We hope you enjoy this week’s birth story from She Births® mum Johanna Carr. Johanna readily admits that things didn’t work out exactly as planned – when does life ever? But she also says that giving birth was the most amazing experience of her life.
I love hearing all of your birth stories, but in particular, I love reading these slightly more complex births that require navigation, discussion and sometimes a bit of medical assistance. This is where the metal really hits the road.
Although I often feel exhausted after attending a posterior birth, I see these births as a blessing for both the baby and the new family. Leroy was lying posterior plus a compound presentation i.e. his hand was over his head which places a very big ouch on one’s bottom! I also needed the epidural and syntocinon to help him out.
Babies have their own intentions with birth and their own karma. We do our best to clear the way for them. Over the years however, I have come to believe that posterior babies choose to take the alternative routes in life, and never the standard path of the majority. I would love to know what you think is true from your experience. If you had a posterior labour maybe let me know in a few years’ time.
Much love and gratitude,
P.S. Have you registered for More than Milestones 2.0 – it’s a free online video series featuring 20 expert interviews (including me!) designed to help build your confidence for pregnancy, birth and parenting.
Outside of the capital cities – within NSW, we have Educators spanning across the South Coast, Central Coast, Newcastle and Orange. We now have a wonderful new Educator in Geelong, Victoria, and we’ve got Gold Coast and Sunshine Coastcovered!
Stay tuned for more new locations in the new year.
Birth Story | The birth of Nash – by Johanna Carr
Describe your birth experience in 3 words:
Empowering. Amazing. Fulfilling.
How did you prepare for the birth?
To be perfectly honest, labour terrified me. And all the stories my mama friends shared with me made me feel even more afraid. It felt like a completely unknown world.
Doing the She Births® course with Pru made a world of difference, it gave me the courage to understand and know that we were meant to labour, that are bodies are built for it.
After the course, I wanted to prepare for my labour by relaxing. So once I finished up at work at 35 weeks, I went to my favourite beach everyday and walked down the stairs around the headland and back up the stairs. I would take a book, my beach chair and towel and half way round the headland would sit and have a read, watch the waves and practice my breathing.
My partner would practice positions and do acupressure on my pressure points every second night also.
How did your labour start?
My waters broke at 7pm on Monday night, while I was lying on the couch getting a massage from a friend. The contractions started soon after and were approximately 4-5 minutes apart. They got intense really fast and I was a bit surprised at how much discomfort I was in, so early in the labour.
I had it in my head that I would have this lovely early labour stage where I would get a break in between my contractions and I could gently sway and breathe through them before things got a bit more intense. Not quite. After about 30 minutes of contractions I got hooked up to the TENS machine, but I didn’t find it helped enough, so I jumped in the shower and had the water running down my back. This was the most comfortable place for me at home.
My midwife came around at 11pm because I felt things were progressing quickly, the contractions were getting closer together and more and more intense. She checked and I was only 2cm dilated and she suggested we stay at home as long as I possibly could. That only ended up being another hour.
The hospital is only 10 minutes away, I knelt on the back seat looking out the back of the car and had 7 contractions between home and the hospital. I wanted to jump straight in the bath. Even though I knew there was a chance it might slow my labour, that was where I wanted to be. I started on the gas and jumped in the bath.
What was the most challenging part of the birth?
It turned out my baby was in a posterior position so I had awful back pain. I tried swaying and belly breathing. While my partner was wonderful doing his best to support me during every single contraction, but it just wasn’t cutting it.
I agreed to sterile water injections – boy did they hurt! I think they were the worst moment of my labour! They helped with the back pain for about 30 minutes but then it was back! Apparently this is not usually the case, most women get a solid 4 hours relief.
At 4pm my contractions were only about a minute apart and a minute long. I wasn’t getting a break to recover and go through the next one. I tried Morphine next, which helped take the edge off, but when I found out I was only 3cm dilated, I broke.
I was exhausted, I was in pain, and felt that I had pushed myself as far as I could. I begged for an epidural. (I had done a couple of times prior to this but when they would check if I was sure and I would cry and say no.) This time, I really wanted it.
I got the epidural and it ended up being the best decision and the best thing for me in my labour. It very quickly took the pain away, however thankfully I was able to still move quite well and feel each contraction, but no pain. It was a much-needed break.
How did you bring your baby into the world?
Due to my baby’s posterior position, the doctor started talking about a caesarean but I instantly said no. They gave me the option of a hormone drip with syntocinon in it, which helps make contractions more effective and in turn can help bub turn. I was determined not to have a caesarean.
Baby did what he needed to do and at 11am when they checked he was in the right position, I was 10cm dilated and ready to start pushing. I got up on my knees on the bed as this is the position I was hoping to deliver in and pushed for an hour.
At this point the midwife called the doctor in who checked and advised me that I wasn’t getting him out on my own, and they would need to try the vacuum. I said no to this and he said that if I didn’t allow them I would probably end up having a caesarean. I said a big no to the vacuum and he gave me one more contraction to try and push bub out.
I gave it my best and the doctor surprisingly lit up and responded with “okay then let’s do this”, a couple more pushes and he told me to slow down and breathe and advised they would need to do an episiotomy. He rushed my partner down to deliver and on the next push I felt Nash’s head move through and heard a little cry.
This moment was such an incredible one. It was the first moment where it fully dawned on me that I was about to meet my baby! On the next contraction my partner delivered him and brought him straight up to me for cuddles. We were both blubbering messes and for the next 30 minutes or so. I had, not even a second, for anybody in the room other than my partner and baby. I fixated on my baby Nash. He weighed 6 pounds exactly and was absolutely perfect.
I felt so empowered after my birth. It didn’t play out exactly the way I had hoped for but it was the most amazing experience of my life. I’m so thankful for She Births®, as it gave me the strength going into labour that I could do it. It also made my partner aware of how much he could do to support me throughout labour, which was incredible. And I had the confidence to question suggestions made by my doctor that I wasn’t comfortable with.
I was in a massive love bubble for about 2 weeks after labour where I just felt nothing but this immense love for my partner and our beautiful baby boy. I still feel every bit of that immense love. I never imagined labour and becoming a mother would be so fulfilling.
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