This was my first pregnancy. I really believed that Percy would come into the world at his right time and that my body knew what it was doing. I never doubted that, I never doubted him! My due date was the 11th August. I knew he wouldn’t be born then as due dates are silly and what are the chances of him knowing today was the 11th, I better come out! I was very calm and peaceful leading up to the 11th and just enjoyed being pregnant and knowing I would see him soon and I couldn’t wait for the labour and birth! Once I hit the 11th and for everyday after, my head was a mess. It was so silly because I knew the due date meant nothing, but it all of a sudden meant that I was in ‘overdue’ territory and according to the hospitals and society, this isn’t good! But, I found strength from my midwife, Juliana and from Pete my husband, who would remind me of what I really believed, and that was, it’s up to my body and Percy, just wait for them to do their thing! Ignore everything else!
This was helpful and I was calm again, until I reached one week ‘overdue’ or one week until I had to be induced. The one thing I didn’t want was for any form of drug used in my labour, Percy’s birth. Knowing in a week’s time, all I wanted would go down the drain was so upsetting! I was getting calls from the hospital to discuss induction (a week away), which just put a big STOP to all my positive, calm, peaceful thoughts that my body was in control and that nature knows what it’s doing! We took a nice drive to Juliana’s house during that week and chatted about all this! I cried a lot. I expressed that I hated how the hospital and society doubt me, doubt my body and doubt Percy. I hated that as of Saturday the 25th, I was going to be 2 weeks overdue, and all of a sudden this meant Percy was in great danger (I’m being sarcastic obviously) and that my body would not know how to give birth to my baby!! To add to all this, the person in charge of inducing women, didn’t work on Saturdays (ever heard anything as silly as that) so I had to be induced on the Friday! This meant I lost a whole day to just be calm and perhaps, for my baby to come.
I hated that the hospital were so funny about dates, but wouldn’t even give me my full 2 weeks! I hated that the hospital had full control of my labour! Juliana, who never doubted me, once again in her amazing way, let me cry, calmed me down and reassured me, I still had a week, and anything could happen in that week. This last week was funny but also a huge stress. I’d never eaten so much Vindaloo curry in my life, I walked around my neighbourhood like I was training for the Oxfam walk, I saw my Chiro every second day, and saw an acupuncturist on the Thursday. We visited Juliana midweek for a stretch and sweep to see if it could help bring on labour and also to see if I was going to need prostin gel for my induction. I did as nothing was happening at all. She said she would contact the hospital to let them know the latest and so they were prepared! She was very confident though in my acupuncturist as she had many clients of hers go there and have some change in their cervix.
Thursday I got a call from the hospital to discuss what we need to do for induction and to book it in. They told me I had to come in early Friday morning and get the gel and basically stay in the hospital all day, and they would break my waters on Saturday. They said hubby wouldn’t be allowed to stay overnight but could come back first thing Saturday morning to be with me. I told them this was unnatural. I needed him and he wants to be with me through all of this. I told them he would sleep in the car in the carpark so might as well have him with me. This wasn’t allowed. I cried so much and felt like all my hope had finally gone. Now my husband couldn’t be with me. I hated everything. I didn’t understand why Percy wasn’t coming, I didn’t know why my body was just not working. I dreaded meeting him because it wasn’t going to be the way I wanted too. I rang Juliana so upset. She was very sorry for me. She suggested Pete and I go for a walk and just enjoy this last day together and to just not think about tomorrow because there was nothing I could do to change it. The walk helped. The streets were quiet and pretty. It was later in the day and the sky had a nice colour. This all helped to give me peace. Pete helped to remind me that we would be holding Percy soon and that is all that matters. He was right. I just couldn’t bare to think I would be lying in a hospital without him. I had to block it out of my head.
Friday morning came, and we had a spring in our step. I don’t know why, but we did. We arrived at the hospital, were greeted by a lovely midwife and shown to our room. All we could hear, was a women giving birth in the room next door to us. Um..am I about to do that? She doesn’t sound happy! It was the strangest thing hearing women go through what you were about to go through. They should really soundproof the walls.
