Reflections on the Birth of Remy
I'm usually very private when it comes to my personal life. But I'm so passionate about normalising birth. I'm seeing an uprising of women supporting women through their pregnancy and birth journeys, and it's a beautiful sight to see! Childbirth isn't something to be feared. Instead, it's something to be honoured and prepared for. So I've decided to share some of my reflections on Remy's labour and birth (and probably some of Quinn's too).
I went into this labour feeling more prepared than first time, but also more anxious. Quinn's birth was stressful as he was undiagnosed breech and we were having a home birth. So by the time it was noticed I was pushing a bum out not a head, it was a quick dash to the hospital and he was born within a few minutes of arrival. The last minute transfer wasn't what I'd call a calm and enjoyable experience.
All I dreamed for Remy's birth was a complete home birth with my baby born in the pool. And as every mother wishes, a complication-free pregnancy and delivery.
Everything was different second time around. My waters broke early in the morning with Remy, whereas they didn't break until the very end with Quinn (hence his position being undiagnosed until the last minute). Then I was suddenly starving and sent Greg out for some rather specific food requests - did anyone else experience this during early labour?! I needed an antipasto platter, followed by roast pumpkin and spinach, followed by a strawberry iceypole (don't ask?!). We spent half the day waiting for contractions to get close enough and strong enough for the midwife to come over, and since our baby girl decided to arrive at 38 weeks 6 days, we hadn't prepared the house for the birth yet! So Greg had some work to do while I tried to rest.
Once the labour was well and truly underway, the midwife and the photographer arrived. This time around we couldn't afford to have a doula, but I wish I had her there too. My doula was such an amazing support for me during my labour with Quinn and if I ever have a third child I will definitely be prioritising having her present at the birth.
I am typically the kind of person who likes to do things slowly, and I think labour is no different! So it really took a while for my body to get into it. I personally don't find labour pain to be the worst pain I've ever experienced though when it lasts hours and hours it does wear you down. Remy was posterior despite all the chiropractic, acupuncture and body positioning I did. I didn't have a back labour, it felt much like Quinn's labour, but with him being breech who knows what an anterior labour truly feels like. I like to describe it as when you're doing yoga or stretching, and you feel that end-point tightness in your muscle so you stop, but in labour it stretches that bit further. I liked the familiarity of the pain, as I was a little worried about breech labour vs head down labour. It helped that I visualised stretching/opening too. All I can say is that breech and posterior positioned babies will make you feel like you need to push much earlier than you need to, and now that I've experienced the sensation of a baby literally pushing themselves out, there is a huge difference between the two.
We had sent Quinn off to a friend's house for the afternoon (I was actually booked in for acupuncture that afternoon but Remy had other plans!). I was plodding along slowly and it was suddenly 8pm and Quinn had to come home. The midwife checked me and told me to have a rest as I still had some time before Remy was going to arrive (again, Remy had other plans!). The lying down position must have helped her turn to be anterior because I suddenly had an excruciating couple of contractions before I felt the urge to push.
There was a part of me that didn't want Quinn to come home and see me in pain because he doesn't respond well to people in pain. But I think there was a part of me subconsciously waiting for him to get home. By the time he was home at 8.30pm, Remy had turned to be in an anterior position and I was in full transition (including a mad dash back to the pool), with Remy born in the presence of Greg and her big brother Quinn at 8.57pm. My most favourite part of the birth was when my midwife told me to stop pushing, and I could actually feel my little girl moving her way out and birthing herself. What an incredible thing our bodies can do! And here we are thinking the women do all the work, when our babies help so much if we just stop to let them.
Remy entered the world with wide eyes, and latched straight on to have a feed. It was such a special moment and I felt so strong. Not to mention thrilled that I had birthed my baby girl at home. I looked up at Quinn and his tears of concern had turned into this little face full of wonder and it made my heart melt. He said to me "mummy the baby is all wet we need to dry her" and I knew he was going to be a caring big brother.
I share my birth story with you to inspire and encourage you to look at birth differently. We as women are designed to give birth. We are strong enough to give birth. And with the right support, we can have a beautiful, empowering, intervention-free birth. Of course I realise this isn't always the case, and it wasn't the case for my first birth, and I'm not discounting all of the women who needed emergency interventions at all. I merely hope that my story will help other women see that they too can make informed choices surrounding their birth, and trust their bodies to do what they are designed to do.
If you want to see some more images of my birth, go and check out my photographer Liane Bourke's website. I tear up every time I look at the photos!