I was 5 months pregnant with my second child when I separated from my ex. My son and I moved home to my parents which was the beginning of a long and windy road to where we are now. A huge part of this journey was the birth of my daughter, Eden.
The thought of birthing alone was scary and overwhelming. I love my mum but knew from the beginning that she was not the right person to assist me through this time. As I had moved from Western Australia to Victoria, I had few friends and none of them close enough to share this part of my journey with. My sister and sister in law have always and continue to be amazing and supportive. Unfortunately my sister lives in NSW so was not a realistic option, as birth can be unpredictable. Although it took me a long time to process my decision, Ol my sister in law, was always the one I was going to have to support me.
To help me come to this decision, amongst many other roles she played, I hired a doula. The concept was quiet foreign to me in some respects but also felt like the right choice. I met with two different doulas and found that I ‘clicked’ with Kellie, a beautiful woman with the ability to support and nurture me through the journey of my pregnancy and the healing of my emotional wounds. Kellie ultimately supported me through the birth of my daughter.
Although I had these amazing strong women around me I felt alone. I was going to be birthing my baby alone. No partner to hold my hand, no partner to cut the cord. How was I to let someone into my space and be vulnerable in front of? This was a time and journey a couple is supposed to share, or so I thought.
Eden’s birth was amazing. I felt safe, nurtured and trusted by the people and environment around me. My body was actively getting ready for birth for a good 24 hours before I went into active labour. I had painful Braxton hicks the night before and an urge to drop my son off to my parents for no particular reason. Everyone was on standby, ready to go. At approximately 11pm on February 10 2013 I was having regular and increasingly painful contractions; it was time to call Kellie. She listened to me carefully for each contraction and felt it was time for her to come in and for us to head to hospital. I gathered up my hospital bag and powered through the contractions until she arrived. Kellie called Ol and she too made her way in. Everything was moving very quickly and we all anticipated a quick labour, Eden had other ideas.
I had a beautiful midwife who balanced giving me space with giving me medical advice. I wanted a natural birth, using water and being active. I spent hours in the shower with Ol and Kellie taking turns to support me. Then I tried the bath, as I began to tire the bed was where I needed to be. After 8 hours at hospital I asked for an epidural, everyone encouraged me to persevere and I am so glad they did. I had my waters broken at this point and Eden began to make her exciting entrance into the world.
Eden was... stuck. One arm and her head were out but because of the angle she was on I was unable to push her out. The next thing I know there were half a dozen midwives and a doctor in the room. Thankfully one of the ‘midwives’ was male and was strong enough, yet very gentle, to assist Eden the rest of the way out. She was a bluey grey colour, which all of a sudden made me realise how serious her arrival had been. Thankfully she is a tough little pumpkin and with some oxygen, monitoring and skin on skin with me she started to cry and gain her pink colour. Her eye and cheek on the left side were bruised and swollen from the birth and to this day if you look closely her left eye ever so slightly droops. But I think she is perfect. Ol and Kellie were right by my side for the whole experience, back massage, verbal encouragement and mostly just being by my side every step of the way.
This experience has shown me so much about myself and my inner strength. It has taught me that it is ok to be vulnerable and ask for support. An experience I will cherish for ever, not only for the birth of my beautiful daughter but for the birth of me. I have changed, for the better. I have a stronger relationship with my sister in law, Ol, and am providing both my children a happy, safe and nurtured environment.