After a glorious pregnancy and a Blessingway attended by friends and family, Hannah awaits the birth of her second child. Through the frustration of many days of seemingly unproductive contractions the day arrives. Having been changed forever by her first child’s birth, Hannah is changed yet again by the glory and empowerment of natural birth. Enjoy Hannah’s story of bringing 10 pound 11 ounce Jonah earthside at home. Read more...
So it’s taken me 7 months to get around to writing this down and the urge has suddenly hit me. I feel an intensity to get it onto paper ASAP. Jonah your birth was life changing, amazing, intense, overwhelming, and nothing all at once, I’ll explain the nothing at the end. Your story starts with your brothers birth, which was such a humbling experience that would take forever and a whole book to explain and even then I’m not sure I could put all the pieces together that would make it complete. It changed me forever.
The day you were conceived was a celebration and every day that I carried you within me I felt the joy of that moment inside, you were destined to change my life forever. We grew so big together, I was certain in my first trimester that you were a girl!! At 35 weeks your gorgeous aunty Elle threw a party in my honour, a Blessingway, and I, indeed, felt blessed. I have never felt more beautiful or loved in my life as I did when I was surrounded by people who understood what it took to bring about your birth. We made flags and posters and an amazing necklace of beads that I wore from those days until fate decided that it would fall off just a few days after your birth.
By 41 weeks I had hit the ‘wall’ and got up early on the Sunday morning with a hankering for your Aunty Shell’s company, a bacon and egg roll, and a pedicure. I was determined to have gorgeous red toenails when I birthed you! I had been contracting for days, just lightly, with a few false alarms the previous two evenings. Our midwife Lisa was standing by for our call. She came over to visit after my pedicure because I had called her in frustrated tears, not knowing why you hadn’t arrived yet and starting to feel that it was all getting too hard, I was tired of these bloody annoying contractions and it coming to nothing at all. Lisa and Elle both came over and your daddy was there, they teased me relentlessly until we all had a really good laugh and I had a few tears too. It was a dearly needed release, and I was thankful for all the amazing support I was getting.
Your brother Indiana was also there and he listened to your heartbeat, felt you in my tummy and gave you kisses, then climbed all over you! I soaked up what was to be the last afternoon as a mummy of one amazing boy. Lisa and Elle went home and Bart made me some dinner and put Indy to bed, I was soon having to concentrate a little harder on the contractions but thought it was just another annoying false alarm and it would fizzle soon, so I just waited them out. I realised while I was watching TV that I was getting really annoyed at the show, and it was irritating, I texted Elle to see if she wanted to come back and watch a movie with me (bridesmaids!), thinking that a good giggle would take my mind off it all. By the time she got there I was only wearing pyjama pants and I was moaning through the contractions, on my knees on our lounge room floor.
Bart and Elle started fluffing about setting up the birth pool etc. and Elle called Hellie who was my student midwife at Indy’s birth and had become a close friend since then. She had agreed to come and support us at home for your birth, knowing the story of Indy’s birth and how much I wanted to have you. It felt right to have her there. At my blessingway we had lit a Mother candle and each woman had lit a smaller candle and taken it home. They were all waiting for the text to say I was in labour so they could light there candles and lend their love and support to us in labour. Elle sent the text when she arrived and we had a small ceremony to light the mother candle. The room was glowing. It was softly lit, my ‘baby music’ compilation was playing, and I suddenly realised that this was IT. The big event was happening! By the time Lisa arrived I was well and truly into it, I don’t really remember her getting there but I felt her presence, it was calm, loving, a true mothermidwife had entered my space and I FELT SAFE….
At Indiana’s birth I felt very alone, despite having really awesome midwives and Bart there. I had made a very honest request of our support people to really be there, present, in the room and with me in this birth journey, and whoa did they do it. There was not a moment during your labour that I didn’t feel connected and loved, just a touch (Hellie), a kiss on my forehead (Elle) or a soft few words (you look so beautiful baby(from your daddy)) and whenever I dared to open my eyes a crack, there was Lisa, nodding, certain of my progress and my ability to bring you here.
