring woman is to move around, not be still and stagnant… But the bed is heavenly and outside of my sheets seems like a foreign land I am not yet ready for.
Zac has been preparing our apartment whilst I’m lying in bed; moving furniture, setting the pool up, covering every surface with towels. He comes in and checks on me regularly, feeding me vegemite toast and coconut water.
He seems concerned that I am still in bed and I feel as if I should start moving my body. I get up and move into the lounge room, for me this is when the story starts to blur and Zacs memory comes in tact.
Contractions are coming along now, they are getting more intense. I want water to cover my body but it is WAY to early for the birthing pool. I opt for the shower.
Once huddled on the shower floor in child’s pose with the hot water falling onto my back, I feel as if this is where I must stay. But apparently the some what still respondent logical side of my brain tells me that the hot water will run out after 20 minutes, and I then need that system to re-heat to fill up my bath. Plus, my knees are starting to get sore.
Back in the lounge room I huddle on the floor. I can’t seem to move much. I go from squatting to kneeling over the fit ball, to sitting and bouncing on the fit ball. Now I think about it… I owe that fit ball a lot… not sure what I would have done without it.
This is not how I thought I would feel during labour. I assumed I would be much more mobile; walking around the apartment, leaning on my partner into deep squats, and practicing the pregnancy yoga I had learnt so fluently over the past few months.
Instead, I hum and moan my way through each contraction on the floor, in stillness, besides maybe the circling of my hips that started around midday and lasts through to the night.
There comes a time in the early afternoon, where Zac is close to me, and I feel a release. The release comes through tears, as I start to cry through my contractions for maybe half an hour. I think Zac thinks I’m disheartened, I probably was. I am starting to ask when the midwife will come.
Zac calls up Sarah (our midwife) at about 3pm, and fills her in with my contractions and state. My contractions are around 7 minutes apart, lasting between 20-30 seconds.
Sarah is at our place by 3:30pm. She speaks with me softly, not wanting to disturb the little labouring world I have created for myself. She tells me she would like to examine me to see how dilated I am. I hesitantly go into my room and lay down, legs spread. She states that I am currently 2cm dilated. I look at her, the distraught look on my face says it all. “Don’t give me that look Nat, your body is doing a tremendous job. You are right where you need to be. Don’t worry.”
I have started shaking quite profusely. Sarah asks me to pee on a stick that might be able to determine why I’m shaky. Low in sugar. She asks Zac to fetch me warm water with a whole lot of honey mixed through. I drink it obediently but now I start to feel like I will vomit.
Sarah leaves us for the time being. Zac is to call once things are moving a bit further along.
The next two hours are spent on the floor, leaning over a bucket for fear of vomit. Nothing comes but the feeling looms.
It starts to subside, it’s about 5 30pm. I start telling Zac that I need the water. I want to get in the bath, I’m almost begging him.
He’s torn because we know getting in the bath too early can slow things down, and cause me further frustration.
The moaning and humming starts to become a little more, everything around me is a blur. When I look at Zac I am brought back to earth but only for the moment our eyes meet. Otherwise, I am on my own path, mid-way between girl and women.
Sarah has been called and is on her way, she arrives at 7:30pm. I mumble between contractions that “I cant do this”, Zac is there in front of me telling me softly that I can, I hear Sarah in the background speak up, “Yes you can Nat, you are doing it as we speak”.
At 8pm Sarah examines me again, I am 5cm’s dilated. I feel as if this will never end, that it will go on forever. I am later told that Zac feels the same.
But this baby is determined to be born today.
Sarah tells Zac to start filling the pool. I hold on to the sound of the kettle boiling and the water rushing through the hose from the sink to the birthing pool. Its the only thing keeping me from floating away, the only thing thats keeping me from pulling in the reigns, getting up and leaving because actually, I’ve had enough for today thanks.
I’m waiting for them to tell me it’s time to get in the water.
Zac gives me the okay and starts to help me get into the pool. I’m already naked.
I step into the pool, Zac holding me up and then lowering me down. I sink, straight down to the bottom. It feels damn good. Thank god. I hear Sarah on the phone to the other midwife who will be attending the birth. It gives me hope, it must be soon, I think to myself.
I’m leaning over the pool now, my arms reach out for Zac and he obediently hands himself over. I only grasp onto one thumb, and with the other hand I’m holding on for dear life to his shirt.
