All photos by Gabriela Fearn
I have been wondering about sharing Faye's Birth Story for a little while. Wasn't it better to keep it private? But then I remembered how much I had been empowered and inspired by all the positive birth stories that other women had shared. I decided to put our story up on the blog. It's the real and raw version. The words that came to me when the memory was fresh. This is what I typed into in my phone on the first day at home...
I woke up at 3 am on Sunday with some cramping.
It was too strong to go back to sleep, but I tried to stay in bed and relax as much as possible. I was trying to observe what was happening. The sensations were very different from any menstrual cramping or digestion issues. It felt like my butt was zipping up from the inside and the movement came round at the front. It came in waves and after an hour of staying steady, it became clear to me that I was in labour.
I then timed a few of these waves and by 6 am the contractions were only 4min apart and 1min. long.
I called my Doula, Lucretia McCarthy, let her know what was going on. She was out of town but got on her way immediately. Dave and I got up. I had a nice long shower and washed my hair. I tried to have a little bit of breakfast but wasn't able to get much down in between contractions. Dave kept bringing me water and cool towels. I felt quite warm and the towels were feeling great. I was really enjoying my Kundalini Yoga mantra playlist which was playing in the background. It helped me to stay focused. Dave got really excited that it was actually happening. We had a few good giggles and fun in between contractions. Both so happy that we would soon get to meet our daughter.
The contractions intensified by 8 am. I went to the bathroom and discovered the show in my underpants. David walked our pup Dalston and tidied the house. By 11 am, I was shaking all over my body and had to throw up. The contractions were very intense at this stage and I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I felt high on all the hormones rushing through my body and didn't feel pain, just intense wavelike movements coming through my body. Dave brought Dalston to our neighbours who had kindly offered to look after him. I kept breathing through my nose long and deep through each wave of contractions. At this stage, I was moaning and grunting and started to be more and more withdrawn.
Dave called the midwives at the birth centre and kept updating the Doula with my progress.
At 11.30 I knew I couldn't stay home any longer, we had to get into the car. Everything was proceeding so much faster than anyone had anticipated.
The drive was uncomfortable as my contractions were very closely together and sitting didn't seem like the right position. I was grunting and trying to keep hydrated. Luckily we had hardly any traffic and arrived at the birth centre 22min later. The lights were dimmed and they had arranged some beanbags and padding on the floor. I went down on all fours straight away. Our Doula Lu arrived shortly after and midwife Amy was on Duty, running me a bath. I was throwing up again and shaking all over my body with every contraction. Dave had turned my mantra music back on in the meantime, parked the car and by the time he arrived my contractions had intensified and changed. They became like strong urges through my whole body and I felt a lot of pressure in my bottom. Dave asked if my water had broken yet and just after he finished his question my water broke with a loud pop and fluid was gushing everywhere.
Midwife Amy told me that there was some meconium in the water and that she would like to do a vaginal exam, which confirmed that I was fully dilated. She told me that we would have to transfer to delivery suite as monitoring of the baby would be required to ensure she is well.
She left to inform the paediatrician and some nurses to prepare for transfer. I was very withdrawn at this stage. Every contraction was so intense and I could really feel our baby moving downwards. That was all I cared about.
Doula Lu, came close to tell me that she believed I am only a few contractions away from meeting baby and if I would just push very well now, there won't be time for me to transfer. At this stage I was on my knees, holding onto David with all my strength with each push and contraction I squeezed him tightly. I heard myself screaming. Everyone was cheering me on and encouraging me quietly but the voices seemed really far away. I was clearly in my own world. I could feel the head moving down the birth canal. They asked me if I wanted to feel the babies head and told me they could see it. That was enough for me to hear. I knew I would give everything. At the same time I felt as if my body was doing all the work for me, there was no way NOT to push. It was like riding waves. In three pushes and only about 10min. later our baby was born. Dave and the midwife caught her between my legs. It was the greatest feeling, a wonderful relief from the pressure. I was still withdrawn at a deep meditative state. I heard voices far away telling me repeatedly to reach down to pick up my baby. It took me a few seconds to register and when I reached down to hold my baby I was transported back to the room immediately. I held her up and looked at her. I stood up on my feet. I kept saying: "Oh my god, oh my god, my baby, my baby!!!" Then I looked at her and gave little Faye a warm welcome to this world. I realised that I was still dressed in my T-shirt dress and bra, everyone helped me get the clothes off, so I could place Faye on my chest immediately. Dave cut the umbilical cord after it stopped pulsating and the placenta was born shortly after. Born at 2.22pm at 50cm and 3145g our little girl was all well and healthy. Once I crawled up the bed and baby Faye was trying to latch on, I looked around the room and said: "This was amazing!"
It was the best day of our lives for sure.
I could not have hoped for a better support team. The midwives, our Doula and Dave who was the most amazing help and my rock through the process... everything was perfect!