As a self-described more mature first time mum, Jodie wanted to prepare herself both mentally and physically for the birth that she wanted.
“I am an older first time mum at 36 and I really wanted to make sure I prepped my body and mind to give myself the best chance at having a natural birth as that was important to me and my husband Craig,” Jodie, from WA, told Mum’s Grapevine.
“I went out of my way to educate myself on what to expect and the options that are available to us as mothers up to, during and postpartum. I found that I needed to go beyond what was shared through my doctors as I felt the information only really scratched the surface of what I believe is the most important day on earth for a woman.
“The need to seek good mental and physical health led me to start prenatal yoga. There I met an amazing instructor who was also a doula. Finally, I had met someone who was able to share information and empower me to seek and gain the knowledge and skills needed to achieve the birth I hoped for. I ended up enlisting her to be part of our special day … and it was the best decision ever.”
Jodie had experienced Braxton Hicks for a few days and made it to 40 weeks still feeling great. Her baby was healthy and well, so she settled in to wait for the big day.
“I followed all the things suggested to do to bring labour on naturally … yoga, walking, acupuncture the works. I got to 40+3 and I went in to see the midwife to have an examination to see what was going on. I was 2cm dilated so labour couldn’t have been far off, which I was happy about because I really didn’t want to be induced. That was on the Friday. On Saturday my husband and I woke up went for our morning walk and decided to give the only other thing on the list that we hadn’t tried that is meant to induce labour – sex!
“Well needless to say before we got very far I heard and pop and a big gush and my waters had broken. Once my waters had broken nothing happened for a while so we just popped to the hospital to get monitored to check bub’s heart rate. Bub was fine so off we went back home.
“Our doula came around that afternoon to give me a massage with essential oils that help bring on labour as well as do some yoga poses. I was very relaxed but still nothing. She asked if there was anything blocking my mind that could be preventing the contractions to start. I asked for some time alone to reflect and realised I was very sad that my mum wasn’t going to be able to be there as she was in the UK. With Covid, there was no way she could have been there, which she would have done if the world was in a different stage. I had a good cry and acknowledged those feelings which helped.
“My doula Katie then left Craig and I alone to reflect and have a good feed as it was getting to around 7 pm and I was hungry. It must have been no more than 10 minutes after she left when Craig and had just put some food in front of me when the contractions started – and boy did they start coming quickly.
“They were already at five-minute intervals and they were strong but I was really enjoying the feeling. The rush of oxytocin surging through my body was like being on drugs it was amazing. Craig rang our doula and she turned back around in the car and came straight back. My plan was to labour as long as I could at home and only go to the hospital when I really needed to.
“Hubby filled up the bath, put my birthing playlist on and the galaxy projector light we had bought to make the space as peaceful and empowering as possible. I laboured in the bath for a few hours with Craig massaging my back and putting pressure on my hips to help the babies head make its way down the birth canal. I really went into the zone and I had never felt so strong in all my life and was totally in control and I was so happy.”
‘We need to get to the hospital NOW!’
After a zen few hours of labouring, things started to ramp up for Jodie.
“After a couple of hours at home, the contractions were getting closer and stronger and decided to get out of the bath. As soon as I was out I actually started to feel really sick and needed to vomit. I got that out of my system and then Craig tried to massage my back again and I was like, ‘don’t touch me’. The doula then said right we need to go to the hospital NOW that’s a sure sign baby is coming soon.
“I grabbed the easiest thing to throw on from the cupboard, which happened to be my kimono dressing gown I got free from a hotel in Taiwan – random I know. Once semi-dressed we went off to the car. I couldn’t sit down on the seat the contractions were too powerful so I knelt on the front seat and off we went.
“Luckily we are only 10 minutes away from the hospital. That car ride was the hardest part of the whole experience as it was so uncomfortable but I knew it so wouldn’t last long. As soon as we pulled up to the car park I screamed to Craig , ‘I NEED to push!’ I clambered out of the car and started shuffling to the entrance but just as I was crossing the car park the urge to push was so strong I just need to be on the ground. So I dropped in the middle of the road. Luckily there was a policeman outside who offered us to get a wheelchair which we desperately need as there was no way I was walking.
“I clambered onto the wheelchair unable to sit down so again kneeing backwards holding onto the chair. Hubby had to wheel me through emergency as it was 11.30 pm by this time and that is the only way in. So off we went – me kneeling backwards on a wheelchair in a kimono and a pair of sunnies (so the lights didn’t mess with my mojo) God know what the people in emergency thought!
“I arrived at the ward needing to push with everything contraction. The midwives took one look at me and whisked me straight to the birthing suite as there was no doubt I was ready to push this baby out. It was important to me to be upright during birth so I climbed onto the bed on my knees and finally had a moment to feel what was going on down there. I’m so glad I did as it was amazing to feel my babies head crowning.
“The midwife had trouble checking bubs heart rate in that position so she asked if we could move around just to check everything was ok. We tried being on my side but that was too painful so she suggested I try sitting on the toilet. This is something I had learnt about in my education classes as being a great position to give birth in as it’s our natural instinct to push when on the loo. The midwife got the toilet ready with a pan to catch the bub if it arrived. My husband Craig was ready and in position to deliver our baby as it wasn’t far away. I sat on the toilet and after three pushed our gorgeous baby arrived and was delivered by my husband and put straight onto my chest for our first bonding feed.
“I was sat on the toilet holding our baby in complete shock and awe of what I had just done. I was so emotional I can’t put it into words. So much so that we all forgot to check what the sex was as we kept it as a surprise. It was a girl!
Elora Mae Franklin born at 12.21 pm, 13 June 2021, she shares her birthday with my brother.
“The immediate time after birth was just as important as I wanted three golden hours of just me and my baby skin on skin. We also did delayed corn clamping. We had three magical hours together breastfeeding and connecting before we moved to our suite. I couldn’t believe I had managed to birth my daughter exactly how I wanted it to happen. All in all, it was four hours from the first proper contraction to the baby arriving. We were only in the birthing suite for 40 minutes before bub arrived.
“I was so grateful for the preparation I did which allowed me to feel confident enough in my body and mind to have the birth I hoped for. Having my husband and doula as my support persons also allowed me to fully commit to the experience knowing I had people who were looking out for me. It was a truly magical experience.”
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More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…
- Birth Story: ‘One twin was conceived naturally, the other via IVF’
- Birth Story: ‘I delivered my own baby in the car’
- Birth Story: ‘I battled chronic migraines, GD and had an emergency c-section’
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