How do you start something that honestly has no words powerful enough to describe “one” of the most amazing journeys I have had to date? I guess I could start at the very beginning but that beginning for me started 5 years ago… The day I became a mother to our first son Xavier Tomas. He was born 19th March 2007, 8.6 pounds at 8.50pm at Kalgoorlie Hospital. Every day I have thanked the universe for letting him come to me. Not too long after his birth… with a move to Qatar, in 2009 we were blessed with another beautiful boy, Angus Sidney, 7.4 pounds at 3.30pm on 15th July. He is my strength…
It was also in 2009 that I became a doula. Again, another journey that has many times over blown me away and to date still makes me so very proud and emotional with what a doula does and represents and what doulas do for women.
After learning so very much about how amazing women’s bodies are and what it takes to create that beautiful little being growing inside of you and how to truly support a woman as she goes through the most vulnerable journey ever and gaining even more knowledge about being so in tune with my body, it was to my surprise I was to be pregnant “again” in 2011… This baby like my other two wanted to be here as this time I was on the pill. I have come to terms with the fact that contraception and myself do not mix. All my babes, including ones that never made it earth side, have been little ones who wanted to be here despite my efforts of contraception…
So with the shock of becoming pregnant, I had a short while of denial and a phone call to Rob in tears saying I am pregnant. He was over the moon – me, at the time with some regret, not so much… Oh how this feeling of regret changed with every new little thing happening to my body. I fell more and more in love with this amazing experience and new little being growing. I couldn’t help but feel alive empowered and at many, many times very overwhelmed. It was a new experience as well because being pregnant with Robbie working away with two other little people to look after at times made me extremely emotional, tired and just fed up. I dreaded the weeks he was away but loved the time he was home.
I guess it’s around about here that I start to tell you why Robbie and I had chosen that this babe would be birthed at home in the surroundings of its family love, warmth, safety and a peaceful, pleasant environment. Gus had been born in Qatar and the experience of birthing in a hospital that did not support normal birth, a hospital which had me prepped and wheeled down for a caesar, to then pushing my baby out on the theatre tabl and having my baby taken away from me. To follow this was months of PND, my milk didn’t come in properly. I felt like a failure to an extent, I was tired and lost, beyond emotional. This affected my eldest baby, Xavier, my husband and myself. I thank my boy Angus because in many ways I feel as if I owe his birth experience for teaching me to take control of our next babe’s arrival.
So here is where we skip forward to me getting accepted onto the Community Midwifery Program – YAY!!! Something I never thought would happen as I knew there was a BMI limit and I had been actually working towards losing weight but hadn’t planned on becoming pregnant so soon.
The months passed and I had my appointments which were great, all going well, baby growing well. I was in awe and in love. I am sure my family are so over me talking about babies, pregnancy, homebirth, vaginas and me talking about poo in a birth pool. I am far from a hippy but I know many in my family think I am one because I use cloth nappies, breastfeed, co-sleep and think the placenta is an awesome piece of meat. I have been called an Amazon woman, a trooper and a crazy fool but, to those who truly know me, I am Em, a simple, fun, honest, loud and stubborn woman who will go to the ends of the earth for those she loves.
Months turned into weeks and with this my appointments moved from monthly to every 2 weeks. I was 32 weeks and went in for an appointment and baby was measuring large for my scan dates which were 19th of Feb… scan dates can be used against or work with you. Anyway babe was fine otherwise, but my fundus was measuring large so Gaynor wanted to make sure things were fine so I was sent off for a scan and to see the ob at KEMH, my back up hospital, so appointment was made as well as a GD test – I knew I didn’t have it but did it not once but twice my – results came back and oh what a surprise it was negative… I know I am a Woman who is over the norm weight wise but I know that I am healthy. I have two very active little boys who keep me on my toes I am always on the go and love my somewhat busy semi-organized life.
I had a scan to see about the amount of water I was carrying as well as there was worry about this as well. Which came back fine.
