Birth doesn’t always go to plan sometimes the journey it takes you on is a completely different path than you ever imagined.


At 41 weeks I woke up just after midnight excitedly thinking, well I’m not “not” in labour! After many nights of hoping! I had some light cramping, rolled over and noticed a trickle of fluid. I army rolled out of bed, shuffled to the bathroom and yep, my waters had broken! I was initially excited to see they were clear, knowing meconium in the waters was one reason we’d be ‘disqualified’ from our much hoped for calm home birth. After a few minutes, however, I was disappointed to notice they’d changed to a pea green tinged colour, and started to come to terms with our first little speed bump. I was still beyond excited to finally be in labor and soon to meet our baby girl and decided to wait til early morning to text our midwife knowing this would now be my only opportunity to enjoy labouring at home as planned.

I spent the night listening to hypnobirthing tracks and my yoga playlist trying unsuccessfully to rest through surges. It was too exciting!

Our midwife confirmed on seeing photospheres my waters that we would need to go in to hospital so off we went, phoning our beautiful doula on the way. Due to covid, we knew it was unlikely we would be “allowed” to have our doula present for a hospital birth but the seed was planted to plead our case once settled in. 

Kate Vivian Bright Mums making informed decisions
Kate Vivian Bright Mums  Hypnobirthing Making informed decisions

Things start to progress….. and change

Once in the birthing suite, we tried to make our room as den-like as possible with salt lamps, faux candles, diffuser, yoga bolster and the like though I was disappointed to be immediately hooked up to the monitors, limiting my freedom of movement. The hospital midwife asked to do a VE, to see how I was progressing and to do a little sweep to help get things moving, which I consented to. She asked if I wanted to know my dilation and I hadn’t quite prepared my answer. I decided yes and was happy to hear I was 2cm dilated, knowing how much work my body had put in to get me this far!

My community midwife had prepped me that if I was able to maintain and progress my labour in the hospital, I may be able to avoid augmentation with syntocinon so I went to town on all the Ina May tricks! Breast pump on, hiding in the bathroom, getting oxytocin flowing with my partner.

We made some progress but sadly not quite enough and at mid day, after 12 hours of pre/early labour I consented to syntocinon, knowing it was pretty important to get bub out as fast as we could. Again I was pretty disappointed, yet another speed bump, and allowed emotions to flow as I mourned my natural birth experience. We used this opportunity to have another discussion with the staff about the possibility of our doula being allowed in as my emotional support person, and it paid off! We were glad not to have taken no for an answer. Dave immediately phoned Fe who was on the way in a jiffy, just as the first waves of synto really started to hit. Things got really intense really quickly. I was no longer able to talk or take in my surroundings. I was vocalising (loudly!) and rocking now in all fours. I was trying to find a position where I could rest between surges but while hooked up to so many wires and with surges coming so quickly it was really difficult to do. The pain was intense, like a freight train ripping through my body. I later described it to Dave as a pain I could taste. It was multidimensional. I remember asking for gas, but Dave and my doula, knowing my birth preferences, instead spurred me on with words of strength. I remember thinking, ” I know what you’re doing, just give me the gas!” But I didn’t have the words to say it out loud. 

An anterior cervical lip and the power of birth stories

By this stage, evening now, my incredible community midwife had arrived and taken over my care. I was unable to acknowledge her arrival, but immediately felt safe in her capable hands. With my chosen birth team holding the space, I knew I had the best chance of getting through this. I had a VE indicating I was almost fully dilated but had an anterior lip of my cervix “stuck”. My body had started to urge me to push, it was so all-consuming but my team told me I needed to resist it. It felt entirely impossible, my whole body was bearing down so strongly,  until my doula reminded me of Ina May and the “horse lips” trick. I then remembered I had read birth stories where this had happened and I knew what I needed to do and why. This part was no doubt the most challenging of my labour – I was “stuck” on the bed in side lying with top leg up and supported by Fe, Dave feeding me ice between surges that i horse lipped my way through every 20 seconds for TWO HOURS. I just remember being so exhausted and depleted and so so desperate to do what my body was telling me and PUSH. Next time the midwife checked me, I was finally given the all clear and relief took over as my team asked me where I wanted to birth my baby, helping me set up on a mat on the floor. I felt new determination as I started to bear down. I worked to find a good position, all fours, squatting, pulling on the bed frame. I was aware that pressure from the medical staff had been mounting over the hours leading up to now (maybe 10pm?) though my team did an incredible job at largely keeping this concern outside of my birth space. After pushing for maybe 20minutes I remember a doctor coming in and asking “how long has she been pushing?” And shouting back “NOT LONG!” Just wanting to be given the chance to do what I needed to do afterso many hours of hard work. My midwife came in again not long after, looking stressed and said “they want her up on the bed” and channeled my rage into trying to move my baby down. My doula encouraged me to feel for baby’s head and it was SO close – literally only centimetres. I felt that surely I could do this, but as I continued to push it became clear that something wasn’t right. My midwife and the doctors were concerned that baby wasn’t moving down as expected and I was asked to get back on the bed for the midwife to check her position. The pain was excruciating. She then confirmed baby had turned into a transverse position, with her head tilted up rather than chin tucked, making it difficult for her to move down. Each time I pushed, my team were seeing her head turn in the right direction and then back again as baby tried her best too. A few times it felt so close, they were all so excited and I felt like it could be it! But every time, we didn’t quite get there and I was left exhausted and deflated. 

