1.7.12

The Coming of (S)age - {a birth story}

My story of Sage’s arrival is one that I have wanted to write for quite some time. Sage is currently 5 months and one week old and has brought immeasurable joy and love to our lives. I still find it incredibly difficult to associate her as being the little bundle that was growing inside me for all of those months. Although I felt connected to my unborn baby, I didn’t know her – her likes and her dislikes, her features,  her personality. Now that she is here, sharing our world and filling it with pure happiness, we couldn’t imagine a life without her. Here is my tale of her birth…


Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I stirred from a restless sleep at 12.52am, as a mild wave swept over me. I’d become accustomed to these tightenings during the early morning hours of the past three days, so I knew that my body was physically preparing for the journey that lay ahead. Kneeling on the bed with my head down, swaying my bottom in the air was an effective {although highly unattractive!} way to ease the discomfort, which quickly passed. Laying back down, I attempted to rest, not thinking too much of the mild, infrequent cramps I was experiencing. I had learnt from previous days not too get too excited as after a few hours of contraction-like pains each evening, they’d dissipate as quickly as they’d arrived. However, half an hour later, I was overcome by an overwhelming surge of nausea. I raced to the bathroom and sat on the toilet lid, shaking violently and feeling the need to both vomit and use the toilet. I felt so, so awful - feverishly sweating and shivering, on the verge of throwing up. I remember thinking -- “if this is what labour is like, I don’t know how the hell I’m going to get through it.” The dizziness was unbearable and I clutched at the sink for balance for fear of fainting. After twenty minutes {which felt like hours} I gratefully accepted another wave which, as it retreated, thankfully took with it all signs of nausea and fever. Utter relief flooded my body, but mostly my mind.


From the moment I left the bathroom at 1.20am, my contractions began arriving consistently at 5 minute intervals and lasting for approximately 60 seconds each. Butterflies of anticipation awoke in my ginormous tummy, and fervently began their eager flutters, as I finally accepted that; ‘yes this is it - the journey to meet our little girl has finally begun’. I laboured solely for some time, walking and swaying, swaying and walking. Noticing the increasing steadiness and gaining strength of the waves, I thought it best to wake Si so he could begin supporting me through the discomfort. It was now just after 2am. He immediately leapt into action, packing the car with our bags and whispering words of encouragement. Our intention was to labour at home for as long as possible, as we felt that we would progress further by feeling comfortable and relaxed in our own environment. The lights in the house remained off as I felt distracted by them and was irritated by their harshness and glare. Si lit some candles in each room which subtly filled the house with a beautiful scent and their glow soothed and calmed my mind. Walking the rooms and halls of our home filled me with reassurance and confidence. I knew each and every sound, each and every nook and cranny and this knowledge brought with it great solace. My sole focus was to breathe, relax and visualise Sage making her descent. We felt very strongly about managing the discomfort of tightenings by staying continually active throughout our labour and believed upright positions would only assist Sage’s natural path down the birth canal. As a wave became established, I stood with my hands against a wall or door frame, rocking my hips side to side and centering my breathing. I also found great relief from extreme heat being placed on my lower back. Si faithfully followed my pacing body, with a warmed wheat pack at the ready. Microwave trips between each contraction became his absolute focus and I sensed that by him having a purpose and a role, he felt valued and a huge part of the entire labour process. 


With the continual regularity of the waves and their increasing speed, Si called through to the maternity ward to prepare them for our arrival. I was finding the contractions painful and unbelievably intense, however as they were still {just} bearable, we were hoping to stay at home for a little while longer yet. Our midwife Marilyn, who had shared our entire pregnancy journey with us, was unfortunately on holidays and a 4 hour car ride away. Due back the very next day for our scheduled induction, she {and we} thought our little girl would have made her arrival long before now. Thankfully, our incredible Calmbirth guide, Maree had agreed to come in and support us through Sage’s delivery if we were to go into labour while Marilyn was away. We felt incredibly reassured to know that Maree would be by our side, as during our Calmbirth weekend, we shared and discussed in depth our hopes for labour and Sage’s birth and developed an incredibly strong and trusting relationship with her. We had great confidence that her calm, caring and gentle nature and her full belief in my mind and body would empower us to strive for the birth we were so hoping for.


