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My third pregnancy was far from what I had imagined my final journey in this chapter to be like. Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) literally kicked my butt the whole pregnancy. As I entered the final trimester, I was doubting my body’s ability to birth. I had lost all confidence and was so close to asking my Obstetrician if I could have a caesarean. I was exhausted and at breaking point. I knew early on I wanted to have a planned induction, for various reasons including having experienced mild shoulder dystocia in my second birth, but mostly as I needed to know the end date with HG. After many informed discussions, my Obstetrician was happy to support me. As the weeks neared, I had to do a lot of mindset work, I did a fear release and began using affirmations using recorded tracks and displaying them around the house. My confidence began returning! I watched birth videos, engaged in further education, read books, and also read lots of birth stories. I surrendered and changed my mindset from ‘I am having a vaginal birth’ to ‘I am going to have a safe, positive birth’ I kept this open mind as I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself achieve a particular birth. My induction was booked for 37+6. unfortunately, sickness had other ideas. A few days before my induction I came down unwell with a virus and had to reschedule to 38+2. In the days leading up I went inwards. We had music playing each day, the vibe in the house was pure excitement. I began to feel a lot of cramping and knew my body was beginning to get ready. On the evening of the induction, my husband and I dropped the boys off to their grandparents and headed into the city for a nice dinner. Afterwards we made our way to the hospital, feeling relaxed, a little nervous but ready. We settled into the birth suite and at 8.30pm I had the prostaglandin gel inserted; my cervix was long and just slightly open. Initially I was bummed about this but quickly looked at the positive, I had all night to allow my body to do what it wanted. If labour began great, if not tomorrow I was meeting my baby boy! I began cramping and the Midwives were pretty certain my labour would get going. I set up my affirmations, got my earphones out and listened to affirmations and meditation tracks on repeat and tried to sleep as much as possible. I remember waking up at 3am and all my cramping had stopped, I knew labour was not going to start so I thought just sleep Ness, today is going to be a big day…

At 6.40am my Obstetrician arrived to release my membranes, my cervix was short and had dilated a few centimetres. I never asked by how much as the number was irrelevant to me (this was my one and only vaginal examination on the day). On the inside I was feeling apprehensive about my membranes being released, during my first and second births my labours took off so quickly after they were released. I had the CTG on and all things were looking great, I was lying in bed in a puddle of fluid just laughing every time there was a gush of fluid. I was getting regular cramping and I felt comfortable. The day staff arrived, and we had a student Midwife working alongside our assigned midwife. The student Midwife was excited to see a hypnobirth and I felt excited for her. We went through what I would be doing and how best she could help me during labour. I felt really supported by them both. Our photographer arrived around 7.30am and I was getting regular surges about 3 minutes apart, they weren’t too bad, I could still talk and do things to distract myself. My Midwife came in not long after and I asked for the monitoring off, she couldn’t see any reason for continuous monitoring in my labour and off it came. I was happy at this point as I wanted to labour so much without monitoring, and it was happening! I took my opportunity and jumped into the shower; it was around 8.20am. At this point I was needing to stop and focus on surges; they were still manageable, and I was talking and felt really relaxed in between. As I got into the bathroom I stood at the basin and had surge. I noticed that my body instinctively was creating space in my pelvis with my movements. I thought to myself ‘this is happening early’ but I trusted that my body knew what it needed to do and ignored it. The shower was so relaxing, and I was smiling while rubbing my belly and embracing the surges as they came. A little while later I announced to everyone in the room that I wasn’t coming out of the shower!

My surges were really intensifying, and I went inwards blocking everything and everyone out of my mind. At one point I vaguely remember having the doppler applied; I was never asked to come out of the shower or to have any vaginal examinations. My midwife was happy to let me go and put all trust in my body. This really made such a difference. Having my photographer Janet in the bathroom with me really helped, she never said a word but her calming presence and reassuring smile comforted me so much. I began to really feel the intensity of my surges now, it was all in the front and really sharp and intense, they were also coming really quickly, so the breaks were short lived. I was using visualisation, breath work along with gentle vocalisation as my tools. At one point I started to feel a bit strange, nauseated but not, it was bizarre, I thought surely this is not transition, it must just be from the heat of the water. I called out to my husband, he came in, sat down and just held onto my hand. I gripped his hand so tightly and began to really feel overwhelmed with the sensations. The F bombs began! I somewhat knew I was close but didn’t want to get too excited. Not long after my legs began shaking, and I got an urgency within myself to get out and get to the bed. My husband put the tens machine on, and I made my move to the bed as quickly as I could. For me it’s my safe haven in labour. I got to the bed and ramped the tens machine up, the surges were so intense. I began listening to my birth playlist where I started to get really emotional thinking of my two other boys at home. There wasn’t much of a break between surges, and I knew I was reaching my breaking point. I was getting overwhelmed and said to my husband ‘I can’t do this; I really don’t think I can do this’. Still convincing myself there was hours to go, I felt exhausted. My husband was amazing and reassured me with the words ‘you can do this, you’ve done it twice before, keep going’ he held my hand and never left my side, this really grounded me and I felt safe. I also kept reminding myself ‘you don’t need saving Ness, this is all normal, you need to feel this and work with your body and baby’. The last time I looked up at the clock it was around 9am or just after and I was close to asking for an epidural. I was done and over it!

