This photo is of the euphoric moment Kathryn and Adam met their second child, Patrick. Their first child, Grace, had been born ‘flat’, due to having a GBS infection, a highly traumatic experience. Although Grace is now healthy, Kathryn and Adam had to do a LOT of work to get to the point of being able to face birthing again. For both births, they had Debby Gould from Birthtalk.org as their doula. This is an excerpt from the story of Patrick’s arrival :
Getting to the car was a challenge and the trip was an interesting journey of playing ‘corners’ with Adam trying to keep me supported while Deb drove to the hospital. I had an IV put in so that antibiotics could be started and then had every intention of getting into the shower and letting things settle down and progress.
I got undressed and had a couple of contractions holding onto Adam and what then felt like a huge rush of calm wash over me and I was thinking, ahhh, some hormones are kicking in, I’m going to be ok…then, took about 2 steps towards the shower and was completely taken over by a couple of massive contractions and a huge urge to push. Was not expecting this at all – I started to get very teary and saying that something was wrong, this was too intense and too painful and asking everyone to make it stop… I found that kneeling with my right leg out to the side in a modified squat was the most workable position – it was also the position I’d wanted to try and birth in as some women are able to catch their baby themselves.
Second stage was very full-on, and it did take me quite some time to listen to my beautiful support people and allow myself to let go and surrender to my body. Bubby took what felt like forever to come down and be born. He kept going down then up, down then up and then he crowned for a very long time and it felt like his head was never going to come out.
I was given so much encouragement by everyone and once I could start to feel bub’s head, I reached down and touched him a lot as a way of connecting and focusing. Finally, I birthed bub’s head which was such a relief after having the burning, stretching sensations for so long. Followed by two more pushes and our little bub slithered out (no tearing, just a few grazes). Then he was passed up to me to hold and that moment is something that l will cherish forever : I met our naked and gooey little bub – and he was perfect and fine and it was so amazing. After a few minutes, my support team helped me to lay down and I continued to cradle bub in my arms – it was then that I had a look and discovered we’d had a baby boy. Patrick took to the breast quite quickly, just nuzzling and then started to suckle. Shortly after (within 10mins) I birthed the placenta – with no interventions or managed third stage
Because of what happened at Grace’s birth and the associated risk factors going into this second birth, I’d prepared myself for the fact that we might require some interventions and possibly not be able to have a completely “natural” birth. I’m so grateful that, because of Birthtalk and everything that we’d learnt in the Path to Better Birth course, I was able to go into Patrick’s birth prepared and knowing that I was still going to be able to have an empowering experience even if we needed interventions etc. After a pregnancy that involved a great deal of emotional healing and soul searching I got to have the birth that I’d always wanted and hoped for. Being early and such a quick delivery, there was no time for interventions (no internals, CTG, pain relief…), I birthed him completely under my own steam and had the most empowering and amazing birth – even though it was really, really hard work:)
I can’t thank you guys enough for both the ante-natal course and especially for the Healing from Birth support group. I am so grateful that I was able to work through the trauma and grief from Grace’s birth with you and then be able to work through the fears and uncertainty I had for Patrick’s birth. And lastly, I will always feel very blessed that we had Deb’s wonderful and amazing support.