I guess this story really begins in March of 2015. I can remember lying in bed resting with my husband Steve. Our little boy Ryder, who had just turned two, was lying with us and kissing my rather large, pregnant tummy. I asked Ryder, ‘Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?’ Without hesitation Ryder said ‘girl’. And from that day onwards Ryder began calling the little baby inside my tummy, ‘Poppy’.
After finding out the sex of our first born, we decided to wait until the birth for our second. We really wanted a girl this time but were both expecting another boy. My pregnancy was exactly the same as the last, I didn’t have any symptoms, I carried them both the same way and my father, who has an incredible 3rd eye was convinced another boy was on his way.
I loved the excitement and anticipation of not knowing, that hopeful feeling when I thought about meeting the daughter I had always imagined, building the same wonderful relationship I have with my own mother but also the feeling of comfort at the idea of meeting a little boy again.
It’s true what they say, no two births are the same. The birth of my second child is one of my most treasured memories. I remember it like it was yesterday and I still get Goosebumps when I replay those moments in my head.
It happened like this …
On the 30th April 2015, in the early hours of the morning, my waters broke. I woke up at 2am to go to the bathroom and on the way back to bed I felt warm water trickling down my leg.
For the next 3 hours, I was up and down between the bathroom and the bedroom. I tried to sleep but found myself wide awake layering the bed with towels and jumping in and out of the shower.
It was dark and too early to call anyone. And I knew that waking up my husband would leave him exhausted if things happened slowly. In those moments, in the quiet and the dark, I felt lonely.
At 5am, Steve woke up to go to work and I told him that I thought my waters might have broken.
“Should I be going to work?” he asked me.
I wasn’t sure, my waters didn’t break until the very end of labour with my first child and I hadn’t had any noticeable contractions so far. I felt like things were going to go slowly but I didn’t want to be home alone with a toddler just in case. Of course, Steve decided to take the day off work but first had to go into the office to make a few calls and cancel all his appointments. He left at 5.30am and was back home just before 7.00am. He didn’t miss a thing.
We spent the day at home waiting and wondering.
That evening we called Naomi, our amazing midwife, and my mum who both came over after dinner to stay the night. We were excited, I could feel the anticipation. I was having some contractions, some weak and some strong at varying intervals apart. Everyone was very relaxed, doing their own thing while we waited. This is what I love about home birth, there is a sense of peace that comes with birthing at home, not having to go anywhere or do anything.
Around 11pm Naomi suggested that I either go to sleep or go for a walk if I wanted to try to get things moving as the contractions weren’t getting any stronger. Steve and I walked out into the moonlight, holding hands and talking about how our world was soon going to change once again. It was dark and windy but it felt good to be alone and in the quiet together. It was nice to be on my feet and moving but I certainly didn’t feel like I was going into labour.
When we finally got back home my mum was in Ryder’s room, he had woken up and was asking for me. I was sure that he knew something was happening and I was anxious about having him at the birth. Looking back now, it’s fairly obvious as to why my labour wasn’t progressing.
The next morning (Friday May 1st), we all got up and enjoyed a lovely breakfast together. Steve pulled together some avocado on toast, eggs and coffee for everyone as we all joked about the “great sleepover” that had only eventuated into a group breakfast.
Over a pot of tea, we made a plan for the day. Naomi, in her infinite wisdom, suggested that my mum take Ryder for the day so that Steve and I could be alone. She knew that I would relax when Ryder wasn’t around and that this would help things along. Knowing Steve and I so well, she suggested that we head to the beach for a walk and some sunshine. Naomi headed home but was ready to come straight back when we needed her.
The house was quiet after everyone left and despite really wanting to go to the beach, I was apprehensive about leaving the house as my contractions were starting up again. Steve suggested it would do us both good to put our feet in the soft sand and as we only live a few minutes from the beach we could always come back quickly if needed.
We left home at 11am and went to one of our local beaches at Woodman Point. It’s a spectacular stretch of beach and the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun glistened off the turquoise waters and the sound of waves lapping up onto the beach soon set my mind at ease. The soft cool sand beneath my feet, the warm sun on my face, and the gentle breeze was quickly having the desired effect.
We had taken the camera with us as it had occurred to me that I didn’t have any maternity pictures this time around.
We went for a long walk up the beach, collecting shells and staring out at the ocean. Steve took some great pictures of my belly and the pelicans that were visiting that day. My contractions were getting more intense and with shorter intervals in between them. I was finding it increasingly harder to enjoy my surroundings, instead having to focus on the incredible process my body had begun. As I stared out at the sparkling water, I was breathing intensely through my contractions and at one point got down onto my hands and knees in the sand trying to find some comfort. Steve had been encouraging me for some time to go home but I didn’t want to be in the car during a contraction and just kept going, off in my own world.
My first birth with Ryder was 10 hours and I just didn’t expect for things to move this fast.
At 12 noon, 1 hour after arriving at the beach, I was in full agreement that we needed to be at home.
It was full on! This baby was coming and If I didn’t leave now I would be giving birth on the beach! Not quite the water birth I had imagined.
