On Thursday 5th October, in the afternoon, I was doing a clients nails and realized I was having some Braxton Hicks contractions. Some minutes later I then realized that they weren’t the normal Braxton Hicks contractions that I usually had as I could feel these ones. (I only normally knew I was having Braxton Hicks contractions by physically feeling my stomach, and noticing how tight it was.) These contractions I could actually feel on the inside. It felt like a warm wave washing upwards from my pelvic region right up to under my breasts. They continued on for a couple of hours, sometimes making it hard to breath. I had one contraction about midnight that was a little painful so I decided I should go to bed even though I was excited, I still wasn’t sure if they really were contractions even though my clients that night believed I was definitely in labor! I had one contraction about 4 in the morning that woke me up and then that was it.

I went to the Home Birth Meeting on the Friday morning where Lisa gave me her birthing pool just in case. Lisa seemed to think they were real contractions. We listened to the Baby’s heartbeat in the back of Lisa’s van where we thought the heartbeat was a little high in my uterus. But at that stage in my pregnancy I had decided if the Baby came out bum first then that was how it was going to come, meant to be.

Throughout the later stages of my pregnancy we couldn’t be sure that the Baby had turned head down. I was a bit worried and maybe a bit stressed. Lisa gave me a book on Breech Births and I did some research. I had read everything I could about Pregnancy and Birth so the Breech book was just more information. I didn’t think it wound be as valuable as it was. I tried the moxibustion sticks, laying upside down on the ironing board and yoga positions to try to encourage the Baby to turn. For a while when Lisa & I listened to the heartbeat we were sure the Baby had turned but towards the last few weeks of my pregnancy we weren’t sure again. Lisa and I decided we wouldn’t worry about it. (I decided to keep my thoughts to myself as Rick and my Mum weren’t confident about birthing a breech baby at home) I thought what was meant to be was meant to be. And for some reason I seemed at peace with myself and my body, and I think I just trusted my Baby and body to just do what it was meant to, whether it was breech or not. I actually thought the Baby had turned head down and all would be well. Or maybe I was just trying to convince myself!

Sunday the 8th of October Rick and I were sitting on the couch watching Bathurst. About 1pm I started having the same contractions again. They were happening quite often and we were about to start timing them when all of a sudden my waters broke, around 2:30pm. It was the funniest thing. Rick grabbed me 5 towels and I managed to get to the toilet and sat there for what seemed like ages because the water just would not stop! It was flowing out like a tap! I phoned Lisa from the toilet and she suggested to pop a newborn nappy in my pants! That worked really well. I went through 7 nappies! I was having contractions while we were watching Bathurst and I clearly remember my Darling Husband Rick, telling me to ‘wait there was only 5 more laps to go!!!’

Lisa arrived about an hour after I spoke to her on the phone. We were out of milk so Rick and I took Charlie (our dog) for a walk to the service station to get some. I had 2 contractions on the way down and 2 on the way back, still wearing a nappy in my trackies! My Mum arrived shortly after.

At that stage I was having about 3 contractions in a 10-minute period. I was walking around and around my family room just breathing through the contractions. I had mentioned to Lisa that she could go and come back when it got bad (secretly I didn’t want her to leave me but it was Sunday, and I didn’t know how long I would be in labor for, and I didn’t think the contractions were bad) Thank goodness Lisa didn’t leave. She told me after that there was no way she was going anywhere!
Rick and Lisa had filled the pool ready for me but I wanted to wait until the contractions were really bad before I got in, as I was using the water as my pain relief. I remember walking around my family room looking at Lisa asking how bad the contractions would get! She advised that I ‘would not be smiling, and probably wouldn’t be talking’!

I tried leaning on my birth ball, for a couple of contractions but it was better walking. Some of the time Charlie was following me! We decided we would get Subway for dinner, so Rick went down for us. At that stage I was starving, but by the time Rick got back I had 2 mouthfuls and that was it!

