Dragonett Lad's Birth Story
After the birth of Dragonett Lass, I had worked though many issues and decided on a homebirth, even before we starting TTC. That was my ‘rule’. I wouldn’t even consider another pregnancy and birth if it wasn’t a homebirth – period.
And DH agreed. After witnessing Dragonett Lass’s pregnancy and birth in the hospital, he had been the one to say ‘No More Kids’ as he wasn’t willing to ‘make’ me go through all that again ever either, just for another child. After about two years of him staunchly saying he didn’t want any more children, I naughtily tricked him into admitting that he would love another one, but would never even think about asking me.
We had very long talks about what we wanted and came to the conclusion that neither of us felt that our family was complete. It felt as though God had more planned for us.
I had already decided that Home birthing was the way I was going to go. I had ‘met’ several women in an online forum (EB) in the Home Birthing Section after being lead there from the Traumatic Birth Section. It was through their understanding, support and strength in questioning me – in pushing my excuses and reasons and feelings that helped to start the healing processes.
I had stumbled on JB years before, when I was first trying to understand what had happened to me and Dragonett Lass in her birth, but at the time, I was too hurt too fragile. Then I was led back by these women and it was like a light had been switched on.
THIS is what I wanted.
So we started TTC.
It took us 14 months to conceive our babe. And he was a surprise! Lol I was bored one night, one month after we had decided to take a break, and had found some POAS tests I had bought a few weeks before (for when we were going to start TTC again) and thought “What the Hell”. So at 8pm, I did a test and was completely SHOCKED to see it come up positive IMMEDIATELY. I did a few more that night and more the next day – all P+!!
Off to the Dr, who promptly told us it was too early, come back in a fortnight. Of course, it was positive. Promptly answered the “Private or Public Hospital” question with “Oh, I’m home birthing” to which my Dr looked at me, held up his hands and said “Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know! But if you need any tests, referrals or letters, pop in and let me know”.
DH and I had already decided to avoid much of the testing that is deemed ‘necessary’, but we did get a dating scan done as my dates and the Drs dates were about a month difference.
We had already started to cop shit from family “Why pay for something that’s free?” “You’re risking your baby” blah blah blah.
Borrowed money from my best friend and got the scan done ourselves/privately, that’s how certain I was I wasn’t going to ‘do hospital’. The very thought of even involving the system at that early stage made me extremely angry.
The scan said 6w3d. That was wrong; I felt it in my bones! I always felt I was 3-4 weeks more than that!
Days passed then weeks, and I still hadn’t contacted a midwife. I had found one I liked on the Net while surfing. She had a link I followed until I found her blog, and I simply devoured everything. She seemed perfect! But I was also tossing up free birthing!
Then my negative side surfaced. I was months into my pregnancy, she would be booked up, I couldn’t afford it, we wouldn’t click, she wouldn’t understand, etc. One day, after hearing me moaning about it all, my beautiful Best friend verbally slapped me, dialled her number and handed me the phone! After a week or so of phone tag, we organised a meet up. She was perfect!! Everything I wanted was my choice! Just as I dreamed.
We were on our way!
The next months flew by. I didn’t have nearly the same morning sickness, fainting and problems I had with my first pregnancy. My Midwife suggested a few things that made all the difference! I remember commenting to someone about how THIS was one of the reasons I was avoiding hospital and the conveyor like, impersonal midwifery service there. I LOVED the one-on-one coffees, the whole personal feel. She welcomed Dragonett Lass in and made her feel completely involved. She was aware of my mental health issues, but never made me feel as though they were ever a negative concern.
We were involved in a minor car accident at around 33 weeks, nothing wrong but that ended in an overnight stay in hospital. My midwife was fabulous. The hospital midwives were lovely once they heard who I was HB with. I had only one or two random negative comments – lol, Where’s my orange book? That sort of thing. I didn’t have to stay, but wanted to.
I had scans to check bubs heartbeat every 4 hours (as I didn’t want continuous monitoring) and it simply confirmed to us that our decision to not have U/S and scans was the right one! Bubs wriggled and squirmed and complained every time he was checked!
At home, I was checking my own BSL and refused all other tests. The entire pregnancy, we coped a lot of flack from everyone over these choices! We were leaving the sex up to the day, but apparently THAT was selfish, because how could people buy us stuff if they didn’t know the sex?? Rofl
Another thing that the hospital stay confirmed was our choice of Home birthing. I was simply a number there. Oh, everyone was lovely and nice, but I felt forgotten and neglected and just wanted to be home!
