I got the opportunity to hang out with the lovely Meg and her partner Darren in their home for a private Hypnobirthing Australia class to support them in working towards a positive birth.
Continue reading to see how Meg navigated her waters breaking at 38 weeks, a trip to the hospital to confirm all was ok, then to give birth just 30 minutes after arriving at the Family Birth Centre the following morning
I am so excited to share with you this empowering & inspirational experience.
Here is her story…
I had just settled in bed for the night after spending the evening helping my husband do some renovations in preparation for our impending arrival. I was 38 weeks along with our first baby and assumed we still had at least two weeks up our sleeves to get everything in order.
Little did I know that we were due to meet that arrival rather shortly! While laying in bed drifting off to sleep, I felt a strong punch from my Bub deep in my groin, heard an audible pop and felt a rush of warm water between my legs. I shot up in bed and announced loudly to my husband ‘MY WATERS BROKE!’. I waddled to the bathroom to check the fluid, which thankfully looked clear, and called our midwife shortly after.
I’d made the decision even before I was pregnant that I wanted to have my babies at the Family Birth Centre at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Perth. I knew that continued care from a known midwife would give me the best chance possible of having a healthy and natural delivery. I’d always wanted to experience a water birth. The birth centre being one of the few hospital settings in Perth with a birth pool made my decision very easy. I called them as soon as I found out I was pregnant and was lucky enough to snag a spot.
Despite my best efforts for continuity of care, my midwife was unfortunately off duty for the evening. I was put through to another midwife from the birth centre, who asked me to come into King Eddies straight away given my water had broken so they could check baby and my fluid. So we packed up our bags and made the long drive to the hospital just after midnight.
In the week leading up to this night I had started to gradually lose my mucus plug and was having what I thought were Braxton Hicks every night at around midnight. They felt like very strong period cramps but I was able to breath through them to distract myself to eventually fall asleep. In hind sight this was probably just a prolonged early labour
On the way to the hospital I started to experience these surges again. I didn’t want to get too excited in case they faded away again, so I convinced myself this wasn’t ‘real’ labour yet. I used the time on the drive to listen to my hypnobirthing affirmations track and get myself into a positive frame of mind for whatever lay ahead.
Once at the hospital, Bub was checked with a CTG and thankfully everything was fine. An Obstetrician visited to check in and asked if id been having any tightenings. I still wasn’t sure what I was feeling so I said ‘I think I’ve had a few’.
I still remember her rolling her eyes and saying ‘well you’re not in labour until you have 3 painful contractions in the space of 10 minutes’. She also explained to me that if the ‘contractions’ hadn’t started within 24 hours I would need to come back to hospital to have an induction. They also offered me to just have an induction immediately.
I reeeeally didn’t want to hear this. I had some fear about induction so I was going to do everything in my power to avoid that course of action. I declined and asked to be given the maximum time to let labour start on its own – still not realising I was in it already! If I had had a vaginal examination at this point I think I would have already been dilating but as my waters had broken they were hesitant to check me because of the risk of infection.
I had been feeling nauseous the whole time I was at the hospital and then just before leaving I was sick in the room. A midwife popped her head in and gave me some encouraging words ‘this is a good sign!! It means things are starting to happen!’ Before leaving she encouraged me to stay at home in a comfortable environment for as long as possible to give me the best chances of giving birth naturally.
I we made the long trip home again, thinking that it would be at least 24 hours before we were back. I continued having what I thought were light surges on the way home, and was uncomfortable and restless in my seat.
We got home at around 3am and I immediately put my tens machine on before going back to bed. I tried to get some sleep but my surges had started to become stronger and more regular – but were still inconsistent. I had one very strong surge that made me feel like I needed to go to the bathroom. This was a scary feeling as in my head I was still only in early labour! So my husband and I got out of bed and decided to watch a movie to distract me. Throughout the movie I moved between sitting on and leaning over my fitball. I remember laughing and talking normally between each surge and then focussing on my breathing when a surge came. By the time the movie had finished things had started to ramp up.
We were using an app to time my surges (and at this point the app told us it was time to go to hospital!) but I really felt like my surges didn’t feel intense enough yet. I also had that midwifes words fresh in my mind ‘stay at home as long as possible!’ And with the hospital so far away I didn’t want to risk the long drive just to have to come home again. We decided to give the FBC a call again to see what they thought. They listened to me during a surge – at this point I was starting to slightly vocalise at the peak – but said they thought I was still a while off and to wait it out at home where I was comfortable. By this point it was around 4:30 in the morning.
