Typically, when you’re preparing for your second birthing experience, you feel like you have a good idea of what to expect. You’ve already been through labor before and are familiar with the process. However, Jessie’s first birth was anything but typical. She had an emergency c-section due to a failed external cephalic version (ECV), so she had no experience with labor.
As she prepared for her second birth, Jessie had no idea what to expect. But what she definitely didn’t expect was to give birth at home after being sent home from the hospital.
‘We met at a music festival’
In 2019, Jessie attended a music festival alone, not realizing that it would be a life-changing event. It was there that she met Daniel, who was also flying solo. They hit it off immediately, and what was supposed to be a simple day out turned into the beginning of a beautiful love story.
The next year, Jessie and Daniel received some exciting news: they were expecting their first child! They named their daughter Aurora, and after her first birthday, they decided to try for baby number two. It took six months, but eventually, Jessie fell pregnant again.
However, during Jessie’s first pregnancy, Aurora was in a Frank Breech position from 27 weeks. This is when the baby’s legs are folded flat against the head and the baby’s bottom is closest to the birth canal. At 37+1 weeks, Jessie’s care team attempted an ECV to turn Aurora, but unfortunately, it resulted in placental abruption and an emergency C-section. Jessie was understandably nervous about her next birth, but she had high hopes for a safe and healthy delivery.
Baby was too low
At 2:45 pm on February 24th, 2023, Jessie’s birthing team performed a stretch and sweep. She was already 40+2 weeks along, and there were some concerns regarding the baby’s weight.
“I had been losing my mucous plug over two days and my midwife had also attempted a stretch and sweep on the Tuesday prior (39+6) but my cervix was in a strange position, posterior and bubs head was too low for her to get to it. I started having surge-type sensations from around 10pm on the 24th, often but not consistently. They must have become less regular from 3:30am to 4am, as I managed to get some sleep and only woke up here and there to them.
“When I got up the next morning I barely had any surges but as the day went on I started getting more and more, but again, not consistently. They were varied between 5-20 mins but when I got them they were pretty intense. I wanted to make sure with my continuity of care midwife that I was fine, considering it was getting towards 24 hours of having this. And as a VBAC patient, I was aware that extended time in early labour can cause strain on the scar site.
“I sent her a message at 7:50pm. After she discussed it with other midwives at the hospital, she suggested it might be best I come in and get some monitoring sooner rather than later, just so I had more chance of being allowed to leave again and labour in the comforts of home while I still could.”
‘It was probably my transition’
Jessie and Daniel headed to the hospital, leaving their daughter Aurora at home with Daniel’s parents. Upon arrival at the hospital, a midwife hooked Jessie to monitoring. And while she was hooked up to the monitoring device her surges heat up and started coming around every three minutes and becoming intense.
“After maybe 45 minutes the midwife said she was happy with how everything was going and I was definitely showing signs that I was in early labour. She said it would probably be best for me to head home to give me the best chance of progressing. She did say, however, that it was my choice as to what I wanted to do.
“At this point, I remember having a surge, and then said, “I might be sick and asked or a sickie bag”. I didn’t spew but I started tearing up. Looking back I’m thinking just before this point was probably my ‘transition’, as my breathing changed from deep breaths in my nose and long exhales out of my mouth to quicker breaths into my nose and minor ripply vocal noises as I exhaled through my mouth.
“But as I had never actually experienced a labour before and the midwife took my labour cues as ‘early labour’, I could only think at the time “I better not be a little sooky about this and we should probably just go if I’m only in early labour”. She did offer a cervical check but we both agreed that it could potentially stall my labour and that I should wait until I came back later.
“Honestly, I think I was just taking it too well and she misread my labour cues. I said I was scared that we’d leave only to get home, which was just under a 20-minute drive away, just to have to turn around and come straight back again though, I do remember saying that a couple of times.”
‘Waters exploded out of me’
Jessie and Daniel ultimately made the decision to leave the hospital and head for home and left the hospital at 11pm. During the drive home from the hospital, Jessie could feel her surges coming almost every minute and they were intense.
“I remember us getting home, seeing my mother-in-law and daughter looking out to us through our sliding front door, my partner getting out of the car and I just having to sit there for a bit, not being able to move, having another surge. My partner must have come back because I remember saying to him “I don’t want your mum to see me like this”.
“I managed to get out of the car only to have to lean up against the side of it while having yet another surge. I slowly huddled the 10-metre walk from the car to the house, got inside, and leaned straight against the rocking chair near the entrance of our house in the lounge to have yet another surge, my MIL asking ” Why did they send you home!?” “What can I do for you!?”, and me just scrambling the words to say “I can’t talk”… “I need to lie down”.
