Category Archives: Birth Stories

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A happy hospital delivery

My name is Niki and I would like to share my birth story with you. Mum = Niki, Dad = Peter, Brother = Logan 16th March 2001, Bubby = Charlie Stephen. I had a pretty good pregnancy other then the sickness I suffered from 8:30pm of a night time for the first 13 weeks, once I got past 14 weeks I was feeling great, at 25 weeks I was suffering from bad Braxton Hicks and was told to take it VERY easy (which is hard to do with a 3 year old). At 18 weeks I had my first scan which confirmed I was due on the 28 May 2004.


On the 26th of April I was getting Braxton Hicks again which lasted on and off for 4 days. I thought it was only happening due to the little bit a stress I was under, but On Friday the 30th of April I woke up at 4.00am feeling very jittery. I got up and went for a walk around the house and went back to bed. I woke again a 8.30am and was laying in bed when I felt a small trickle of fluid on my legs, with a bit of a panic I jumped up out of bed to run down to the toilet when woooossshhh my waters broke (our 3 year son standing there asking me why I spilt my drink) LOL God bless him.


So I rang the hospital and they told me to go up there straight away as I still wasn't due for 4 weeks. By 11.00am I was having contraction every 2-minutes apart. The doctor come to do a internal to make sure everything was ok and to see if I had dilated at all which I hadn't. He told me if I didn't start dilating by myself by 4:00pm he would put me on a drip to get things going. By 4.00pm I was having contractions every 1-2 minutes apart and were so strong I was having a hard time concentrating on anythin. They did another internal to find I wasn't dilating and was still only at 1cm.


The midwife told me to go and have a shower and walk around a little as they would preferred me to get things on the roll myself. Ohhhh the hot shower was a god sent, I was in there for over a hour and I didn't want to hop out, the warm water running over my back was lovely. I told my partner that I thought I needed something for the pain as I was so tired and had been having contractions for the last 5 hours and nothing was happening, the nurses gave my 2 Panadol and a sleeping tablet and told me to get some rest (I was able to get a little rest but not a great deal). At 11.00pm I decided I was going back to the shower and they were not going to stop me I just wanted this baby out, at 11.30 the midwife told me she wanted to do another internal as I was feeling some urges that I wanted to push but to there surprise I was still only dilated to 5cms. At this stage my contractions were so strong that I couldn't stand when I had one so I asked for some pain relief so they gave me a injection of pethidine.


When the midwife returned at 11.50pm I kept saying I wanted to push, so she told me to hope out of the shower again and that she would give me 1 more internal and if I hadn't dilated she was going to get the doctor as my blood pressure had got a little to high for there liking, She didn't complete the internal as she said she could feel a head, YYYYAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.


After 1 hour and 5 minutes of pushing we finally got a little boy. The doctor was present for the birth due to him being 4 weeks early. They took him straight over to the table because he needed assistance with his breathing. Peter(Dad) cut the cord and they bought him over to me, he was so small weighing in at 2540 grams. The first thing I notices was his blonde hair and his little baby pinky finger which is bent like mine and my fathers. It was a great experience and would do it again.


Name: Charlie Stephen D.O.B: 1st of May 2004, Time:1.06 am, length: 47cms head circumference – 32.5cms. Charlie was in a humidity crib for 4 hours and was then in special care for a week, the little bugger wouldn't, but suck once he got the hang of it he hasn't stopped. He is now 4 months old in a couple of days, weighing 7.2 kgs, he is our little porky!

Mentally, Physically and Spiritually Prepared

After 9 months of a wondrous vibrant and fit pregnancy, and now weeks after the incredulous birthing event, I share with you our story of welcome: Friday 21st. The winter solstice saw the start of minor 'expansions' (contractions) that evening.


The movements of preparation gently prepared me for the days to follow… Saturday 22nd birthing expansions were regular and continuous. There was no doubt that action had started, and that it was time to seriously pack my bags. I had my father arrive early in the morning and share with me a Bowen's and Myofacial adjustment. My mother arrived from Cooma NSW, later in the afternoon (inspired to come via her intuition), and concluded the day with sharing a Reiki treatment. The expansions were continuous through-out the day, 5 – 10 minutes apart. Sunday 23rd (my sister Lillian's birthday), I experienced the mucus plug coming away as I was making a big batch of veggie juice.


Oh well, no floatation tank today after all! It was definitely all happening. My brother Pat came down to see me for the last time with my wonderful big belly baby bump! He gave me a lovely back wash as I luxuriated in the bathtub. That afternoon, we had a rehearsal trip to Leongatha hospital (20 mins away) on the midwives request as I had had some bleeding which they wanted to check. A good friend Paul was our driver. After being monitored at the hospital, we were assured all was well and were sent home. That evening the expansions stepped up a notch or two at about 11pm. Determined to get some sleep prior to the 'big event' and not wanting to create disturbance at the hospital, I attached my TENS machine (sends electrical impulses into muscles and nerves; natural pain management method), took Herron (paracetamol), and retreated to bed and listened to my birthing hypnotherapy CD – which I listened to 3 times during the next number of hours.


At 3am I woke Rob to wake our dear friend Wendy, requesting more Herron and bananas! After a quick trip around the corner, Rob returned with the supplies, and rest continued in preparation. Expansions continued, but I managed to tune into stillness, peace and breathing. June 24 (Birthday of my brother Milton's first born, Jaimi Lear) Our baby's actual due date…. 6am There was no holding back any more. Expansions were now about a minute apart. I woke Robin, saying: 'it's time to go now!' The drive to the hospital went by very quickly, as I straddled the chair breathing through the regular expansions. By 7am, we were at the hospital ready for the full birthing experience! What a magnificent day! Such strong connected energy. I felt mentally, physically and spiritually prepared and ready. We phoned my mum, and Wendy who were invited to attend. Rob was magnificent. We set the room up with the crock pot with essential oils, my herbal mix, homeopathics, flower essences, got the chanting and toning CD's playing, and enjoyed expansions as they came and went, whilst controlling the intensity of the TENS machine.


So much humor and joy accompanied each one. An amazing experience to surrender to the passage, knowing that ultimately my body was a birthing apparatus and it knew what to do. I allowed my voice to travel with each expansion, voicing ancient, tribal, primitive, wacky, whistling, tones – whatever seemed to come though. Rob massaged me vigorously, playing my body as drums when inspired, making the tones vibrate within me. I felt so connected with his touch, feeling his strength and love strengthen my connection with my journey. I visualised the lotus flower opening, spirals, and felt the presence of so many blessed ones. The energy and power was a complete experience. Sunlight streamed through the windows filling me with fire and light and radiance.


I felt so conscious and clear through the whole process, delighting in welcoming each wave as it washed through me, humor and laughter accompanying each stage. There was such a sense of harmony and joy throughout, with everyone who was present, contributing perfectly and sensitively, honoring and witnessing the blessed event. The only time I swore!: Between a contraction, Rob decided to replace the weak battery in the TENS machine, with a new one. But he didn't turn the machine off as he made the replacement – and it was turned to maximum 10! As I was jerked around the room as intense electrical currents passed through me, I managed to exclaim my single swear word with unexpected vigor! By 3pm, the doctor decided he'd better check my dilation for the first time, as he thought that perhaps I wasn't progressing – each time he came in, I was having such a good time! Much to his surprise, I was fully dilated and ready to give birth! How long had I already been at this stage? But the waters hadn't broken, and I had no urge to push.


I was encouraged to push, and push and push and push! 4 and a half hours later after an incredible effort and connection with everyone in the room pushing with me, it was established that the baby's head was presenting side on and needed some help. The 'French Vontouse Suction Cap' was attached to the baby's head, and we were on our way! 7.43 pm Full Moon evening! As I discovered my primal scream, I discovered that I had given birth to a miracle of Love. What an amazing experience. An eight and a half pound baby was nestled into my arms, and directed to my breasts where it suckled contently.