It was also right at the time of the fight For Rights on Home birthing, and at times, I could feel myself being obsessed, but I look back, and see that it was all part of the journey I had to take to unpack many of the issues that were presenting themselves. The more I explained to family, friends and strangers about this very important issue, the more I understood what it meant to me and why I was doing this.
My Midwife was a very vocal and (in my mind) a very important advocate for this issue. She was scheduled to go to Canberra for the Big Rally right around when I was due.
My due dates were – Dating Scan 23rd-27th Sept, MY intuition was around our wedding anniversary 13th Sept.
I assured her she needed to go. Then, (lol - using the money we had saved for her payment) I decided I needed to go as well!!
So at 40 weeks pregnant, ignoring the bleating of family, I swallowed my anxiety issues and boarded that plane all alone. It was an ongoing joke that I would go and birth on Rox-In-Her-Heads desk, or on the Steps of parliament!
The flight there was HELL! I was stuck in the middle, between a fat selfish male and a lovely concerned older lady. Bubs made their displeasure very well known and it was painful and uncomfortable and I was SO happy when we arrived in Canberra.
Many Jbers and Ebers made themselves known when they realised who I was and welcomed me into their groups! But then it was time for the Rally and I was suddenly alone. I trudged up the street, following the masses of dreads, slings, wraps, banners, wool clothing and laughter. Even though it was raining softly at times, harder at others, there was a feeling of camaraderie. I had my banner on my head, using it like a rain shield, while still showing it off. I wandered around, listening to people talk – on the stage and around me. I chatted with people I sort of recognised ( but not really with my condition). Most people were friendly and chatted, but had their own groups and friends and I felt very much an intruder. I could feel my anxiety getting out of control so wandered off to eat in the shelter of some trees. I was exhausted and quite frankly, stressed and near tears.
I was supposed to meet my sister, who lived in Canberra, but the mere thought of having to find her.......I couldn’t do it.
So after a few hours, I was done. I had done what I had set out to do, and I just wanted to go home.
Looking back, I honestly feel (and so does my midwife) I had started my pre-labour!
I gathered my stuff, and simply stood there. I couldn’t even think about HOW to get to the airport! I had a bit of a cry and started to simply walk. I hadn’t gotten very far, when someone I had been introduced to earlier and had chatted with for a while – a JBer, called me over and hearing I was going to the airport, offered her husband to drive me.
God was watching! I honestly nearly broke down and sobbed! It was perfect timing!
He was lovely and made me feel right at ease. We chatted the whole way to the airport and it was just what I needed to relax a bit!
Once at the airport, I slept a bit, got told off by a security person (ah, kiss my ass!) ate and made my way to the flight!
Again, God was watching! My seat was the last row, at the back of the plane, and the person sitting next to me never showed! YAY! I had TWO seats home!
Not only that, I was surrounded by Jbers, Ebers, midwives and student midwives, all going home to Adelaide after the Rally! It was heaven!! 2 hours of babies, birthing and Rally talk!! Bubs didn’t seem to mind this flight as much, but by the time we were landing, I was in pain.
I got home, and promptly slept through until the next day. I was exhausted!! All Tuesday, I spent in bed or on the couch. What I thought was exhaustion from a long and stressful previous day, was probably also prelabour! Lol.
Woke up Wednesday morning at 7.30, busting as you are at 40weeks, and went to get out of bed, only to feel a ‘pop’ and see waters gush everywhere.
I immediately started to have a panic attack – total flashback to Dragonett Lass’s birth, but I then controlled my breathing, until I was calm and back in control.
We had already set up the birth pool in the bathroom, so I woke DH and we set about filling it up. Made a few calls to midwife and Dragonett Lass’s support person (My best friend), but as I hadn’t started any contractions, told them we would call when ready! (Bestie then went to the Royal Show LOL) We thought we had HOURS!!!!
As a family, we all hopped into the pool when it was ready, and enjoyed the feeling. We had prepared Dragonett Lass for this by watching youtube births and reading home birthing books and talking openly and she was excited. I started to get slight contractions about 9am-9.30ish so DH and A went off and I stayed in the pool.
Our midwife was at her coffee morning, and I remember thinking, I really don’t want her to miss that! Lol
The next bit is not clear, but simply what I remember and what people have told me.
By 12ish, the contractions had really started and I was saying to DH “I don’t know if I can do this, it hurts” and remember asking him to call our midwife and tell her to come now. I think she was actually on her way anyway. She arrived about 1ish and asked how I was and if I needed anything. The very first thing I said was “Tell them all to shut the FUCK UP!” Everytime I heard DH, it threw me off. Noisy bugger :P
We chatted a little bit, but I was struggling with the contractions and was focussing myself with a simple tune/song from youtube. I was breathing the tune out in time with the contractions and it was helping.
