Welcome Luca-Blue x
I met the beautiful Paije and her mum when they did my hypnobirthing course together in October. Aaron wasn't able to attend the course, but as Paije said in her message he "took everything everything on board from the course that (she) shared with him and was the most wonderful birth partner".
As Paije says below, her easy, empowered and fast birth experience was not a matter of luck. She prepared so beautifully both in mind and body:
embracing self-hypnosis and breathing techniques
physically and emotionally connecting with Aaron in pregnancy and labour
staying active and using optimal maternal positioning
engaging a wonderful doula Jade Van Dijk.
All these things supported the positive self-belief that Paije had in herself and her baby to birth naturally and joyfully.
Telling yourself 'this is not labour' and focusing on "doing life, not labour" as Paije says is also a great way to approach the first stages of labour ;-) The opposite, being on high alert and full of stress and tension only creates discomfort and slow things down.
And, even as a first-time mother her instincts in the moment were her best guide.
Lots to learn from Paije's story ...
"The morning I went into labour I had been up since 2am watching The Crown series in bed. My husband Aaron rose around 4.30am and headed for the gym. At around 5am I felt a pool of liquid trickle onto the bed between my legs and thought ‘hmm, that was involuntary...’ and got up and went to the toilet. It didn’t smell like urine so I was almost certain my waters had broken. I popped a pad on and hopped back in bed and messaged my husband Aaron - “no rush to get back home but I’m pretty sure my waters just broke...” Of course he couldn’t focus on his session knowing his little girls arrival was imminent, so he came home straight away.
I phoned the hospital at around 5.30am when Aaron came home and they asked if my contractions had started yet, which they hadn’t, and then the midwife said to come in around 7/7.30am as they would be doubled staffed by then.
I assumed we would go in for a check to see how far along I was and to make sure baby was okay and then Aaron and I would go about our day, doing “life, not labour” - so we had plans to go for breakfast just the two of us for the last time, and I also wanted to get a mani/pedi - because we were preparing to be in early labour for a long while.
As we were leaving for the hospital I started to get period like cramps in my lower back, so we
called our doula Jade on the way to the hospital to give her an update. She was scheduled to visit another client who had given birth via c-section to twins at Royal North Shore. We were bound for Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenches Forest, which is about 15 minutes from our home in Ingleside.
Jade was preparing us to be in labour for the long haul and was guessing the best case scenario we would give birth that evening, if not, then Friday or Saturday morning.
By the time we got the hospital I was starting to have slightly more intense cramps in the lower back but it wasn’t that painful and I didn’t think anything of it. When we arrived at the birthing unit we were asked to wait in the waiting room where I paced the 4m x 4m carpet square back and forth, stopping every now and then to bend over or squat down to hold my husband's knees as he sat in the chair.
I hadn’t properly sat in a chair since about 28 weeks as my lower back pain had
increased as the pregnancy progressed. I was always on either my birthing ball or my yoga mat - either bouncing, doing figure eights or stretching my hip flexors and piriformis muscles to release tightness.
After approximately 10 minutes we were escorted into a birthing suite for a check up. We were seen by a lovely midwife named Hannah who had just moved from Westmead.
Hannah checked baby’s heart rate, my pad for any signs of infection etc. and monitored my
contractions, as it wasn’t visibly obvious that I was experiencing any. By about 8.30am I was
experiencing about 8 contractions every 10 minutes but I was lying there on the bed so calm and making conversation with my husband that she was thinking this was really early days still.
The doctor came in shortly before 9am and spoke to us about induction dates, but in my head I was thinking, ‘why are they even talking about induction, don’t they know I am birthing this baby today?’
So we were dismissed from the hospital and the midwives were apparently placing their bets on when I’d be back, with the majority insisting we would be back overnight sometime. In hindsight we probably should have stayed at the hospital!
As soon as I got off the bed and we started exiting the hospital the surges really started to
intensify. Thinking the stairs would be a fantastic idea we decided to take them. I had to stop
multiple times for the surges to do their thing and then we carried on back to the car. A few minutes down the road and I was in full blown established labour and being in the car was
so not where I wanted to be but I popped on my hypnobirthing tracks to try and get in the zone.
I then told Aaron I thought we should turn around and head back to the hospital but Jade told us to go home and hop in the shower and for Aaron to try and make me as comfortable as possible. I realise now that I should have trusted my gut and spoken up but I had never done this before and had no idea what to expect! I was still thinking this would go on for hours.
As soon as we got home I felt so sick in the stomach and went straight for the toilet, where I
vomited a number of times. Then I emptied my bowels completely and threw up once more. I was shaking and on all fours in our bedroom and Aaron was doing everything he could to make me comfortable but I was beyond that point, the surges were coming in hard and fast and Jade had asked Aaron to start timing them. They were lasting about 60 seconds with barely any gap between them. It was intense. It was at this point I felt the need to bare down and when Jade told Aaron she would be at our house in 30 minutes and to sit tight I thought ‘nuh uh, we need to go to the hospital NOW or this baby will be born in our bed’ - and I was not prepared to sacrifice our silk duvet lol.
Aaron helped me to the car and as soon as he started her up I felt a massive surge and baby’s
head just drop. I let out a huge moan and told Aaron ‘baby is coming!’ He called the hospital immediately and they said they would send for an ambulance but Aaron knew he could make it to the hospital faster so off we went. How uncomfortable!
But I focused my energy inward, breathing deeply and powerfully between surges, exactly how I had been practicing during my pregnancy.
Aaron deserves a medal for the way he manoeuvred our car to the hospital! To my relief people kindly obliged to his flashing headlights and erratic lane splitting... they must have figured it was the direct route to the hospital.
While in the car I felt baby’s head really wanting to push through so I removed my undies and I think at this point Aaron was on the phone to Jade and she suddenly realised she may miss this birth! Nevertheless we arrived at the same time and Aaron wheeled me straight to the birthing unit, only they took us to a room with no birth pool, so I asked politely if any suites with baths were available and they moved us right away. As soon as we entered the room I grasped the end of the bed and leaned over it, holding in the urge to push while the midwives filled the bath. It was about half full when I jumped in and 14 minutes later (a few contractions for the head and 1 for the body) our baby girl was born.
I’d take this time to mention how amazingly calm, attentive and affectionate my husband was during this whole time. He was a rock and I could not have done everything as well as I did without him by my side.
The midwife passed her to me and the 3 of us cuddled while I received the syntocinon injection in my arm. I was moved to the bed and my placenta was birthed 9 minutes later. The discharge notes conclude that the whole labour, stages 2 and 3, lasted a total of 23 minutes. The midwives couldn’t believe it was our first baby, they were in as much shock as we were! And Jade, who whipped out her camera just in time to capture baby coming out, was in humble disbelief and couldn’t stop laughing. I didn’t think I had done anything amazing at the time but now that I reflect on the morning, it was a pretty special birth experience and a pretty special girl was welcomed into the world 3 weeks early. Her name is Luca-Blue Buyink.
It didn’t happen by chance though, I really prepared for this birth like any other physical challenge. My daily routine would consist of listening to the hypnobirthing tracks, deep breathing and meditation, daily walks, swimming laps in the ocean pool, resistance training, yoga with a focus on hip opening stretches, bouncing on the birth ball and practicing rebozo sift every night. I ate dates, drank red raspberry leaf tea, was having plenty of sex and had started inserting evening primrose oil and diffusing clary sage (although I only got to diffuse this once, the night before I went into labour!)
Thank you Kath for your wonderful course that I feel prepared me mentally and emotionally for this surreal experience!
Paije & Luca-Blue xx