The Waterbirth of Bodhi
by Angela - Guest Blogger
by Angela - Guest Blogger on 21 December, 2016
After making the sea change to Margaret River, we decided that we were finally ready to hang up our party shoes and become parents. Unfortunately, the universe didn’t make it that easy for us. After temperature tracking for 6 months with no results (and with a husband was worked away most of the month) we found out I had PCOS. The doctors offered us the option of IVF straight away, but living in Margret River I knew that there were other alternatives, I just had to find them. I decided that if I was going to put myself (and my family) through the IVF process, then I could at least try to see what else I could do naturally to help me conceive.
I joined a gym and got a personal trainer. I was able to lose 10 kilos by my birthday the next year. I also started seeing a naturopath who was rumoured to be a fertility ‘witch’ helping lots of people to become pregnant naturally. I took disgusting herbs, had regular acupuncture and changed my diet and lifestyle. My husband and I decided we would give it till my birthday to try to conceive naturally as IVF was a daunting and expensive experience.
It was coming up to my birthday with still no baby in sight. I had the IVF drugs booked to pick up, and we decided to go on one last wild adventure to Thailand before parenthood. And that’s when it happened, when we were least expecting it, a very big surprise! (I even took 4 pregnancy tests just to be sure) Suffice to say our Thailand holiday was more relaxing (and sober) then one last crazy wild adventure before becoming parents. At least it made sense as to why on my holiday to Bali with my sister a month before I was complaining that my shorts were too small (despite loosing weight), my stomach was bloated and my bras weren’t feeling comfortable….. I should have realised the signs, but I’d almost given up hope of having a natural conception.
I continued going to the gym and training with my PT, I continued going to my naturopath who was such a positive and supportive friend during this whole process. I found a yoga teacher who did a private 1 on 1 class with me in her house (and who let me sleep on her lounge room floor after meditation because she didn’t want to wake me up). She helped me to relax, meditate, gave me affirmations and trained my mind as well as my body by making me hold my arms in the air for 4+minutes at a time.
Through my naturopath I found my doula who was the most amazing support during my pregnancy, birth and at home with my baby. Me and my husband also attended a hypnobirthing course by Janelle who completely changed our views on birth. Your body is strong, but your mind is stronger. I had regular chiro, physio and massage, particularly in the last month to keep my body in good condition (and relaxed) so that I was physically ready for birth. I did meditation, listened to recordings of affirmations, put affirmations up all over the toilet and bedroom walls. I focused on relaxing and reduced the amount of jobs I booked. Luckily it was coming up to the end of wedding season as I find it hard to say no to work. (I am a hair and makeup artist)
In the lead up to the birth, I was relaxed, ready and with no fear. I finished my last job at 37.5 weeks, and my husband was due home (FIFO) a few days later. We were ready and we were waiting. I started raspberry leaf tea and acupuncture. I made myself labour aid drink and packed snacks (which expired as we waited for the baby to come) and we waited. I said no to any internal examinations as I believed that the baby would be ready when he was ready and it would not be determined by the dilation of my cervix.
At 41 weeks I had my regular check up at the doctors, however my regular doctor was away on a retreat and I had to see someone else. Because of my decision to not have any IE he wanted me to do bloods, have an ultrasound and go in for monitoring as my blood pressure was up. We had been at the doctors since before lunch and didn’t leave for hours due to the number of patients the doctor had to see that day. I was tired and hungry. We thought we would go in for a quick bit of monitoring, have a late lunch then be off home. Instead they checked me in as an inpatient. I was stressed, they kept mentioning going to Bunbury hospital as that’s where they sent high risk pregnancies and talked about induction. Induction was something I wanted to avoid if I could. I was hungry and cold and I didn’t want to be there, but I was confused and stressed and didn’t know what was going on or what I could do to get out of there.
So I went back to what I learnt at hypnobirthing, and as they monitored my blood pressure, I breathed in and relaxed. I was ‘set free’ in time for dinner.
I ran a bath and filled it with clary sage and lavender oil and I relaxed whilst my husband cooked us dinner, glad to be home and out of the hospital.
At 3am in the morning my waters broke whilst I was asleep. I had a sandwich, got excited for a moment and then told myself to get some sleep. By 5am I was awake again, in the shower for pain relief with my contractions 3-4 minuted apart. There was no build up, it was on! The baby was ready! We met our doula at the hospital and after some annoying monitoring and blood tests due to my high blood pressure the day before, the doctor had left and I was in a warm bath, relaxed and weightless in the water. My blood pressure and the head ache that went along with it slowly returned to normal during my labour. Next time I will take this as a sign that birth is near.
I focused on the hypnobirthing birth techniques during contractions. My husband was supportive and he was also supported by the doula. He knew what to expect, the milestones to observe and how to help me stay calm and relaxed. The last few surges were intense but over quickly and then it was time to push. Apparently this part only lasted 20 minutes and by 10:59am my son was born into the water. As I was on all fours, my husband caught him, turned him around and passed him to me under the water for me to pick up and hold.
I remember when his head was underwater and I could feel his body turning round, repositioning itself ready for the next surge. It felt like time stopped at this point with him half in me, half in the water. My husband talks of this moment watching the stillness on his face, waiting to be born.
We had a healthy sized baby born 40+9 days, 8 pounds 15 ounces, 57cm long, with no stitches needed. I think the hardest thing was getting out the bath tub, holding my little baby (with the cord still attached) after being supported by the water for 5 hours.
I laid on the bed, nursing my little boy, whilst the midwife did her checks. I passed the placenta naturally an hour later when I got up to have a shower. (I got this encapsulated, and was surprised when it came back with a piece to plant, a piece that was dried to keep and a print to frame -we are going to plant a piece under a tree for his first birthday.)
I had such a positive birth, I was relaxed and calm and had great support during my time in hospital. I birthed with dignity, I birthed amongst supportive women (and my husband) it was natural and I was able to listen to my birthing body and trust it. It didn’t feel medicalised (once I had jumped into the bath I only had a regular blood pressure check and doppler monitoring for the baby) I felt like they trusted me and my body to birth this baby.
It wasn’t until I saw my doula again later that week that I found out all she had done to support me and my birth choices. The small things such as applying lip balm and pinning a piece of my hair back, to covering the walls with affirmations, and having the most magical Mary Poppins bag, to being there with me so that my husband could take a break, to liaising with the hospital staff so that I barely had to leave my birthing head space to talk to anyone. I didn’t know that the doctor didn’t want me to have a water birth, but the midwives kept an eye on me and decided I was fine when the time had come. I didn’t know that there was no midwife at the hospital trained in water birth, but when it was time an experienced midwife was there to supervise my midwife during the birth. I didn’t need to know anyone of this, and I was thankful that I didn’t hear any of this, it was all good in the end and I got the birth that I had planned.
Hypnobirthing made such a difference to my birth, to how my husband supported me during the birth and we tell all our friends that they should do the course too.
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Birth, Birth Stories