I had birthed two babies vaginally before, so I wasn’t worried, but all these things were thrown at me and put doubt in my mind and made me worry. So there I was, stupidly doubting my body and myself, silly woman… After talking to a few ladies and them giving me the positive influence I needed, I thought Em stop being a whinge and deal with it and get on with it. I would not let it change my thoughts or stop me from having the birth I deserved.
So here it is, finally time for me to tell you how the best day I have ever emotionally had goes.
Weeks of niggles and a few stretch and sweeps, what I now know to be him trying to get into a better position. Many times, it felt on and off and I am sure Gaynor was so over me calling her LOL. On Thursday, 9th February, 1 day after my thought-to-be due date, at roughly 5.30am, I woke with what I thought to be yet again niggles so I huffed and said whatever … rolled over and went back to sleep. About 15 minutes later, was woken again with another niggle and this one was uncomfortable so I thought “Fine”, the birds were keeping me awake so I got up went wee had a very slight pinky mucus. Thinking NOTHING of it, had tons of it all week why would this be any different… went downstairs, put some washing on, sorted my birthing room out. (Flares should have gone up then!) Made sure everything I wanted in my birth box was sorted, put some candles on, said to myself I’m not going to make Xave’s lunch for school again (another flare!) but I had no clue. I think I was expecting something to happen waters or something huge. Then another tightening that made me stop on the stairs and actually made me hold my tummy and breath… OK, so I was a little excited 🙂 Went and woke Rob, he rolled over said “ok” and passed out again, typical Rob LOL… Xave and Gus were in bed with Rob and were woken as well. I messaged my Doula Lisa (xx) and called my Mumma (I love you mum) and let them know that it had started. Also called Gaynor, my midwife, and let her know it was starting, the time was about 8.30am.
I went downstairs and Rob helped me set up my birthing space with my pool, my birthing candles and my altar with all my beautiful gifts from my blessingway ceremony. The curtains were drawn closed, I wanted the atmosphere to be similar to that of my blessing way, a very powerful emotional day that in many ways gave me the strength. I had all the people I wanted spiritually in that room on my special day and not an ounce of negativity anywhere to be felt, no monitors, no iv drips, no nurses, it was beautiful. My tightenings were coming steadily and regular and were about 3-5 mins apart. I had to focus and breath while they were happening.
At this point Lisa arrived. I remember her big smile and the fact that she said I look way too beautiful for someone who is in labour… Again, I said still don’t think I am in labour. Then I had an idea to have a shower before I got Lisa to attach the tens machine. Heaven, it’s amazing what the water did, it felt great and the hot water on my skin felt like bliss. Next we moved downstairs onto my birth-ball and rested on the side of my birth pool and waited for the next one to come… at this point Lisa had placed the tens machine pads onto my back and told me how they work and what they do and my god it was an instant relief. Lisa stayed for a while, then had to pop into work to drop the van off so she left but said she would be back within a few hours. Renae arrived, my best friend and my photographer. In this time mum had called on Skype so as I breathed and focused through my contractions it was somewhat comforting to know that even though she was far away, she and dad were with me via Skype.
Not too long after, Gaynor and the backup midwives arrived, so we had breakfast together or I moved while they ate. Tightenings had really made their entrance and yes to an extent I was still in denial. I think because it was such a different experience and so relaxed it didn’t really feel like it was on, there was no rush, no worry, just me, my team and my beautiful belly, my babies and husband, family and home. I think it was about 10ish that the pool started to be filled and I remember sighing thinking “awesome”.
