Birthing Ember Rose.

Although there were a few false starts, our journey began at around 3pm on Friday 8th February 2019.

After anxiously awaiting this time to begin for weeks, it was hard to truly believe if it was the real deal or not.

I was walking around the house and started feeling extra pressure - the pressure had been getting worse each day so it didn’t excite me too much.

But this time came with severe lightening shoots down from my pelvis and I knew this was different.

Every time I walked I’d feel it.

It didn’t overly pain me, though a possible last trip to the ocean was in order.

Venturing down to the water was a mission to say the least. It was a 38 degree day and the beach was busy.

But getting into that water was a dream.

I made sure I took my camera this time, as I’d still not managed to get husband in a picture with bump and my heart was breaking knowing that opportunity wasn’t lasting much longer. They weren’t perfectly curated shots that we managed to capture, but they are special.

Once we got home, made dinner and layed down to watch Netflix (we had been watching californication at the time) they had died off a little, so going to bed at 9:30pm I didn’t think much of it and sort of just brushed it off as another practice run.

Until I woke at 11:30pm for the toilet

and sitting made the rush come down again.

From then I just knew that I wasn’t going back to sleep.

I didn’t bother waking husband, as I’d remembered the midwives always saying to let him sleep as long as possible, so I did.

From here I began timing each contraction (I actually had to download the app as that was something else I hadn’t yet done!). They began at about 10 minutes apart, lasting 30-40 seconds long.

I started bouncing on my exercise ball, leaning over the bed rocking my hips and pacing the hallway with each wave. A few times I got back in bed to rest, as I knew that only having 2 hours sleep since 5am Thursday morning, I would exhaust myself.

I couldn’t lay back down for long as the discomfort was too much.

I kept progressing throughout the early morning.

Around 5am was when husband woke.

He wasn’t surprised that I was awake, as I’d been waking between 3am-5am every day for weeks.

But letting him know that I had been up since 11:30pm with the surges, he got excited.

He remained awake and helped as much as he could - making me breakfast or just being with me.

We knew we didn’t need to go into the birthing centre just yet as they were still around 8 minutes apart. Though at around 7am husband phoned our midwives to give them the heads up what was happening and to (hopefully) expect us that day.

We were a 20-25 minute drive to the centre so the last thing we wanted was to go in and be sent home because I wasn’t dilated enough.

I continued to progress throughout the day, the intensity increasing with each surge.

Until around 11am, we heard a knock on our front door. It was a saturday morning, who could be knocking?

Nathan opened it to a surprise visit from his dad! Popping in to see how we were and if there was any sign of baby - little did he know, I was currently in labour and she was descending.

This was the only pause we noticed in my progress, though that only last half an hour and I was back to the length of each getting longer and time between getting shorter.

Throughout the day I tried numerous different things to ease the pain.

The shower. A bath. Massage. Inhaling oils on a face washer.

These didn’t seem to do much at all.

Through my surges I’d felt all I could do was curl up a little, somewhat tense, and breathe through them.

I ate a little lunch.

Tried focusing on staying hydrated.

And then it all just started blurring together.

They were getting closer and closer.

The next more intense then the last.

We were still at home.

The only place I could be was my ball now.

I started feeling nauseous.

Again, continuing to get more and more intense.

I was at 16 hours now.

We were still recording every wave.

The past two hours they had been coming every 3-4 minutes, lasting over a minute each.

We knew this was the safe time to start thinking of calling the midwife again.

So husband did and it was definitely time to come in to the birthing centre.

We started packing everything into the car.

I had an urge to tidy up - we were bringing a new soul back with us.. it had to be perfect for her!

As much of a relief it felt heading in to birth our baby, the 25 minute car ride was one thing I was dreading.

I was still feeling nauseous. The surges were so close and so intense.

I sat in the back seat, forward onto the back of the drivers seat, no seat belt. Hugging the head rest as hard as I could each wave.

But I lasted.

We arrived at the centre at 4:45pm Saturday where we were greeted by our second midwife who instantly made me feel comfortable.

I had now been labouring for just over 17 hours. Progressing this whole time.

I didn’t make it to the suite without stopping for the waves more then once. But my breath was easy.

This was such an emotional moment - we were here, to have our baby who we would meet so soon!!! (I’m in tears right now, remembering this back.)

Getting into the room was so comforting. A warm and calm space. Lit only by salt lamp.

I knew I was in the right place for our baby.

I tried a few different positions coming into the room. Nothing seemed comfortable.

As soon as I layed on my back on the bed, I felt my stomach turn and up it came.

By this time it was around 5:15pm Saturday and I was 5cm dilated.

I couldn’t last on the bed, so again I got up and tried different positions of sitting, kneeling etc - nothing was comfortable.

I then got into the shower - sitting on the birthing ball with a shower running over my back and another over my front, but this too wasn’t the position for me.

Our primary midwife was here by now and knew I needed the birth pool.

(Coming into the labour, we weren’t sure if we would get this due to being required to have doses of antibiotics for treating GBS, which I wasn’t at all keen on)

But this is where my head and heart both tugged and said, “please get into the bath”.

From here it was another couple of hours before I got to get in, but when I did it was my heaven.

