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  • Writer's pictureTess

Self belief, a rad birth and owning it

Here is the gorgeous Birth Story of Lauren and Steve, a potent and beautiful example of what happens when you embrace your present, prepare and support yourself with a DREAM birth Team, and do the ground work to enable deep TRUST and SELF BELIEF to guide you.


I met Lauren and Steve, in the summer of 2020, together we dived into some virtual birth preparation and had the pleasure of Laurens amazing Mother, join us for one session.


Enjoy reading their beautiful Birth Experience.

Lauren and Steve’s Birth Story


Steve and I made the decision to have a home birth around 28 weeks -

they'd just been reinstated, and so after a lot of discussion, we felt

like it would be the place that felt the safest and where we were

could create the environment most conducive to the calm, physiological

birth we hoped for. Around this time we also considered getting a

doula, as we also assumed my parents would not be able to make it over

from the US to be here for the birth (my mom had been planning to be

my second birth partner). Luckily, they were able to make it over in

time to quarantine and still move in with us well in advance of our

September 20 due date and with enough time for us to savor some time

together before the sweetness and chaos of a newborn joined the mix.

Even though Steve and I had been through a fairly straightforward and

positive labor and delivery before, we'd never had a baby at home and

wanted a few more tools in our toolbelt to help us prepare this time

around, so we reached out to Tessa for some antenatal prep work.


WAITING FOR BABY - RELAX RELAX RELAX


I went past my due date with no signs of labor starting, but even as

the days continued to pass I felt incredibly relaxed (and not too

uncomfortable, thankfully) and knew the baby would arrive when he was

ready. I woke up on Thursday morning, September 24, feeling like I had

the flu. I couldn't keep anything in my system, and felt achy and

tired and super nauseous. I knew this could be a sign of impending

labor, but also knew it could still be a while off. Steve, on the

other hand, was convinced today was the day! I tried to rest in the

morning, then snoozed on and off while Rowan napped. When I woke up I

felt less nauseous, and as I headed downstairs I peeked into the study

and saw that Steve had gotten the office all set up for the midwives.

Regardless of when the baby decided to come, our flat was ready for

him.


That afternoon we all relaxed at home, and around 5:30 I felt the

first little twinge in my lower belly. Things were getting a little

chaotic, as dinner time with a toddler can be, so my parents did

dinner with Rowan while Steve and I went for a walk around the

neighbourhood. We only walked for 20 minutes or so, but I'll always

remember this time as really special - we held hands, we shared how

excited we were and reminded each other that we were so prepared for

this. Steve was mega pumped, and while I was excited to get the show

on the road and meet our boy, I was a bit nervous to go through the

intensity of labour again. As we started heading back home, my

contractions were still mild but Steve timed them just for fun - they

were only about 30 seconds long but coming regularly every 2 minutes.


When we got home, I kept thinking - I just have to make it to Rowan's

bedtime (7:30) and then I can relax. Around 6:30 I sat on the exercise

ball in our living room, rolled around for a bit, and when I stood up

I felt the familiar gush of my water breaking. With Rowan I soaked

through about 4 pairs of trousers before I figured out what was

happening, but this time I put in a maternity pad right away and

noticed meconium in the waters. This didn't alarm me, as the same

thing had happened with Rowan and we were still allowed to stay home

for 24 hours as it was light in colour and he was full term. I assumed

that would be the case this time, too. Around 7 we decided to call the

hospital just to let them know what was happening. Steve did bedtime

while I called triage - over and over and over. It was after 8 before

we finally got through, at which point they told us that we'd need to

come in so they could check the baby and that we wouldn't be able to

birth at home.


OWNING IT - MINDSET


Surprisingly, I was much less disappointed than I thought I'd be. My

predominant feeling was one of - well, if we have to have the baby at

the hospital, let's get to the hospital so we can have the baby!

Contractions were still very mild at this point, but I just wanted to

get there and get settled so I could get in the zone for when things

started to ramp up. We called a taxi and promised my mom we'd call her

when it was okay to come up.


All the way to the hospital Steve and I did long, slow breaths

together. Once we got to triage, Steve had to wait outside while I

paced the waiting area, walking, breathing, trying to stay relaxed.

When we finally got called to the room, the midwife looked at the

meconium and said we wouldn't be allowed to go home and also wouldn't

be able to use the birth center. She asked to do a vaginal

examination, which I agreed to, and told me I was only 1 cm dilated.

At this point contractions were definitely more noticeable. I remember

looking down at the printout coming out of the CTG machine and seeing

her sticker '9:35 pm, 1 CM' and feeling a wave of tiredness. 'If I'm

only 1 cm, do I have the stamina to keep going all night?' I wondered.

After about 30 minutes of waiting, the midwife (who was so incredibly

sweet and thoughtful) walked us to the labour ward, where she'd found

us a room with a pool since she knew we'd originally wanted a

homebirth. She also mentioned that when she examined me she'd still

felt some membrane so she'd have our midwife do another check and

break the rest of my waters, a suggestion I didn't like and told Steve

as much. I trusted that things would progress as they should, and

didn't want to make things any faster or more intense than they

already were.


