Oscar’s water birth.
3rd March, 2012.
It was a sunny Saturday morning, about 8am and Ruby, Anton and I sat down to our weekend ritual breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggies and toast. Whilst eating I became aware of very slight niggly crampy feeling in my lower abdomen. I mentioned this to Anton, but that I thought it was probably wind… and stopped paying attention to it as we finished up our breakfast and got into our day. I was 39weeks+1day (I think) and quite ready for bub to be in my arms! I was over feeling soooo hot and having ankles and feet swollen like balloons! I had been having Braxton hicks since about week 17 of my pregnancy and in the last few weeks they had increased in frequency and duration. My belly would get so tight I thought it would pop!
We had a busy day of ‘getting things done’ planned. Dad arrived about 830 to start knocking out a kitchen cupboard with Anton so we could fit a dishwasher in. I went out the back with Ruby to hang out some washing and became aware that the niggles were still there… and they were coming and going and coming and going. I called to Anton through the kitchen window “You might not get all you hope to done today if this keeps up”. His response was, “You mean with Ruby’s carry on?”… Yes, she was pork chopping as only an almost two year old can, but “Ah, no… I’m pretty sure I am having contractions”. “Oh”.
At this point (around 9ish) the niggles were only at about 1-2 out of 10 on a pain scale, but they were coming and going quite regularly. I think they were already less than 5 mins apart. I got the washing hung out, pushed Ruby in the swing and admired our Poinciana and Hoop Pine trees.
I text messaged our friend and birth support, Deb, that there was some action. I also sent a text message to Georgia, our birth photographer, so she could organise her day. Dad and Anton were banging away in the kitchen and I was trying to keep Ruby entertained. Anton asked me about 10ish if he should send Dad away to keep things a bit quieter and for him to be able to focus on Ruby for me. I said no… I was feeling ok and the contractions still weren’t very strong. I could talk and laugh and was still getting things done. I spoke to Mum and my brother to let them know things might be happening. Both were excited!
I was nervous to commit to the idea that we would meet our baby today as I thought it might be a false start, or the labour may go on for a long time. With Ruby’s birth I had predicted the day she would be born and she arrived on that day. With this wee bairn I had predicted the end of February and here we were into March without his/her arrival! I had a really down day the day before, wondering why bub hadn’t come and feeling tired and heavy. I had a chat with myself that evening about letting go and knowing that my baby would come when they were ready. I also had an osteopathic treatment the day before where Bec worked along my rib/upper abdo border and I really felt like she had ‘shifted’ something.
Dad left around 1030 and Anton and I decided to lie down on our bed to try to get Ruby to have a sleep and for me to as well, if I could. Ha! Best laid plans…. Ruby was not keen to sleep, I think she could tell something was going on and I felt more uncomfortable lying down. Anton timed some of my contractions and they were coming less than 4 minutely and lasting for about a minute. They still were not really intense and I could easily breathe through them.
Around 11 I decided it was time to get some things organised so I could let myself relax into this… I was so distracted by Ruby and focused on her that I thought maybe things weren’t progressing like they might if I wasn’t tending to her. I called Mum to come get her, but discovered that Dad was at my brother’s rental property working on something, Mum had my nephew and my bro, Gregg, and his wife, Cherie, were out shopping for flooring for their new home! Ummm…. I rang Gregg and he organised for Cherie to come and get Ruby to take her to Mum and Dad’s for us.
I realised somewhere here that we didn’t have any of Ruby’s special protein powder for her nightly bottle, so I rang a shop to ask and got them to put some on hold. Then I sent Anton out to get it… against his better judgement he went… he didn’t want to leave me, but he also didn’t want to argue with his labouring wife!!
Once he left and I was alone with Ruby I got a little nervous and nearly called my friend & neighbour to come and be with me. Alone with a testing toddler….hmmm….. Somewhere around 1130, Anton got back from the shop and Cherie arrived to get Ruby. Things were intensifying, but I was still doubting whether I was really in established labour… It was lovely to see Cherie’s beautiful smile and to get some feminine energy in her hug. There was so much relief once Ruby was safely with her and on her way to my folk’s house.