At 3.15am, after an hour of contractions at 5 minutes intervals, I headed back to the bathroom and vomited. Although a little scared, I hoped this was a good sign that we were progressing well, as I knew that throwing up may assist dilation and be a sign of a fast labour. It was here that I also discovered I’d finally lost my mucous plug. From then on, the waves increased their consistency to greet me every 2 minutes. At this stage, I knew that if I kept my mind fixated on the gift at the end, each contraction would continue to be manageable, despite their intensity. Si called through to the maternity ward again to update them that our waves were now much closer together and they advised us to come straight in. It was just after 4am. This was it! 


My heart leapt with excitement as I realised the next time we’d be pulling into the driveway, we’d be doing so as a family of three. The car was packed, ready for our short trip to the hospital, however finding a comfortable position was a whole other matter! As I’d be experiencing tightenings on the way, I knelt on the floor of the passenger side with my body lying over the front seat, as then I still had the ability to sway through the pain. The journey seemed endless; however three very difficult waves later, we arrived in the hospital car park. As soon as we stopped I leapt out of the car to vomit in the garden. The contractions were coming harder and faster. We walked into the glassed entrance way, ready to be let in to the building and Simon pressed the buzzer to let them know of our arrival. When he didn’t receive an immediate response, he rang again and again, until an agitated voice came through the intercom and said “stop pressing the buzzer!”. Each time Simon buzzed, it counteracted them opening the door to allow us in! Walking down the hall, I continued to contract and had another 4 waves before even making it to the delivery room. 



Maree had not yet been called, as she was going to be coming in on her day off, so another midwife settled us into the room and wanted to monitor myself and our baby on the bed for a short time. I was incredibly uncomfortable labouring while having to be still and desperately wanted to move and stay active. She quickly checked my progress and discovered I was 4cm dilated. Although I still had 6cm to go, I wasn’t at all concerned as I sensed Sage wasn’t too far away from making her entrance into the world. I gratefully accepted each contraction as I knew each one, although immensely painful, brought us that much closer to meeting our precious little girl. Simply managing each wave one by one, made the process so much more bearable.



Si ensured the lights in the delivery room were low and set up a small vase of flowers by the bedside - a creature comfort from home. The bath was filled with water, as I had considered the possibility of a water birth, however now in fully fledged labour; I knew this was no longer what I wanted. Rocking, swaying and continually moving, I began to feel an overwhelming need to dip my legs, as if they were forcibly buckling at the height of each contraction. Involuntarily, deep grunting sounds arose from within as the pain escalated to a new level. Maree arrived and was surprised at my motions and how far I’d progressed in such a short period of time. I no longer wanted heat, but a cool face washer on my forehead brought much needed relief. Waves were now one minute apart and I could sense a definite shift inside. I had no control; I surrendered to the movements my body so obviously needed to make, in order to manage the intensity of the contractions. There was no need to fight it. My body was designed for this. Both Maree and Simon knew that I didn’t want pain relief to be mentioned unless I was the one instigating, and on not one occasion throughout the entire labour, did drugs ever cross my mind. I became very ‘inward’ and solely focussed on breathing Sage down. I was no longer very aware of what was going on around me, however I recall Simon reminding me that Sage and I were working together to bring her into the world. This thought brought me great comfort - we were already a team, she and I, travelling this journey as one. Although I vomited once more, I felt powerful, strong and confident. I knew the end was near.



As the first signs of daylight were beginning to appear, I finally felt the incredible torrent of my waters breaking. Like a water balloon bursting, they went all over the floor and Maree noticed they were tinged with brown. Sage had already had a bowel movement inside so the waters contained meconium. Maree regretfully told me that from this point onwards I would have to labour on the bed as our little girl may be experiencing distress and her heart rate had to be monitored. Although utterly disappointed, I knew I had to put the safety of our baby over my own discomfort. I felt an intense pressure and the need to go to the toilet before being confined to the bed, and here in the bathroom, as I reached down, I could feel Sage’s head. “There’s something here guys” I hollered to Maree and Si who came racing in and confirmed, that yes, Sage’s head was sitting right there, crowning as I was standing in the bathroom! I slowly waddled to the bed, where I was hooked up to the electronic monitor.




