Our beautiful baby boy arrived on 20/08/20, 8:34pm, weighing 3090g and 50cm long. Though we’d planned to go through the birth centre, baby’s early arrival meant we couldn’t do so. Despite this, it was a fantastic experience and we were so lucky to be cared for by wonderful midwives, and he was delivered by our incredible birth centre midwife. The birth went for just four hours and I used no drugs and had no tearing.

This is the story of his wonderful birth.

At 35 weeks 6 days, I’d started having funny discharge throughout the day – kind of like mucousy blood. I felt okay so went to my antenatal hydrotherapy class, though continued to have contractions due to my irritable uterus, as per the last few weeks. During that night (1am and then 3am) I had two more major shows. I didn’t get much sleep! I didn’t think this would turn out to be anything as we’d had two previous ‘false alarms’ and twice been admitted to the hospital.

In the morning on Wednesday I took it pretty easy and called my midwife at 8:30am. An on-call midwife answered and she didn’t seem worried at all. I called our midwife about 1pm and she wasn’t worried either but then called me back half an hour later to ask me to come in after discussing it with the team. I went in, definitely not thinking this would be my last time at home without a baby! My husband had a meeting at 2:30pm (when I headed in) so he stayed at home and I also left my bag at home. When I got in, I saw two lovely midwives and was hooked up to the CTG which showed baby was doing well. They had a look at my cervix and saw my waters had broken!! They confirmed this using an amnisure test and yes- definitely broken! My cervix wasn’t yet doing anything. They then asked an obstetrician to come who did a quick ultrasound and confirmed that baby was okay and that yes, there was slightly less fluid around baby. I was getting quite excited to have the baby but he said they’d keep me overnight and I should be able to then go home and wait a week and they would induce me when I was 37 weeks if nothing had happened by then. They also did the GBS swab at this point. I moved to the room and got set up. My husband brought in my bag and the tens- it was a big relief to see him. I settled in for the night, with no other signs of labour. I was conflicted- I wanted to avoid an induction if possible so wanted to try to bring on labour naturally using some of the techniques I’d read about with hypnobirthing, but was conscious that I also would technically be in preterm labour ( currently at 36 weeks) and wouldn’t be able to birth in the birth centre, as we had planned. I tried to sleep!, but at 12:30am the OB on call came in and announced we would be having an induction! Should we start it tonight or in the morning? I was surprised as this was definitely not our plan!! She was lovely but said it would depend on who the consultant was that was on in the morning as to what they do … I really didn’t sleep much as hadn’t slept before then and then stayed up wondering about what would happen!

The doctors came around on rounds really early. They explained why the wanted to induce, what the benefits and risks were with waiting or going ahead. They also did a scan to quickly check baby was okay. I said I would go ahead with it but needed half an hour to talk to my husband and our midwife. I was really proud of myself for being able to ask for this time to get my head around the change of plans. When I spoke to my partner this time, I was convinced that induction was probably right. He started getting organized to come in.

Our midwife came in and we talked about the induction and change of plans. I explained how I was feeling because of the change of plans and she spoke to the doctors for me. I completely trusted her and knew she would advocate for me if necessary and I completely trusted her advice. When she came back she instantly said yes we’re going ahead with it and started to explain the induction process. I knew it meant we would meet our baby and got a bit excited despite being worried about the induction. Hypnobirthing was a saving grace here – I’d used my BRAIN questioning technique to get myself some space and understanding and even though things were not going to plan, I had some measure of control.

I moved into the birth room and met the midwife who would start with us. An anaesthetist came in and put the cannula for induction in- second try, ouch! She also offered me an epidural before we’d even started the induction (I declined)! When my husband arrived, we got everything set up and ready to go. We darkened the room, used LED candles, put up some birth affirmations and moved things around to suit us. We had to wait for an OB to come by and have a look at my dilation to determine whether to start with the gel or the drip depending on if I’d dilated at all. We waited for a long time but in the end the midwife did it. She had a look and I was 3cm and 90% effaced! She felt his head and said oh I feel his hair! What?? He has hair??? It was such a thrill to know my body had already started the process naturally. I felt so excited to birth our baby. This was at about 2:30pm. I got hooked up to the syntocin and we were off. The midwife turned it up about every 20 minutes. Shortly after starting it, baby’s heart rate started to go right up (180- 200bpm). It worried me a bit but the midwife was very calm, she said it had probably been because she’d touched his head which can apparently cause them to react. She hooked up me to a bag of fluids which eventually did the trick and the heart rate stabilised. I also had IV antibiotics as I’d not had the group b strep results and due to the risk of infection with my waters now having been broken for approximately 36 hours.