The birthing pool was in a separate room to our birthing suite (just up the hall), but again so warm and calming, lit only by candle light. Our music playing softly in the back ground.

In here I could focus. I was in my “zone”.

With each wave came my breathing and in between, nice conversation with husband and the midwife.

I felt so safe and at ease in here.

A few hours went by.

I was so relaxed - a little too relaxed.

I was 8cm dilated by now but my water was still intact.

This is when the midwife suggested me hoping out of the bath, walking around and trying the toilet etc.

I didn’t want to, but knew I needed too - so up I got.

Once I was out they intensified even more.

But getting onto the toilet, I couldn’t urinate and the pressure of the full bladder got worse.

Here is when I had no choice but to have the bladder emptied by the midwife via cannula.

This relieved the pressure a little, but the waters were still intact. Baby was so low.

I was up moving around, still progressing. Bouncing on the birth ball, trying all fours, sitting on the toilet etc.

The exhaustion was setting in.

It was now coming up to 24 hours.

I was on the birth ball in front of husband who was sitting on the edge of the bed as we tried bringing in more oxytocin with nipple stimulation.

Luckily he was there with me, because at one point I dozed off and almost came off, but with husbands catch I didn’t.

From here the midwife requested to examine where I was at.

I had got to the point where I could hardly stand because I was so exhausted.

I wanted her here so badly.

I could deal with the pain, but the exhaustion was getting the better of me.

I remember thinking to myself - surely they can do something to help her here.

Then.. the midwife offered of breaking my water during the examination and I knew I needed it too.

So at approximately 11:30pm the midwife examined and I was fully dilated.

The only thing between me and my baby was the water bag and we knew as soon as that was cleared, she could be here.

So we did. (I later found out if I had said no to this, I would have been transferred to the hospital to birth)

Hearing the midwife say the words “It’s all clear” was a relief beyond words.

No meconium. Our baby was safe and ready.

I thought to myself “YES! its time to get back in the bath.”

The midwives said so too.

But the longer husband and I paced that room - the more impatient I got.

The surges were so intense and SO close.

Husband was so amazing here - walking me from one end of the birth suite to the other, stopping almost every 5 steps to ride the wave. His shoulders were my relief as I danced the waves out.

Every time we came back to the left side of the suite where the vision board sat, husband would remind me to look at it and he would say my affirmations aloud. This I am SO grateful for!

I can’t tell how long it had been - what seemed like hours may have only been minutes, vice versa.

But….

it was now time to PUSH!!!!

In ran the midwives singing “THAT’S what we’ve been waiting for… time to get back in the bath!”

So off I went… there was no waiting for anyone else.

birthing ember-1.jpg

This next stage of labour was by far my favourite.

Don’t get me wrong - it was painful, relieving and challenging all at the same time, but…. words just cannot describe it.

There was an instant relief in my “pushing” stage - where I knew that there was absolutely nothing stopping the birth of my beautiful baby girl I would soon hold in my arms.

I laughed, screamed, smiled and swore throughout.

As my midwife and husband guided each push with comforting words and touch,

after 59 minutes, that last deeeeep breath and guidance… I was pulling my baby girl out of me and into the water.

I will never forget that first touch.. her skin so soft and squishy

Her eyes so aware

Then pulling her up out of the water and into my arms, a moment I will forever cherish.

birthing ember-2.jpg

Breathing on her face, while husband was asked to cut her cord immediately (we had a delayed clamping planned),

This is where our little dream water birth bubble stopped…

Baby girl was aware, but not taking that first little breath.

Once the cord was cut, she was wished out of my arms and into the arms of 8 medical staff that were alarmed down from the hospital next door.

Still in bliss that I had just birthed my baby girl and in the most magical way possible.

She was in the best hands and there was nothing that I could do right now other then thank the universe for what I have been gifted.

Laying in the bath, feeling my belly for the first and just in awe of what we had just been through.

I was SO proud.

So proud of my new daughter, so proud of my husband for what he had just witnessed and helped me through… but most of all SO incredibly proud of myself for what my body just achieved.

As the medical staff took care of our baby girl, getting her breathing and clearing her lungs of the fluid she had stuck from the long labour,

I was taken care of by my midwife.

Unfortunately due to the circumstance, I also could not birth our placenta naturally and this was removed by the midwife.

I was so grateful to be in the hands of these two women.

Because of their guidance and my ability to remain calm and soft during our labour

I lost a small 300ml of blood and did not tear.

A miracle to say the least.

After spending our first 4 hours apart while she was taken care of in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and me in the birthing centre still, we finally got our fist breastfeeding experience in the NICU and then got to take our baby girl up to the ward with us to enjoy and bond.

Despite the fact I wasn’t gifted the joy of the first hour - skin to skin, bubba crawling around to find her latch, putting her first nappy on etc etc

I was gifted a soul I would be able to love for eternity.

That was enough.

After a short (but long enough) one night stay in King Edward Memorial Hospital, we were home with our darling and well in our newborn bubble as a family of three.

This whole experience was one of a lifetime and I am so SO grateful for the magical experience we had.

Our incredible transition into parenthood is one for another post….

Jenna Duxbury