A doctor asks 'Does anyone know what sex this baby is?' So we look – and to our enormous surprise – identify a penis! It's a boy! This brought much exclamation and laughter as we all thought it was definitely a girl throughout the pregnancy. The ultrasound also confirmed these instincts saying 79% certain a girl. Well – wrong! It's a boy! 'What will you call him?' the doctor asks…Rob reply's 'Well if it was a girl she was to be Ella – so perhaps we should put an 'f' in front and call him 'Fella'. His humor continued even in the most intense of moments! 'You name your son', I say to Robin, and he replies in all seriousness 'Lachlan'. We quietly baptized Lachlan with the Australian bush flower essences – Fringed Violet and She Oak. And so, Lachy is Lucky! and what a lucky fella!


My moment of bliss was watching Robin holding his son, gazing endlessly and completely with absolute joy and amazement honoring and welcoming this beautiful pure being of Love into our lives. What a strong and magnificent experience and initiation of transition, woman, mother, and Life! Rob began working on a song that came through, a couple of weeks prior to the birthing and its name was 'Strident'. After the birthing, it all made sense – definitely a strident experience, and infant. A friend phoned with the details of numerology and birth date details.


Apparently the day of June 24 is 'The Day of the Blissful Wizard'. An appropriate summation of the energy of this child. Such a powerful peaceful delight. So, I share with you this magnificent experience. The joy continues. Breastfeeding is flowing smoothly now, after the enormity of the huge watermelons as the milk came in. Wonderful to be home after 6 days in hospital – the luxury of a country hospital. A routine of sorts is now established in our cozy home. Loving the winter time as it is so nesty and appropriate for the reclusiveness of the adjustment and changes. We embrace the next stage of our lives together, as a family, in love, content, complete. Blessings and Joy, The Sloan Family

A Scheduled Cesarean Birth



There was something very reassuring about knowing exactly what was going to happen, and when it was going to happen. I had discussed the birth with my obstetrician, and he had recommended I have another c-section. Ned was born after days of home labour with a midwife, pain and frustration, a transfer to hospital an epidural and a c-section. I was so tired by the time I reached the hospital that I wanted someone else to do it all, conk me over the head and hand me the baby, which is pretty much what happened really. I had been terrified by the idea of surgery, but when it all happened I was very calm. Baby Ned was in great shape, feeding was a breeze, and I recovered quickly and got home in 4 days. Mark and I and the two grandmothers arrived at the hospital for my early morning appointment. I’d had a great night’s sleep and joked with Mark in the waiting room about how much fresher we were both feeling than with the last birth.


We waited for ages, filled in the usual forms and were eventually ushered to a nice room on the Maternity Ward. I got into the robe and took off my toenail polish with the acetone a nurse fetched for me. Everyone flapped around fetching coffees and muffins and newspapers while I unpacked my huge bag of baby and mummy stuff. I was looking forward to a few days of sleep and rest, with someone else doing all the cooking and cleaning. I was particularly looking forward to changing a tiny co-operative babies nappies, instead of wrestling a 14kg toddler to the ground while hugely pregnant.


Days before I had been to the hospital to give a blood sample and talk to the anaesthetist about the procedure. After loads of paperwork, and endless visits to the doctor, I was so ready to see my baby. I was fitted with a canula in my right hand, and popped onto a trolley bed, it was suddenly time. Everybody at RPA was very friendly, and I did not feel nervous at all. Mark was ushered out of the theatre ante room while I had my spinal anaesthetic, they rolled me onto my side, washed my back and shot a local anaesthetic in first, then warned me to remain perfectly still while the big needle went in. This bit was a bit scary, I was glad Mark was not there to see me looking so apprehensive.


I could hear and smell another operation going on while I waited, and I lifted my head up to read the surgery list. Someone was getting warts burned off, and that was what I could smell. How revolting! I was nervous as I entered the operating theatre. I could still move my feet, and I could still feel them a bit, I was really worried that they would start cutting me when I could still feel it. Before they put the covering sheet up, I could see my abdomen’s reflection in the large overhead light. I could not help watching as they shaved my body and washed it down with iodine. You feel a bit like a bit of meat on that slab, its cold and nobody talks to you much. Dr Sutherland arrived and greeted me, so I knew things must be about to begin.


Mark had returned and was wearing the surgical gown and silly hat like all the other people in the room. I had forgotten that you actually CAN feel the operation in some ways, it is rather frightening though there is no pain, you feel tugging and pulling, they push down on you and talk in low quick voices. To ease the tension I said to Mark in a dramatic tone “Just look what I go through to bear your child darling… I wouldn’t do this for anyone else you know. ” When baby came out, they brought her around the curtain and showed us that we had a little girl. She was screaming with a sound of absolute outrage, and Mark took a short video of her, pale and soft and a bit bloody, screaming on a pile of cotton blankets. I smiled at her and said “hello Rose”.


I changed my mind the next day and called her Lucy. I had no idea until I knew Lucy was a girl that I had longed to have a little girl. I felt so lucky. There is this whole new layer of parenting that you discover when you have a second child. Most people have two or one (or none!) kids these days, so there is often a real longing to have one of each sex. People even ask how you did it! The pediatrics team checked Lucy over quickly and wrapped her up and handed her to Mark. We were able to admire her and get a couple of photos while they stitched me up. The stitching seemed to take a long time, Dr Sutherland removed the old scar and did a nice job putting it all back together. Lucy looked so cute, I fell in love in a heartbeat. She looked a lot like Ned, but with a thatch of dark hair. Feelings of nostalgia for his first few days washed over me. I was taken to recovery for a short while, before being returned to my room to wait for Lucy and Mark and the happy grandmothers.


Except for the joy of falling in love with a baby again, the rest of the day is blurry, I had been given morphine, and there were phone calls and visits and breastfeeds, but it is all rather fuzzy. This second time of having a new baby has been so different. Lucy is an avid deep sleeper, she is quite happy to amuse herself for long periods of time. She sleeps beside me, and wriggles up next to me, grunting and thrashing her arms when she wants me. She’s growing plump and round on my milk, and seems happy and content. Her dad is also madly in love, and Ned can’t keep his hands off her. The biggest difference this time is in me, I spend less time fretting and worrying, I enjoy her more, and that ghastly period of adjusting your thinking from being self-centred to being child-centred is missing, because I have been in that mode for years now.


I was home from hospital in four days, and settled into the baby life again, though this time I have my active little boy as well, and he is very happy to help mum out when she has too much milk!! Lucy Rose by Anne Lucy Rose Born 25/9/2003 Mum – Anne, Dad – Mark Big Brother – Ned (14/8/2001)

JOSEPH – arrived breech by caesarian



On 29 December 2003, John and I went for our routine 37½ week obstetrician visit where we were told that our baby was still in the breech position. If nothing changed, and provided I didn’t go into labour first, we were booked in to have a caesarian 10 days later. I was devastated. I knew earlier on that it was unlikely bub’s would turn, but I really had my heart set on a vaginal delivery. I had actually been looking forward to the “panic” when my contractions started, and was also keen to see how well I would cope with the whole experience. Not only had I felt mentally prepared for the birth, thanks mostly to my Byron Bay experience, but I also felt physically prepared – I even had two separate bags packed, one for the labour ward and one for the hospital stay. I asked my doctor, whom I had utmost faith in, whether he would consider a vaginal breech delivery, but as I expected he wasn’t keen with the position bubby was in.


He explained the complications that are usually involved and that it would be an assisted delivery in any case, and even worse, could end up as an emergency caesar.The thought of going through hours of labour and ending up on the operating table was my greatest fear. I couldn’t help feeling disappointed though, like there was something I may have done differently.A few days later I started doing some research on the internet in relation to breech babies to see if there was possibly something I could do now to manipulate the baby. Most of the sites offered suggestions that I started to consider, until I came across an article that suddenly changed my way of thinking.This article, backed up by studies, pointed out that in most cases, there is a perfectly good reason the baby has not yet turned.For example, the placenta may be in the way, or the position of the umbilical chord is such that if the baby did turn it would wrap around his or her neck. It was then that I decided to forget about disappointment and start focusing on the positives of the situation, and let nature take its course.John and I were about to become parents to a beautiful new baby, and it really didn’t matter how the delivery was performed so long as everyone was healthy!!


