We went to bed early after a day of nesting and housework (should’ve been the first red flag) I woke at 9:30pm with period like pains and tried to go back to sleep. At 10pm I was still awake and in pain. Diarrhea and vomiting started and lasted hours. I was uncontrollably hot. I thought I must have a fever and food poisoning. I started to feel upset thinking about the pain and wondering “if I can’t handle this how will I ever cope with labour?” I had hoped to have an unmedicated water birth so I was feeling really disappointed in myself thinking my pain threshold must be weak.
In between sitting on the toilet I lay on the cold bathroom tiles with cold wet towels trying to cool down. I spent lots of time on all fours and leaning on the basin to cope with the pain. I kept telling myself “I can do anything for one minute” over and over. Craig checked on me several times and I kept sending him back to bed, assuring him that this definitely wasn’t labour, I was “just sick”.
At about 2am Craig wanted to call the hospital. I agreed but said maybe if these pains are contractions we should try to time them first. Craig started timing...57 seconds long and less than 4 mins apart. Unsurprisingly the hospital said “come in”!
Craig packed the car, dressed me and off we went. I leant over the back seat in agony the whole way. I still didn’t think I was in labour and expected to be sent home. To distract myself I kept counting my breath - in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts. I counted over and over.
2:40am - When we arrived at the hospital I told Craig to leave the bags in the car because we would probably be sent home. A security guard saw us at the door and called the birth unit to warn them. A paramedic ran over to help Craig, by this stage I was barely holding myself up to walk.
I begged the paramedic to take me to a bathroom, I was convinced I needed to go. He kept saying how close we were to birth unit and I could use a toilet there. We arrived and I hopped straight on the toilet but couldn’t go.
I crawled into the delivery room from the bathroom. A midwife came over and said she could see the baby’s head. Craig called our doula and she raced to the hospital. He also knew how much I wanted a water birth and asked the midwife about moving to the birth pool, she kindly said, we don’t have time, your baby is coming now. To my relief, my student midwife who had supported me at every antenatal appointment happened to be working night shift, she came into the room and I remember her saying “Rochelle it’s Bronte, I’m here”. I felt myself relax immediately.
I continued to labour on the floor and leaning on an exercise ball. I used breathing techniques from the Hypnobirthing Australia program and in my mind kept chanting over and over “I can do anything for one minute”. Our doula arrived and I felt so relieved to hear her voice and her reassurance. During contractions Flynn’s heart rate was dropping and not coming back up. The midwifes convinced me to lay on my side even though I really didn’t want to move. I lay on my side on the floor, Bronte had one of my feet on her shoulder/neck/face, what a gal!!
Craig fed me ice chips, covered me with cool wet towels and softly read affirmations we had learnt and practiced from our doula and hypnobirthing course. After about 40mins baby Flynn was born. Craig helped to catch him and put him onto my chest.
We asked for a natural third stage. The midwives brought some vegemite toast and Flynn had his first breastfeed.
While we waited Jaime, Craig and I talked about how incredible the birth was. I was still in shock that it happened. 90% of the labour I didn’t believe was labour. I couldn’t stop looking at Flynn in disbelief. After an hour the placenta still hadn’t come out. Hoping gravity might help I hopped off the bed and moved to the toilet. We waited patiently but still nothing. The midwives were eager to start intervention because of hospital policy. I stood up from the toilet and our friend gravity came through! The placenta very literally fell out, I didn’t feel a thing.
To my surprise and relief I didn’t need any stitches or further intervention. Craig cut the cord and had some skin to skin while I showered. Soon after Flynn had all his measurements taken, we had a big breakfast and moved up to the postnatal ward. The midwives mentioned multiple times how in awe they were of Craig, they said he was the best birth partner they’ve ever seen (how lucky am I!!!).
- Rochelle Seabury