First thing that needed doing was the prostin gel so that things could get started as they can take a while. They (Im calling them they, they being the hospital people) checked to see if my cervix was doing anything before they used the gel. The dr gave a cheery noise and said your 3cm dilated, we will break your waters now(no need for gel, no need for gel, hubby could stay, hubby could stay!). Before I could process what he just said, I saw all sorts of shiny silver tools going towards my nether regions! He said they want to see clear liquid and all of a sudden a huge gush of water came out and it was the best feeling. My waters were clear and all was good. Now, for Percy to get the massive hint and come out. The dr told me I had 2 hours for labour to start otherwise they would need to help me out with syntocinon. I told them I wanted 4 hours, and that I was delivering this baby, not them. Dr was lovely actually, but he did hesitate because of rules and regulations, but said ok. We rang Juliana, she dropped what she was doing and came straight over! The 3 of us put on our walking shoes and went for an intense walk up the hills of Ferntree gully, down the corridors, up and down stairs, all with the hope this would stimulate and start labour. My mum popped round at one stage with Nandos and cake, I was feeling happy and excited. Labour was not happening though. There was not a twitch. The only thing I could feel was my waters still trickling out, such a weird feeling knowing it was acceptable to wet my pants!
Four hours came and went and the dr was hovering. We asked for another hour and we snuck out for more stair climbing and bush walking!! Julianna chatted to us during this last hour about what would happen if we did agree to have some syntocinon. I told her I don’t want any drugs, and she understood, but explained where we were in the day. She knew what labours look like. She knew I wanted a completely natural birth, but knew that fatigue could hit and I could then end up on the table having a caesarean. She explained that sometimes doing a little intervention can prevent major intervention. Pete agreed and chatted to me about the fact that the day was getting on, and sooner or later I will get tired, let’s do this now while I have the energy! Peace came over me, and I agreed. I just didn’t want anything forced on me, I wanted for us to make the decision for everything, and once we had both agreed that this was best, I felt ok about it, and ready.
We returned back to our room and said we would start the syntocinon. Unfortunately this did mean being attached to a pole and having to be monitored for the whole thing, but technology these days made it much easier with everything portable, so I could still move around! We dimmed the lights, hung up a bunting, lit some candles (which were then replaced with plastic candles due to OH&S, haha), turned on our cd that Pete made with our favourite songs, first one being, Here Comes The Sun, and just relaxed really. We ate food, mostly chocolate for me, and jelly, and chatted, stood in silence and just let the moments roll in. I was overcome with emotion that I was finally going to experience the one thing I know my body can do, and do well, and that is give birth to my son. I never doubted If I could, I knew I could. Pete at one stage started sobbing from happiness too. It was just a really beautiful room to be in. It was the exact place I wanted Percy born into. Contractions started coming, quite thick and fast. They turned down the sytocinon to almost nothing, as my body took over and was now doing everything itself. In the beginning, swaying, standing still, being silent and bouncing on the gym ball was my best way of experiencing the contractions. As they got more intense, Juliana massaged my back and I found relief standing up burying my head in my bed while she massaged my back. As the contractions became more intense, I remembered the Calm Birth cd, with the breathing exercises and visualisations which definitely helped.
I don’t even know how long I had been in labour for, but I gotten to the point of feeling hot and bothered and annoyed, so that’s when all my clothes came off. I didn’t care. They say you won’t! Contractions continued to do their thing, and I just had to find ways to deal with them. Pete said I almost broke his hand at one stage but kept quiet. Swaying, burying my head and grunting as I visualised the pain leaving my body was so helpful. I wanted to sit on the toilet a lot, I was constipated. This didn’t help. Julianna examined me on the toilet at one stage and could feel Percy’s head. He was right there, but just not quite! The dr came in with some midwives and a student and said they needed to examine me to see how far along I was. This was the worst part of the whole labour. I had to lie on my back, on the bed and couldn’t do anything when a contraction came I had to feel it with no relief. This was the first time I was on the bed and lying down and it was the last. I found lying the worst. They examined me and told me I was 8 cm dilated (lucky for them I was so far along, because I had said not to tell me, but that was a good number to hear!).
I started to push while they were examining me. They asked if I was pushing and I said no, but I couldn’t really help it. I got off the bed, and found I had a little more energy, knowing I was that far along was exciting, it meant not much more of this labour, and getting to meet Percy.