There were lots of positives really – we now knew the exact date (8th January 2004, which we decided to keep as a complete secret) and therefore we could spend the night before doing something special together, then I could wash my hair, do my nails etc and try to get an early night ready for the “big day” ahead.And, as one of the ladies in Byron put it when telling her birth story, I would still have a “honeymoon fresh vagina”!! Of course, deep down, I was still hoping that bubby would turn at the last minute and we could cancel the surgery altogether, but I certainly wasn’t going to dwell on it.


Leading up to the big day I was finding it increasingly difficult to fib to everyone about when I was seeing the doctor next and whether or not the baby had turned.This was made even worse when the girls next door put together a “baby betting pool” for everyone to try and guess the birth date – I could have boxed John’s head off when he picked the 8th, he’s such a cheat!Typically though, John thought this was funny and never really intended to win on that basis, but just wanted to see everyone’s reaction after the news was out.


Well, he outsmarted himself this time as the day before the 8th, we were told that unfortunately the theatres were fully booked for that day and so we would have to wait till the day after!!So the new date was now Friday the 9th of January 2004 – the day my Dad had picked.This meant I had to wait yet another day and tell even more fibs!! I was finding it extremely hard to sleep leading up to the “big day”, I was so full of excitement and anticipation.John and I went to the movies on the night before and this helped to take my mind off things for a few hours at least.


I woke at 5am on the 9th and decided I couldn’t wait any longer to tell Mum, Dad and Mick, so I phoned them at 6 o’clock.Mum said she had suspected something was going on, I’m such a bad liar!!They were so excited and Dad decided to take a half-day so they could come and see me as soon as possible after the birth. We arrived at the hospital at 8:30am and Katrina, our lovely midwife, put a monitor on me to check bub’s heartbeat and we were taken to theatre at about 9:30.Our anaesthetist Elizabeth and her assistant Sarah were just lovely, they both made us feel relaxed and totally confident about the procedure. Once the spinal block was in we were ready for action.Dr Boyce arrived at 10:30am and pretty much started straight away.I remember feeling completely at ease and in good hands when I saw him arrive. At 10:52am our beautiful, healthy little boy was born.


He was a massive 4.106kg and 51.5cm long – this explained why he had little room to move inside me!! Nobody would have guessed I was having such a huge baby, as I didn’t really look that big when pregnant. The moment John and I saw our beautiful little Joseph will remain in my mind forever.John, having only daughters from a previous marriage, was quietly praying for his little boy – and now he had arrived. Dr Boyce didn’t announce the sex, he just held him up for us to see.We looked at each other and both said, “we have a son!” through many tears and smiles – the greatest moment of my life so far.


After Joseph was delivered, I felt lots more “tugging” going on and asked Dr Boyce what was happening. My placenta had lodged itself in the wall of my uterus and they were having all sorts of trouble removing it. At the time I was so euphoric from the birth, that I hadn’t quite comprehended this, but when Dr Boyce came to see me later he explained that even if I were able to deliver Joseph vaginally (as he knew I had really wanted), I would never had birthed the placenta that way and would have ended up in surgery anyway, possibly under general anaesthetic!! It was then that I realised Joseph had done us both an enormous favour by not turning and as I have always believed, everything happens for a reason. Mother nature is a funny thing and in most cases, we should just let it take its course rather than trying to change things to suit our own agenda. John and I are so lucky to have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy and we couldn’t be happier, I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together.


Joseph by Karen Schmitzer. 9 January 2004

Waiting for Scout – A Natural Induction

THIS IS A GREAT STORY IF YOU ARE FEELING PRESSURE TO INDUCE YOUR BABY AFTER 40 WEEKS – But still don’t want to but are willing to explore “Natural” Ways of Inducing your baby.


What must carry the most weight in Scout’s birth story is not the birth itself, as that was quite short and incredibly sweet, but rather the story of the wait for her to decide when she would come into the world. From the start, the pregnancy progressed perfectly. We had planned a home birth, with Jane and Robyn the attending midwives. Our rather traumatic experiences with the birth of our first child Eddie, which had been planned as a Birth Centre delivery, but had ended 20 hours later, after a botched episiotomy, in the labour ward of King George with suction and an unnecessary three day stay in the nursery for our son, had convinced us of the risks of giving birth anywhere near a hospital.


We were in no doubt of the healthy female body’s innate ability to successfully give birth, and we were all too aware of the medical establishments predilection to interference and overkill, and their disdain for the natural (after all, they want to be needed). This time we were determined to have nothing whatsoever to do with the hospital, and up until week 41 we were completely successful. That was when we approached the danger zone of being ‘overdue’. If we had been in the hospital system, at that time there would already have been intense pressure for an induction. Eddie had also been overdue by about 12 days, and labour had actually started the night before a hospital induction was planned.


This time the midwives were aware of Pernille’s tendency to go over, and our due date was thus calculated, using the dates of a positive and negative pregnancy test, as well as the highly probable day of conception. This date was 10 days later than the hospital’s rigid and totally inaccurate method based on the last menstrual date, and was to become a major factor of contention later on. As we approached 41 weeks by our reckoning, our midwives recommended that we begin regular ctgs and scanning at the hospital. We were apprehensive to say the least, but caution (or was it fear?) got the better of us, and we decided it was wise. A big problem for us was to keep an objective distance to our own decisions, as we were heavily influenced by our previous experiences.


On the Thursday after, at 41+5 days we found ourselves at KGV. The nurse at the hospital, to our surprise, was supportive and friendly. The results were perfect, showing a healthy, reactive baby and a deep pool of amniotic fluid. There was simply no reason not to continue waiting.


We left the hospital a little disappointed that we had needed to be ‘monitored’ but relieved that all was as it should be. The next day at the midwife we were made aware of the statistical risks of going overdue, but to my ear they sounded very small compared to the risks and complications associated with inductions. An induction as well, we realised, would mean the end of any chance for a home birth. Robyn spoke of deciding where our ‘line in the sand’ was, but we were having trouble drawing such a line. We just wanted to wait. We couldn’t imagine at this point that we’d ever get to that point. Over the weekend we began using natural methods of induction, but only in a half-hearted way. We began with the usual. Walking, sex, aromatherapy with Clary sage, massage.


Pernille could sense that labour was close, but not imminent. But the weekend came and went, and still there was no movement. We rang to make an appointment for another scan on the Monday morning, but decided to make it for late Wednesday to give ourselves a few days breathing room and to avoid the pressure we felt was coming our way. A birth we had not at all envisaged was beginning to seem more of likelihood than a mere possibility, and this sudden, disturbing realisation spurred us into immediate action. We began to get serious about ‘natural’ induction. Despite this term being a complete oxymoron, we saw these methods being very natural as opposed to the chemical methods available in the labour ward. All in all it seemed to be the best way forward to achieve our desired outcome.


We arranged for an acupuncture appointment that afternoon. After that and a long walk, Pernille got mild contractions that evening, but after a few hours they subsided and disappeared. Pernille was starting to feel the stress as well, and her emotional state took a sharp dive. The fears of ending up with interventions and dubious medical outcomes began to plague her. I tried to reassure her but I was just as worried. Tuesday rolled around and we began to leave the phone off the hook, to avoid family and friends too impatient to wait for news. We had an appointment with Jane that day. We were 42+3. There was more talk of statistics and lines in the sand, and she recommended we book an induction for Friday, even though she was confident we would go before. We were forever trying to push things into the future, and wanted to book for the Monday if an induction was to become necessary. Jane massaged evening primrose oil on Pernille’s cervix and found that it was already 2cm dilated.


I still felt at this time that we should not go over 43 weeks, which was on the Saturday, but Pernille was not so sure. Her deepest instincts told her that the baby was fine, and she told me she could not be sure she would even agree to an induction on the Monday. I was quite emotional that afternoon, as my deepest fears were uncovered. While Pernille rested I went on the Internet and began to do my own research, so I could form a more balanced opinion; one not based on fear. Slowly that afternoon my fear receded, and in its place grew a trust in Pernille’s instincts, a trust in the female body, and a renewed scepticism of the motives and validity of hospital methods and arguments. I found well-researched reports that completely contradicted the statistics I had been given. I found food for thought that slowly, subconsciously was turning my attitude 180 degrees. That evening everything was on the menu. We began to worry we might be overdoing it. Acupuncture, walking, sex, aromatherapy, massage with Clary Sage… The poor baby was being bombarded with pressure to come out, despite our own deepest wishes.


