KELLEE AND JON
When Jon and I found out we were pregnant, I knew I wanted to prepare myself for the birth. A year prior, I had had emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy and this experience alone was the most traumatic event I had encountered in my adult life. I visited three hospitals with very little assurance as to what was “wrong” with me, and why I was experiencing abdominal pain. Once I recovered from this event, and knowing that I was now pregnant for the second time, I knew I never wanted to feel “pain” again and not know what was happening to me, or what my body was doing.
Pregnancy was very easy for me. I loved every minute of it, and I was fit, healthy and glowing. I found Karen through pregnancy yoga and decided to enroll Jon and I into the weekend course of Calmbirth. Amazing. For me, a naturally anxious person, it was perfect. It explored my fears and educated both Jon and I on the science behind birth and how the female body is designed to birth a baby with little to no medical intervention if not needed. It also had a focus on the birth for the father, and the role he played in the room. I will always remember Karen referring to him as the “Gorilla”.
On the 3rd of May I went to a client’s house to do her hair. At 10.30 while I was mixing up colour, my waters broke. I was a little stunned, as this was three weeks prior to my due date. My client gave me a change of pants and drove me home. I took my time while I was home to pack my bags, vacuum the house and potter around not feeling much at this stage. I ate dinner, and on speaking to the midwife she suggested I go to bed and try and rest. As soon as I had showered and got into bed, my contractions increased to 5 minutes apart. We headed for the hospital and arrived at approximately 9pm. Once I was checked in, I stripped off and got into the shower with the fitball and Jon. The contractions had increased in tempo by this stage and while they took my breath away, I remained calm. (Just like Calmbirth taught us, they come and go to recharge your body for the next surge.) I might mention that not once during my birth was I ever “examined” down there. I told the midwife that I needed to start pushing, and she was quite shocked by this, so we hightailed it to the birth suite naked and wrapped in a sheet. She filled the bath up and I got in. A water birth was on the cards, and at this point it felt right as the shower wasn’t giving me much relief anymore. In the bath I was free to move around as I pleased. The only thing I would say is that it does separate you and your partner if they don’t get in with you. Jon was still there for me, but you are very much in your world, especially being in a bath. I remember first feeling the “stretch” feeling from the baby’s head and I thought to myself, “no way”. I took my time, changing positions and eventually I just knew it was time to get him out. I knew I was the only one that was going to make this happen and I just got on with it. Baby’s head was out, and the midwife and obstetrician flicked his umbilical from around his neck. I didn’t know this at the time, but Jon told me about it afterwards. From 10.30 to when baby was born we were all so calm. It wasn’t until he was born at 1am that things got a little intense. He was born and they held him up to me, but there was no time for skin on skin as he needed to be given oxygen. This scared the life out of me, and it wasn’t until I heard him scream that I let out a breath. Although my birth experience was a positive one, I was so thankful to be in the hospital with the staff.
Birth is so special, and a real miracle of life. I am so blessed to have experienced it.
No one can prepare for parenthood. A lot of focus is on birth but not much following. Here is where the hard work and self doubt begins. You have this beautiful, tiny bundle and no idea what to do with it. Breastfeeding. Ouch. So hard, but so worth it. It’s hard work, it’s tiring, and I can see why so many in the first few days or weeks give it in and go with formula. If you can stick with it, it is worth it. But boy is it challenging emotionally and physically. I look back now and think, gee the early days were easy compared to chasing after a little 12 month old. But each stage is all relevant. Sleep deprivation. Another challenge on everyone involved but so worth the joy and special times that come with being a mum or a dad. I have never know so much self doubt as I have since becoming a mother but the best thing someone ever told both Jon and I was most of the time it’s just common sense. And it is. One night when we thought our son was sick we were freaking out (just a little) and looking at each other thinking what’s wrong, do we give him panadol, what do we do? Turns out he was just hot, and the suit we had him in was making him sweat.
I still practise the Calmbirth breathing now to this day, when I get into bed and I am wired and can’t turn my brain off. I just think of Karen’s voice and the breathing and it all just floats away. Breathe in, 2, 3, 4………