The waves were unbelievably excruciating as I had to lie flat on my back. They brought with them an extreme force that could only be handed by finally allowing my body to push. At this point, the pain was tremendous.  I could feel my skin tearing, unable to cope with the immense pressure from Sage’s head and body. Maree used warm cloths to minimise the burning, but the pain was so great, that I just wanted her out. Thankfully within a couple of contractions Sage’s body was released and the extreme hurt subsided. I was hoping to be able to lean over and ‘catch’ Sage myself, and as Maree knew this, she said “reach down and receive you baby” as Sage was delivered. However I was unable to quite reach her and Maree immediately passed her into my eagerly awaiting hands. Grasping her small, slimy body, I placed her up onto my chest and relief flooded my mind. Our little girl was finally here! It was 6.48am.



Looking down at our little bundle, I was in awe of her breath taking beauty. Even though she was coated in blood {and her own poo!}, I thought she was the most delightful, gorgeous little thing I had ever seen! Filled with unwavering love, I knew then I would do absolutely anything to protect her. She had spent the last 41 and a half weeks growing and developing inside of me and for her to choose to leave the safety, warmth and comfort of my womb, filled me with an incredible admiration. What a brave little girl to decide that the time was right for her to make that scary, arduous journey into the world to meet us. Sage gradually opened her eyes. As she looked up at us, I knew that we were no longer Anna and Simon.


We were Mummy and Daddy.




We were now a family.







15 comments:

  1. Oh Anna And Si this is just so lovely to read and watch the first moments of your beautiful daughter Sage it mad me cry am so happy you have shared this story and love reading all about your gorgeous princess and her entrance into the world. Giving birth is just the most amazing thing in the world xx
    Andrea

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    1. Thank you Andrea. So glad you enjoyed it. Giving birth is painful, yes, but also truly amazing! xx

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  2. Wow Anna, this reminded me so much of my first time! Although you coped a lot better than I. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. I'm sure you did brilliantly Tam! You're an expert now with three under your belt! I'll be coming to you for advice if we are ever blessed with a second. Thank you for reading xx

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  3. Beautiful Anna & Simon, but I have to say the star of the show was Sage! What a gorgeous baby girl, and what a wonderful journey you are all on xx

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    1. Sage was definitely the star Lorraine! It's amazing to think about pain and intense pressure the baby must go through to be born into the world. All too often the focus is on the woman's discomfort, but our babies must endure so much too! We are certainly enjoying life with our little girl! xx

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  4. absolutly beautiful Anna and Simon thankyou so much for sharing your detailed day with us all lilly T x

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    1. It's a pleasure! Thank you for reading! xx

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  5. This is so beautiful Anna, brings back memories of both my girls labours and how different they were. You guys did a fantastic job and now have a beautiful little girl who is growing way to quickly you are a natural :) xxx

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    1. Thank you Anita! Yes, she is growing far too quickly! Wish we had a pause button most days :-)

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  6. so very very precious, you made me cry too. :-) x

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    1. So lovely of you Kate! Glad you enjoyed it. All of our preparation paid off in the end. Thank you for all of your incredible advice and support xx

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  7. So lovely of you to share your very special birth story. We attended a calm birth workshop with Maree as well and found her to be fantastic. I felt so much more prepared going into labour and could hear her calm voice in my head reminding me to relax and let me body do what it knows how to do. Ended up being very quick - only about 3 hours but it was such an amazing experience - our little one is 4.5 months old now and I am loving every minute of her. She seems to be a pretty calm baby too :)

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  8. I have tears rolling down my face; happy tears, believe me.

    This was just so unbelievably beautiful.

    Nothing moves me more than childbirth, & you sounded so empowered entirely throughout.

    I am deliriously happy FOR you!

    x

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  9. I have discovered your blog today. Your birth story is beautiful! And very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

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Your comments brighten my day, thank you!