That night we went to sleep that night worrying about the next day at the hospital. Wednesday morning was for more acupuncture, which again had Pernille feeling something was happening. We arrived at the hospital that afternoon in a tense state of mind, and the attitude we received was also notably colder. Again the ctg showed an active, happy baby, and the scan had also positive results, despite the fact it took them nearly an hour to get what they wanted (because our baby was moving so much :)). But good results were not enough for the hospital. It was obvious to me by the demeanour of the hospital staff alone, that a positive ctg and scan had no influence on their attitude. We had suddenly landed in a war zone.


I thought immediately of the report I had read the day before. A Scandinavian researcher Bergsjø had written: By introducing routine intervention, we tend to dismiss our clinical watchfulness . . . Our most common sin is that we do not pay attention to clinical detail … We were made to wait almost an hour for a registrar to come and talk to us. By this time, after three hours in the hospital with a tiring toddler, I began to feel very stubborn and hardened my mind to what I knew was coming. Then the doctor came and opened his mouth and set my stubbornness in stone. He started by saying we were 44 weeks. We corrected him to our due date on the papers, and much to our surprise and disgust, he tried to attack our midwives credibility saying they were not accredited at the hospital and that we were in fact 44 weeks. After arguing with him on this issue, he changed tack. Even if you are 42+4 he said, we still want to induce you. Tonight.


Using his best authoritarian medical voice he spoke of grave dangers without citing any statistics and intimated we were being totally irresponsible about our baby’s welfare. In the end he told us we were taking the responsibility in our own hands (where we wanted it all along) and that it would be noted on our file that we were going against his best medical advice. I was furious. To be talked to like idiots was one thing. To be subjected to their invasive tests and them have them totally ignore the outcomes of those tests was insufferable. He even admitted that induction at 42 weeks was a “convention”.


Pernille was quite distraught and found her resolve weakening by his tough talk, but by this time, I would have none of it. I reassured her in Danish that I would support her 100%. We told the doctor we would not be inducing our child today, thank you very much. To placate the head midwife in the birth centre, who was very friendly and was aware that we wanted a home birth, we booked an induction for the following Monday. It was arranged that even in the event of induction, it was likely the birth could still take place in the Birth Centre. We fled the hospital upset and angry.


Little Eddie was also very upset by this time, feeding as he was off our palpable tensions. I spent the evening on the Internet, continuing to voraciously reading scientific reports, birthing web sites and anything else I could find on the topic. I found a wealth of material, some very supportive of our position, some not so. The end result of my research though, led me to the firm conclusion that if there were no indications to suggest the baby was in distress, the best option was still to wait. After a long discussion with Pernille, we decided that even if we went to Monday we would not induce unless the tests showed there was a reason for it.


Pernille rang Jane to talk about their line in the sand. Her response was that she needed to think about it, talk to Robyn and get back to us. Being professional private midwives practising homebirths in the currently ‘somewhat hostile’ climate must be a balancing act of supreme skill and caution, and we were aware of the tightening corner they found themselves in. That they must have a line in the sand was therefore perfectly understandable to us, but it left us with the increasingly real possibility of being stranded without support. Chances were we had only 4 days left of support. What the hell, I thought jokingly. Unassisted Childbirth always appealed to me… Before bed I massaged Pernille’s belly with Clary sage, but we couldn’t muster up the mood needed for sex. Again we had trouble sleeping but eventually drifted off into a disturbed slumber.


As fate would have it (or Scout in any case), Pernille woke me at 3.30am the next morning to tell me ‘we were away’. A wave of relief swept over me. In some corner of my mind though, I was upset that it had come to this. Deep down we wanted Scout to come on the day of her own choosing, and I felt that our stress and induction attempts had definitely contributed to her choosing this day. On the other hand I was deliriously happy to have avoided the hospital’s somewhat brutal methods.


Natural induction was what it had come down to, to avoid the hospital’s interference, but I was inwardly seething that we had to do anything to avoid their meddling. I started to prepare to fill the birthing pool we had sitting in our lounge room, but Eddie woke up, and so I dressed him and took him to his ‘support person’, our neighbour Samantha. Upon returning, labour had progressed rapidly and considerably, and I abandoned my efforts to fill the birthing pool. Instead I quickly rang the midwife. To labour at home was very calming, despite the intensity, and the wash of relief we had both experienced left us full of energy for the task. I held Pernille’s weight as she hung off me, and between contractions she rested on the lounge. The contractions were coming fast and furious.


It was a pain a lot more intense than Pernille had experienced with Eddie, and already after an hour or so said she had the urge to push. As our only previous experience of childbirth was a twenty hour labour, we were very surprised, and I suggested she try and hold it a while, but then Jane arrived and told her to ‘go for it’. It was first then I realised the birth of our second child was imminent.


Robyn walked in the door as the head was crowning, and I relocated to take delivery of our baby myself. As the head came out I cradled it in my left hand. Then, while Jane slipped the cord over the head, I positioned my other hand for the arrival of the body. With the next contraction, in an incredible gush of blood, vernix, and heat – with a rush of life itself – our little daughter slid out into my waiting arms. ‘It’s a girl’ I cried, amazed. All the time we had been expecting another boy. I passed her up to Pernille. She cradled the little girl gently at her breast. At first she was not breathing, but no one panicked. We wafted oxygen under her nose to encourage her to come into herself. After less than a minute, her colour came in and her dainty cry filled the room. Of course, we could not control our tears of joy.


The placenta arrived quickly, ten minutes later, perfectly intact and totally free of calcification (a sign of post maturity). The baby, likewise, was well covered in vernix and the amount of wrinkles on the soles of her feet did not indicate post maturity at all. She was perfect, and not a day overdue. Born on the 4th of July I thought with a laugh. We did not weigh her that morning, choosing to let her rest peacefully in her mother’s arms, but the next day she clocked in at 3.820kg. A healthy size, but certainly not overly large. Particularly in respect to her mother being from Denmark, where newborn babies are regularly up around 4kg. Pernille bled quite a bit with the placenta, but again the professionalism of our midwives shone through. There was no panic whatsoever, and within a minute the bleeding had stopped. Shortly after the baby decided it was time to feed, which she did contentedly for over 30 minutes. I went and collected Eddie and brought him to meet his little sister. ‘Baby’ he cried when he saw her, and raced over and gently touched her on the nose. ‘Nose’ he said. With much obvious affection he placed a very sloppy kiss on her head. Everyone smiled.


Between then and now I have had much time to reflect and be thankful that we avoided that which we feared the most. Of course, it is not to say that a hospital outcome would have necessarily been a disaster, and if there was an emergency you couldn’t get us there quick enough. But a natural home birth was what we were after; confident as we were that natural childbirth, if left to its own pace, would deliver us a beautiful and healthy child. The only trouble was avoiding the ‘inductionists’ long enough to let it happen. Scout was born at 6.44am on the 4th of July 2002. By the hospital method of calculation, she was 44 weeks and 1 day. By our calculations she was 42 weeks and 5 days.

Waiting for Scout by Geoff Powell

Birth in Water at Home



After finding out I was pregnant I immediately began researching everything I could about birth and pregnancy, because I knew absolutely nothing! I looked at all sorts of options, including hospital birth, waterbirth and birthing centres. After finding that the local birth centre, which only accepted ‘lowrisk’ women, still had a transfer rate of one in three, I decided on a homebirth. I was fit and healthy and just had an assumption and an expectation that everything would go well. I figured my body knew what to do and I just had to keep myself and other people from interfering with it unnecessarily. I also wanted to keep an open mind about the birth and be flexible enough to just ‘go with the flow’. I saw my research as the collecting of tools which would be available for me to use when the time came – without having my mind set on one particular way of giving birth. My estimated due date came and went and 8-10 days later (depending on whose calculations you use)


I woke up at 1am with low back pain. Initially I thought it was due to the swimming I had done the day before, but it was somehow different, and when I looked at the clock I realized the pains were regularly 10 minutes apart. When I had a show about an hour later I was relieved to be on my way. I was very tired of being hugely pregnant (I gained 25kg!), and I really wanted to meet my baby. So at 2am I did the dishes, tidied the kitchen, and then went back to bed and slept on and off till 7am. About 7am I got up and made a few phone calls. I rang my girlfriend Janet who lives 2 hours away and asked her if she wanted to come to my place.(All through the pregnancy I hadn’t been able to decide whether or not I wanted to have anyone other than John and I and the midwives present, so I had asked Janet to be ‘on standby’. At the last minute I decided that I would really love her to be a part of this special day.)


