Positive birth story series: My empowering birth centre experience
Georgia Evans shares her empowering birth centre experience.
Why this time was going to be different
When I fell pregnant with our second child, I knew that I wanted a different birth experience to my first.
My oldest daughter was born following induction, and whilst we didn’t have a negative experience, I was extremely unprepared and uninformed, and felt on the day that I had no strategies to cope with the intensity of the contractions.
After doing a lot more research than I did the first time around, we decided we wanted to go through the Family Birth Centre at KEMH, as I loved the idea of having a midwife to look after us through the pregnancy, and really wanted to attempt a natural, drug free delivery, but have the hospital close by should anything go wrong.
During my pregnancy, I really tried to prepare myself for birth and towards the end I felt so ready and more excited than nervous.
I was convinced my son was going to arrive early, as from about 38 weeks I was going to bed with braxton hicks every night, convinced we were about to meet our little one, only to wake up the next morning to find I hadn’t gone into labour and we ended up going 9 days over our due date!
On the morning John was born I went into the Birth Centre to meet my midwife and go up to the hospital for a CTG and ultrasound. I was having monitoring every two days from 41 weeks.
I had said I wanted to go to 42 weeks to give myself as much time as possible to go into labour naturally, but I remember in the morning feeling really disappointed and just wanting the baby out.
It was the 13th, and I had been convinced that he would be born that day (my daughter is also born on the 13th). Everything was fine, and I was cleared to keep waiting, so my midwife did a stretch and sweep and sent me home.
My daughter was at my in-laws, so I decided to go home and spend a couple of hours cleaning the house while bouncing on my exercise ball and doing some lunges, anything to bring on our baby!
Things start happening
About 2.30 pm I left home to pick up my daughter and while I was driving I had a strong contraction, which I dismissed as braxton hicks. I had another one at about 3 pm as I strapped my daughter into the car to go home and again dismissed it.
But I spoke to my husband not long after to ask him to come home a little early and help me with my daughter, as he was meant to be going out that night and I wanted to make sure she was ready for bed before he left.
About 4 pm I realised I was having a few more tightenings than usual and called my husband to ask if he was coming home. By 4.15 pm, I was pretty sure I might be in labour, so I timed a few contractions and realised they were regular and 4 minutes apart.
I called him back and asked him to jump in an Uber, called my Dad to see if he was free to come over and look after my daughter and called my midwife to give her a heads up that we might be in later that night.
I then did some colouring-in with my daughter and prepped her dinner, all while contracting regularly (and they were getting painful!) until my husband came home. When he arrived home I jumped in the shower and used the water for a while to manage contractions, then started to get my daughter ready for bed.
It felt like the contractions were getting stronger very quickly, but I was managing really well using all the techniques I had practised and felt like we could stay home a little longer.
It was about 6 pm when I started to think we should probably head into the Birth Centre but I wanted to hold off a little longer, I felt that it hadn’t been long enough! Thankfully, my husband decided it was time and called the midwife, who, after listening to one of my contractions, agreed it was probably time to head in.
Heading in to the Birth Centre
So we said goodbye to my daughter, hopped in the car, and off we went. Being in the car was awful and about halfway through the drive I could feel my contractions changing and I realised I was probably getting close to transition. I was really scared of having to deliver in the car, but thankfully we made it to the Birth Centre in time.
We arrived at 7 pm and went straight through to one of the birthing rooms. I was so relieved to see my midwife, and sort of half lay, half flopped onto some cushions on the floor of the room.
Having had no pain relief, I could feel where the baby’s head was and I knew he was close. I can’t really remember whether I decided to push or whether my body just started but I knew it was time, and I could feel his head moving down with each contraction.
I think my midwife was telling me to slow down but I just remember being so determined to get him out, that I pushed as hard as a I could, and after a few very intense contractions he was born at 7.25 pm.
As I lifted him onto my chest I remember being so overwhelmed with emotion but I couldn’t really work out how I felt. My husband and midwife helped me onto the bed, and he latched straight away and fed for almost an hour.
After that, I had a shower while he was weighed, then we took a short trip to the hospital for some stitches, and before I knew it we were on our way home and I just could not believe it had even happened!
We were home by 1 am and our daughter got to wake up in the morning and come in to meet her baby brother.
I took the first few weeks after birth extremely slow, to make sure I recovered, with my midwife visiting to check on our progress every day for the first five days. I loved that she also gave us an opportunity to debrief on the birth so that she could explain everything to me properly.
I know I was extremely lucky to have a complication-free pregnancy and delivery and I can only hope that we have a similar experience if I’m ever lucky enough to have another.
The whole experience highlighted to me how important it is that we change the way we talk and educate women about birth, so that other women feel empowered and inspired!
Thank you to Georgia for sharing her story.
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Disclaimer: This personal account has been published as it was told to Wholehearted Family Health and does not reflect the opinions or constitute recommendations from Wholehearted Family Health or the businesses that work with Wholehearted Family Health. Always consult your midwife or doctor in regards to any medical advice pertaining to your unique situation.