Kate Vivian Bright Mums Hypnobirthing making decisions

Birth plans change again

I remember different doctors coming in to inform me of their concerns and to attempt a discussion about options for interventions. With surges coming almost constantly now, I was so frustrated with the the flowery talk (which in hindsight was them being mindful of my birth preferences and attempting informed consent) and said “just give me options!”. I didn’t have time or energy for discussion. I knew to start from the least invasive option and reluctantly consented to the doctor attempting to turn baby manually, though I was really fearful of the pain. He was able to turn bub, but she immediately turned back again when he let go. He then recommended they take me to theatre to try to help baby out with vacuum and/or forceps. By this time I knew I needed help to get baby out and desperately needed this part of the journey to be over. I knew I’d tried all i could and was grateful the end was in sight one way or another.  Once the decision was made, I wanted to just go ahead immediately but the theatre was busy, so another hour went by with my body contracting and pushing without success.

Kate Vivian Bright Mums Hypnobirthing

 I was so relieved to finally be rolled to theatre where I met my next challenge. They needed to perform an epidural and spinal block which involved me sitting up on the edge of the bed, but with baby so low and contractions still coming fast and intense, it felt impossible. The room was tense as the anaesthetist worked to complete the task between surges. I knew the stakes were so high but sitting perfectly still on the edge of a bed was the hardest thing I’d ever attempted. Once in place, it was as though a fog lifted and I could see and speak again. I suddenly felt the urge to find Dave, to know he was close and to apologise to my midwife for ‘being so cranky’ and for accidentally spitting ice in her face as one of my contractions came on! This part was so surreal. The lights were so bright, the staff were so tense, and though I was in the centre of the room with everyone bustling around me, I felt almost invisible. I was fortunate that as the doctor prepared to do a routine episiotomy, my midwife urged him to reconsider the necessity, if he was expecting they may need to do a c section anyway. Yay for CMP! Two incisions to recover from would have been awful. I was coached to push while the doctor tried the vacuum unsuccessfully, and then the forceps. I remember it feeling so strange and out of body trying to push on an epidural. With forceps also unsuccessful, he told me we would need to do a Caesarean after all. I was disappointed again, but accepting and so desperate to just have my baby out and knew at least this way would definitely work. As I lay there, i realised with disappointment that my next labour would now be high risk and a VBAC. The curtain was raised, I felt pulling and tugging, feeling I might be pulled off the table. I remember the obstetrician asking his colleagues if the consultant was in the hospital for back up and requesting a stool to use for leverage to help him pull baby out. I remember his head popping over the curtain to tell me they would need to take my uterus out and put it back in again. But for some time only hearing “take it out” and thinking, dear god, not this now too. I thought at the time, “this is a traumatic experience”, knowing that it would take some unpacking. 

Yet another speed bump before we finally get to met our baby

When baby finally appeared over the curtain and was whisked over to be warmed and assessed I had a swell of emotion, tears of joy as my baby was finally “born”. I was desperate to have her with me and felt the unnaturalness of the separation of mum and baby at such an important time. The room was full of activity, people were crowding around her in their scrubs and hats and I just felt so powerless in being unable to be with her. She was so vulnerable. I used my voice to let her know I was near, knowing she would recognise it. I spoke half to her and half to myself, reassuring her that soon we would be together and that she was safe and everything was ok. I told Dave, torn between me and her, to go to her, put his hands on her so she knew she wasn’t alone and to shield her eyes from the bright lights. I kept getting drawn back to the activity taking place behind the curtain. The suction wasn’t working properly, the obstetricians voice was becoming stressed, my midwife was pacing close by, looking concerned, and I wondered if maybe I wasn’t going to be ok after all. I watched the timer tick by counting the minutes since my baby had been born and wondering how much longer it would be until I got to hold her. I knew it had been too long and I knew the potential implications for both of us and I asked over and over “when can I have her? It’s been a really long time”. I was told they just needed to make sure I was ok first. Eventually, and i now know this was half an hour later, my midwife brought my baby to my chest. I had heart monitors and tubes everywhere and was shaking uncontrollably from the epidural (at the time I thought it could be shock) but after 24 hours and a hell of a journey for us both, my baby and I finally got to hold each other. She latched on to my breast and basically didn’t leave for the next month! What a journey! 

Feeling confident to make informed decisions

Though so so different from the birth we had imagined, I am so proud of myself and my baby for navigating it so beautifully. All the education and preparation, including hypnobirthing, yoga and meditation truly paid off and though many of the decisions made along the way were not what I had wanted, every single one was made informed and with consent.

I can look back and feel empowered and know that my incredible team (partner, midwife and doula) were able to hold and protect my birth space and had my back every step of the way. I wholeheartedly believe that your team and preparation can make all the difference! 

Thanks Kate, feels good to get it written down and sent off to someone! 

Hope all is going well in hypnobirthing/doula world! Catch up soon xx Kylie and Clara Peach!

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 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.

You can find out more about Kate or how Hypnobirthing Australia classes can help you prepare for your birthing journey – whatever that looks like, by clicking here.