Dragonett Lass was fabulous. She would come and stroke my forehead but seemed to understand that I wasn’t being mean asking her to leave and was very happy to go off with H, a friend and associate of my midwife – L - who had been with her when DH called. God bless H, as my best friend who WAS supposed to be Dragonett Lass’s support, was off at the Royal Show and was waiting to get a ride to my house.
I remember one point, after a good vomit and the nasty feeling of yuckiness that goes with it, L asking me if she could check the baby’s heartbeat. As we had discussed, I only wanted checks if L thought it really necessary, so I was happy to let her. I felt she was concerned, but tried not to let it affect me at all.
I was coping, just, with the contractions. I was using the handles on the top and side of the pool to propel me/move me during contractions, and the liner kept slipping off. This kept distracting me, as the ‘good girl’ inside was trying to keep everything ‘just right’.
I remember reminding myself to keep my voice low, not let it get high, breathe through the contractions. I growled and remember chuckling in my head, remembering that I always swore I wasn’t going to be one of those women that ‘roared/growled/sang’ my way through! I could hear L whispering to me and others, but it was like she was in other room, even though she was only a few feet away.
L was concerned that the water in the pool was getting too cool, but it felt lovely to me. I was told that the water might be too cold and could be slowing my labour – I remember thinking ‘slowing? Fuck!” They convinced me to hop out and go to the toilet so that they could top it up with hot water, but the urns we had gotten for that suddenly decided that they didn’t want to work. I think that was when I lost my concentration. It hurt too much on the toilet so I went to the lizard room to wait, but nothing felt comfortable. The couch was too soft and the floor was too hard – everything hurt and it felt as though the world was spinning out of control! I knelt on the couch, but felt as though I was falling, I knelt on the floor on my hands and knees, but it wasn’t working. I tried resting my elbows on the couch and my knees on the floor, but that wasn’t working either.
That’s when I lost it. I was done. It hurt too much, nothing was comfy, I felt as though I was going to pass out several times and even at one point, thought I was going to even die!! I look back and know that if I had been in hospital, I would have been begging for a c/s. I gave up. I told everyone I couldn’t do it anymore, I didn’t WANT to do anymore, I was finished!! I remember people telling me that I could do it, but I was convinced that I couldn’t. Why couldn’t they understand? I wanted it OVER! I was DONE!
That’s when my friend arrived, but I didn’t want to acknowledge her. Everyone was pissing me off.
I lay my head on the couch cushion and sobbed. I sobbed until my throat burned. DH was stroking my hand, and I wanted nothing more than to tell him to f off, leave me alone, but even then, I was trying to not hurt anyone.
That’s when I decided that if I couldn’t stop, I was going to finish it. I pushed. I pushed regardless of contractions. I pushed until I couldn’t anymore, then I rested, sobbing. When the pain started, I would push and push. I pushed when I felt I could. Rested when I had to. I felt someone touch my bottom, and drew away. I wanted everyone GONE. Why didn’t they just SHUT UP? L seemed to read my mind, and would whisper to everyone to be quiet, and I would have a few minutes peace. I pushed again – my world had shrunk to getting this horrible horrible experience OVER with ASAP!! I felt someone touch me again, and I jerked away. They didn’t touch me again. It was never ending. No breaks, none of this ‘time to rest’ crap. When are you supposed to sleep?
Then I felt it. Something clunked/blonked inside me, and I could feel myself stretching. I remember bracing for the agony I felt when I had Dragonett Lass, but it never came, so I concentrated on pushing. It wasn’t anywhere as painful now. Everything was focused on my vagina. I could feel the baby moving through my outer labia folds. I can’t say it was pleasant, but it wasn’t nearly as painful as before.
Things get a bit hazy here, but I clearly remember the little body moving down, the head clearing, then the shoulders, then I remember pushing as hard as I could, and the babe slipped out and I fell/sagged forward onto the couch, the feeling of utter relief surging through me. It was the most wonderful feeling, sense of utter freedom!! It was almost a good a feeling as a great climax! I could NOW feel all those luscious endorphins rushing around my body! It was the most intense feeling! L told me to sit up, reach down and pull my baby up (I sagged so much that my stomach was resting on the floor), but I just wanted to stay where I was and totally enjoy the feeling of being empty, of being painfree!! I was facedown on the couch, arms lying limply beside me. Oh, the memory is even lovely! I felt utterly boneless! After a minute or two, I sat up, being careful not to crush the babe behind/underneath me, and I pulled the baby up into my arms and sat back down. I had a SON!!