Janet also had the job of ringing everyone on the phone tree who was going to light candles and say blessings as I went through labour. I also rang Sue, my midwife/birthsupport, and told her what was going on. I then rang my mother who lives overseas to let her know her first grandchild was on their way. We don’t talk on the phone very often, so she started chatting and half an hour later she was still talking. I kept saying, “Mum, I have to go now”, but she kept talking! Finally she said, “You know it’s great that you’re in labour and you’re sitting there talking to me.” I just laughed and said, “Mum, I’m NOT sitting!” I had been pacing up and down the room, and bending over – I was definitely not sitting down! My partner John began filling the birthing pool, which had been waiting in our lounge room for weeks. I was really excited about using it during labour, as I love the water.


I didn’t have my heart set on a waterbirth, as I didn’t know how I was going to feel at the time, but at least it was option if I wanted it. For a while I lay in the lounge room on my side, listening to music. During most of the expansions/contractions I found the most comfortable place to be was lying on my side relaxing, which was a position I had not really expected to be in. Janet, Sue and my other midwife/birthsupport, Penny, arrived just before lunch and about that time I moved to the bedroom – again lying quietly on my side. Sue and Penny popped their heads in now and again to see if I needed anything, but I was really happy just being left alone.


At one point Sue checked me and I was 5cm dilated. I was glad she said that. I wouldn’t have been pleased if it had only been a cm or two. It was good to have a gauge of where I was – half way. My body was working reasonably hard, but it was not painful if I breathed slowly and relaxed. Somewhere in middle to late afternoon I moved out onto the veranda, leaning over the back of a chair and onto the railing. It was a beautiful day and I loved looking at the sun and sky and trees. At this time I would have liked to get in the pool for a bit, but although it was full it wasn’t warm enough yet. I’m not sure how long I was on the veranda. It was at least till 4pm as I remember my neighbour coming home from work and I was aware of him walking up his driveway. He just smiled and waved! Janet was tickling my back between expansions which felt wonderful.


Unfortunately she had to leave, so I asked her to show John what she was doing. I’m sure he did just what she told him, but as soon as he touched me it intensified everything and he had to stop. It was just too much! Then Sue said she was leaving for a while, as she thought I was still a ways off. I said OK, but was aware that she didn’t actually go. I was hanging quietly over the veranda railing, but my shoulders were shaking pretty hard with each expansion. (She said later this was why she stayed.) I had spent almost the whole day lying quietly on my side and apparently Sue thought I was mostly asleep. Not a chance! Just breathing and relaxing and letting my body do its thing. But so far, nothing that I would describe as pain.


At about 5.30pm I headed for the toilet and my body decided it was time for everything to leave the building! I vomited a whole lot of watermelon I had eaten in the afternoon (it seemed like a good idea at the time!) and had diarrhoea too. (When baby was born there were no forewaters, so we think they broke at this time, but aren’t sure.) It felt great to empty my body – I felt cleansed. It was definitely time to get in the pool. Almost as soon as I got into the pool my body began pushing. I had no ‘urge’ to push – my body just did it by itself. I was on all fours and didn’t want to move unless absolutely necessary. Now it was getting pretty intense! I was thinking of all the stories of three pushes and out comes the baby, so I asked Sue, “How many will I need to do?” She just smiled and said, “Oh, are you a numbers girl are you?” You bet I am!! And sometimes my partner John says just the right thing “As many as you need,” was his comment.


An hour and a half later I was still pushing! And it was definitely helping to moan with each exhalation. Sue suggested that it might be time to get out of the pool and have a change of position. A good idea, but it took me a while before I could gather the strength to move. It seemed like a marathon effort to get out. Beside the pool I was still on all fours, but I really needed to be more upright. Damm, I had to move again! As I was getting ready, Sue brought a mirror so I could see baby’s head. This was really helpful as I knew he was almost here. The idea was that John would sit on a chair and I would sit in his lap and lean back against him. This was a great place for John to be, as he is really squeamish and was worried about seeing blood! As soon as I sat up (well, kind of ‘up’ – John was supporting most of my weight) I knew baby would be born very soon! It was really intense. I finally added some of my own conscious pushing, as I didn’t think I could maintain the position for long.


With some final pushing, grunting and a swearword or two, baby Kai was born at 7.30pm – with a big gush and rush all over his father’s feet! He was about 3kg and all long, gangly arms and legs. A beautiful, perfect, peaceful little being, who we grow more in love with every day. Penny took some photos and lit some candles and I got back into the pool, along with Kai and John, so that I could birth the placenta and so Kai could have a floaty, peaceful beginning. The placenta took about 40 minutes, so then it was a nice warm shower for me and straight into my own bed. John cut the cord about 2 hours later, and I was also grateful I had no tearing – just a few little grazes. About 5 days after Kai was born, I went down to the ocean. It was a beautiful calm day and I just relaxed in the water, closed my eyes, and floated. And then I started to laugh! And I couldn’t stop! I was relieved, I was ecstatic, I was grateful. I couldn’t believe that we had experienced a birth that lots of people had told me wasn’t possible. A beautiful, peaceful, relaxed, drug-free home birth.

Birth Video

Born Breech At Home

Well, I am not sure where to start. Having had one very problem and stress free homebirth in London with my first daughter, Grace, the midwife turned up at the same time as Grace did, I really didn’t have much doubt that I would have my next baby at home. However having moved back to Australia I found there is far less support for homebirth here than in the UK. Anyway, we found a wonderful midwife and all was going very well, doing my yoga and very positive that all would be well and there would be absolutely no problem to get in the way of my waterbirth. At about 33 weeks the baby turned into a breech position, I was still not worried as in the second pregnancy the baby often moves.


At 34 weeks I was told that I had severe anaemia and needed a blood transfusion, which I refused and compromised with an iron infusion. Whilst in the hospital I encountered an obstetrician who told me that I was ‘very silly to consider going ahead with a home birth as the baby’s head was stuck under my rib and a normal delivery would be dangerous and harmful to my baby’. It was obvious I would require a caesarean. It was his attitude, along with a lot of negativity from various people around me, excluding my husband, family (especially my mother) and midwives, (Wendy and Tania) that determined I would find out as much as possible about this fear surrounding breech birth. I went home and tried homeopathic and natural remedies including moxibustion, all to no avail. At 37-38 weeks I agreed to try an ECV, fortunately my midwife knew an excellent obstetrician who is a very supportive believer in the woman’s ability to birth naturally and where she is most comfortable, without unnecessary intervention. So when the baby wouldn’t turn we did an ultrasound to determine the position, and found it was a straightforward breech. He said he could see no reason why hospital intervention would be required and was supportive of my decision to go ahead and deliver vaginally and at home. So with all the research and reading I had done and the knowledge that I had two skilled midwives and that I was quite capable of birthing, head first or bottom first, we got ready. I had full support from my wonderful husband and mother and this helped me with my convictions that we could do it.


At about 10.30pm on Tuesday evening I started to get jittery and anxious, shaking and panicking. I remembered from the first one that this happened just before some serious contracting started so I rang Wendy and then my husband who was at work. I also rang my mother as we had decided that it might be a good idea for her to be there in case Grace woke up, also she was keen to see the actual birth. I instructed Ivan (husband) to come home immediately to put up the pool and start filling, which he did. Of course he did a lot of ‘bloke’ things before hand, rigging up all sorts of contraptions to ensure the water was the right temperature and that the hose didn’t fly all over the living room. But he did a very good job and followed my instructions very well. Wendy and Tania live about 45 minutes away so by the time they arrived I was in the pool and having serious contractions very close together, this was midnight. About 5 minutes later I asked if I could push as I really felt I needed to, Wendy told me to do whatever my body told me to do, I was in charge, or rather the baby and my body were.