During this time, I wasn’t really in any sort of pain at all, just the usual uncomfortable contractions I’d become used to! We got some clary sage burning and on a tissue and I just kept moving, pacing around the room with my drip stand. At one point, my husband said we should’ve packed a game for all the waiting around. The lovely midwife was listening and said oh did you? I love games! She had heads up on her phone and we played for about half an hour, lots of laughter and relaxation doing this! We had a great time. This was approximately 4:30pm.

Suddenly, two things happened at once. A different midwife came in to give the current midwife a break and as soon as she entered the room, she started questioning me (Why are you being induced at 36 weeks? Etc. She also demanded we turn off the oil burner as it’s against hospital policy – the dangers of clary sage! We would’ve been fine to do this without being told off!).

At almost the same time, my contractions suddenly got really painful, very quickly. The midwife we’d started the induction with suggested we use the shower. I didn’t feel ready to (I had planned to use this when I was further along) but without talking about it, we shut ourselves in the bathroom with the lights off and lots of LED candles to get out of the way of the new midwife! I laboured on the fitball with my husband doing presses on my hips during contractions and then light touch massage between. I tried to savour the time in between (the rest and be thankful stage!). Things moved quickly and he suggested we try the TENS. I was incoherent during contractions so said I’d use tapping on the fitball to signal the start and end of them so he could turn it up. However, I would always forget to signal the end and so he would end up turning it off when I tapped to signal a new one. Very, very frustrating !

Eventually I called out to call our birth centre midwife. The midwife rang her and we heard her asking lots of questions about my progress. I knew it would take time for her to come in and get started so I wanted her in. I appreciated that the new midwife took me seriously enough to go for it and call her in. One annoying thing was shortly after the contractions got really full on, she came in and turned up the drip. Ouch! When the original midwife got back, she turned it back down!

I got back in the shower and started vomiting and cried out for an epidural (which my partner and midwife ignored thank goodness!). I knew I didn’t actually want one and baby was way too close anyway but it was my way of saying- “Woah, this is full on.” I knew from all my learning that this was likely to be transition! Though I couldn’t communicate this to anyone during. I soon felt the urge to push and told Dane I needed to go to the toilet (again actually meaning – I need to push!). Our midwife suggested moving to the bed to check dilation and when she looked, I was ready to go! I pushed for a while on my back. I knew this wasn’t the most effective position to be in but I couldn’t face turning over. I eventually asked the midwife what position I should be in to move things along and she said on all fours. They helped me move between contractions but they were quite close together and I had lots of pain and pressure. They helped me turn over and I could feel it was a much more natural position.

In total, I pushed for about an hour. His head kept moving down and then back up which was so frustrating. She encouraged me to push all the way through the contractions, rather than a couple of little pushes. My husband was very encouraging and excited through the pushing phase! He kept going from my head down to the end of the bed to see what was happening! I reached down and felt the baby’s head a few times and that gave me a push to keep going. It was amazing how involuntary the pushing was. I wouldn’t say it felt good, but definitely was inevitable! I found out afterwards that the baby’s cord was wrapped around his neck and he has his hand by his face. The midwife very calmly guided his head free of the cord. It was a huge relief when he came out! She passed him through my legs and I sat up and pulled him onto my chest.

I asked my partner what he was, he forgot to check! A boy! I was right all along. My partner cried straight away which was lovely. I was very happy but in shock! I couldn’t believe he was here! My husband cut his cord after some delay but his breathing was a little funny so the paediatrician came in to check him and clear his airways. He was fine and APGAR’d at 8 and then 9. We then got to have skin to skin for over an hour. The midwife helped express some colostrum as baby boy had trouble feeding at the breast effectively. I had the needle for the delivery of the placenta and after about an hour, it was delivered- such a big relief ! It felt so good getting it out! The assisting midwife grabbed my phone at one point and took beautiful photos and a video of his birth. It’s such a thrill watching it, though it surprises me how calm and in control everything sounds.

The whole experience has left me feeling so, so proud of myself and has given me the best ever start to motherhood I could ask for. I went in so informed and in control. I had total faith in my partner to support me, and our midwife to support both of us and make the safest decisions for me and for baby.

Kate Vivian is a self-professed pregnancy and birth geek who is finally learning to embrace the chaos of having 3 kids. It was the birth and ‘bringing baby home’ experience of her first baby, and the overwhelming guilt that went with it, that led her to start Bright Mums – and create a world where Mums matter.

 A Certified Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, childbirth educator and birth and postpartum doula, Kate works with Mums-to-be not only supporting them through pregnancy and birth but also teaching them to honour themselves at a time when the world is telling them their baby is the most important thing.

With almost 2 decades in adult education, Kate has the ability to create a safe space, a non-judgey space. A place where Mums can relax and feel supported regardless of what their journey looks like. 

A keen traveller in a former (pre-kids) life, Kate dreams of the day her kids are big enough to take skiing and they can completely show her up while she is busy falling down mountains.

Want to find out more about Kate and how she can support you during your pregnancy, birth and beyond? Click here