Freya’s Birth

I woke suddenly on Monday morning at 2am after a vivid dream. I went to pee and noticed mucous with dark red blood. I couldn’t sleep, but went back to bed and rested for a while. I felt fine, but during the course of the morning had more blood and mucous. I called my midwife; she let me know that my Group B Streptococcus screen had come back positive. I understood that for the antibiotics to be effective, I needed two courses 3-4 hrs apart during active labour.

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At around 5pm the tightenings started to become more regular. When Nick arrived home from work the tightenings were still hanging around, although they weren’t any stronger and I felt as though they might not eventuate into anything. But I asked him to blow up the birth pool as a precaution.
I felt a bit anxious that if I was going into labour, I needed to give Olga time to get here, and that was playing on my mind. Half an hour or so later I thought that the tightenings were regular enough to call Olga and put her on standby. Another hour not much had changed, but the contractions were still hanging around, so I started to think that maybe I was going into labour. Nick called Olga but the tightenings started to become less frequent, and by the time that Olga and Heidi (student midwife) arrived, they were almost non-existent. Olga did an internal; she thought I was maybe 1-2cm, and that the cervix was still posterior, but very soft. I think I was expecting this, but it was still very difficult to hear.

I told everyone to go home. Olga told me to lie down and sleep, given that I had been up since 2am. I complied, but as soon as I heard their cars drive away I burst into tears. After a bit of a cry, I tried to focus on sleeping, when all of a sudden I was hit by an almighty contraction which sent me writhing off the bed. It seemed to last for ages. I crawled to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet, and noticed that I’d had a huge show. A few minutes later I had another contraction, and then another. I started to shiver uncontrollably and my teeth were chattering. I stumbled out into the kitchen and Nick wrapped his arms around me while I shivered and cried.

After maybe twenty to thirty minutes of intense contractions, I instructed Nick to call Olga and Heidi and they returned to the house. Olga whispered to me that I was definitely going to meet my baby tonight. She suggested that I hop into the pool, and I asked her to do another internal, which now indicated that I was 5cm. I climbed into the pool and the contractions seemed to melt away. They were so easy and so far apart that I vaguely worried that I had again stalled the labour. A second midwife, Laura, arrived and I heard Olga updating her quietly. I could sense Nick and Heidi sitting close by. Heidi was going to be the main caregiver during the birth, which was great because she had been with me since the beginning. My waters still hadn’t gone. After what seemed like 10 contractions, I had a contraction that caused me to grunt involuntarily.

When the next contraction flowed through, I got an urge to push, so I did, and felt Freya’s head move down a bit, but not quite as much as I expected. I asked Olga to check me, and when she did, told me that I was indeed fully dilated and that my membranes were still intact. It was then that something changed. With the next contraction I pushed again, and felt my membranes go. And with that, I was hit by an overwhelming pain in my pelvis. I was hit with another contraction, and then another, and had to fight the urge not to push. It just didn’t feel right. The contractions started to slow, and Heidi and Nick helped me out of the water, and I tried to walk around in an attempt to help my baby to change position. With each contraction, the odd pain in my pelvis would return, and I started crying out that I couldn’t do it.

Thoughts of calling an ambulance started to cross my mind. I had a moment of desperation, and wondered why, after pushing my giant son out so easily, this ‘little’ baby wasn’t budging. It was then that Laura whispered into my ear that she’d like to try something that might help the baby reposition itself. I felt someone wrapping a sheet around my belly, and was instructed to lean into it like a sling, which I did. Immediately I felt relief, and a gush of fluid trickled down my legs. Nick whispered that he had me and so I went with it, and started pushing with the next contraction. I felt my baby’s head come down and start to crown. With the second contraction I pushed her head out easily, and then controlled any urges to push as she rotated. With one last push, she was out, and Heidi passed her to me through my legs. I held her to my chest and just squatted there for what seemed like forever.

One of the midwives suddenly remarked on how clever the baby was, and I realised that she had attached herself to my breast and was sucking happily away. I had let down as she was born, and this had dripped on to her face. Her cord pulsed for quite some time after the birth, so we were wrapped in towels and I sat on the floor feeding her until the cord stopped pulsating and Nick cut it. The breastfeeding helped the placenta to release, and I pushed it out after only 22 minutes. I still had my baby wrapped to my chest and feeding happily and once the placenta was out I encouraged her to pull off and we checked between her legs to learn that we had a baby girl, and we named her Freya.

Photography by: Melissa Sheed Photography