Birth story by Luna Woolcott. Birth Photography by Zandra Warland Photography, Byron Bay, Australia.
I had birthed before with lots of plans, expectations, visualisations and things turned out completely different than what I had in mind. This time I did things differently. No expectations, just acceptance of whatever might come.
A few days after my due date, and after a week of cramping, I felt something that was like a contraction (or waves like I will call them from now on) at 4am. The waves kept coming every 10 – 15 minutes. I texted my midwife and she recommended I continued with my normal activities. I got ready and headed into Byron Bay where I usually walked my 2 year old and black poodle every day. I parked my car at the same spot and walked like always but the waves kept coming closer, about 7 minutes apart.
Surprisingly, this day out of all the others, my husband and I kept meeting with many friends. I felt at the start that I had to act as if nothing was going on while I timed my waves. It was pretty hilarious then telling them what was going on so they didn’t think I was being rude by looking away at my phone!
I got checked by the midwife that morning and was 3cm [dilated]. I went home, made a big batch of red raspberry tea and tried to rest. I zoned out of the world and into my body. After 30 minutes of trying to rest, listening to birthing affirmations, I decided to put on one of my favourite childhood movie (Hocus Pocus, please don’t judge, haha!) and just watched it.
I kept track of my waves, timing them, while I sat on the birthing/gym ball. I bounced, swayed, and rested over it. I was alone, in my world, in the dark. Everything seemed quiet, even though the voices in the movie kept me company. I hadn’t seen my daughter or husband in a while. He would come in to fill up my water bottle, give me more tea, and say he was there if I needed anything. I felt my waves getting stronger but they didn’t come closer than 5 to 6 minutes.
At one stage I felt sick, nauseous, I probably even spewed… and I remembered I felt that way in the transition of my first born. I thought to myself I couldn’t be that far ahead even though the night had crept quickly. I had no notion of time at this phase. I called the midwife saying my waves were not any closer even though they felt stronger. I just wanted to rest. A few minutes later I felt a pressure, a natural urge to push.