My birth story with Casper
Where do I even start? I am 5 days post birth and am still riding on cloud 9!
I will start with a brief re cap on Otis’s birth and why I was so determined to do things differently.
Recap of my first birth with Otis
Being a first time Mum to be, I was pretty naive about birth. I loved hearing birth stories but I didn’t invest any time into educating myself about birth - I didn’t even know the process of labour, to be honest I didn’t even fully understand what dilation was. So, when it came to my ‘birth plan’, it mostly consisted of “going with the flow”.
I look back now and shake my head and wonder how different it all could have been.
At 41 weeks with Otis I was induced. For any of you who have been induced before, you understand how it can go from 0-100 very very quickly - which is what happened to me.
I found myself overwhelmed and losing control. Otis also went into distress, his heart rate would go up and then come crashing back down.
The Midwives and my Obstetrician were amazing despite the stressful situation. I needed to be monitored on the bed due to Otis’s heart rate which meant I was just laying there getting hit with these insane contractions, after a few hours I needed an epidural - I couldn’t cope.
After a 6 hour active labour, Otis was born via forceps and an unfortunate 3rd degree tear. At this point I was very happy about having had the epidural!
I know Otis’s birth story isn’t horrific but it set me on a journey of education and preparation for Casper’s birth - I not only wanted things to be different, but I NEEDED it to be different.
9th of June 2019 - We found out I was pregnant with Casper. Paul and I were very fortunate to fall pregnant after just the first month of trying. I knew it had happened, there was no obvious signs from my body - I just felt that it was going to happen for us.
We shared the news with our family and friends straight away. Paul and I both don’t believe in hiding things, if we were to lose the baby, we don’t feel thats anything to be ashamed about and thankfully we didn’t have to go through that.
As soon as I saw those two lines a fire ignited in me. I was still pretty nervous about giving birth, I didn’t want the same events happening but I knew I needed to let those feelings go.
Birth awareness, education and hypnotherapy
I quickly became obsessed with listening to ‘Australian Birth Stories’ podcast. There is something so empowering about listening to all these womens stories. I also found it really educational! If you haven’t listened to this podcast I highly, highly recommend it.
I also went down the path of doing hypnotherapy with Isaac Lommon. This isn’t the commonly heard and talked about ‘Hypno Birthing Australia’ course though, this was true hypnotherapy. These appointments with Isaac taught me how to go into a deep trance, to essentially numb my body and completely relax my mind.
I had 4-5 sessions and practiced most days, each time feeling stronger and more confident. Isaac taught me not to fear birth, fear causes tension and tension causes pain. Eliminating the fear really changed my mindset and made my birthing experience what it was.
Bring on this labour
From 36 weeks, I started doing EVERYTHING to prepare my mind and body for labour.
You name it, I did it haha - I was determined to not be induced. I desperately wanted to go into labour spontaneously.
I had weekly sessions of acupuncture with the gorgeous Dr Carla Brion.
Carla also had me using a Moxa stick on my lower back each night from 38 weeks (she recommended 39 weeks but I was naughty and did it from 38 weeks).
I drank liquorice tea everyday.
I used an Epi-No every few days from 36 weeks.
I walked everyday.
I orally and vaginally took Primrose oil (note if you’re going to do this vaginally, pierce the tablet first otherwise you will get woken up by a POP in the middle of the night haha).
I drank pineapple juice.
I even tried castor oil - all that did was give me a ‘clean out’ and tasted gross.
Stop /start contractions
From 38 weeks, I had stop and start contractions. On three occasions they lasted about 3 hours, were 8 wish minutes apart and made me think ‘this is it’ but they would disappear each time leaving me frustrated. When my OB did an examination she explained I was 1cm dilated which was exciting.
At 39 weeks, my OB gave me a membrane sweep. It didn’t ignite labour though. I was however 3cm dilated! Which left me thinking it was going to happen any minute now.
At 40 weeks, she gave me another one. This time, I lost my mucus plug the next day - this made me soooo excited, however I didn’t go into labour and as each day passed I got a little bit more nervous knowing that if I made it to 41 weeks we would need to talk about inducing me.
At 40+6 I saw my OB, and I asked for another membrane sweep (third time lucky perhaps?) and we had to have the chat about being induced so we booked it for 40+10 days. I was upset at having to book it but was still hopeful we wouldn’t make it.
We did a quick scan and she could see that he was slightly facing my left hip, all he had to do was tuck his chin in and he would descend into the right position.
A friend of mine, Nadia from The Nourished Mum told me to do hourly inversions so that’s what I did! Every hour, I would do an inversion for about a minute.
That night, something shifted in me. I just had this feeling the next day it would happen. There was no physical signs - it was all in my head but I just knew. So I decided to wash my hair and shave my legs/underarms - you know, because those things matter haha!
I think it's finally happening!
At 41 weeks exactly, I woke up a little disappointed it hadn’t happened overnight but none the less I still had this ‘feeling’.
I took Otis to kinder gym and I started having niggles. They felt different. They felt deeper. They weren’t regular but they weren’t disappearing either.
I texted Paul and he was coming home early anyway because he had a cold and was pretty lethargic. He also didn’t really believe me after all the stop/start contractions we have had previously and said ‘I’ll believe it when I see the baby crowning’ haha.
From lunch time, they started having a pattern to them. I’d say they were 8-10 minutes apart, I could talk through them though.
I was craving donuts so decided to drive down to my favourite cafe ‘Cherry Darlings Bakehouse’. On the drive I listened to Theresa Palmer’s gorgeous birth story about her daughter Poet on ‘Australian Birth Stories’ and had quite a few of these niggles which had turned up a notch.
