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"I trusted my body and truly I loved labour and birth."

My first pregnancy was pretty smooth. I had some hip issues but it was managed with a physio. I felt pretty good the whole time, and the third trimester was actually the best for me.

My waters broke unexpectedly when I was 37weeks and 5 days. My husband was away in Mount Buller working. I woke at 2am and thought maybe baby had dropped and I had just wet myself, only to discover it was my waters! I called my husband who packed up his work site and was making his way back to Melbourne at 3am, and I called both our mums who came to hang out. We had done a Calmbirth class and I was feeling pretty calm and excited, trusting my body and baby was doing what it needed to. Besides leaking when I walked, I didn't have any other symptoms for a couple of hours. We were in the middle of renovations and I had no gas and no running water and half a kitchen! My contractions started mildly but it was mainly in my back. Just like period pain so I used a heat bag.

My husband made it home around 7am and we went to the hospital by 8am after having some toast together. They offered us to go home, however my contractions picked up and given my husband had just driven home for 3 hours, we were keen to stay in the hospital. I'm grateful, as things progressed pretty quickly.

I was getting all my pain in my back and had a huge urge to push! I had a WATERFALL of amniotic fluid come out which gave me so much relief (and made a huge mess on the bed/floor/midwives....). My husband had to apply pressure to my back for my entire labour - I didn't want him to let go. The midwives had to give him water through a straw because I wouldn't allow him to let go! I also had a TENS machine on my back in labour which I think helped a little, but I later forgot it was there.

I wanted minimal intervention. I didn't want the midwives to check if I was dilated. I used the gas and listened to my meditation music (which I could hear for 3 days following!). I wanted to use the bath but couldn't, as I felt ready to push. I was on my hands and knees up on the bed for most of my labour which I liked as a position, but baby wouldn't budge! The midwives told me to push but my contractions would finish. I think I was actively pushing for almost 3 hours (which I now know isn't that normal, but apparently common with a posterior baby).

My obstetrician finally arrived and told me to lay on my back which I was adamant I didn't want to do and told him not to give me an episiotomy! He laughed and told me to roll over. Baby was simply stuck. A few more pushes and baby was really on the way. Turns out she was posterior, so we have amazing birth photos of her coming out, face up, and I was able to reach down and bring her up onto my chest myself!

SHE WAS A GIRL! We had one girls name and one boys name so as soon as they said it I just cuddled her and said "IT'S RUBY!". We wanted delayed cord clamping, and waited for the placenta to come out naturally without oxytocin shot. I had lots of skin to skin and breastfed for a few hours before having a shower. We also kept the placenta to be encapsulated which I took for the couple of months post birth (not for everyone I know!).

I look back on birth as a really calm, empowering time. I don't recall screaming, just humming deeply and tuning into my music and sucking on the gas. I felt really in control. I trusted my body and truly I loved labour and birth. I get angry when I see crazy birth scenes in movies where they make it look totally scary and painful. Three years later and I'm close to birthing my second baby. I'm looking forward to labour and am hoping to have a water birth in the hospital this time.

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