I called the midwives at the RBWH Birth Centre where bub was to be born to let them know that things were a happening. I also called our friend and birth support, Deb. She got a bit of a shock to hear where things were at as somehow in the business of her morning she had missed my text that things had started. Deb said she would jump straight in her car and head over (there is more to this story and it is quite amusing… Deb can tell you if you know her!).
Things really kicked in with Ruby gone and I could no longer talk through contractions. Like with Ruby’s labour, I found the mantra of “just one” (just get through one contraction at a time) helped me to stay in the moment. They were about 3 ½ mins apart and reasonably intense. Yet I was still thinking I wasn’t really in the right ‘zone’ and I wasn’t sure what I needed. I decided that once Deb arrived we would head in to the birth centre. I got in the shower to let the warm water run over my back and abdomen to help with the pain and to relax me.
Deb arrived around 1230 and I remember saying to her that I thought we should head to the birth centre as I didn’t want to get into the zone here at home and have it disrupted by getting in the car and getting to hospital. Deb asked me if that was my head or gut talking? I said it was my gut, I felt like we should go. The thought of sinking into the birth pool was very appealing too! I think I also mentioned to Deb that I could feel pressure really low down in my bottom. At this point Deb apparently made it quite clear to Anton that we really should get to the birth centre ASAP, otherwise we may have another homebirth on our hands.
I sent a text to some of the wonderful women in my life saying things were go and to send me strength and then around 1245 I clambered, quite gracefully I’m sure (snort!), into the back of Deb’s car and with Anton by my side we headed off. And whammo!! Things got really intense and I started crying my eyes out. It was pouring rain, my phone kept going off with return messages and for some reason I suggested the back way and again no one argues with the labouring woman and we bumped towards the RBWH. Anton was sweating it, wishing he was driving and Deb was in the back with me as he was really worried I was going to have the baby in the car!
In retrospect I guess I went into transition in the car. I was wishing we’d just been having another homebirth and I hadn’t had to deal with the car ride! During the car trip and also later on in the shower at the hospital, I thought of all the women that had gone before me and birthed their babes and I drew strength from knowing I was part of such an amazing thing.
We got to the RBWH and drove into the multistorey carpark to where we could walk into the level closest to the birth centre. The time on the carpark card said 108pm. We made our way slowly to the birth centre. I had to stop and clutch Anton through several contractions on the way. I remember an older man smiling at me and I wondered if he realised what was going on. Probably!
We got to the birth centre reception and asked to go in… the admin officer there got a bit officious and was asking my name, saying she couldn’t find me and asking was I in established labour … I wanted to scream at her “Helloooo, you are not a midwife and seriously I am about to have a baby on the floor here if you don’t let me in!!!” I could feel Deb and Anton looking horrified by the interrogation and then the AO finally listened properly to the fact we were there for the birth centre and her demeanour changed and she said go on through. THANK YOU!!
Our midwife Carolanne was waiting and I got into the shower whilst they got the bath filling as fast as possible. I really should have called just before we left home so the bath was ready… With some contractions I would stand on my right leg and sort of wave my left leg around in the air…. Weird! I guess maybe my body knew I need to create more space on that side. With other contractions I would need both feet planted firmly to cope with the swaying and bobbing I was doing! Georgia also arrived just after I got into the shower and started discreetly snapping pics.
In the shower the contractions were really really strong and I was getting more and more pressure in my bottom and feeling like I needed to poo (I really dislike the pooing part!). I told Deb so she could tell Carolanne. I reached between my legs at some point here and I remember Deb asking me what I could feel. I could feel my bag of waters bulging out and I was thrilled by this! Ruby was frank breech, so the sensations of a head down baby moving through the birth canal were a new experience and much harder. Not as in difficult, but in firmness.
The bath was ready at this point. I think it was about 140pm. I hobbled out to it and went to step up to it and my waters broke with a big warm gush! I looked down at the floor and some bystander part of my brain noted that there was vernix in the amniotic fluid and no meconium!
Carolanne said to me “if you want to have a water birth you’d better get into the pool now, otherwise hop onto the mat”… I really really wanted to get into the pool, but I could feel another contraction slamming in and so when my loving husband said quietly “shall we get into the water” I let out a guttural “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” which shut everyone up for a bit (I’m sure they were all pulling faces at one another!). In my head that animal bellow translated as “I am about to have another contraction, which I know is going to be more intense as my waters have just broken, so everyone just leave me be for a minute and then I will get into the damn pool!!”.