Then a big surge began and at the peak the uncontrollable urge to bear down was felt. I looked at my husband and said, ‘get the Midwife I’m pushing’. I had another big surge, this time the urge to bear down was so strong and I knew my baby was coming, my husband and the midwife quickly got my undies off and called my Obstetrician. It was showtime!!

I began to do the guttural roar with my surges, and it felt so good while bearing down. I really wanted to get onto my back but couldn’t move, the surges were coming so quickly and the bearing down sensation was strong and intense. I yelled out as I could feel my baby moving down ‘Is he there yet’ and my Midwife responded ‘He’s right there, follow your body’s lead’ the next surge came and I felt him crowing. The pressure was intense, I just wanted to do the biggest push but knew I needed to slow down. I remember the midwife asking to get a second midwife as my Obstetrician hadn’t arrived yet. Not long after that my Obstetrician did arrive and straight away applied a warm compress to my perineum, there was instant relief. I was able to slow everything down and was guided with cues on when to gently push or just breathe. This was something I have always asked for in my births and I personally find it helpful. At that point I just zoned in on his voice and the sensations of my body and baby. I never felt pain, just pressure and I felt so relaxed. Soon after I felt his head completely come out and took a big breather, I knew we were so close to meeting our baby boy. Frederick had a nuchal cord which my Obstetrician gently unwrapped. I waited for the next surge and barely had to do anything. I felt his shoulder come followed by the rest of his body. It just felt so gentle and calm.

As soon as I felt him completely birthed, my upper body collapse into the bed. Frederick was born at 9.21am, a little under 2 hours from my labour fully establishing.

They say women travel elsewhere during birth and that afterwards there is a birth pause for the mother to come back to awareness. I felt this happen and really needed a minute along with a gentle reminder that my baby was here. I remember hearing my Obstetrician saying ‘Ness reach down and grab your baby’ but I couldn’t, I was in another world. I slowly lifted myself back up and looked down to see my baby boy lying there like a starfish, covered in vernix. I responded back with ‘I can’t’ I honestly felt so spaced out I had no idea how to even begin lifting him up to my chest. My Dr helped me by lifting him up into my arms. I will never forget that feeling of our skin meeting each other’s for the first time and feeling his warmth, it was euphoric. He looked and felt tiny, and the wave of emotions flooded me. Love, relief and I bloody did it, I just birthed like a boss!!

I was helped to rotate around so I could begin to rest and birth my placenta, my body felt in complete shock from the speed of labour and birthing. I remember feeling so weak I thought I was going to drop Fred. We did delayed cord clamping until the cord had stopped pulsating and I then birthed my placenta with continuous cord traction. I felt a lot of discomfort birthing this placenta unlike my others which were easy. My senses where just so heightened from the shock and I found it hard to relax. After the placenta was birthed, I focused on trying to relax my body, I was in quite a bit of discomfort and knew it was all shock related. I had a warm blanket applied and I focused on breathing and releasing tension from my body. My head was thumping, and my blood pressure was the highest it’s ever been. I felt off but also knew I needed to refuel, my husband offered me drinks and some light snacks, I wasn’t ready to tempt a meal. Despite this feeling, Frederick and I enjoyed a beautiful golden hour where he remained on my chest skin to skin. There was so much vernix on him, and I rubbed a lot of this into his skin. He initiated the breast crawl which was such an amazing experience. It was just pure magic to finally have him on my chest, to take in the little person who had now completed our family puzzle. After an hour I was busting for the toilet, so the student midwife helped me up and showered me, I was so weak and still felt spaced out from the shock. My husband got some bonding time while I began celebrating my body and all it had done. We were moved up to the postnatal ward where we spent the rest of the day sitting quietly, soaking up our little Fred.

When people ask me how my birth went, I describe it as fast, intense and absolutely incredible. It truly was the perfect birth to end a challenging pregnancy and to finish off my own birthing journey. While inductions often have a bad reputation, I can honestly say now having 3 that they can be positive and empowering just like a spontaneous labour and birth. I wouldn’t change anything about my births and I credit not only hypnobirthing techniques for this but also the education I engaged in for each birth. I was continuously supported and encouraged along the journey by my care provider who was invested in my experience as much we were. By sharing this story, I hope it inspires and empowers others that you can do this, and it can be a magical experience even when intervention is playing a role.

A special Thank you to my husband Ash, Obstetrician Dr Peter Jurcevic, Midwife Anita & Student Midwife Hannah at Frances Perry House and of course to our incredible photographer Janet from Hyggelig Photography all part of my dream team!


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