Dragonett Lad was born at approx 4pm on that Wednesday.
I settled myself as much as I could and I hugged him. I was dazed but so so so happy. I remember photos being taken, said hi to my friend and looked at my son.
I couldn’t get comfy, I had one leg under me and the other knee up in the air. I could feel a pressure at my womb entrance, and I didn’t like it, so I gave a push, and felt the placenta pass out. I moved my leg to allow a bit of access and looked up at someone and said, ‘God, I LOVE that feeling!” Passing the placenta felt just as great as it did with Dragonett Lass’s birth. As though I was utterly and completely empty! Fabulous feeling! L looked at me and asked what I meant. I replied “Passing the placenta” she replied “That will be soon” LOL no-one believed me when I said I just did!! Not 5minutes after Dragonett Lad was born!! I had to show them!
I was then herded to the now comfy again couch, and there I sat, holding my new bubs, marvelling at his long cord, watching it slowly stop pulsing.
I think I breastfed for the first time then. Then we cuddled with Dragonett Lad and Dragonett Lass and DH had a hold while I got checked quickly.
Isn’t it funny, that through the whole thing, I couldn’t have cared less who saw what, but almost right away, I felt funny about exposing my bits! Not an hour later.
For the whole labour and birth, Dragonett Lass was fabulous!! She was quite happy to play with H (very impressed I think) and was extremely gentle with me. She would stroke my hair when I was in the pool, and rubbed my back in the loungeroom. I remember when I was 'giving up', she patted my shoulder and told me its alright! aaawwwww
I have the most gorgeous photo (to come later) of A lying behind L and watching as L did her thing. SO Cute!!
She was upset for a second that Dragonett Lad was a boy, and NOT the often mentioned girl she wanted! When I lay down to get checked over (only a graze as well - WOOT) she got SO excited thinking I was having another baby, and this time it was her girl!! Poor thing!! She even cried then. But once she got to hold Dragonett Lad, she was sold!!
We then moved to the bed, and I experienced my first afterpain – bloody HELL, they never hurt that much with Dragonett Lass! Either that, or I was simply in too much shock back then to notice.
But DAMN, they were almost as bad as labour.
After I rested a while, we did everything we needed to do, and stuff I just wanted to do. L and H hung around for a while, slightly concerned about my afterpains, but then left about 7-8pm.
We breastfed for 4 months! That’s 3.5 months longer than Dragonett Lass and I did. Dragonett Lad wasn’t putting on any weight at all though, so I was sleeping on the couch, with him permanently on the breast 24/7. Skin to skin, fenugreek, teas, boxes of water, expressing, you name it, I tried it, but we simply couldn’t get any weight on him. L came and let me know that she had been speaking to a LC friend of hers and between them, felt that I have Hypoplastic Breasts, where my breast tissue is not developed. Many Women with Hypoplastic Breasts DO in fact manage to successfully BF, unfortunately, I was not one of them.
So we tentatively started him on formula, then increased as my milk didn’t. Finally, he started to put on weight. We were both BF and FF until January, when both simply decided that it was no longer working.
During this whole time, my midwife L was a total rock of support. Any time I had a question or concern, she had an answer! She even came over at midnight one night because I was in tears about bubba. The ongoing support was worth a million dollars!!
Overall, my home birth was wonderful!! I felt supported and respected. Money can NOT replace the feeling of satisfaction and contentment of a healthy happy bubba. His entry into this world was gentle and welcoming. No harsh lights, no drugs to fight – and that’s just ME! Lol
Having the support of someone like an Independent Midwife is priceless. They support us through the important growing stage, the hard, sometimes scary birthing part and the loving a new family member stage.
They get to know and understand you. They realise what it is that is important to you. Having someone who walks in, and ‘knows’ that it’s time to be .....quiet/nosy/happy/subdued/whatever ~ bliss!!
Why can’t ALL women have access to these wonderful people?? WHY does it have to be about the AMA and their agenda?? I don’t see THEM here at midnight, hugging a crying woman and cuddling her crying baby!! I don’t see THEM ringing a mum who’s struggling with BFing to check how she’s feeling? Or asking a woman with AND or PND history “You doing okay?” and actually meaning it!!
Protect Independent Midwives!! They are SO important to Birthing Women of Australia!!