Once through that contraction I climbed nimbly (clambered in an ungainly fashion) into the birth pool and got onto my hands and knees, spreading my legs wide. Like with Ruby’s birth I had started out wanting Anton to be in the water with me, but when it came to the crunch I would not let go of him up near my head so he hung out on the side of the pool, having his arms squeezed viciously! Somehow in hanging onto Anton for dear life in the pushing stages of my births I feel I am channelling his calm strength and using it to help me push. Also to refuel with his energy, as the ‘tank’ gets low by this point!
Carolanne asked me if I was going to be able to catch the baby as she couldn’t quite reach me where I was in the pool. Damn straight I will catch my baby!
The ring of fire (I think this is a massive understatement!) was well and truly BURNING and I said to Deb ”I still don’t like this bit, Deb!!!” And I got a comforting, amused smile from her. The feeling of my pelvic bones lifting and separating was unreal. Not painful, just amazing.
During the pushing stage in Ruby’s birth I felt completely overwhelmed by how out of control I was, how it was just all happening, but with Oscar’s birth I just let go and went with it, and it wasn’t scary.
I pushed with the next contraction and reached down and felt the top of our baby’s head emerging. This was wonderful to do and so motivating. I got so much joy from touching that soft wrinkly little scalp! I had been too scared to do this with Ruby’s birth. I thought to myself, ok, next push, get bub’s head out and then you will have some relief, so that’s what I did!
And then when I felt the next contraction coming I thought, right, let’s get this baby OUT… so that’s what I did! Our wee one swum out into my hands and I flipped over to a kneeling position in the bath and cradled our baby to my chest. Anton was kissing me saying “you did it, you did it!”. It was 1.51pm (yep only 43mins since we parked the car!). I was so excited, relieved, shocked, amazed & delighted to be holding our baby that I didn’t think to check if it was a boy or girl until Anton and Carolanne asked! I knew bub was a little boy without looking, I had known from the start of my pregnancy. We were all marvelling at how much vernix bub was covered in and I kept wanting to kiss his perfect little rosebud mouth.
The umbilical cord was quite short so I couldn’t relax back into the bath and keep bub’s head above water. Carolanne also said there was some bleeding she wanted to checkout, so I got out of the bath and onto a birth stool next to it. It took about 10 minutes and the placenta was birthed. I wanted to keep the placenta, umbilical cord and bub joined for a while, so once the placenta was out and into a big silver bowl, we made a funny little procession over to the queen sized bed.
It was lovely to cuddle up onto the bed with Anton and bub and marvel over this new life. We spoke bub’s name aloud to tell Deb and Georgia – Oscar Gregg.
About half an hour after birth we decided to cut the umbilical cord. Oscar stirred a bit with this, but soon settled peacefully back onto my chest again. We then weighed him and Carolanne checked him out. 3.73kg/8lb3oz and 51cms. The midwives checked my perineum and said I had a first degree tear, which we decided not to stitch.
After the weigh in etc. we called my parents and Dad was gobsmacked that we were calling him to tell him that the Oscar had already arrived. We also called my brother to give him the news and he was so touched we had given Oscar his name as the middle name. Calls were also made to Anton’s parents and two of my closest girlfriends.
My folks arrived with Ruby about 4pm and I was so happy to see my baby girl. I couldn’t wait to cuddle her and introduce her to her new brother. She seemed so big and so little all at the same time. Ruby was a little bit interested in Oscar, but more keen to check the room out! It was also so special to have my parents meet their newest grandson.
After an hour or so Mum and Dad took Ruby home with them, she was to spend the night at their house. I knew this was good for all of us as I didn’t know when we would head home, but my heart squeezed in my chest as my Dad carried her away out the door. A new and different time in my relationship with my baby girl had begun.
Oscar had a good lick and nuzzle at the susu (breast) in the hour after his birth, but he was mostly content to sleep in his daddy’s or my arms for a good while.
I was very happy to have a shower, and I felt really good and strong.
We were keen to head home, but had to wait for a paediatrician to come and check Oscar out. When she finally did, she was a bit funny with us for choosing not to give Vitamin K. Our decision was based on research and not an uninformed one. Oscar was a healthy term infant who had a non-traumatic birth, as we understood it, the risks of haemorrhagic syndrome were very very very low for him.