The water was definitely a help, particularly while pushing and opening up ready for the birth. I must say that pushing out the little bottom was no easier than pushing out a head, it took quite a while in fact. I could feel that it was almost there and then it would come back in! I was trying all that I knew, my yoga breathing, moaning, going into the contractions, all things that worked wonderfully with my first, but for some reason this time I could not find my groove, so to speak. I have no doubt this slowed things down a little as I was getting frustrated, not conducive to labour. But I managed to remind myself of all I had read and allowed myself to feel it all and help my little baby out. I stayed on my knees leaning against the wall of the pool and with quite a few more pushes the bottom and one foot slid out. The second foot was caught a little and needed a few more minutes, but it came. Once the body was out I rested for about 5 minutes, which I find bizarre to think about now. Anyway, the shoulders and head came out very fast, just like Grace’s bottom and legs came out fast the first time.


And it was wonderful, I held her up to my chest and couldn’t believe we had done it, my little baby and I. I spent a good few minutes just marvelling at how beautiful she was, and so alert, very pink, eyes wide open and with healthy lungs! 2.06am Wednesday morning, only 3 hours after I started having heavy contractions. My mum was there and along with my midwives and Ivan (my husband) we just sat looking at her. Grace had managed to sleep through the whole thing!


Finally Wendy suggested we move out of the pool as it was getting cold. So with some help we got out and as I stood the placenta literally fell out. We sat for about an hour or more, with my little girl on my breast and then finally tied the cord off. Wendy uses thread rather than the horrible plastic pegs used in hospitals. We wrapped her up and finally let her dad absorb some of her magic while we did the ‘housekeeping’, I hadn’t torn so needed no stitches, and in fact was able to get up and wee immediately, without any pain! All these things added to my experience of it all being so wonderful.


It took us a couple of days to find Mia’s name, Mia Maisy, but she fits it perfectly.


And I try to tell anyone who wants to listen that breech births do not necessarily mean hospitalisation or caesarean. Given our situation and my faith in myself, the support of my husband, mum, Wendy and Tania, it was definitely the right thing for us.


Thanks for letting me share my wonderful water birth with my very special baby who chose to enter this world feet first.

Kaia Rose (A mother’s story) by Alyssa Rainier

I had an amazing birth experience. I know there are many mothers who probably feel the same way but I also know there are many who have regrets or who were not happy with some aspect of their birthing days. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. My husband, David, and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl on October 29th 2003. We named her Kaia Rose, ‘rose of the earth’. When I hold her in my arms I am in awe. I can hardly believe that this perfect being grew inside me for 9 months. I was so excited to meet my baby that I was having dreams that a little face was pressed against the inside of my belly trying to peer out at me. I knew when my baby was about to be active or change positions and at times when my baby had been sleeping and I needed to know that she was there I would ask her to move or give me a sign that she was OK and she would change her position and I would feel a little flutter of an arm or hand or foot tickle me from the womb. I wanted my husband to experience these things in his own way and I would constantly be telling him when I felt a movement or what I had dreamed. During the night our baby would kick him as we lay side by side and occasionally he would have a dream about our baby too.


As most pregnant women do, I would rub my belly unconsciously and send loving thoughts to her and my heart would skip a beat when I thought of the upcoming birthing day. David and I had prepared for many weeks and I was ready. Now I had to wait until our baby was ready.


My preparation began with reading but I yearned to learn more from other mothers so I quizzed my mum about her births and I quizzed David’s mum and I attentively listened to the birth stories of the women I came into contact with at my workplace. I am a Paediatric nurse and I heard many happy and many sad stories. I found myself crying with a few mothers over their births and the fate of their children and I made a mental checklist of all the things I wanted to avoid during my labour. When I was 29 weeks pregnant I flew to Byron Bay to attend a pregnancy retreat. We had been to Byron in my first trimester and had come across a holistic shop called Natures Child. The owner of the shop was one of the coordinators for the retreat and I picked up a brochure and said to Dave, “this would be perfect, I’d really like to do this!” Dave agreed that it would be great but he felt sad that there wasn’t one established for couples as yet. This retreat gave me confidence and opened my eyes to the type of labour I could have. Not only were our bodies pampered on this retreat but also our minds were expanded and we formed strong bonds with the other women. We cried and laughed together as we discussed our hopes and fears and circumstances. We left the retreat as empowered women who would be making clear choices and decisions about their births and bodies. I made my birth plan shortly after returning to Sydney.


I wanted a natural active labour and birth with as little intervention as possible. I had chosen to have our baby in the Birthing Center at the Royal North Shore Hospital and I was under the care of the team midwives. David was to be my support person along with the midwife scheduled to work that day.


My due dates passed slowly. I did everything I could to encourage Kaia to make an appearance. I tried acupuncture, massage, visualisation, Chinese herbs, eating spicy food, watching action movies, making love at least once a day, walking long distances everyday, nipple stimulation, talking to my baby and still no movement at the station! I wasn’t holding on to any fears and I was concentrating on my visualisations and imagining my cervix as a ripe mango. The midwives at the hospital had to follow their protocol so I had an appointment with the registrar and they said that I had to be induced if the baby didn’t come before the 27th. We negotiated for more time and the date was set for the 29th at 7.30am. This was hard. I hadn’t thought about what I would do if it came to induction. We made it very clear that we wanted the least intervention possible. The team understood and said that my waters could be ruptured in the birth center but if I “failed to progress” I would need a drip with syntocin and I would have to be transferred to the delivery ward. I tried to block this out, I was confidant that I would progress and that there would be no need for artificial hormones. The hospital terminology could have been confronting but I focused on my birth plan and discussed the cascade of intervention with Dave and all the things we wanted to avoid. In my mind I focused on surrendering to the birth, trusting that I would have the birth I was meant to have.


On the 29th Dave and I arrived at the Birthing Center and met our midwife, Karen, and a trainee midwife, Katrina. We knew Karen from our clinic visits and I was really pleased to see that she was assigned to us. The doctor ruptured my membranes just after 9am. I was a little nervous, this was the point of no return but I was eager to get things moving. It wasn’t long until strong Braxton Hicks type contractions began. I was still moving around easily and talking to Dave. At Karen’s suggestion we took a walk. We walked around the cemetery that we could see from our window. This was a great place to walk because no one was around and I could be as slow as I liked and there weren’t any distractions, just flowers, headstones and us! The contractions intensified quickly. We couldn’t time them because they were quite erratic. Some were stronger than others. Within an hour I was finding it hard to concentrate on anything but the contractions and my breathing. The pain was increasing – it was like intense period pain, mostly in my lower back and my lower abdomen. When the amniotic fluid began to drip down my legs I decided it was time to return to our room. The return trip was slow. I took baby steps through the gardens and car park and finally up the stairs (I wasn’t going to wait for the lift!) to the birthing center. Karen met us as we returned to the ward and asked us how we were getting along. Dave gave Karen the rundown when we got back to our room and she remained with us quietly observing us through my contractions. I was using visualisation and breathing techniques I had learned in yoga. There wasn’t a break between contractions, the pain never subsided, it just decreased slightly in intensity. Due to this I was unable to find a comfortable resting position. Squatting and sitting were out of the question as these positions resulted in very intense contractions.


I kept thinking, ‘isn’t there supposed to be a break between them, I thought there wouldn’t be this much discomfort between them’. I spent most of the next hour leaning over the bed, swaying my hips and bending my knees in a rhythmic motion. Karen brought in a beanbag and mat for the floor. This was great because I could lean forward during contractions and then rest back on my legs afterwards. Dave was giving me sips of water and lemon cordial to help maintain my hydration. I was quite nauseated and I couldn’t fathom the thought of food. Dave also tried to use my essential oils, I had been particularly fond of citrus smells during the last few weeks but now the smell of lime from across the room turned my stomach and I threw the scented tissue away from me. He tried to massage my lower back between contractions but because they were so erratic and we couldn’t predict when the next one would come I did not find this very useful. Heat helped a little but I couldn’t stand anything on me during the contractions so again this didn’t help very much.


