After meeting at church and falling in love, Sharona and Jeremiah tied the knot just two years later. While the couple both hoped for children in their future, Sharona was warned that falling pregnant could be difficult, due to a recent diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a hormonal condition that can cause irregular menstrual periods and infertility.
Luckily, Sharona defied the odds and quickly fell pregnant! Nine months later, she shared her beautiful water birth story in the Mum’s Grapevine Spring 2023 Baby Group.
“I was diagnosed with PCOS and was told by the doctor that we would need to start trying for children now if we wanted kids in the next 2 years. We had sex unprotected TWICE and on Christmas day I knew I was pregnant.
“I found out I was pregnant VERY early. I would have only been 3 weeks along. On Christmas day I felt a little bit sick and was having hot flushes but my period wasn’t due yet so I didn’t want to get tested. I took a pregnancy test 3 days later and it showed up pregnant! Unfortunately, I had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and was vomiting every single day during my whole pregnancy. I took medication for it but it could only help so much. They also marked me as increased risk of pre-eclampsia and I was told to take aspirin for the rest of my pregnancy.”
As Sharona battled with extreme nausea, she focused on her goal of having a water birth with no medical intervention unless medically necessary.
“I had my birth preferences all planned out and written down to prepare for labour.
“For a couple of weeks leading up to labour, I was having constant Braxton hicks and would have cramps in my back. So many times, I thought I was in labour. On 13th September at 5:30am, I woke up with some cramps and tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. I texted my doula and my husband that I was having cramps and I think something was happening. I started being able to time the cramps and they were about 5 minutes apart so I asked my husband to come home from work.
“At 7:30am, I lost a bit of my mucus plug. At 8am, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart lasting for a minute. I popped on my favourite TV show and rolled around on the yoga ball and my husband put the TENS machine on me when he came over. My doula came to the house around midday. Just like my pregnancy, I was vomiting the entire time. We headed to the hospital at 2pm. The car ride to the hospital was awful, my contractions were so close together, they were also back-to-back and they lasted 2 minutes. I remember thinking surely, I’m really far ahead and it won’t be much longer now. When we arrived at the hospital my regular midwife was there to greet us, unfortunately though she had to clock off around 5pm as she had already worked all day and the next day was her day off. She handed over to a different midwife who I hadn’t met before.
“At 7pm, the midwife came in and said the team leader (their supervisor) wanted me to have a cervical check. I originally didn’t want cervical checks but I said yes because I thought I was far enough along that it wouldn’t matter the result… I was only 3 cm. This put a huge dint in my self-confidence and mental health and I started saying to my husband that I wanted the epidural, which he and my doula were quick to action and try and turn my mental state around.”
With active labour usually defined as being between 4cm and 5cm of cervical dilatation, Sharona was given two choices – to go home or have her waters broken.
“I wanted neither. My doula advocated my wants for me during this whole time so I didn’t have to talk to anyone. It was a constant back and forth with the hospital staff and eventually, they said I needed to leave the birth suite and go into the assessment centre. As they were packing my bags, in my head I was thinking ‘if I just lie here no one can physically move me or make me walk anywhere’, and that’s what happened. I stalled long enough that my contractions grew stronger and I didn’t need to leave.
“Even though I said no interventions, many were still offered to me (panadol, codeine, morphine, sterile water injections). I said yes to the gas but wanted most of it to be oxygen. Time passed very slowly for the next few hours and most of it was spent in the shower on my knees with the water on my back.
“Eventually, my waters broke in the shower and an hour or 2 later I had different feelings like pressure so I started to make very animalistic noises and grunting. The midwife came running in saying ‘are you pushing? You can’t start pushing until I’ve checked your cervix. If it’s not over 8cm you could inflame it’.
“I ignored all of this and stayed in my own mental bubble but what she was saying was affecting my husband and he started saying to me ‘do you want to get checked’ and I said ‘no I want to get in the bath’ so I started walking there very slowly.
“Once I got in, I started breathing with my body and ignored all instructions of ‘coached pushing’. I just allowed my baby to stretch my body as needed and take her time (my doula was telling me this in my ear the whole time). 30 minutes later and she was birthed in the water and my husband caught her from behind! I ended up getting my intervention-free water birth, breathed with my body to bring her out and had a physiological third stage.”
And so, at 1:40am on the 14th of September, Sharona and Jeremiah welcomed their gorgeous little girl, Hannah, into the world. Sharona hopes her story will encourage other pregnant and birthing women to stand up for what they want and not be afraid to say ‘no’ or ask for more information before making a decision. We definitely agree!
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.
More birth stories from the Grapeviners…
- Birth Story: ‘I gave birth on the bathroom floor’
- Birth Story: ‘My epidural caused a cardiac arrest’
- Birth Story: ‘I needed surgery to remove my placenta’
About to (or just had) a baby?
We know that the wait to meet your baby can be nerve-wracking, but we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. Our private Pregnancy & Baby Groups are a great way to connect with other Aussie mums who are due or had their babies around the same time as you.