Having my music playing and the smell of my favourite oils was bliss and I breathed in deep and enjoyed it. My pool was ready and I remember the feeling of slowly lowering my foot into that pool was amazing, the relief of lowering my calves, knees and then sinking my hips into the warmth of the water was like something I had never felt before, I compare it to the feeling of utter satisfaction or the release of emotion you have after a huge emotional teary day and you hop into a hot shower and it feels like the hot water washes your hurt frustration and pain away. My body almost screamed with joy in silence. Angus and Xave came in and gave me cuddles and kisses. I knew it would get harder and really test me and take me to places that would rock me to the core, that place came not too long after this amazing feeling. I moved over through the water and found comfort in Rob, leaning on him, holding his hands and growling deep into his chest, I kept asking him not to leave. As if he would LOL…
Throughout my time in the pool, Gaynor had given bub checks and done my obs. I started to get the urge to push and with each tightening I kept feeling it get stronger and stronger, I couldn’t help it. The urge to push took over my tightenings and it was almost a relief. Gaynor said to go for it. I tried but nothing, so it was at this point Gaynor wanted to give me another VE? She was gentle so with that I turned over and was able to stay in the pool. We found out that I was 7/8 cms but with a lip of cervix. Baby’s head was in a funny position as well as bulging waters. Babe was also OP so this news kinda made me a little upset but I couldn’t let it distract me. Gaynor TOLD me I needed to get OUT of the water so it took EVERY fibre of my being, but I did it reluctantly with help from Rob. The tightenings turned to pain, they came so fast and without relief. I threw myself at Rob and hung from him and made noises that you would expect from an awesome romp in the bedroom, deep sensual moans and breathed out the pain and, to an extent, the urge to push. I felt Gaynor grab my hips and circle them, hoola hoops around and around. Gosh they hurt, pain filled my lower half and I had to really concentrate through them. Then Gaynor said “ok upstairs, we are going to go sit on the loo and try and do a wee”. “Aww shit, the stairs” came out of my mouth. I was thinking “ok if we are gonna go we gotta do it now”. I made it as far as the kitchen bench until another pain came I bent over the bench and breathed, there was so much noise. I wanted back in my quiet relaxed birthing zone I remember angrily saying loudly “shhhhhh”. Once it was over moved upstairs, got to the top railing, eventually made it to the toilet, that whole time still wanting to push so making the sounds low soft moans deep animal like sounds it took my whole being to try to resist the urge.
I remember thinking “I want my mum, can’t we just go to the hospital, have an epidural, get it out, anything”… then my sense kicked in and said “Em, you are nearly there, you’re where you want to be, try to focus”… It was so hard sitting down on that seat was hard plastic and cold but I knew I needed it. Gaynor and Lisa came into the bathroom with me, my eyes were darting between Gaynor and Lisa. I remember crying it hurt so much, I wanted to let go, scream and tell them to piss off, leave me alone, but I needed them there at the same time. Having the urge and trying to hold back was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, I breathed through them barely with very wavered breath, I felt tight and I felt with each tightening my baby move. It was hard bloody work, I lost control and said “I can’t”. It was then Gaynor grabbed my hands, got my eye contact and said “Slow down, stop, breath deep”. I stopped, looked up, saw Lisa’s face, she made a sign to me like “look at me, stay with me” and I did, I didn’t look away from her eyes, I breathed when she breathed and regained some control. Still the urge to push was there, not as intense but still there. Something felt like it changed. Gaynor suggested a VE so we moved back to the peace and warmth of my birthing room. Gaynor had mentioned to me throughout my labour that it was my call, never took over, never made me feel scared, angry or worried that she had different ideas, always made me feel that I was in control of the situation.
Gaynor suggested breaking my waters as she believed that was the only thing restricting me, so with this I agreed with a trust that is unexplainable. As I lay there with a tightening coming I breathed out and opened, Gaynor gave me a VE and broke my waters. With that an instant relief, I remember even during my tightening I sighed it felt so good, I was 9cms dilated, ready, I felt it. Inasked if I could get back in the pool and I heard the most awesome response… Yes, those three little letters couldn’t have made me happier. I got up walked (others say sprinted!) to the pool, with no help threw my leg over, lowered myself into the pool on my knees facing my husband and waited. It wasn’t long, I had two small tightenings and slowly pushed just enough.
