The story of Summer’s Birth
On the morning of Thursday the 6th of August I went to see Jane who had begun to have some mild contractions. We were sitting around the table outside when Jane felt another contraction begin. Sitting next to her I placed my hand on her belly to feel it tense up. Almost instantly I felt my own whole belly grow firm in a way that I hadn’t before. It was really strange because I wasn’t expecting it, but my Mum had told me that sometimes if you are close to your due date and you are around another labouring mum it can trigger the start of your labour. Not expecting that to be true we all laughed it off, but over the next two days I started to feel different and I began having irregular contractions, that I knew were the beginning of Summer’s arrival.
Thursday night and most of Friday was spent walking the headland and beach with Carlos and Diva. It was an emotional couple of days, not knowing whether or not I was definitely in labour or just being over reactive to my body. I remember walking and crying telling Carlos that I just wanted it to start properly already! But there was no rushing, my body and baby Summer had their own ideas. But excitement grew when I got my show that night.
On Friday morning I had what I thought was a hind leak, but wasn’t sure. So we went into the hospital to have a quick check up. The midwife did an internal exam to see if she could determine whether or not it had in fact been a leak or something else. She resolved that it most likely was a leak and considering my cervix was almost completely effaced, that I should go home and prepare for labour.
As the sun was going down on Friday afternoon Carlos, Dad, Mum and I sat on the back porch playing cards and having a laugh as my contractions established some regularity. It was nice to be surrounded by the people I love and trust the most. Knowing that each and every one of them would do anything for me if they had to, I just felt completely at ease. As the night wore on, the contractions of course grew more painful and closer together. Later in the evening I had another leak and Carlos convinced me to call the hospital just in case. So at around 9pm I called just to let the midwife know and as I was explaining what had happened another contraction had begun, painful enough to pass the phone to Carlos to continue the conversation. Just as I did I felt my waters break and a big gush soaked my shorts. Laughing my head off I ran to the bathroom to stand in the bath so I couldn’t make a mess. We decided with the midwife on the phone that we would come in to the hospital so I would feel more comfortable.
On the way to hospital my contractions slowed down a lot. On arrival the midwife had told me that she didn’t think I was in active labour and that we should all try and get some rest. And “rest” we did. Mum and Dad slept on lounges in the tea room, while Carlos slept in a beanbag on the floor with his legs up on an exercise ball. I still remember the glow of the heater and waking up to every contraction. The midwife came to check on me every hour, checking my blood pressure and Summer’s heart beat, things were still moving along slowly and I was grateful for the rest between contractions.
The contractions intensified from about 4am when I was no longer able to sleep between them. Knowing I wanted an active labour I was up moving around as much as possible. Leaning over the end of the bed and breathing deeply. Pacing the hall and breathing deeply, eating Glucose Jelly beans and breathing deeply. By 10.30am our obstetrician James Nicholson had arrived to check in on us. Possibly THE most relaxed man who ever graced the planet earth! After witnessing me walking around, still happy and joking around between contractions he arrived at the conclusion, like the other midwives that I still probably wasn’t in active labour. But, after performing an internal exam he was very happy to report that I was actually 5-6cm dilated. I was ecstatic; all that hard work wasn’t for nothing!
After receiving this news, we got even more excited and inspired. We were able to get in the bath or have a shower. Up until that point I didn’t really need anything else for the pain. In fact I could have kept going on dry land if necessary. But Carlos helped me in the shower, the warm water almost took the pain away completely! After experiencing the immense relief of the shower we decided it was time to get in to the bath.
I had originally planned to reserve my dignity and wear
swimmers in the birth pool but quickly forgot that idea when the serious
contractions had set in. Summer and I spent the next few hours working through
the contractions. I found extreme comfort being rocked in the water by Carlos,
he helped me focus on my breathing. Taking each breath with me and supporting
me completely. I clearly remember reaching transition, thinking that I had had
enough and that each time a contraction finished I would think to myself –
that’s it, no more contractions, I’m done! But they didn’t stop and as quickly
as I’d started transition i had finished and the urge to push began to build
with each contraction.
As the urge to push got stronger, I started to go with my body and push. Not seeing much progress, the midwife had me empty my bladder and once I was on the toilet I was very comfortable. It took a LOT of coaxing to get me back into the pool with a stop on the birthing stool in between. But when I was in the water I found the best position to give birth. I was clung to the edge of the pool to support myself and that is how Summer was born. As Summer’s head was born the midwife started talking about waiting for the next contraction to birth her shoulders, but after pushing for two hours I had lost patience and out she came. I reached down and pulled Summer out of the water with my own two hands. Carlos and I held our new baby and I distinctly remember thinking out loud “oh my god, I love her already”.