At 1pm Karen needed me to transfer to the bed for the progress check. This was crunch time – if my cervix wasn’t 5cm dilated the medical team would want to speed things along. I barely thought about this, however, I had surrendered to the birth, whatever was going to happen would happen and Dave and I would work together. Transferring to the bed was easy enough but lying on my back was nearly impossible. It took 3 attempts to finally lay flat. I kept having contractions with double peaks, back to back. After 3 of these contractions I said, “Ok let’s do it now” and Karen performed a speedy check and said, “You’re a lucky girl, you’re 5cm!” With relief I rolled onto all fours for the next contraction and then returned to the beanbag and mat. Karen left to call the obstetrics registrar to let her know of my progress. Dave asked me if I would like to try the bath. I had been very keen to get in the bath on our tour of the center a couple of months ago but right now I didn’t know what I wanted. Looking back I think all I wanted was to be told what to do. I trusted my birth support team; the last thing I wanted to do was make a decision. When Karen returned and suggested I try a bath as well, I agreed. It took me about 10 minutes to reach the tub. As soon as I stood up I had a contraction, it seemed that as soon as one stopped I would have another and another and another. Karen felt my abdomen and said my uterus was strong and that I was having very effective contractions. I mumbled something in reply and thought, ‘they certainly feel effective to me, all that raspberry leaf tea is paying off.’ Finally I was kneeling in the tub. The water felt divine but I was concerned that if I reclined in the tub the contractions would be even more intense. With encouragement from Dave, Karen and Katrina I lay back in the tub and rested against the bath pillow. This was bliss.


Miraculously, the pain between my expansions completely subsided and I was able to completely relax and save my energy for the next one. My eyes were closed. Opening them was out of the question. I was in the zone – concentrating on my breathing and visualisations. With each expansion I imagined climbing a steep slope up a mountain and then reaching a plateau before climbing the next slope. Occasionally I would falter and lose my concentration and I had to pull myself back into the rhythm. I was using my voice now; it helped to let out a moan as I exhaled as slowly as I could. Dave was behind me outside the tub and Karen was beside me. I was aware of their encouraging words and the mantras I had told Dave to say for me: “you are doing what your body was made to do, every contraction brings you closer to seeing our baby” and ” many women have done this, everything is happening just like it should happen”. I found these very comforting.


I had been in the bath for about 30 minutes when my breathing changed, I felt like I had to push. Karen checked me again and said, “I think it’s time to get out now”. I obeyed and I returned to the bean bag and mat and began pushing as Karen prepared the room. Two other midwives joined us. Karen introduced them but all they could see was a bare bum swaying around on the ground, I didn’t care but I did find it rather amusing that I didn’t care! A birthing stool was brought in and I was helped onto it. My eyes were still closed most of the time but I was aware of Dave beside me. The girls were checking the fetal heart rate after every push and I knew it wouldn’t be much longer. I could hear the anxiety in their voices when they could no longer pick up the heart beat and I pushed with all my strength. Dave was waiting to catch the head and with a few more pushes he was holding our baby’s head and with Karen guiding the shoulders out, I heard a brief cry and he lifted our baby onto my chest. Aaaaah the warm soft slippery feeling of her body sliding out was wonderful relief. Our baby was on my chest quietly gazing up at us with wide dark blue eyes. I helped her find my breast and she latched on after a couple of attempts. After a few minutes I asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” None of us had looked. Karen lifted up the towel to let us see for ourselves,” it’s a girl!” What joy! “Dave, shall we call her Kaia Rose?” I asked. He replied, ” Kaia Rose? All right, hello Kaia Rose.”


The placenta was expelled after I was given an injection. I preferred not to have it but Karen seemed concerned that I might bleed too much without it. At this point I didn’t care anymore. Dave cut the cord while I nursed and after a few pushes I felt another warm and slippery gush as the placenta was delivered. It was packed into a bag for us to take home and plant.We were given a few minutes alone while the staff left the room to call the doctor. I was going to need a few stitches. We looked at each other and we both gazed at Kaia in awe. Her nose was a bit squished to the right and her head was a bit cone-like but she was perfect. Kaia was weighed and measured while I was stitched up. I was quite shivery and felt cold so I asked for more warm blankets. I had been so hot before and now my bundle of warmth was with Dave!The next hour sped by as I had the best shower of my life and sucked on lifesavers. I was on the biggest high I had ever experienced. We were transferred to a room on the postpartum floor and all climbed onto the bed. While Dave and Kaia napped I watched them and felt the most intense feelings of love for my family. I was too excited to sleep and I began to replay the birth in my mind. We lay like that for a few hours; we were a family.


I am still amazed at what my body can do. For 9 months it was home to a growing baby, nurturing and holding it, stretching and absorbing the movements from within. My uterus demonstrated its strength and power. Now my body is slowly receding closer to its pre pregnant form. I know I will never be the same as I was before Kaia and yet I do not want to be as I was before. I have gone through not only a physical and physiological change but also an intensely emotional and psychological one. As I move through this postpartum period I find that my love for my family grows more with each passing week. I am the mother bear who will protect her children under every circumstance but I also have a partner who walks beside me and we support each other in our new roles while trying to preserve and strengthen our relationship. I embrace motherhood as I try to keep my mind open to all that our little one will teach me.

Alyssa Rainier


(You may also like to read Kaia Rose, A Fathers Story by Dave, Alyssa’s Partner)

Kaia Rose (A father’s story) by Dave

Alyssa was about 12 days past due and had felt ready for the labour for all of the 12 days. We had tried everything that was recommended to us to help ignite the labour but all to no avail. The curries didn’t work but were thoroughly enjoyed, ditto for the sex. Then when scary movies failed as well, Alyssa tried acupuncture and massage…. Nope. A few long walks and house cleaning sessions later, Alyssa resigned to let the doctors intervene. It was just getting too close to the 2-week over-baked time. This was not a decision we came to lightly. Alyssa hoped to have a completely natural childbirth without medical intervention. We had our fingers crossed that artificially rupturing the membranes would be the only necessary intervention.


So on the morning of Wednesday October 29, 2003, we drove to the Royal North Shore Hospital where we were booked in to the birthing centre. Alyssa was admitted and hooked up the baby heart monitor to make sure everything was ok. Then at 9:15 a doctor broke Alyssa’s waters. The doctor wanted to give Alyssa 4 hours to get into labour on her own before starting an oxytocin drip to really get the contractions going so we were hoping that things would start moving. And move they did. Within a few minutes, Alyssa started feeling strong Braxton-Hicks contractions that accelerated into pre-labour within an hour. In hindsight, I can say that at the beginning of the day I was expecting to be moved out of the birthing centre and put onto the drip so I was really excited about how things had started. A little while later around eleven, the midwife suggested a walk might help. Alyssa was all too keen for a bit of fresh air so we left the birthing centre for a journey that took us to the graveyard beside the hospital.


Now some may call this morbid, but I thought it was a great metaphor for the circle of life. Here we were about to give birth to a new entity walking amongst and getting assistance from the peacefulness of so many experienced lives. The overgrown wildflowers seemed especially vibrant on this spring day and Alyssa found a gentle strength in watching them open to display their brilliant colours in the warming sun. She was able to walk at her own pace and stop to rest through contractions whenever she needed with lots of trees, benches, etc to lean on. I tried to distract Alyssa’s attention between contractions by pointing out interesting and beautiful things but I’m not really sure how successful I was. Soon the constant drip of her leaking amniotic fluid compounded with the increasing intensity of the contractions signaled that the end of the walk was nearing so we circled back to the birthing centre.


