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Birth of Hannah (11-07-2020)

So often I was told how incredible giving birth was, that it was literally ‘the best day of your life’. The pure bliss of holding your baby for the first time and the bond you create in those first minutes. This was far from the truth with my first 2 births.

After having my waters broken as my induction at the hospital, for being only a few days overdue, the excruciating pain of a back to back labour began. 5 hours later and I just couldn’t bare the pain and longer and opted for an epidural. After becoming very unwell with the pain relief flooding my body it

was time to begin pushing. 3 very hard long hours of pushing and my body reached breaking point, Olivia was born but not easily. I got to hold her for a few minutes before she was whisked away to NICU, with absolutely no clue as to why I lay there feeling helpless, no husband, no communication from

anyone. The next thing I was being told was that I was about to be taken to surgery to repair a third degree tear. Still no word on Olivia and where she was or why. I was left isolated, facing surgery, terrified and like my world had just crumbled completely. After hours in surgery I went back to my room, 12 hours after she was born I was wheeled in a wheelchair into NICU to hold and feed her for the first time. There wasn’t the bond that everyone told me about, there was pain and a nurse shoving my breast into my daughters mouth. Cold, ruthless and making me feel like no one cared about me, my feelings or

the trauma I had just experienced.

It was safe to say that I did not have a wonderful first birth like so many women told me about.

I did not have the unbreakable bond and the instant love for my baby that so many women told me about.

I felt ripped off.

The real truth about the depth of my emotional and mental trauma only came about 16 months later when we were getting ready to welcome our second daughter into the world. I still remember so vividly shutting myself in my walk in robe, in the complete darkness crying, rocking myself back and forth in absolute fear at giving birth again. I don’t remember how long I stayed there, but I remember the dark feeling that I had that day. At my next clinic appointment the decision was made for a caesarean. The best possible decision for my emotional and mental health, but as it turned out not the best option for my physical health. I remember going into theatre extremely excited to be having our second baby, I imagined the hours of skin to skin contact I was going to have, the bonding and the love I would feel this time around. The last memory I have of her birth was her being lifted up so I could see. The next memory I have was briefly waking up in recovery with Isabelle tucked under the covers at my side. And that was it. Those are the only memories I have of the first day of my daughters life. I don’t remember feeding her, changing her, who was there, I didn’t get the hours of skin to skin contact I craved or the chance to create that bond.

I felt ripped off again.

It was always my intention and dream to have more than 2 children, but it was so traumatic that I just couldn’t go back. I sold every single item that reminded me of my trauma, all of the baby stuff that made me long for another baby. All so I could avoid the painful, empty, sad feeling I held inside. 3 years later and

I realised it was time to process all that trauma. So in my own deeply spiritual way, working with a mentor and healer the journey began. We took months to go through all the many layers that trauma creates, all the anxiety and fear that I held in every aspect of my life that had resulted from birthing my daughters. It’s astonishing to look back now and realise the affect such trauma has on our lives, how much of a hold it has without us even understanding why. As I began to heal my emotional and mental scars, I rediscovered a new and improved me! I had my life back, in fact I had an even better life than I had ever had before. It was with this renewed sense of peace and confidence that I told my husband I wanted to have another baby - oh his face!! Haha. But this time it was going to be on my terms, I trusted my body 100%, I knew that it was capable of birthing new life into this world with ease. I just needed to be surrounded by people who trusted in the same way.

That’s why I chose Jas and Jenny to be with me every step of the way. They also held this unwavering belief that my body was capable of miracles. Above all they trusted ME and my own instincts about my own body, they allowed me to be the master of my own birthing destiny.

There is no way to explain the kind of support you get from 2 of the most caring, incredible people I have the privilege to know. Even with a 3rd pregnancy there are always concerns, questions and uncertain bits. They did not ever make me feel that I was being silly, my questions were always answered and I felt safe and supported every single step…no matter how many emotional wobbles I had.

As the 40 week mark approached I will be honest and say I got quite nervous, I hadn’t ever gone into labour by myself before it felt completely new and a little overwhelming, but with the gentle, calming support and words of these 2 amazing women I felt at ease awaiting the arrival of our little baby.

At almost 41 weeks I had a contraction that made me stop in my tracks. I hadn’t felt anything like that before! It was both strange and exciting all at the same time. After a few of those my husband asked if I was ok, I literally stifled a smile as I told him I was fine. I went about cooking and eating dinner.

Cleaning up and getting the girls ready for bed, all the while stopping for a contraction here and there. As I was reading the girls a bedtime story I would stop and get down on the floor every few pages - apparently that’s what being cool, calm and collected is when you’re in labour!! Talk about an incredible memory to have.

Within an hour Jas and Jenny were at the door, helping me through some pretty strong contractions and chatting with me calmly, gently and soothingly as I paced the floor. Then came a contraction that made me want to sleep, so onto the floor with a pillow I went, and that’s exactly where I stayed. Cool, calm, collected in preparation of welcoming a new life into the world. I remember lying there napping and being completely at ease with trusting my body and what it needed in any moment. When it came time to start pushing I

was still chatting away in between contractions, I remember talking almost the entire time! (Another rather amusing memory to look back on) I was completely at ease with the process and my body was producing all those hormones keeping my pain level low and my emotional level high, I was in awe of the way my body was performing this ‘task’. The moment Hannah was born and placed on my chest was the moment I cried ‘I did it, we did it!’ For the first time I knew what all those mums were talking about the pure bliss that comes from birthing a baby was finally something I could experience.

There are no words to truly describe the amazing first moments that follow the birth of a baby. And then came the hour I had been waiting for, the ‘Golden hour’ that hour of skin to skin contact where you literally produce hormones that make you fall in love with your baby, the moments that create that bond, that

moment that I remember saying I just can’t stop staring at her!

My experience of having a home birth was one of 100% support, trust, faith and expertise with 2 incredible women who gave me the birth that I had always dreamed of. I have them to thank for the unbreakable bond I have with our 3rd daughter and the memories of her birth that still (after 16 months)

bring tears to me eyes. Thank you just isn’t enough for what they gave me - the empowerment, the unwavering trust in myself, the connection to my own body and the memories to treasure for a lifetime.

What a privilege.

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