I lowered my hand into the water and placed it over my center and waited. I rested my head on my beautiful husbarmy’s arm and then got into a comfortable position. Rob and I had waited for this moment for nearly 2 years, I can only imagine how he felt. Rob had moved his hand down and placed it onto my head and brushed over my face. I let go and it came, a tightening. I breathed and pushed, I felt myself open and felt the softness and wrinkled top of babe’s head. I pushed, no sound, I breathed and listened to my beautiful amazing capable body who was doing this. Again pushed and felt the roundness of its perfect little head. I heard Gaynor say “ok don’t touch” so I lifted my hand out of the pool and hung onto Rob’s hand again. I gathered and breathed and pushed and breathed, it was a different sensation to actually pushing, I let my body do it, if it needed the help, I helped, but feeling my body work it’s beautiful magic to get babe out and into my arms was amazing, I loved the feeling. Again another, and with my entire being I pushed and breathed and I felt my baby my perfect little baby enter the world in what I hoped for it – a room full of love, warmth, safe, family-filled environment. I broke down, my emotions overrode my body. I didn’t even have to think what to do, next my instincts took over. With my heart pounding, my heart singing, my ENTIRE being just being, my leg swung over, I scooped my warm baby up and hugged and just held for what felt like an eternity. My eyes closed, I enjoyed, I cried. I did it, oh my god, I did it! I held it, I loved it, our babe was finally here, all that work it had truly paid off, how amazing. I breathed out and sighed and opened my eyes.
I had just done it with the most amazing support. I looked up and saw my beautiful husband’s face, a smile ever so big that made me proud and realize why I will do it all over again. His eyes full of tears, he leant down and kissed me. I love him. I love you Robert. I looked around and asked where everyone was. I was in such a space, my other babies and family had missed the actual entrance of babe’s arrival but in what felt like seconds everyone was in the room and there was a buzz, a beautiful buzz, a high that only a birth can bring. I hadn’t even found out what babe was so I had a feel and with a sigh and a giggle another little boy – wow, lucky us, three perfect little men now. I had asked the boys if they would like to come in to see baby. Xave couldn’t have come in faster, Gussy was a little hesitant, totally fine, such a huge, massive day.
In Xave hopped and he was mesmerised by his new baby. Gussy then came in, had a look at his new little brother and in true Gus fashion was like yeah cool and went about to splash in the pool. We chose to wait till the cord had stopped pulsating till we separated babe from it. I also had the chance to actually feel the blood pulsating through the cord, it was amazing. So we waited and once it had stopped, called Xave over for his big job of the day. He helped daddy cut the cord, he had said from the very start of pregnancy that this would be his role, he did a fantastic job and every time he looks at baby talks about making his belly-button. A short while later I delivered the placenta. Again I have so much respect for it, even more than I had before. So after this I got up and moved onto the couch, had my check up and baby was checked over and weighed. My perfect little tiny boy who was yet to be named and born at 2.32 pm had a head circ of 36 , was 54 cms long and a tiny 9.4 pounds, I was fine, no tears but 2 grazes. After checkups were done I got to devour my baby again with my eyes and try to get him to latch and again he did perfectly. While I laid there on the couch in a lazy mood everyone hustled around me, tidying the room and putting the room back to normal. I didn’t really take much notice, I was too in love, lying there. I called Rob over, we went through a few names and finally came to an agreement.
Welcome to our world, Hudson James Fedigan. My littlest boy how you have taught me so much already. You have taught me to trust and love and let be. I thank you to the universe and back.
I dedicate MY EMPOWERING JOURNEY to my husband, my big boys, Xavier and Angus, my support team, Lisa, Gaynor, my Mumma, Lis, Nan, Mim and my amazing photographer that captured the raw emotion of my birth, Renae. Thank you just doesn’t seem to fit.
If I can let anyone know one thing it would be trust.
Written with love xxx