I was 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant.
I’d finished work 5 days earlier and was finishing off all my “jobs” so I could have a few weeks to relax at home.
On this day I was finishing painting the nursery. I was taking it slow but at 4.30pm I felt a little twinge in my stomach…ok I said to myself, you’ve done enough for today, so I went and sat down with a cup of herbal tea.
I started to feel this “twinge” every half an hour or so and I said to my partner Phil this must be the braxton hicks they talk about!
We had our Hypnobirthing Australia class with Vicki that night at 6.30pm but Phil suggested we stay at home just in case the pains were the real deal…
No, I said, I’ll be devastated if it’s just a false alarm and we miss the class. So off we went (at this point I should mention, my partner had been in a motorbike accident 5 months before and had his leg in a metal halo, which meant I was driving).
I said to Vicki about the twinges and she decided to swap the classes around so we did class 4 instead of class 3 as class 4 goes into more detail about birth, what to expect and how partners can use the tools and techniques we had learnt previously.
During the class these twinges started to get a bit more intense, it felt like my stomach was tightening and I just had to breathe through it.
The class was amazing, it went through information on what to do if your water breaks, if you see the head, if the baby is breech, getting to the hospital, special circumstances, calling an ambulance and even what to do if you happen to be sat on the toilet during labour (I’ll get to why that part was important later!).
At the end of the class it was 9.30pm and I was very ready to get home. I still didn’t believe it was labour but I just knew I wanted to be at home with Phil.
Vicki offered to drive us home but as I was in denial I declined so she gave me a big hug and off we went. I drove us back home, which was about a 20-minute drive and had to pull over twice to just breathe through the tightening of my tummy.
As we arrived at home Phil said to me I really think you’re in labour and I agreed this might be it. Ok I said, we’ll be in for a long night (knowing to expect about 12 hours of labour with your first birth) let’s try to get some rest before it really kicks in.
The rest of the night is a bit of a blur.
I tried to sleep but the surges were starting to get more intense so I tried relaxing on the couch. I wasn’t comfortable there, then we tried running me a bath, nope I wasn’t comfortable there. Phil tried lots of things to help me as the surges got stronger but the best place I found comfort was sitting on the toilet, which is what Vicki had suggested in the classes!
So that’s where I spent a lot of my labour. I was calm and happy throughout. I breathed though each surge and didn’t feel the need to get to the hospital yet.
It was around 12.30am now and the surges were coming quite quickly. Phil had been asking me for hours if we should go to the hospital but now I was ready and said yes, I think it’s time. He called his mum who was going to take us to the hospital and she was on her way.
Then everything started happening very quickly.
All of a sudden, my waters broke into the toilet (we heard a pop and a splash)!
Phil was very calm and rang our midwife who was luckily on call that night. She was going to meet us at the hospital in half an hour.
While on the toilet I got an uncontrollable urge to push and Phil said he could see the head!
Very calmly he told me he had to get me off the toilet as we had learnt in our classes that once the baby started crowning it was better to get off the toilet and onto all fours.
So, he helped me and I moved through into the bathroom on all fours. He was then on the phone to 000 who asked him to open the front door as the ambulance was three minutes away. She told Phil to put her on loud speaker as she was going to instruct him how to deliver the baby!
While Phil opened the front door, I had a moment to myself. I just said to myself and baby out loud… “Ok this is happening, we can do this, this is what we’re meant to do and we’ve got this.”
My next surge came and I had to push. Phil was ready to catch the baby and then a bit of poo came out from the baby and as Phil tried to wipe it away he said, “excuse my French but what the f*ck is this black shit” and the 000-operator told him it must be meconium and not to worry.
Then the ambulance team rushed in (it was like a scene out of a movie, couldn’t have been better timed!). It was at that point they realised baby was breech and he was coming out bottom first.
The Paramedic said, “Ok it’s breech so we need back up!” and I will never forget those words that came out of his mouth as we had no idea that our baby was in breech position so this was a huge shock.
I managed to get most of baby’s body and legs out and the paramedic helped his little arms out but now with the shock of finding out he was breech my surges had stopped and his head was stuck.
I tried moving around, standing up, breathing and pushing but nothing was getting the surge happening again.
The ambulance team had brought a stretcher into the hallway next to the bathroom, so the paramedic who was with me held my baby while I managed to back out and onto the stretcher still on all fours.
They were about to perform an episiotomy but the movement from the bathroom to the stretcher created one last big surge and I managed to push his head out.
Such a huge relief washed over me. I was in a crazy state of euphoria… our baby boy was here and I’d done it all myself, at home… and he was breech!
He wasn’t out of the woods yet though as he was white, limp and wasn’t breathing.
Both myself and Phil had stressed to the paramedics the importance of keeping the cord connected, and they all agreed to our wishes. Knowing he still had the oxygenated blood coming from the placenta kept me calm.
I just knew he was going to be ok.
They wheeled us both out on the stretcher and as the cold air hit us he cried… the best sound in the world!
He was put on my chest for skin-to-skin and we were taken to the hospital.
Baby Max was checked over to make sure all was ok, he was a little cold so needed to sleep in a heated pod but other than that he was absolutely perfect!
Even the Obstetrician at the hospital had said how well Max was doing under the circumstances, and I really believe that keeping his cord and placenta intact so he continued to receive oxygen contributed to him doing so well.
Our little miracle baby had made his way into our world with a bang!
He is now 9 months old and filling our lives with more joy than we could have ever imagined.
One thing I really want to add about my birth story, is that after Phil went to open the front door and I had that moment where I chattered to myself and Max saying we can do this….I was visualising his head coming down the birth canal, and I was visualising the whole birth – I was doing so well on my own right up until I was told he was breech and then that’s when my body stopped the surges. While I was in my zone I was completely in control. I think this is a really important part of my story and how hypnobirthing really helped me – without fear you are so much more in control of your body.
I still wonder how that night would have gone if we hadn’t done the Hypnobirthing classes as we were both so calm and in control throughout.
It wasn’t the beautiful birth that we had envisaged but it was an incredible night, which we are very thankful ended in the most positive way.
Kerry & Phil
If you would like to find out more about Hypnobirthing Australia classes THEN CLICK ON THIS LINK!
My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach. I am based in the northern suburbs of Perth and can be contacted by email by [email protected] or phone (08) 9303 9111.