Now I’m really in my own zone, I’ve floated somewhere else. The only light in the room is that of our salt lamp. My eyes are closed for the most of the next hour. I feel Sarah every now and then put the heart rate monitor on my skin to hear how our babies going in there. Evolving from womb to world is a big deal, for baby, it’s filled with uncertainty. But our little cherubs heart rate beats the same from start to finish, not a rise or a fall in between. We have one calm, collected bubba on our hands.
Our other midwife, Tracy, arrives. Apparently just in time.
From almost as soon as I hit the water, I have felt the urge to push. It’s an uncontrollable feeling that, even if my midwives informed me I shouldn’t be pushing at the moment I am in, I would not be able to obey them… I am not surging the pushes myself, they are just coming naturally, I couldn’t stop them if I tried.
Thank goodness that as soon as I tell Sarah I had started feeling the urge to push, she gives me the OK to do whatever it is I need to do. Amongst my euphoric state, a little confusion comes over me. On TV, don’t the doctors always tell you to wait when you first start to get that feeling to push?
I relax, knowing that of course my body knows exactly what it is doing. I am made to birth babies, and I feel it so wholly now.
That is not to say that in the moment these contractions don’t burn right through me, they do. Ohhh you bet they do. I feel my baby guide himself lower, grounded himself to earth.
There comes a time when I look up at Zac, and ask if our baby is crowning, because SURELY he is. I feel as if there is a brick between my legs, he MUST be visible by now.
Zac doesn’t answer, neither do the midwifes.
I hear our midwives tell me that I can feel my babies head if I reach down, perhaps I can catch him.
My hand is down for only a milli-second as I need the strength of holding onto Zac. My moans have turned deep, primal-like. I can hear them myself and the noise is comforting.
And then, just like that, from babies head being only half way out, I exhale and yell for someone to catch him.
The relief is instant. I sink back lower into the pool and have forgotten where I am, who is there, what I am doing… Only for a few seconds.
Zac’s voice of a broken cry is what brings me back. Tracy helps me step over the umbilical cord and sit properly in the pool, and Sarah hands me my baby.
Born at 10:45 after 45 minutes of pushing, completely in-tact of his amniotic sac. A very rare good luck charm, we are told.
And that’s it, there he is. I move my hand to see that he is in fact a he, and announce that he’s a boy!
Zac’s holding his sons head, with his other arm around me, and our baby boy is completely silent, taking it all in.
Then he opens his eyes, for the first time, and it’s as if the whole world stops. That moment will linger forever in my mind, that moment was for me, when I really saw my son for the first time, when it really all hit me. I think it was the single greatest moment of my life.
Zac and I had thrown some names around before the birth, and as soon as his eyes opened I knew his name. I hope Zac is thinking the same thing, an hour later he confirms that he is. It doesn’t take our baby boy long to reach his mouth up towards my nipple. He latches on straight away and we marvel and how incredible it is how instinctual babies are.
After 10 minutes I get out of the pool. I’m still in a daze but much more present now. The midwives huddle around us on the couch, and me and Zac stare at our baby in astonishment.
An hour later I birth my placenta. It is placed in a cool pack so as to preserve it until it is collected the next day for encapsulation.
Tracey soon leaves us to it, and Sarah to some paperwork. By the time Sarah leaves it is 2am. We are all exhausted, I have now been awake for 24 hours.
Our little boy just wants to be held, so Zac leaves me in bed and he sits on the couch with baby to his chest, trying not to fall asleep in fear of squishing this tiny human.
After 2 hours, (4am) I wake up in a lonely bed. I walk out to the couch and see Zac asleep with baby on his chest.
I wake him and rid him of his duties, 2 hours is enough sleep for me and I want to marvel at our creation.
I lie down with baby curled up, spooning him, we fall asleep instantly and wake up hours later.
I am so thankful to my birthing team. Our midwives respected our space and all our decisions. They made me so comfortable just by looming in the background and speaking up when I needed encouragement. They barely touched me through out the whole transition of labour to mother. That is how it should be, unless of course complications arise.
Zac also, knew exactly how to be around me, he birthed our baby with me by keeping present and allowing and trusting me to be wherever I needed to be.
It has been 6 weeks of pure bliss since we became parents and we are soaking up every second. I have written this birth story because I never want to forget how I felt that day, I want to remember every detail, even the intense surges to push.
Our baby boy was brought to earth on the day of both a New Moon and a Solar Eclipse.
Tallow Daniel Moon, you are an absolute dream. We have been waiting for you our whole lives.