A half hour later at one o clock the midwife told Alyssa that she was a lucky girl because she was dilated to 5 centimeters and the contractions were strong and frequent enough to be considered proper labour. So as long as she progressed at least 1 cm per hour they wouldn’t recommend the oxcytocin and would let us stay in the birthing centre. I tried to encourage Alyssa saying that she was halfway there and that things were happening just has they were supposed to, but I’m not sure how consoling this actually was. By now Alyssa’s contractions were coming hard and frequently. We even tried to time them at one point to see if we could help predict them but they were all over the place and many had double and triple peaks. I could see how intense they were as her muscles shook with acute pain. Alyssa was having a hard time finding any respite full stop. While certain positions offered less pain the intervals between contractions were still severely intense. Shortly both the midwife and myself suggested a bath and Alyssa was happy to have anyone tell her what to do as it was taking the full measure of her concentration to just keep her breathing deep and slow. It took some time for Alyssa to move the 5 metres to the bath as she was interrupted every few steps and had to stop to hang on to whatever was closest. As she slowly knelt into the bath though, she was visibly grateful to feel the warm water embrace her lower back. The contractions were still coming but the heat and lack of gravity was helping her to relax outside of the waves of pain. She was even able to lie on her back to allow all of her muscles some relief. Sometimes after a contraction, I let her know that she was that much closer to the end of it… one more contraction that was only a memory.


It was about this time that I almost lost the plot. As the contractions wracked Alyssa’s body, I was finding it increasingly difficult to watch her pain. I remember feeling an overwhelming feeling of admiration and pride for her courage and I was having a difficult time containing this. I could feel my body tensing with her contractions. It was so strong that the only thing that kept me from turning into a blubbering idiot was closing my eyes and just concentrating on holding on to her, just providing her with physical support. I tried to console Alyssa by saying that things were going really well and that she was doing great. This helped me to keep things in perspective and to attune my mind to the big picture.


After only about 30 minutes total time in the bath, the midwife noticed a change in Alyssa’s breathing and asked her if she was feeling an urge to push, which she acknowledged. The midwife did a quick check between contractions and confirmed that, “its time to get out of the bath.” We helped Alyssa out of the bath and within a couple of minutes a couple more midwives came in to help. I was so amazed that it was all happening, that it was all I could do to keep pace. A birthing stool was brought in and eventually we got Alyssa on to it so that gravity could help out a bit. Now the midwives were having Alyssa bear down and push as she felt the urges during contractions. Within minutes the head was crowning. The midwives kept checking the baby’s heart rate between contractions and as the baby progressed through the birth canal they started to have difficulty detecting it. I could tell this made them antsy, as they wanted the baby to come out soon and spend as little time as possible in such a tight passage. Alyssa picked up on this straight away and valiantly closed her eyes and concentrated for the next few minutes on the only thing possible.


As I was going to be helping with the delivery, the midwife asked if I wanted gloves but I said I was happy not to use them if it was ok. She had me come over to the other side and kneel down next her. Then after one mighty push, a small head spattered with blood and a white pasty substance came through. The midwives checked the neck for the umbilical cord and then showed me where and how to hold my hands. With one hand on the forehead and one hand on the back of the head and the midwives hands guiding mine, we moved the head down, and then down, and then down again to get one of the broad shoulders out, and then back up for the other one. Just like that, the rest of the baby slipped easily out and we placed it straight on to Alyssa’s chest with a towel over it. There was a quick cry as the baby’s compressed lungs filled with air for the first time and then silence. Beneath the blonde hair streaked with blood, a pair of deep blue eyes looked around intently past a squished nose.
It was such a calming experience, that it wasn’t until Alyssa asked if it was a boy or girl, that we all realized we hadn’t checked. A quick peek under the blanket revealed a beautiful baby girl! I was so excited that I practically forgot that we weren’t over yet. The midwives recommended a shot of oxytocin to help prevent Alyssa’s uterus from packing up too soon and it would also help to minimize any blood loss from the uterus. Alyssa also had a little tearing and would require stitches. Because of this, we also elected to follow their recommendation to cut the umbilical cord earlier than we had originally planned to expedite Alyssa’s recovery process. This task fell to me and I have to say that even though it seemed easy, it was with reverence that I severed the physical bond between the mother and child and celebrated the official beginning of my daughter’s life.


The rest of the day is a blur of measurements, stitches and elated phone calls. Head 34.5 cm… Mum it’s a girl!!! Weight 3.9 kilos… You have a granddaughter!!! Length 52 cm… Spread the news!!! We named her Kaia Rose. Alyssa had a shower and in no time had actually walked on her own out of the birthing centre and downstairs to the maternity ward. A visit from one set of proud grandparents and an excited sleep later, we were taking our baby girl home.


I remember watching all of the people walking around the streets as we drove home from the hospital and thinking that each of these people went through such an amazing experience too. Soon Kaia would be as old as that schoolgirl, then perhaps grow up like that smartly dressed businesswoman, and perhaps have children like that mother, then later be helped across the street like that grandmother. It was just wonderful to see the start of a new circle of life and know that it will be a part of my circle too.


It is such a surreal feeling as I think back on the experience now. I cannot express the awe and amazement that I have for the birthing process and the woman’s body. In only a few hours a little child went from living so dependently inside of the mother’s body to a independently breathing girl. It was such a powerful and moving experience yet at the same time it occurred so naturally and intuitively. I felt somehow connected with all the people who were experiencing the birth process. It affected me more deeply than I ever could have imagined.


By Dave ( Kaia’s Father)


(You may also like to read Kaia Rose, A Mother’s Story by Alyssa, Dave’s Partner)

Childbirth Videos



Watching a child birth video can be one of the most informative and rewarding experiences of your pregnancy. Child Birth Videos inform, encourage, and empower. While every birth is different, every birth story has a message that can help you discover something that you want, something that you need and something that you desire for your own child birth. Personally, I found myself searching for a good child birth video back in 1995 but I could only find hospital based births with intervention at every stage. I knew this was not the kind of birth I wanted but the kind of child birth video’s that I wanted just didn’t seem to exist.


Asking around, I soon found that some women had filmed their own births and were happy to share this experience with me by lending me their birth videos. This is where I found the powerful images of women birthing with midwives, without intervention and in calm, supportive environments. Birth Videos became a major source of information and support for me. In recent years, we are lucky enough to now have some very well produced birth videos. Midwives are birthing mothers have taken the initiative and understand the importance of how powerful, the image of a positive natural birth can be for pregnant women.


Birth Into Being is one of the most extraordinary Child Birth Videos I have ever seen. In this film, Russian midwives support women birthing in the ocean with dolphins as well as at home. You may not want a birth in the ocean, but you will be inspired by the amount of trust and the connection with nature that these women have. This video shows us what it means to start babies in a life of connection to spirit that is both gentle and powerful. The footage will take your breath away. The concept is so good and pure it will change you. While these techniques are not for everyone, they have the potential to open the door to natural birth for all families and allow them to consider the birth experience in terms of “love, light and consciousness.”


The Art of Birth Video by Shea Caplice is a beautiful documentary that follows four Australian women and their partners as they prepare for and give natural birth. Two are filmed in birth centres and two are filmed at home. Each couple has a unique experience. You can purchase this child birth video from our pre-natal care section in our on-line Pregnancy Shop.


Catherine Young from The Compleat Mother Magazine compiled her readers child birth videos in 1998 into a single video experience. All videos are produced at home so the lighting and sound isn’t great but focus on that and you miss the point of the video. If you want to see how mothers give birth in water, plain and simple, taped in the natural homebirth settings, then by all means, buy this child birth video; you will be glad you did.


Recently, Di Diddle from Victoria in Australia shared her wonderful birth video called Dusty’s Day Out. What a wonderful home birth video this one is! Thank you Di for sharing your birth on video and showing how empowering it can be to deal with the pain of contractions in a humorous, supportive way, with a wonderful home birth outcome.


To see a woman breathing through each contraction, to be held by supportive partners, to birth in water and to be talked to with respect and calm, is how birth is meant to be. I strongly recommend watching as many child birth videos as you can to support your learning journey about pregnancy and birth.


Childbirth videos will be a little confronting for some women, but most women report feeling empowered and more prepared after watching a childbirth video. Trust your intuition on whether this would be beneficial for you.