I had no idea what the time was, we covered the clocks. But it means I can’t even tell you what time it was when things started happening. The labour started to get really intense to the point where I thought I could do no more. It’s not a nice feeling. I knew drugs were no option for me, so felt even more stuck. I sat on the toilet and breathed the best I could. I came out, saying I want to push. Juliana lay a mat on the floor, where I could squat or be on all fours. I spent the rest of my labour there, just experiencing the need to push and going along with it. Juliana told me I must have had a cervical lip which is why it wasn’t going anywhere but once the dr examined me and I started pushing, it’s because he would have moved it.
At one stage the wires attached to me to monitor Percy’s heart rate slipped off which caused a little stress in the room because they needed to have them attached at all times. There was a good 10 minutes of the midwives hovering around my belly trying to attach them which I found annoying at the time. I felt like saying stop doubting Percy he is fine, but I know they were doing their job. Pete felt a bit of stress at this point to, but I just wanted to be left alone and for Percy and I to meet. The urge to push was strong and I pushed every time. I found being on all fours the best position. To begin with I was pointing my bum in the air and pushing wasn’t going amazingly. I angled myself to be lower and pushing was then in full swing. Pete recorded the whole thing. He didn’t think he would be able to even look at what was going on, but found it to be so amazing. He could see the tip of Percy’s head, he could see his son! Juliana offered me a mirror so I could see as well so I could get energy from seeing how close I was. But as I pushed, Percy’s head would then go back in and disappear. I found this hard and discouraging and did not like the mirror. Julianna reassured me this was normal, and that I can try to bigger longer pushes. Every time the urge to push came over me, I tried with everything I had, and hearing Julianna say, more more, was just a slap in the face. I couldn’t do more, I had nothing left. But somehow, the body being the amazing thing it is, I could do more. I pushed soo hard, my arms felt like breaking. More more more, I heard and then his head was out. I couldn’t see this but I could hear the amazement in Peters voice. The joy. His head was out for a bit, while I tried to find more strength to push is body out. I had no idea where I was going to get it from, but next urge to push, I did and the most amazing feeling came as his body fell out of me! Percy cried and Juliana lay him on the mat and I picked him up. I didn’t cry, I think I was too exhausted to produce tears, but oh my gosh, was it the most amazing moment. Pete had his arms around me, and met his son. The 3 of us sat on the ground in awe (Percy was still screaming at this stage). I was so happy that Percy was born pink and screaming, I gave birth to the boy I knew would be prefect and know what to do!
Juliana asked if I wanted to get up and lie on the bed with my son and so I could pass the placenta. I got up, my legs like jelly and climbed into bed. It was the best feeling finally lying down to rest. I got so desperate to rest at one stage of the labour that everything looked horrible. Lying down now with Percy was the biggest relief. Percy attached himself to me to drink, and that was amazing, he did it all himself. I needed help, but he knew what he was doing. My midwives asked me to push one more time to remove the placenta. I think I almost kicked them in the face. But once again, I found strength, and out it came. The size of a well prized steak. Amazing! After a little while Percy got weighed and measured and Pete got to hold him for the first time. Once Percy was given back to me, we stayed nude, no blankets being wrapped or no wiping down the skin, I wanted everything to be left alone. I had a brownie in one hand and my boy in my other arm. I was tired and emotional but so grateful that I had experienced birth that way I know is possible! Thats’s what I really wanted. My mum and sister popped in briefly to say hi, see Percy Boy and give their love. Julianna packed up her things and said she was ready to leave the 3 of us to meet. I am so grateful to her for everything she did. Percy’s birth was exactly how I wanted it to be and it was because of her.
The three of us got up and walked across the hallway to the birth centre where we were given a large private room to enjoy as we started parenthood.
8 months later, Percy is thriving. He is the happiest boy, he is healthy and growing so quickly. He loves being tickled and already has the best sense of humour. He has completely changed our lives. I am so glad I met him on the Friday night and not Saturday. I am so blessed to have spent those extra hours with him. I am so glad the 3 of us had the night to ourselves as a family, quiet and still before showing him off the loving friends and family Saturday afternoon. I am grateful now for being induced as its meant I have had more hours of joy and love in my heart. I could sit and wonder when he would have come if we let things be, but I love that the 24th of august I met him, not any later.