I continued this way until around 6:00am, leant over my fit-ball and swaying my hips with each surge, listening to the surge of the sea track in my headphones. When I almost fell asleep on my fit-ball my husband encouraged me to lay down for a little while to see if I could sleep. When I did, my surges immediately changed and I could feel an immense amount of pressure deep in my belly, and again the involuntary pushing feeling came back.
I decided to go to the toilet to see if I needed to go to the bathroom and while I was there I felt what was going on downstairs. To my shock I could feel things were a lot more open than they were before and I noticed that the surges themselves had mostly gone. We called the midwife back quickly and after explaining what was happening she said it was time to come in.
As it wasn’t our known midwife, she didn’t realise how far away we lived. I believe if she’d known she probably would have asked us to come in much sooner!
So we made our way back to the FBC, with me hovering over the seat slightly the whole way there. I was coping quite well as the surges were almost completely gone, but I was nervous to see how far along I was. With the surges seeming to go away I was confused about where I was up to in the labour. A part of me thought I could get checked and only be 1-2 centimetres dilated. I tried to prepare myself for any outcome.
I also funnily had a pregnancy massage booked for that day – so left a message with the spa that I likely wouldn’t be making it to my appointment!
Once we arrived, at around 7:30am, my body must have realised I was in a safe space because my surges returned and started to come on strong and fast. I had one strong surge out the front of the centre. I remember crouching in the driveway while suit clad businessmen rushed up the path on the way to work – probably very shocked at the sight of me in my dressing gown groaning away. I had another in the waiting room before making it into our room.
The room was already set up with a mattress on the floor. I immediately stripped off my pants and knelt on the floor leaning over the bed. At this point my midwife had been notified of my labour and was on her way in to the hospital. Another midwife on shift came to see us, and asked if she could check me, which I consented to. To my absolute surprise I was 8 centimetres! I was ecstatic, as I’d had myself convinced I had only just started active labour. She explained that we probably still had a few hours ahead but that it was important I didn’t push yet. She also asked me what was in my birth plan. I told her I would like a water birth, so she left us to fill up the pool in readiness. Little did I know I wouldn’t be making it to the pool!
A few minutes after she left the room I had an extremely strong surge, and the pushing feeling returned. I couldn’t avoid the feeling no matter how hard I tried so I bared down instinctively. A very primal sound came out of me and the midwives all came rushing back into the room, one saying ‘that sounded serious’ on her way in. She quickly looked how I was going and then exclaimed, ‘and no wonder – that’s a head!!’
At this point I was 100% in the zone, so I don’t remember much. Most of what I can recall here is pieced together from what my husband has told me combined with the few memories I have.
The midwives were quick to act by applying a warm compress, and starting to coach me through pushing. On the next surge the head emerged – and I could hear our baby making little noises! It was the most surreal sound, our baby between two worlds, greeting the room. On the next surge the body was born and they passed my baby through my legs. I held my baby in my arms in complete disbelief about what I had managed to achieve. I laid back on the mattress with my new baby, checked the gender and exclaimed, ‘it’s a girl!!’
They waited for the cord to stop pulsing before my husband cut it, and in the meantime my little girl latched and began feeding. Shortly afterwards I delivered the placenta naturally, too.
Florence Elina Rullo was born at 8:04am, half an hour after arriving at the FBC. She was 3350g and 50 centimetres of perfection. My midwife jussst missed it, arriving shortly after I delivered. And thanks to hypnobirthing, I did the whole thing drug free.
The whole way through my birth I trusted my body to do what it needed to do. I honestly still couldn’t tell you when I went through transition. I was just focusing on my breath and letting my body guide me through. I surrendered myself completely to the experience.
I now tell anyone that will listen that the day of my birth was the happiest of my life. I truly believe that the mental preparation I put in leading into my birth contributed to the positive experience I had. I’ve learnt that birth can be so much more than how it’s portrayed in popular culture. If you approach it without fear, and trust your body and your baby – it can be beautiful.
Birth – 10/10 would recommend 😉
This blog was shared with full permission by Meg
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