“I remember hearing Daniel say “I guess I’ll try and get Rora down” and that he’d try reading her a book. I had probably been lying down no longer than a minute when all of a sudden I felt an overwhelmingly intense pressure downstairs and then bam! Waters pretty much exploded out of me!”
Call the Ambulance
The story began to become a little hard to remember for Jessie, who was later filled in on exactly what happened by her Daniel, and her mother-in-law, Karen.
“Daniel has said I was like “Daniel, Daniel, Daniel!!” He came and I told him my waters had just broke and to call an ambulance! He ran to go give Aurora to his parents, he came back and I yelled for some towels. He then asked “Should we go in my car or should I call an ambulance?” He said he just wanted to double check that was what I wanted not realising we were legitimately about to have a baby.
“I said “CALL AN AMBULANCE!!” I had this intense urge to push, pretty much as soon as my waters broke I believe. Daniel was outside on the phone to the ambos, I could hear his mum trying to talk to him, he’s since told me he was almost going to tell her to go away but then decided to let her go to me because he felt like he had his hands full and someone should be with me.
“When Karen came to me I had started making guttural noises and I was involuntarily pushing now. She said “Are you pushing?? And I responded, “I can’t help it!!” After about three surges, the baby’s head was out! I remember not feeling his head with one surge, next surge I felt his crown, next surge – head out.
“When bubs was crowning I remember saying to Daniel to get a warm compress for my bum but by the time he had warmed up a face washer and ran back, the baby’s head was already completely out. There may have been max one minute until the next surge and he was completely out!! He started to cry before he was completely out too!
“I was probably pushing for an entirety of 10 minutes and it was about five minutes pushing from the start of crowning to the baby being out! Shortly after birth Daniel got to announce to us – We had a baby boy!”
Paramedic’s five minutes too late
Jessie and Daniel’s son, Arian, arrived at home on the 25th of February 2023. He weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces, was 52cm long and had a head circumference of 32cm.
The call log from Jessie’s phone showed that the call to the emergency services was placed at 11:24pm and their son’s time of birth has been listed as 11:35pm. The paramedics arrived around five minutes after the time of birth.
“My daughter got to meet her little brother almost immediately after birth which I feel is just so special and amazing! I got my delayed cord clamping, I agreed to Ari’s cord being cut and clamped shortly before transferring from our bed onto theirs; by then 15 or so minutes had passed post-birth. Daniel got to cut his cord.
“I birthed the placenta in the ambulance when we were nearly at the hospital about 40 minutes after birth. We arrived back at the hospital at approximately 12:15am. When we arrived the midwife who let us leave greeted us…safe to say she was dumbfounded, as well as my continuity of care midwife who also met us there to assist with postpartum check overs and baby’s checks.
“I sustained a 2nd-degree tear, which I am so totally fine with, (so much better than C-section site), and apparently also two little tears near my urethra that didn’t need any stitches and haven’t caused the slightest bit of pain while peeing. The only medical intervention I received was while I was being stitched up – I was administered an injection to slow down bleeding as it was estimated I lost about 900 mls. They think this was mainly from the tear rather than postpartum haemorrhage.
“I had from birth until about 2am for skin to skin, my partner having him from time to time, while I was getting stitches.”
Hypnobirthing and Affirmations
In preparation for her second birth, Jessie spent time listening to a lot of hypnobirthing meditations, having completed the online course during her first pregnancy. She also had some affirmations that she repeated to herself during the labour experience.
“Remarkably I can confidently say I had no fear leading up to my labour and birth, I had full confidence in my body’s natural ability to birth. I welcomed and surrendered to the sensations, I also saw a chiropractor from 27 weeks which I am assuming also benefited me.
“Affirmations I was repeating to myself – “My surges are not stronger than me, my surges are me” “Floppy Face, Floppy Fanny” “Patience protects the pussy” And the fact “The peak of a surge only lasts about 20 seconds”, as well as focusing on my breathing technique.
“All round such an amazing birth experience… I’m on cloud nine from all of it. We wouldn’t have had it any other way. I definitely received my redemption birth.”
Jessie, Daniel and big sister Aurora have been in a bubble of newborn love and snuggles with the long-awaited arrival of little Arian.
Got your own birth story you’re itching to tell? We’re always on the lookout for new stories to feature. Submit your birth story.
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