By the evening I was in a bit of lower body pain and a bit uncomfortable, but still no visible signs of actual labour. I went about the usual evening chores, making dinner, feeding and bathing the 3-year-old. Paul was home by this stage. I got into bed at about 19.30 that evening as I was not feeling great. About an hour later, I was lying in the dark and suddenly I thought to myself that these pains I kept experiencing are contractions so I had better time them! I did one or two calculations in my head and the contractions were lasting about 45 seconds or so and they were about 6 minutes apart.
The pains started getting more regular. I hopped out of bed and ran to tell my husband that I had finally come to terms with the fact that I was indeed in labour. I lay on the couch a bit and rode out a few of the pains – they were getting a bit more intense. Having been through this once before, I knew not to panic and to just stay calm. No amount of panicking would change the fact that there was only one way this baby was coming out! A few minutes later when my contractions were about 4 minutes apart and lasting about 55 seconds, we thought it best to alert Cheryl, our midwife.
We called our midwife around 20.30 that night, as well as my parents who we had invited to attend the birth and our birth photographer. They all arrived around the same time at about 21.15. Everyone was calm and quiet as we had requested and Paul and the midwife started filling up the birth pool. We hadn’t realised just how long it would take to fill the pool, so my husband was boiling a couple pots of water on the stove to try speed up the process! My midwife, Cheryl, checked how far along I was and I was 9cm dilated! I was elated!! I had done the labouring at home by myself and was already so far along. I got into the beautifully warm water which felt so soothing. Our 3-year-old daughter was present for the entire labour and birth. She was standing along the side of the pool along with her dad and my mom and the midwife. I continued riding the wave of each contraction as it came and went. Paul was a great support. He sat along the side of the pool for the entire birth, supporting my body when I felt like I couldn’t even hold myself up anymore. The contractions were intense and I was fully focussed on each moment, determined to be as present as possible for the birth.
It was not long before I transitioned into active labour. I actually felt my baby move as her head swivelled around and my body kicked into full primal mode. This was it. She was coming. Active labour. Intense. Painful. Contractions. Pushing. I could not talk but I could hear the soft murmurings of encouragement from my family around me. I remember crying out to my creator in that moment, asking for supernatural strength. I was in each moment. I felt every movement, every pulse, I could feel and hear my little one’s heartbeat as she was leaving the warmth of my body. She was on her way out. I used each contraction to gently push my baby out. As her head appeared, I held her head there in that place for what felt like an eternity. I felt like I was outside of my body, watching from above. Everything was silent in those moments as I focussed every single part of my being into cradling her head right there as she was crowning. It felt like my body was splitting into two parts, I just remember the silence was deafening. I was at my most powerful at that point as I birthed a new life into this world. One last push and she was out into the warm water. Cheryl caught her and brought her straight up onto my chest where I clung to her, my new precious baby. Just like that, the intense pain stopped as I held her. River was lifted up and joined us in the pool where she got to meet her baby sister who had just entered the world. Family bonding at its apex. In that moment I had everything in my arms that I will ever need. My reasons for being. My reasons for living. My children and my husband. It was magical.
I would give birth a hundred times over to experience that feeling when your baby first enters your arms. It is a feeling like no other I have ever experienced. Women are powerful and we need to be reminded of this. No matter how you give birth, you are bringing new life into the world. We need to know that we have choices and that our choices regarding childbirth need to be respected.
One of my favourite birth quotes – “It is said that women in labour leave their bodies. They travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, and return to this world together.” Anonymous.