After the paed had been and we’d been through some information with a nurse, we called my Dad to come collect us about 800pm and take us home. Oscar seemed so tiny to be putting into the capsule in the car and I felt pangs about letting go of him. Luckily it was only a 10 minute drive home and we were soon tucked up in our bed together, being reminded of just how LOUD a little baby can be!
Throughout Oscar’s birth I was much more present than with Ruby’s birth… this was partly a conscious decision as I wanted to be really aware for what we plan to be our last birth. It was also influenced by having Ruby around in the early stages and then transferring to the Birth Centre. I don’t think this made it any better than Ruby’s birth, just different!
My thanks for this beautiful birth go to:
Georgia for her sweet, creative presence and our wonderful birth pictures;
Deb for her loving, nurturing, soulful guidance, support and ability to just BE with birth and the birthing couple;
Our midwives – Carolanne, Martha, Nicole and Corinne for their wisdom, respect and smiles;
Anton, my beautiful, ever-loving and absolute rock of a husband, I am so blessed to have you to share life and babies with;
And last, but not least, our darling son, Oscar… thank you for joining our family, and completing it xxx
Wednesday March 28th, 2012…
Domesticity reigns… washing, eating and a visit from the pest control man to assess termites in the yard…
Miss cheeky!! Skye & Dylan from next door popped over to chat with the pest control man as they’ve termites in their yard too. You are about 5 weeks older than Dylan and you’re very cute together. I had lots of fun hanging out with Dylan’s mum when we were pregnant with you both. And I know we’re going to keep having lots of fun with them through the years :) We have a lovely community going in our street and area! So many kids to play with and families to support one another. Very blessed!
My baby jailbird! You look so cute in your stripes today :) And wouldn’t you know it… as I start typing about you I can hear you stirring! You’re having more alert periods through the day now and turning your head to Dadda and Ruby’s voices more often too. It’s so lovely getting to know you sweet boy xx
Tuesday March 27th, 2012…
Just aware today of time flying by! Oscar already 3 1/2 weeks old and both of my babies are growing and changing before my eyes. Anton back to work on Monday after 4 weeks off with us… I’ve so loved him being home.
“Wot oo doing Daddeeee??” “Dadddeee not hiding. Teeky (cheeky) Daddee”
Daddy was out on the deck trying to get the squeak out of the rocking chair. You really thought you should be out there with him. Until there is a gate on the deck though, anyone who is out there with you needs 100% focus on the Rubyroo… and to be ready to catch you! A front fence is climbing its way up the priority list!
You spent the afternoon at Dondy and Pa’s house, playing with Asher. A happy, but very tired wee girl came home from there. I guess at least if you refuse a daytime nap you do then crash out very easily at nighttime!
You pull so many funny little faces, I could sit and watch you all day! One moment you look amused by the world and the next like someone has insulted you terribly! Such a dear little face with VERY smoochable cheeks xxx
Monday March 26th, 2012…
Family day… Anton took Ruby out to the playground in the morning. It’s awesome how much you can get done in a short space of time when your baby is sleeping and your toddler is out having fun!
Missymoo, Dadda took you to the playground this morning for a while. You were SOOO excited to be heading outdoors with him. He took some pictures at the park so I could see what you were up to. Daddy said you’re climbing really well and with some tips (and a little hovering) from him, did just fine with this chain ‘ladder’. You then went for a big walk around the block…. all this exercise meant you had a daytime sleep today and woke up in such a good mood. Daddy heard you moving around quietly in your room and we peeked under the door and there were some little toes just waiting there
I think Mama is going to have to gather her energy and try to take you out walking in the mornings… for all of our sanity!
Little one, late in the evening I realised I had not taken a picture of you today! I then tried to get one of your fuzzy head, but couldn’t capture it nicely at night. This one is just you burrowed into my lap after a feed. You like to spend the evenings on or near the susu! I don’t really mind too much xx
Sunday March 25th, 2012…
Seriously, what happened today?? Ummmmm…. a visit to Mel & Chris’ in the arvo to see my Uncle and Aunt. I was soooo brave… I put Oscar in the carrier and clutched Ruby’s hand and walked all of about 100 metres down the street with both children by myself ;) Ha!! Can you tell I am slightly freeeeeeeeeeeaaaaking out about Anton going back to work next week??!
