1st baby, birth centre (water birth)
Started contractions just after midnight Saturday / Sunday morning. Had been listening to the birth rehearsal tracks regularly in the lead up, so I was able to relax, jump into a warm bath and focus on my breathing. Went into triage at 5 am on Sunday and had a (rather unpleasant) examination which happened to break my waters. Was only 1 cm dilated so back home. The exam was the real low point as my contractions were regular (every 3 mins) and powerful, and I couldn’t stand the thought that I may have another 24 hours of them to endure. As contractions ramped up at home, I used a tens machine and my husband (Winston) set up our baobab tree, complete with Pilates ball, music and aromatherapy. At about 10 am on Sunday we went back to the birth centre and I was admitted into a birth suite, 4 cm dilated. Straight into the pool and on gas and air (as planned). The midwife set up an aromatherapy diffuser and we played some music (of course Spotify would have a ‘labour and birth’ playlist!). Contractions again progressed steadily and I knew it wouldn’t take long. The words from the birth rehearsal track stuck with me: Each contraction was stimulating my baby and pushing it down the birth canal. I could really feel them doing that and it helped me not to resist them. Winston breathed with me through each contraction and I went through transition without hitting ‘the wall’ like I had anticipated. My body felt when it was time to push, and I told the midwife I was ready. 2 pushes later, at 12.45 pm, Romilly was out and bobbed up to the surface. It was so special to be the first one to hold our baby.
The midwives said I had performed like Superwoman and Winston was in complete awe. He never imagined it could be “so easy”
I could never describe birth as ‘easy’, but I was amazed at how manageable it could be and how empowered I could feel. I felt that my body was working on autopilot and that my only job was to keep breathing, stay relaxed, and let it do its thing. I am not the type of person who has ever placed a huge amount of faith in my body – I don’t run marathons or push myself at the gym and in the beginning I couldn’t quite fathom how MY body was supposed to perform this superhuman feat. But it did! I just had to work on my mind a little bit to stop it getting in the way. To quote my favourite affirmation: “My body instinctively knows how to birth my baby, just as it knew how to grow my baby.”