RAD BIRTH TEAM & OWNING THE BIRTH SPACE - A MUST!


By the time we got to the room I felt my contractions getting

stronger, and Steve immediately set about getting the room cozy -

harsh fluorescent lights off, twinkle lights on, relaxation tracks

playing. Our midwife arrived soon after and entered the room at full

volume, chatting away while I was in the middle of a contraction. I

don't even think I acknowledged her, but I did hear Steve talking

to her in a low voice, and from that point on she was much better

about keeping her voice quiet and conversation to a minimum. After the

next contraction she asked if she could hook me up to the CTG, and

told me I'd be able to stand but be confined to a small area. I

requested a wireless CTG, as I wanted to make use of walking around

the whole room and use the bath if I chose to. It took some time for

her to find one and get it set up, during which I paced and I could

hear Steve's deep, slow breaths which continually brought me back to

my own. After she put the CTG bands on me, I registered the midwife

saying that she would examine me and break the rest of my water -

thankfully, Steve declined on my behalf. Contractions were strong and

starting to take all my focus. Soon after my mom arrived, bringing

blankets from home which we draped over the end of the bed for me to

lean on during contractions. My preferred position (the ONLY way I was

comfortable) was standing, leaning forward on the end of the bed. My

mom and Steve took turns massaging my back, and we got through the

next hour or so like this. My midwife mentioned early on that the

baby's heart rate was dipping with each contraction, and told me that

they could only let this go on for 90 minutes before they'd have to

have a doctor come in and take a look. She also asked me multiple

times if I had any pressure or urge to push, but I felt absolutely no

urge.


TIME DISTORTIONS - BIRTH AIN’T LINEAR


I distinctly remember a clock above the bed, directly in front of me,

and I looked at it a number of times thinking, 'Man, it's only

10:30/11/11:30 pm and things are feeling pretty intense - can I do

this all night?' Eventually, probably around 11:30, I asked for gas

and air. I took a few glorious puffs and it definitely helped take the

edge off. But after about 6 or 7 more contractions, I asked to use the

bath. When I finally got in, the warm water felt amazing but I just

couldn't find a comfortable position during contractions and they were

really strong, so I felt a bit like a fish just writhing about and was

trying SO hard to keep my breath slow during each one. I was in the

bathroom alone, it was dark, and relaxation tracks were playing so

even though I wasn't especially comfortable, I decided to stay in this

little cocoon for a while.


Eventually my midwife came in and said that a doctor needed to examine

me as it had been 90 minutes. I opted to get out of the bath anyway as

I think I preferred gas and air. I remember as I was getting out of

the bath thinking - it's only been 90 minutes, we probably have so

long to go, and was pretty sure some significant intervention was in

our future. I had another few contractions with gas and air while

waiting for the doctor, and just as he arrived I felt the head drop

and like I really had to pee. I went to the toilet and couldn't pee,

but did have a bloody show. When I came out of the bathroom, I asked

the midwife if I could have an in-out catheter after the doctor

examined me and she looked at me like I was crazy (ha!).


TAKING CHARGE & INSTINCTUAL MOVEMENTS


The OB who came in to examine me was WONDERFUL. We only interacted

with him briefly, but he was immediately so friendly and so

collaborative. He asked to examine me, and said depending on the

outcome we could decide what to do together. I lay down on the bed,

felt one massive contraction, and IMMEDIATELY threw up and felt the

uncontrollable need to push. The Doctor quickly did his exam and said

he felt the baby's head right there and then 'You're all good to

push!' while giving Steve the double thumbs up. I was stunned, but

didn't have too much time to overthink things. My midwife said that we

needed to quickly get the baby out, as his heart rate continued to

drop even lower, and she and my mom held my legs while I pushed for a

few contractions on my side. I found it really uncomfortable and hated

being mand-handled, so I flipped over to my hands and knees, where I

could really feel my body working with the contractions and each push

felt much more powerful. 4 or 5 pushes later, Steve looked down to see

a little head sticking out, and then on the next push our Aiden Daer

was here!


He arrived at 12:29 a.m., less than three hours after I was told I was

only 1 cm. I think what is really obvious in retrospect is that even

though we weren't at home, I felt safe, protected, capable - and this

allowed my mind to get out of the way and just let my body do the

work. I was also able to be so much more present for this birth -

talking with Steve and my mom in between contractions, noticing what

was going on around me (Steve breathing with me, picking up and

repeating some of the affirmations) and I'm grateful to have had such

a clear head and fond memories, even though things progressed so

rapidly.


After Aiden's birth, our midwife left to complete her notes and we were

left alone with our tea and toast, the room still dim and cozy, the

hospital dark and quiet. Even though we weren't at home as we'd

intended to be, I felt the warm glow of that post-birth bubble, the

calm and the wonder and the gratitude that Aiden's birth had been such

a powerful, positive experience, that now he was safely here with us.

Finally, around 3:30 a.m. I was transferred to the postnatal ward in

the Birth Center (again, the midwives being especially thoughtful)

where I spent the rest of the night snuggling, feeding, and basking in

the newness of our tiny boy. It was heaven.


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