The Birth of a Mother
Every mother’s experience of pregnancy, birth, feeding and parenthood is completely different and there is such a vast range of ‘normal’. We aim to support all mums across all their experiences, so we’re putting together a collection of birth stories that show motherhood in all its diversity and beauty. We want to inform, share and celebrate all the ways in which a woman becomes a mother. So to kick off our first birth story, I’d like to introduce you to my little munchkin!
My little girl was born weighing 3.2kg and very healthy at 41 weeks. The last week was awful. It was the middle of summer and I was so hot, heavy, cranky and thoroughly over not being able to venture very far from home ‘just in case’.
At 2am New Year’s Eve I felt something like a rubber band snap inside me. I got really excited. This is it! My water broke! I lay there waiting…waiting…waiting.
“Oh, this is bullshit.” I thought. But I figured that I’d better go to the bathroom while I was awake because I’d just need to go in 5 minutes anyway. I got out of bed and pretty much flooded the place!
My mother, who had been on tenterhooks all week at every little twinge, slept through me yelling for her and I had to wrap a towel around me like a nappy and wander into the spare room to wake my parents with the words, “um…I think my water just broke.”
There was then a very exciting trip to the hospital where the nurses checked everything out (with a massive yellow torch!) and then sent me home to await contractions and return many, many hours later for the birth of my daughter.
I was thrilled. It was finally happening! This was it! I got back home at 6am and had some toast – too excited to sleep. This was despite my mother repeatedly telling me I might want to get some rest. Pffft! Who needs to listen to the voice of experience? I was having a baby!
I got a few mild contractions – they felt like back aches and period cramps with heaviness in my muscles – about 20 minutes apart and decided to have a shower and get organised before they got worse – after all I had heaps of time. Right…right?
By the time I got out of the shower I couldn’t walk. My daughter was spine to spine with me and I just wanted to be on all fours to relieve the pressure in my back. My contractions were coming thick and fast and my mother ended up having to dress me because I couldn’t stand up.
“I don’t want to do this – I can’t do this!” I kept saying.
Mum told me, “Well you kind of have to, but this is too fast – we need to get to hospital.” She rang the maternity ward who insisted on speaking to me and all I could get out was that I wanted to push. They asked how long it would take us to get there. They said we may want to hurry.
We left our house about 8am and arrived at the hospital at 9am. It took me 30 minutes to walk up the corridor to the birth suite because I had to keep stopping during contractions. I had no idea of my surroundings or who was around. I was completely within my body and trying to breathe.
My mother stayed with me until my baby’s father arrived and he stayed with us for the birth. The worst part was lying on the bed after Mum left to let him come in. I was alone and all I wanted was to be on my hands and knees. It felt like I couldn’t breathe and there was no one to guide me through it. Having support and reassurance throughout the process was an incredible help.
I was able to get into the shower and had warm water running on my lower back and Bub’s father was spraying warm water on my stomach. I was able to be on my hands and knees and that was the best position for me. As a side note, my little girl’s father is still very proud of himself to this day at being able to juggle a water spout, ice chips and the gas tube!
I had gas throughout the shower and the deep breathing was really calming and gave me something to focus on rather than the contractions. Plus I was pretty high! I asked for a shot of morphine (in an incredibly polite and not demanding manner at all) and they moved me back to the bed.
I then got the pep talk from the midwife. “Ok, you’ve had some morphine and it’s going to kick in soon. You’re running a marathon and this is the first leg. I’ll be getting you to walk around and you need to listen to me and do everything I say because at the end of this you’re going to have a beautiful baby.”
“I need to push.” I moaned. They looked again and I was 10cm dilated and in third stage labour. Then it was all action. I was facing backwards over the bed and Bub’s father was sitting with me. When they could see her head I turned over and they pushed my knee somewhere up around my ear. I had no idea I was so flexible.
We had a paediatrician present due to the morphine being given so close to the birth but there were no adverse effects.
She was born at 12.35pm on New Year’s Eve after three hours of labour. She was beautiful. She is beautiful. She was placed on my chest, all squished, wrinkled and pruney and I fell in love with her. She breastfed for 30 minutes on my chest and then snuggled with her father while I had a shower. I couldn’t believe that she was mine. I found it very overwhelming and surreal.
I had stitches because I pushed too early and someone had their little hand up at her face but apart from that, my labour happened very quickly and intensely. I have a whole new level of respect for the strength and power of the female body.
We would love to gather a collection of birth stories so please email us if you’d like to contribute your own experiences to our community.
A massive thank you to the midwives and staff at RPA Camperdown for their support and making my birth experience a positive one. You guys are rock stars!