At some stage I got into the pool. It was like heaven. So nice and warm. It was a great feeling to be able to just float. Jim (Mums husband) brought me round a couple of noodles to make it easier to float. They worked well. I was still breathing through the contractions and don’t think they were all that painful. But when I was having a contraction I didn’t want anyone talking to me. And I didn’t want anyone touching me. I had previously thought I would want Rick to massage my back but that wasn’t the case. It also bothered me at some stage when Mum and Lisa were just chatting. I just yelled out ‘shut up’ and then I felt bad and apologized. The contractions were coming constantly. I remember saying ‘just give me 5 mins to relax before the next contraction’. Sometimes the contractions seemed on top of each other and sometimes I felt like I had had a good enough break in between them just to relax and float. In between the contractions Rick would brush my hair out of my face and gently stroke my head, I remember that feeling fantastic, but didn’t say anything. During my contractions I remember Lisa down at my level talking really quietly just to me. I can’t remember exactly the words she was saying but it was encouraging. She gave me so much confidence in myself and my body!

Throughout the birth, it felt like every 10 mins, Lisa would check the Baby’s heart beat. At one stage I couldn’t stand up far enough out of the water so the Doppler got wet!

I was wondering when I would be able to start to push; Lisa advised I would know when I was ready to push. I wasn’t really aware of the time when I wanted to start pushing. At some stage around here I needed to go to the toilet, I really felt like I needed to do a wee. So I got out of the pool and went to toilet. For some reason I just couldn’t go. I needed to really bad but it just wouldn’t come! Obviously the baby was pushing on my bladder! So back to the pool again. I let Lisa know I thought I felt like pushing and she said to see if I could have a feel and see if I could feel anything. I went to feel and just couldn’t, I think I was worried I wouldn’t feel anything. So after another contraction or 2 I asked Lisa if she would have a feel for me. She did and thought it would be best if I got out of the pool and we do an examination. Lisa didn’t think what she was feeling was a head! So I got out of the pool and onto the cushions (that were already set up on the floor ready, I have no idea when Lisa set them up) we did the examination, where Lisa said I had a little bit of a rim on the left side, and it definitely wasn’t a head coming down. The internal was slightly uncomfortable and I wriggled around a lot!

So the best position for me was head down bum up, to stop any pressure on my cervix. So down my head went into the cushions! It was best that I didn’t start pushing until I was fully dilated and no rim left. I already knew this as I had read the Breech Birth book that Lisa had given me earlier in my pregnancy. I was well aware of Breech births and had asked every question I could previously. I wasn’t the least bit worried, it was strange, there was no fear, this was how it was meant to be. When I think back now I would have thought I might have been worried or frightened, but there were no real conscious thoughts of anything really.

So then Lisa advised we had 3 choices to make. The same 3 choices we had when we originally thought the Baby was breech.

  1. birth naturally at home with a second midwife
  2. ‘try’ to birth naturally at hospital or
  3. go to hospital for a cesarean.

I said that the only reason I would go to hospital was to have a cesarean otherwise I would be birthing at home. Why go to hospital to do it naturally when we can do that at home, and we would have to fight the hospital every step of the way? There was no real decision made, at that stage I was in transition and this was the hardest part of my entire birth. All I wanted to do was push. All my body wanted to do was push. It was so hard not to push, and I think this part of the birth was the painful part. It took most of my strength to not push. Through the birth so far I had just gone with what my body wanted to do, so to go against it now was awful. So I mentioned to Rick that I thought I would maybe like to have a cesarean!!! (I can’t believe I said that, let alone thought it, after all my preparation) Rick said to me ‘Babe, a cesarean wasn’t an option’. (Rick knew that a cesarean was the last thing I wanted, and I am so thankful that he said that) I said nothing and put my head down again back into the cushions. I had hoped I could make eye contact with my Mum, because I thought I knew that she would want me to go to hospital. But Mum wouldn’t look at me. So I was head down bum up until I couldn’t do it anymore. I got up and went to my ensuite; I just wanted to be alone. I needed to get my thoughts together. In my mind I was thinking ‘can I get into the car, yep, I can. I am sure I can let them put a needle in my back, and I am sure I can let them cut me open….cause then I will have my Baby, it will be ok cause I will have my Baby! I just need to tell Lisa this is what I want to do without offending her.’ Rick had come into the ensuite to be with me. I again said to him I wanted to go to hospital and have a cesarean! Rick asked me what the worst part was, I said all I wanted to do was push and I can’t not push anymore! Rick asked if I was able to push would I feel better, I said yes, and he said that a few more contractions and then I would be able to push. So that was it, no more mention of a cesarean (thank goodness!) In that time Lisa had nipped outside and called another midwife to assist. Rosie arrived about 25 mins later. I was aware of my Mum, Lisa and Rosie sitting on my bed just watching me. I could hear Lisa talking to Rosie, but I couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, I think Lisa was letting Rosie know where we where up to and what was happening.