As we made our way towards the car I had to stop. Leaning over the jetty I breathed through two big contractions before making a dash for the car. I couldn’t help imagine what the fishermen must have been thinking that day as they watched a pregnant woman on her hands and knees going through labour on the beach. It could have been a really interesting day for all of us.
Steve stepped into serious ‘hurry up mode’ as soon as we walked into the house. He began filling up the birthing pool and ensuring the water was the perfect temperature while calling Naomi and attempting to call my mom. Naomi answered immediately and jumped in her car, my mom on the other hand … didn’t answer her phone.
Meanwhile Steve was trying to push down on my back with each wave of contractions as I leaned over our bed.
It’s incredible how the birth process is so linked to emotions. When everything was in its place, my body relaxed and let go. From the moment we walked in the front door I knew I was in a safe place and my body was ready to push. And when Naomi arrived a short time later I knew all the pieces of the puzzle were in place and I was ready to birth my child.
I saw Naomi’s face as she walked into our bedroom and a new wave of intensity moved through my body. I told her I needed to push and she encouraged me to get straight into the birthing pool. Naomi is always very cool and calm and after checking my body and our baby’s vitals she assured me that everything was going perfectly to plan.
I felt so lucid this time around and remember thinking, “Where are all the hormones? Why is this so intense? Hey, I can feel everything!” I guess every birth is so different and unique to the little baby venturing out.
For me, birth is all about trust. I needed to trust in myself, trust my husband, trust my midwife, and trust in the birthing process. A great deal of this trust was taught to me by Naomi and served as an excellent lesson during my first birth with my son Ryder. Naomi would always say, “Trust and Faith Max, that’s all you need!”
Faith in the process.
Trust in your body.
Trust in your strength.
I couldn’t ask for two more amazing people to birth with: Steve is my absolute rock and he looked at me with pride and admiration. With his love and support, I was able to find the strength and energy to give birth to Ryder and now a second baby. Naomi’s confidence and gentle manner provided me with ongoing confidence and the reassurance I needed to stay focused. I trust her implicitly and knew that she would guide me towards the birth of our second child.
I was so beautifully supported by these two incredible people that the rest was easy. Naomi would give me confirmation from time to time that everything was as it should be. My baby was relaxed as a little head made its way out.
I was on my knees in the birthing pool, with my hands I was pushing down on Steve’s leg and holding him with all my strength as I pushed and breathed. I heard Vanessa (our back-up midwife) arrive as she came into the room and exchanged a few details with Naomi. Mum came crashing in a few minutes later slamming the door on her way in, unable to contain her excitement.
A few moments later I could feel the pressure of a small head as it crowned. I put my hand on the baby’s head to slow things down. I could feel all the thick hair and knew the final moments were near. Naomi provided guidance and reminded me to push slowly and ease the baby out. I focused on my breathing and waited for every contraction. When it felt right, I gave another push and felt the head come out. It was such a relief. Another push and I felt our little baby slip out into the water and Naomi’s waiting hands behind me.
Naomi quickly turned the baby around under the water and slid our tiny little baby back between my legs. I can still hear Naomi’s words, ‘Max, look down!’
When I looked down I could see my little baby looking up at me threw the water. As I scooped up this tiny little being into my arms, Naomi came around and quickly unhooked the umbilical cord from around the shoulder.
My baby was finally in my arms. The joy I felt was indescribable. I was proud and I was deeply in love.
Finally, I tore my eyes away from that beautiful little face and realized it was a GIRL! I couldn’t believe it. I was so surprised and elated to be holding my daughter in my arms. She was perfect.
It was 2.45pm. Less than 3 hours ago I had been standing on the beach, staring out at the ocean and now I was holding our baby girl in my arms.
I sat in the birth pool, surrounded by four of the most incredible people, as we waited for her placenta to detach. I held my daughter in my arms, stroking her and kissing her; the two of us resting in the water.
Steve was star-struck, his eyes were locked on our beautiful little girl and I knew he had fallen in love. The rest was all a blur, time stood still as we held our beautiful little baby in our arms.
Once I was settled back in bed my Dad arrived with Ryder in his arms. He was looking for his baby and he was smiling. Dad put Ryder gently on the bed and sat himself on the edge. Ryder crawled in with us and stroked Sienna’s face. “Hello” he said. “That’s my Poppy baby.”
He was so excited and proudly wearing his big brother necklace that we had made for him at my Blessingway – he was finally a big brother and our little Sienna was here.
My parents took Ryder out for dinner in Fremantle that night so that Steve and I could have some time together with Sienna. I think I may have slept but I don’t remember too much of that time. The only thing I’m sure of is that I had our baby in my arms the whole time. Steve put Ryder to bed that night and as I drifted off to sleep, snuggled up with this new tiny little person, I remember being the happiest I have ever been.
Every year on Sienna’s birthday, we take her back to ‘her beach’ and I tell her the story of her birth. This is a tradition my beautiful mother taught me and I will continue it for the rest of my life as I believe it’s so important to share the stories of our lives and to hear from a young age how natural and wonderful birth is. I want Sienna to know how wonderful the birthing process is and to know exactly how she came into this world. And, when she is older and ready to have kids of her own, she will have no fear about giving birth.
May 1st 2015
|FROM MAX||FROM RYDER||FROM STEVE|