I didn’t know it at the time but we had run out of hot water and Elle and Bart were boiling pots and pans and jugs to get the pool filled. I remember calling out “Is it ready yet?” and a very sure reply came “Oh, just a few minutes more!”, and apparently at this time there was about 5cm of water in the pool! Lisa used the ribozo on me for a while and I moved around the house, from the lounge to the bathroom, a toilet stop in the dark where I had a very earnest conversation with Lisa about the virtues of wet wipes as toilet paper when you’re pregnant! Ah, the revelations you can come up with in labour!
Overall my memories of labour are that it was a really fun household, Bart and Elle were laughing in the kitchen, everyone was smiling at me when I did look up. Finally the pool was ready, or sort of, there was now 10 cm of water but I didn’t care, I lay in it anyway and tried to make myself as flat on my belly as I could, which must have been an interesting sight to say the least, considering how big my belly was. But I just had to get in the water, the tightenings were truly intense and a couple of times I felt a small panic rise in my throat. I had been to yoga classes in both of my pregnancies and open mouth breathing was a big focus, as was making noise.
So every time I felt a bit stricken I would open my mouth wide and soft and ahhhhhhoooohhhhhh it out. Fortunately our home was surrounded by holiday houses because it must have sounded like we were having a damn good time! But oh god it worked! At the end of one particularly long intense contraction I felt a big groany grunt come out, my eyes flew open and I couldn’t stop myself from saying “oh! I PUSHED!!!!
Everyone was crying and laughing! It felt so good! I felt inside my vagina and touched a bulging sack of waters with your hard little head not far beyond and the said “My cervix works!!!!” It was so amazing, I could have stopped right then with the whole thing and been the happiest woman ever, except that a massive urge to push overcame me and I went for it. Having never pushed with Indy’s birth I revelled in it, this was the feeling I had longed for, letting my body do what it was made to do. After a bit of hands and knees I felt that your head wasn’t moving and I was getting angry, I think I even punched the seat in the pool. Lisa guided me back to a squat and I leaned into Bart’s arms, it felt so comfortable being cradled by him, my manrock, whispering encouragement and sweet nothings to me.
That was when the pushing really worked, the burn of your heading coming out was crazy, I yelled out open, Open, OPEN!!! And “Come on baby!” And moved my hips wider still, it was such an intense overwhelming feeling during the contraction but at the same instant I felt a stillness in myself, a letting go of all the control, the fears, the worry, everything and in that moment I felt nothing at all except my vagina, burning, stretching, giving you the space you needed….
Touching your head was amazing, and your left ear as you turned your head, all purple and wrinkled inside your water bag, is a moment I will always remember. I said to your daddy, ‘there’s a head hanging out of me, that’s so cool!” a few more pushes and your shoulders and body hadn’t emerged and I said to Lisa,’ its stuck, it’s shoulders’, she guided me forward onto my knees over the edge of the pool and I reached down to pull you up to me. Your Aunty Elle was calling out “reach down and get your baby!”
You were such a juicy baby that your belly got stuck too and we really had to give a push and a pull to bring you up! I don’t think you realised that you had arrived at first because you took your time to open your eyes and breathe, I had to lean down and suck the goo from your mouth and nose and give you a little breath of life before you came into your not-so-little body. Your daddy talked to you the whole time, saying “come on baby, you can do it!” I must admit I told you not to give up now that i had worked so hard to bring you here. Lisa, Hellie and Elle were calm and kept talking to all three of us as you took your first few shaky breaths and then you cried, and we all shared that cry.
You had arrived indeed Jonah David. All 10 pound 11 ounces of you! So now that I had felt all that I had hoped and imagined I could feel giving birth to you, I felt nothing at all except your warm little chubby body in my arms and that was bliss. Your daddy cut your cord after a long while and you had a sweet snuggle together while your placenta was coming, that salad bowl we caught it in will always be remembered fondly at dinner parties! We ate, we celebrated and finally we slept. About 6 hours after you made it clear that you were on your way I became the proud mama of a second amazing boy. You bring me the greatest joy every day.
Thankyou Jonah for choosing your mama and the journey you took to get here……