When I got home, I scoffed down a donut and decided to call my OB’s rooms. I told them what was happening and asked what I could do to prevent them from disappearing.
The midwife suggested getting onto the fit ball and pumping - so that’s what I did! I also kept doing my hourly inversions - which looking back on, I believe they are responsible for sending me into labour.
By 3:30pm, the niggles were definitely feeling more like surges. I was having to focus on my breathing a little more and they were ranging from 5-6 minutes apart.
Paul was getting excited now especially when I told him he needs to start getting ready to go to the hospital. He phoned my Nanna who was going to come stay at our house with Otis and he also called my best friend Ash who was going to be at the birth with us.
They both got themselves ready and came over. They arrived by 5pm - at this stage my surges were strong, I was having to breath through them and no one was allowed to talk to me whilst I was doing this haha.
Let's go to the hospital
I said that it was time for us to go to the hospital. I know many women feel more comfortable staying home for as long as possible but I actually felt more comfortable being at the hospital - I think I knew I was going to be in labour long - which looking back now, I am so glad I made that decision.
When we arrived at the hospital, the midwives checked me - I was 4cm dilated, yay!
However when i was lying down being monitored, my surges disappeared. I thought to myself ‘There is no way I am going home!” So I got up and gravity worked it’s magic, they started up again ranging from 4-5 minutes apart.
I was officially checked in at 6pm and we entered the birthing room which was the same room I gave birth to Otis in and would you believe it, I had the same gorgeous midwife that was there for Otis’s birth too - which actually made me really emotional - I loved her haha.
Paul realised he had forgotten the music so he quickly drove home to get it (turns out he had it the whole bloody time) - luckily we were only 10 minutes from the hospital because within the first hour of being in the birthing room, things heated up.
Into the shower
Ash and I got into the shower with the fit ball. I had a need to be on all fours leaning over the ball and Ash had the hot water running on my back which all felt glorious.
During each surge, I sent myself into this completely floppy and relaxed state. I did long breaths in through my nose and released them out through my mouth all whilst having no tension in my body whatsoever.
The surges were intense but I didn’t see them as painful nor did I wish them away - I at no stage feared them, I just welcomed them each time, knowing they were bringing me closer and closer to Casper.
After about 45 minutes I wanted Paul with us so he took over the hot water duties and Ash started using counter pressure on my lower back and hips every time I had a surge - this too felt absolutely glorious. I was honestly loving labour so far. I felt safe and in control.
At around 8pm, the surges changed. I could feel myself transitioning. I was getting chills, little waves of nausea and my hips were a bit shaky.
However I was still so in control of everything, each surge was easy to ride as I sent myself into that beautiful state of relaxation.
My moaning was getting very vocal though according to Paul and Ash, Paul noted he had never heard these sounds before - I think he was a bit intimidated haha.
I all of a sudden had a HUGE surge. I kid you not it went for about 2 minutes, and the moaning and groaning went up a notch, at this point my midwife said she would really like to examine me.
The surges were only a minute or two apart at this stage so getting on the bed to be examined did not sound fun, I managed to get up, dripping wet and she announced I was 8cm!!! Not only was she shocked but so was I, my waters were bulging and she could feel his head.
Paul and Ash both got very excited and nervous at the same time! I was in a bit of shock as I was not expecting to be that far along - I hadn’t even used gas!
Renae, my midwife, called my beautiful OB, Dr Anthia Rallis and she said she would jump straight in the car and be there in about 20 minutes.
I jumped back in the shower and within a few minutes my waters gushed out all over Ash’s feet whilst she was massaging my back!
Renae popped her head in and asked “was that the waters?” in which we all said “yep!”, she then yelled for Anthia to be called again so she was aware of what has happened and in that moment I felt Casper move down into the birth canal.
I recall yelling “He’s moving down, he’s coming!!!” I wasn’t panicked or scared, I was really excited now.
We're having the baby in the shower
Renae and another midwife, Erin, came into the bathroom and had me face the wall so they could prepare for Casper’s arrival. So here i was dropped over the fit ball against the wall, Paul at my end with the water trickling down my back and Ash had moved herself to be with the midwives - she wanted front row tickets.
All of a sudden my body started pushing, I literally had no control over this - it was mind blowing. This baby was coming! It didn’t take long for his head to appear and Ash said she could see his hair, I asked what colour it was and they all said it was red haha - I couldn’t believe he was a little ginger!
Renae and Erin helped me crown for 8 minutes, in this whole space of time I never felt the ring of fire, I had pressure but no pain. Again, I had relaxed my body and mind and was totally comfortable through this whole process. It was such a calm and peaceful time, we were all just waiting for him.
Welcome to the world Casper
Once I pushed his head out, his shoulders couldn’t get through so I had to awkwardly turn around into a squat so Renae could manoeuvre his shoulders and body out. Within a minute he was out and onto my chest. He didn’t cry for what felt like an eternity, they had to really jiggle him around but when I heard that glorious cry my heart exploded.
Everything happened so fast that my OB Anthia, ran in a couple minutes after he was born which was at 9:07pm on Tuesday the 9th of February.
Afterwards I lay on the bed with Casper on my chest just relaxing and chatting with everyone. There was such a buzz in the room - it was magical.
Having not only Paul but Ash there as well, was an experience I will cherish forever. We were such a team and I felt so comforted and safe with them.
I cannot stop smiling and reminiscing about Casper’s birth, for me it truly was mind blowing and everything I could have wanted plus more.