The 1st of August 2016, at 39 weeks and 1 day, Jet Arlo Sheedy graced us with his presence Earthside.
On top of the normal pains plus ‘vagina shocks’, over the weekend I experienced some interesting sensations further down in my pelvis, which felt like it was right near my cervix - also experiencing a different emotional state, quite calm and at peace, and my senses were heightened - especially my sense of smell. At the time I didn’t know, however now I’m taking this as my pre-labour. It was a beautiful weekend that my husband and I were able to have some quality time with plenty of it spent at the beach. The next day was a productive Monday day for me, while I had a tight stomach and uterus for the past 8 weeks and bub had been engaged for most of that, I was determined to get a few things ticked off my to-do list. With a trip to the shops and catch up with a friend where we chatted about birth, I went over my affirmation cards and birth plan. I had planned a home-birth however also felt comfortable and open to the need to transfer if required. I was starting to feel excited about the rite of passage before me, this was a nice feeling as previously I had been feeling quite anxious with not knowing when the time would come and also what life as a mum would look like.
Just before 3pm, I had sat down to do bits of emails on the computer when after a while I felt a little release of fluid and then 2 seconds later a bigger release of fluid. I stood up to go to the toilet not putting two and two together until I leaked ample water along the way. My body started to tremble and shake from the adrenaline. I rang my midwife (Deyna) to let her know, she reassured me and wasn’t too worried that it was going to happen quickly as I had no pain, not even cramping. She said she would touch base in a few hours and see how I was doing. I rang my husband (Paul) who was in Beerwah finishing a job, I said not to worry and to keep working, as had no pain so may even be tomorrow when it all starts.
At 3:17 I started to feel cramps like period pain to which I text Paul to say I’d actually like him to be home with me, he advised he was already packing up and on his way.
I spoke to a close friend (Teagan) who had been very supportive through my pregnancy and also a huge homebirth support for me. She expressed excitement, also calmness and confidence in the journey that was upon me. This helped to ground me knowing the support was there if needed.
After speaking to her I thought I best just make up the herbal for a client that I had meant to do all day and make my parsley green smoothie to help hydrate me before things really kicked off. I got maybe 6 steps away and had to return to the day bed to focus on relaxing and breathing.
3:40 the cramps had increased to surges and were taking up all of my attention, I tried timing them but it was too much to think about. Instead called in my dog Meeka to keep me company while I was still at home by myself.
3:55 I rang Deyna again to let her know things were getting intense, she told me to relax and that my body was trying to find a rhythm. She talked me through a surge, which was helpful. She also said she was getting organised and would be on her way. This slowed down my surges thankfully and headed to the kitchen to grab a coconut water.
4:05pm during the next surge I noticed I was unconsciously groaning with pain and couldn’t breathe through the contraction, only groan, I was not in control at all with what was going on. This is the point I realised the incredible downward pressure and took myself to the bathroom. It felt like I needed to push so I tried to keep my legs tightly together when possible. I felt everything was happening a little too quickly and unless I wanted to deliver my baby myself I needed to calm down and slow down what was happening. I leaned forward dropping my head between my arms with hands on the bathroom sink. I was sweating and shaking so stripped off and put my hands under the cold running tap to get some relief.
I rang Deyna at this point as thought it would be best to have her talking me through this, especially if I was to be alone for the actual birth. She was getting in her car in Peregian and heading for me in Coolum. This helped just knowing she was on her way. Interestingly while I was conscious with the reality of what was happening and being alone I still didn’t feel fear. Fear was something I wanted to be aware of and not fall into during the lead up of the birth and was thankful that it didn’t overtake my senses through the birth. Trying to bring focus I attempted to recall my birthing affirmation cards, there was no way I’d make it out to the kitchen to get them. The only cards I could reach my mind to focus on was that women in Africa are giving birth at this same time in the middle of the desert (thanks Katie for this one) and Embrace…. something. I couldn’t remember what the rest of the card said but I got to EMBRACE, which was still an important word. Looking at the cards now it was EMBRACE THE ESSENCE OF MY BIRTH, funny as Embrace the Essence is the catch phase of my business, yet I couldn’t for the life of me remember ‘the essence’ part haha.
4:20 Paul and Deyna both arrived at the same time, thankfully. The feeling was a whole body sensation of gratitude once they were both with me. I felt inner strength and confidence that I was ready to birth my son. Deyna got me down on my knees and with the next surge could see him crowning. I lent forward on all 4’s for the following surges and felt my hipbones and pubic bones starting to open. This was truly a mind-blowing feeling to be present enough to acknowledge what was happening. A lot say that you go within and zone out during birth, which I was looking forward to, however perhaps with it all happening so quickly and initially on my own I needed to stay present.
In this short period of time Paul was a machine and was able to get towels, a wet washer (that felt amazing like no other washer had felt before!), get me the fitness ball so I could rest on between surges, give me kisses that were the best pain relief ever (definitely recommend this to support their birthing partners) and set up the video camera on the tripod – truly love that man.
The next surge I had was again incredible yet intense, I tried to focus on the action of what was happening so I didn’t get lost, I could feel everything opening, while there was crazy pressure, burning, stinging I knew this was normal and Deyna helped talk me through the surge as my baby’s head came out. WOW! What a feeling that was.
Deyna asked if I was ready to catch my baby with the next contraction, Paul sat on the toilet behind me and I moved back to kneeling hoping to catch him. The period between contractions is total bliss, the hormones that flood your body are incredible, two total opposite feelings to experience within 60 seconds of each other.
The next surge begun to birth the rest of my baby and while I tried and wanted to catch him it was too much for me to do and due to the speed he came out it was great that Deyna grabbed him and put him straight on my chest at 4:32pm. My little speedy angel was born and in my arms. He had a little spatter to clear his airway and then just nuzzled into my chest. Meeka came in to see us and gave him a sniff, to which Jet let out a little cry, oh the cuteness is overwhelming and still is.
That feeling is truly powerful and indescribable, I now understand what mum’s are meaning when they are trying to explain that moment in life.
He was so beautiful and first thing I said was that he looked like an old man from being all squished and that he looked like his Dada. We had skin on skin for the 5 hours which passed like it was 10mins.
Jet weighed 3.3kg and 50cm long.
From the birth experience I was overwhelmed with gratitude for how it all worked out. I will be forever grateful for having a homebirth with no medical intervention, instead allowing the natural body and hormones journey us through an incredible experience. My faith for nature has been elevated to new levels and the trust I will continue to have for the process of life and how the less we intervene the more it works out, this is huge for me to acknowledge the process of letting go and surrendering to the journey that has already been laid out for us. As I sit there with my little life in my arms that my husband and I created in just 9 months my view on the world would never be the same.
So much gratitude.
Welcome to the world my little man xxxx
By Talita Sheedy @lahlita_natural_medicine.