A story of the power of the mind
My first birth was a planned home birth, 40 hour labour resulting in a hospital transfer, almost emergency cesarian and my daughter being born via forceps. This resulted in a not so great postpartum for me, and I go into this more in detail on Isla’s Birth story here. Falling pregnant again just over a year later there was a mix of emotions but I knew it would be different this time.
When I fell pregnant I booked in to see a birth trauma councillor, who I spoke with about the birth. While it was so helpful to talk about Islas’s birth, little did I know that the counselling had only touched the sides and I was about to experience a labour of deep learning and healing.
On Saturday 9 July, 41 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I woke up to my waters leaking, I felt so prepared for this moment. I was so excited. All afternoon I was waiting for sunset and for Isla to go to bed as I knew I wouldn’t progress while she was awake. As we approached sunset things started to ramp up, but my contractions were still irregular. It had been about 8 hours now since my first contractions and those words ‘your second labour is so much quicker’ were playing on my mind, this wasn’t happening for me and part of me started to stress. As we approached midnight, Instead of trusting the process and my body, I started to question everything. Why did I decide for another homebirth? Am I putting myself and my baby in danger? Will we end up back at hospital with my baby in NICU?
The music was playing, the fairy lights glowing and the diffuser going…but I felt lost. I had formed a beautiful bond with my midwife and I wanted her there even though I knew it wasn’t quite time - I knew I wasn’t ok. When I was pregnant I had said to her ‘I just want to give birth and I’ll just want to be alone mostly’ which wasn’t the case at all. I needed her and Isaac’s support more than ever. I really needed her presence to feel safe, I know now this is because I hadn’t quite processed Isla’s birth.
At around 2am my midwife suggested Isaac and I have a lie down as things were slowing down, this broke me, I felt like I was failing. I started to cry. I said ‘I can’t do this, I need to go to hospital, I can’t believe this is happening again’ My midwife got me up and into the pool, which was prepared earlier, to calm me down. I was a mess, I just wanted my baby here safely and in that moment I felt like the hospital was the only place. I felt like my labour was going to go for days again and I would end up there anyway. My midwife said ‘Rochelle, everything is perfectly fine, you’re doing great. There’s no rush’ but I couldn’t calm down. So we spent the next 30 mins or so talking through Islas birth, as I was talking I realised how much I was still blaming myself. My midwife’s words ‘Rochelle, trust me, it wasn’t your fault how her birth ended, there was nothing more you could have done’ will stay with me forever. Something changed in me in that moment as I let go of any blame.
I looked at Isaac and said ‘I know I can do this’.
After this it was on. My head was clear and ready to birth my baby. I was so determined. And just like that everything intensified and contractions were getting closer together.
I could feel the mental shift, I wasn’t thinking anymore I was just birthing my baby.
The next 5 hours were some of the hardest of my life. I couldn’t use the pool as every time I would get in things would slow down so I was labouring in the lounge room on all fours breathing my baby down. I could feel it happening and I was so proud and determined. The last hours were tough as my waters hadn’t broken and Reggie was stuck behind them. My beautiful doula was here by this point and suggested I go to the shower to really bare down and break them, which after many hard pushes, worked. The relief from the pressure was insane and I ran (waddled) to the pool to birth Reggie before the next contraction. Getting into the pool at that moment was bliss. The relief of the waters breaking and feeling him descend down was the best feeling in the world. I was ‘pushing’ for around 40 mins while he was moving up and down shaping his head. It was so bizarre, I could feel him wriggling around in the birth canal getting into position. I also knew he was a ‘big’ baby so I wasn’t forcing anything, just letting him and my body do their thing (with the amazing coaching of my midwife).
After one final push he was here. I was in shock. I did it. I felt like such a warrior.
Feeling him be born into this world and holding him in my arms was the single most beautiful feeling in the world. 4.5kg of my beautiful baby boy ❤️
I hope that sharing this story helps someone else see that your previous birth does not define you and that if you want to, you can write a new story.
I can’t thank our midwife enough. She was just incredible and the most wonderful woman to have by my side.