To start with I was leaning into the basin having contractions where Rick was telling me to breath through the contractions and try not to push!!! I told him I was **** breathing. (apparently if I was talking I wasn’t able to push, so Rick was trying to make me talk!) I told Lisa that I was pushing and there was basically nothing I could do about it. Lisa told me I was doing so well. I was conscious that I was breathing through the contractions but right at the end of the contraction my body would just push, I couldn’t help it! I changed positions; I was on all fours in my ensuite, my head facing Rick who was standing in the shower and my bum just inches from the toilet! Lisa would have a look every now and then with a mirror positioned behind me so she could see, because there was no way I was coming out of the ensuite, I was comfortable in there. Mum had asked me to come out of there a couple of times, but it was where I was!

After a few more contractions Rosie told me I could now go with my body and push when I wanted to push, Lisa had just wanted me to wait until there was a bulge showing, and there now was. So that was it, on all fours I started crawling out of the ensuite on my way back to the family room. With Rick following me with towels! I crawled so slowly all the way back, stopping for contractions. When I made it back to the pool, I stood up and held onto the pool, I remember swaying sideways a bit but telling everyone I was all right! I got back into the pool when I felt ready and held on to the side of the pool ready to push. And that was it; there was no turning back! I was able to push, and it felt fantastic. I was aware of Lisa and Rosie behind me chatting. But I wasn’t hearing what they were saying. I think they were discussing what was coming out first. I’m not really sure how many pushes it was before something came out but I remember Rosie saying to remember there would be a burning sensation. And a couple of pushes later there was the burning sensation! And it burnt 3 times over 3 contractions. I said that I thought it would only burn once! And then all of a sudden a little foot was appearing! It was so exciting. Lisa said to have a look down and see the foot, and to feel it. I looked and went to feel, but just couldn’t, it was so strange!! I don’t really remember thinking much at all. I was just happy to be pushing my Baby out! I was in an upright position holding onto the side of the pool, kind of kneeling but with my legs spread wide. Sometimes leaning forward, sometimes back. After another couple of pushes we had a whole leg out. It felt amazing to feel it come out, there was a leg hanging out of me! Then another few pushed and the little bum appeared and the other leg. It felt like every push and something fell out! I think the second leg actually flung out, well that’s what it felt like, but with no pain, it was a wonderful feeling. The Baby’s little legs were cycling, inching its body out further and further. I could actually feel it moving. At that stage I think everyone was behind me watching and then I heard my Mum, so excited, she was saying ‘oh no, are they testicles……oh NO, they’re not! Wow I was having a little girl, how amazing! I remember resting my head on the side of the pool. (I felt like I had a bruise on my forehead after!) There were a few more contractions and one of her arms was out. The other arm was still in and then the elbow came out. Her little hand was still inside me with her head! It seemed like a while (but in fact was only about 3 mins) before her little hand came out. Lisa had taken her shoes and socks off ready to hop in with me to help maneuver the Baby around a bit to help her hand fall out, but at that minute it came out! And then for some reason my contractions just stopped and I couldn’t remember how to push! It was strange, I just couldn’t remember how to push, I was trying. Lisa said just to wait for the next contraction, but there wasn’t any more. So I kind of just wiggled a little bit and her head ‘fell’ out! I was aware of Lisa doing something down beside me in the pool so I said, ‘I think she’s out’ and at that moment Rick, Mum and Rosie cheered! I looked at Lisa and she said to me ‘well you better pick her up then!’ It felt like slow motion, I felt around and brought my Baby up out of the water and to my chest. I think she had gone between my legs and floated up in front of me. She was very white and was laying in my arms with her eyes shut and mouth open. It was amazing. I looked up at Rick who was staring at my Mum, he didn’t look too happy. I looked at my Mum who had her hand over her mouth and was quite worried that my Baby wasn’t alive, she told me later. Lisa and Rosie gave our Baby some oxygen. And in no time her beautiful little face was pink. The cord was pulsating and full of blood and her heart was beating continuously. Either Lisa or Rosie had there fingers on her heart the whole time. I don’t remember her actually crying. But I think she did make some noise so Rick and my Mum felt very relieved. I don’t really think I had any thoughts except ‘wow, I have my Baby’ it really felt like everything was happening in slow motion. Lisa encouraged me to talk to my Baby, but I didn’t know what to say, so I started singing. I sang the ‘A Frog Went Walking’ song, which was the song I sang every day while applying my body oils to my growing stomach! My Mum started singing too, and so did Rosie, it was amazing!