Here you are again my girl, throwing yourself around the place. This time slightly assisted by Daddy… or maybe he was defending himself?! You were almost doing a perfect plank before I took this, but camera is too slow and your little legs starting thrashing, as they are want to do! Signing you up for the circus, ok?!
Nuff said ♥
Saturday March 24th, 2012….
Asher and Cherie dropped in this morning and after lunch we went out to do some errands (and hope Rubes would have nap in the car!). We picked up our aboriginal artwork from the framer (Artland Indooroopilly) and it looks fantastic. They did a really great job!
My two pics today are Instagram ones…. having a bit of fun with that on the new iPhone
You did have quite a big sleep in the car today in the end… which meant a later night. We put some ‘In the Night Garden’ on for you and here you are glued!! You’ve taken over my feeding chair as you think it’s the best chair in the house for watching the tube!!
A pit stop for a feed was required today whilst we were out and about… you fell asleep promptly your tummy was full and looked so cute with your face all smooshed up that Dadda had to take a pic. Well, actually, Daddy’s first effort was strangely as much about my bosom as your sweet face, so we had to get a second shot
Friday March 23rd, 2012…
Rubes, Oscar and I went back to the Grandies for the morning so that Dad and Anton could finish installing the dishwasher sans distraction!
Dondy ties sarongs/scarves around your waists as ‘pony tails’ and here you and Asher are running around being little ponies. It is very cute when you both wiggle your butts to make your tails shake
This piccie is taken in your ‘playground’ on the deck at Dondy and PaRoy’s house. We are so lucky to have them so close by and so involved in your/our day to day lives.
You’re a snuggly wee man, which I love and am going to appreciate even more come winter I think! It’s such a different experience already parenting you… A different person you are :) You are growing before my eyes. You love your susu!
Ach… just leaked writing about you…. must be nearly time for a feed then
Thursday March 22nd, 2012…
Well, the blog has gotten away from me a bit! I can’t remember a whole lot about this day (I’m going to have to start scribbling notes somewhere for when I am playing catchups like this!) except that we went to Chermside and bought underwear and sushi, Oscar and I had Osteopath appointment…. and Anton and I were both really tired….
“You my angel” you’ve started saying to me… Not that you are saying it TO me, but you’re preempting what I could be about to say to you and must have said to you a lot! And you are my angel, even on days like today when you have been tessssssssssting I have only to look at your dear little face with these lashes and you’re forgiven.
We want to be gentle with you and not disciplinarians….and we want you to know boundaries and respect for people and things. I am reminding myself a lot lately that you are not yet two and you are learning and the world has changed for you. I know you being able to express your distress is healthy I hate hearing you cry (‘tantrum’)!!
We are all learning on this journey together aren’t we?! xx
Swaddled?!! Yes, it seems you like to be swaddled! I hadn’t tried it because Ruby never liked it… but the other night I thought I would give it a go and you slept quite peacefully while Dadda and I ate dinner! I hope you turn into a super sleeper little man… that would be a treat for your Mum and Dad!
Looking at this pic makes me want to run and stroke your soft little head xxx
Wednesday March 21st, 2012…
I can hear a wee man starting to stir, so type type type…. Around home… Anton getting further along to fixing the space for the dishwasher, with a little help from Rubes :) I went o put Ruby’s name down for kindy today at a lovely little C&K near us…. I should have done it sooner, but struggled to get my head around enrolling my baby for ‘school’!!
Darling girl, you and I went outside for a little time together this afternoon. You love being outdoors, which is wonderful (the mossies are horrid though!). Your dad has a some gravel he’s neatly (sort of) piled near the fence and you love to climb on it and chuck it about the place, much to his dismay :) This pic, with your too big shoes and proper “knickynoonas”, makes me think of ‘Oh the places you’ll go’, especially the line, “kid, you’ll move mountains!” – I have no doubt you can and will, my clever girl!
Your Dondy came to see us (you) this afternoon and it was really nice to have her here. I love hearing how happy you are with her…. how obviously safe and loved you feel. xxx
Little man, this pic certainly shows that you are working on your chins :) And have I mentioned your divine little lips before?! I can hear them smacking, so I best finish this up and give you your supper xxx