As a hypnobirthing practitioner, Melissa Ayling was well prepared for the arrival of her second child – both physically and physiologically. But what she never expected was to give birth in her car.
The West Australian mum wanted to labour at home for as long as she could, and was in such a relaxed state thanks to hypnobirthing, left her run to the hospital a little too late.
‘Hypnobirthing is just so effective!’
The mum-of-one was home with her husband Sam, who was sleeping off a cold, when she decided to check her contractions using an app.
“It told me to go to the hospital but I still wasn’t convinced I needed to go to the hospital – hypnobirthing is just so effective!” Melissa told Mum’s Grapevine.
“I also believe I ignored the progress of my labour as I still had reservations about going to the hospital that I had not fully addressed in my pregnancy. I was worried about who my caregiver was going to be? Would they understand birth as a physiological event? Would they realise what a privilege it is to be at someone’s birth? Would they listen to my desires and respect my preferences when I arrived?”
Eventually, Melissa realised she needed to get to the hospital, and it wasn’t long before labour ramped up a notch.
“My natural expulsive reflex kicked in just as I hopped into the car. Then my waters released as I knelt in the front passenger seat facing the back. I stayed in this position the whole way, finding it hard to brace myself around corners and feeling claustrophobic being in such a confined space.
“After a few stops along the way – we lived 20 minutes from the hospital – we finally stopped for good on Mabel Street and Sam confidently agreed he would receive the baby. I could not as I was still kneeling and I could not move!”
A calm, roadside birth
Sam asked a little girl playing outside to get her mum to call an ambulance, while Melissa birthed her babe without fear.
“Never in my life had I felt so calm and connected to myself. I waited. I knew my body knew what to do. I knew my baby knew what to do. My baby then fully crowned, then the head was born and then the rest of the body gradually followed through. My baby was earthside!”
Sam passed baby Lockie through Melissa’s legs, but she still couldn’t quite meet her second son.
“My bikinis bottoms were in the way and just as I noticed this a lady came up to me and said she had five kids before and asked if she could help. I said, ‘Awesome, pull my bikini bottoms down!’ My baby got passed through my legs then our eyes locked and I bought him to my chest. The paramedics arrived just as this happened.”
Despite having just given birth on the side of the road, Melissa was as euphoric as any new mum.
“Such a blissful and psychedelic feeling. If only I could bottle what I felt – I would sell it for millions. My ears rang and I felt like I was in a different parallel. I stood barefoot on the ground out in the fresh air and bright sun, completely one with nature and spirit. I was on an oxytocin high rising to the height of human experience. I just gave birth to life itself. That’s why I looked like the happiest woman on earth! An oxytocin explosion.”
Melissa says she learnt so much from the dramatic birth, and she wouldn’t change it for the world.
“It was the birth that I wanted in the end. I completely owned it. I believe that it happened for a reason and I accept it as my pre-destined birth journey. I learnt so much from that birth! I was reminded again how powerful the mind-body connection is and that I am a strong and powerful woman – as that is what I learnt in my first birth experience.
“I also learnt how to surrender, let go of expectations, and how connected to nature. It was a transformational experience.”
We’re breathless – what a heart-pounding experience! Melissa, you’re not alone – here’s the story of the Queensland mum who also gave birth on the side of the road.
Professional image: Nat Stoncel Photography