(Lilly’s first foot appeared at 12.55am and her head was born at 1:18am.)

Then somehow I turned my body around and sat with my back leaning against the pool, just cuddling my beautiful Baby. Rick was behind me leaning over us and Charlie was next to him looking at me and our Baby! I needed to keep her under the water with just her head out so she didn’t get cold. It was in that position that we decided to name our Daughter Lilly Lee. And at that time I started to shiver. We put some more hot water in the pool, but it didn’t stop me shaking. My teeth were chattering. We decided I would get out of the pool. There was a little arm chair ready with towels and blankets for me, and Lilly was wrapped in one of Lisa’s blankets. Rosie held my hair dryer down my back to warm me up. It felt great. Then I was encouraged to let Lilly suckle. She seemed to know what to do. I’m not sure how much time elapsed from there, but after having Lilly suckle, the cord had finished pulsating so Lisa encouraged Rick to clamp the cord and then cut it. It is amazing how tough the cord is. Then Rick took off his shirt (after Lisa and Rosie saying ‘skin to skin!’) and held Lilly so I could birth my placenta.

The same thing happened with my placenta as with Lilly’s head. I was standing up and just wiggled a bit and it kind of fell out! Lisa luckily had the bucket there ready to catch it. It felt like my whole insides had fallen out, but it was great to have it out. It came about half an hour after Lilly was born. I sat down again and Lisa examined me and advised I had torn on the inside. I asked if it would be able to heal ok without stitches but was advised to have just a few. Lisa showed me the tear with a mirror. Rosie held my hand while Lisa numbed the area and then stitched me up! I can remember talking pretty much the whole time, just on a high! And then after Lisa showed me her brilliant stitching job when she finished!

I think at this time I was going to lay on the couch so Lisa and Rosie helped me to get up and all of a sudden I felt a bit light headed so I said I needed to sit down again. Lisa encouraged me to pop my head between my knees and the next thing I woke up and was on the floor with a pillow under my head. I had passed out! I felt fine though and was trying to convince Mum, she was a bit upset. We managed to get me to the couch where I rested and held my beautiful baby girl.

Our birth was such an amazing journey. The whole pregnancy was a wonderful journey. I have learnt a lot about myself and my body. And I can’t thank Lisa enough. Lisa was so honest with any questions we had right from the start. I felt so comfortable with her and will be birthing any future children we have, together with Lisa. She made me feel so confident with myself and my body. And encouraged me every step of the way. I know Lisa says that we, as women, birth our babies the way we are meant to, but without her I am sure things would not have gone so smoothly.

I am so proud of myself. Our birth was not intervened with in any way at all. I was able to birth the way my body wanted to, in a happy and safe environment. With my husband and my Mum and two wonderful midwives. Everything was so relaxed, and there was no panic or worry at all….(that I knew of anyway!) My baby was born into the water by candle light and with relaxing oils burning.

3 responses to “Alivia”

  1. mikelinz

    wow. what a wonderful story, affirming the power of a womans body and the simplicity of birth. That strong bond with your midwife is so special and creates such a perfect foundation for birthing.

  2. Anonymous

    What a fascinating and inspiring story! Did you know Lisa that Chiropractors have a very simple pressure technique which flips the baby around naturally? My husband has performed on heaps of women and his never seen it not work.. Thought you or your future mothers may like to know this but I’m sure you already do…T

  3. Lisa Barrett

    The Webster Technique is well known to me.