Bodhi’s Birth

As soon as I fell pregnant, I was planning my birth. I knew I wanted a team to support us. I did not want to birth at the hospital. I HATE hospitals, as soon as I walk into the doors, I tense up. I knew a hospital was not the place for me to have the magical calm birth that I wanted.

The more research I did, I knew homebirth was right for me. I have a few clients who are midwives and when they all said the same thing about preferring to birth at home than in a hospital despite working at a hospital! I had six people recommend Liza my private midwife so I knew the universe was telling me something. Liza was a naturopath before she was a midwife and she had one spot left for March- she was the midwife for us. After booking Liza and Jessie (our doula) we were excited and confident to have this baby in the comfort of our home.

We fell pregnant very easily (I shouldn’t have doubted the fertility herbs I was taking). I bloody loved pregnancy, it was only until 3rd trimester did I really feel “pregnant”. God, I miss that second trimester deep sleeps.

I had expected to go over my due date and I was silly enough to keep working right up until 38 weeks, I remember that last week being the biggest struggle, I was physically and mentally done. I told Baby Coughlin to stay in until 40 weeks because I wanted some downtime. Then when my 40 week check-up came around, I had decided I was ready.

I was feeling big and uncomfortable, so when I lost my mucous plug on Tuesday 22nd March and I started to get excited. I was experiencing regular cramping and lightening crutch regularly. 4pm Friday afternoon we thought my waters broke. We got super excited, called the birth team and Todd set up the birth space as we expected things to roll over that night.

We went to bed early that night and contractions woke me at 10.30pm, 1.30am and then again around 3am. But they all fizzled out.

Turns out my “Waters breaking” was only fluid. I was disappointed nothing had eventuated because I was 41 weeks and over being pregnant as well as not super keen on going into the hospital to have my “induction” chat which had to happen before I hit 42 weeks. Early hours of Tuesday morning I started getting really strong surges 3-5 minutes apart. Liza arrived around 3.30am. We tried some acupressure massage and went for a walk around the block but the surges fizzled out. I was back in bed by 5.30am.

Liza came to do the stretch and sweep later that morning at 10.30am and I promised her (and myself) that I would rest that day and try to nap in case things progressed.

All day it felt like I had really bad period pain and it was increasing in intensity. I couldn’t nap during the day I was feeling too nervous and excited to sleep but I rested as much as I can. Then I got the urge to clean my floors and I turned on the radio and I had a little dance in my living room (They say dancing is great labour prep).

That evening we decided to go on a slow walk after dinner to see if it helped move things along. I was really sore and couldn’t walk very far, we kept it short.

I was in bed for about an hour then things ramped up. I started having intense surges in bed around 8pm and Todd helped me set up the tens machine. The surges were getting closer together so I texted Liza. Todd set up the birth space while I stayed in bed. Liza arrived at 9.30pm.

I moved to the couch. I kneeled on the cushions and had my arms over the back of the couch. Liza gave me some acupressure massage with essential oils and then I hopped onto my fit ball. It was my favourite place to sit during those last few weeks of pregnancy and it ended up being my most utilized birth tool.

My surges were very sensitive to my environment and any change would slow things down. I hopped into the pool around 11pm. I remember the water being so warm it felt like heaven. I absolutely love a hot bath and I was too scared to have one all pregnancy with the risk of overheating. So hopping into this warm pool felt like the luxury my body needed. Todd called my mum and Jessie to head over. They arrived around midnight.

My surges were very sensitive to my environment and any change would slow things down. I hopped into the pool around 11pm. I remember the water being so warm it felt like heaven. I absolutely love a hot bath and I was too scared to have one all pregnancy with the risk of overheating. So hopping into this warm pool felt like the luxury my body needed. Todd called my mum and Jessie to head over. They arrived around midnight.

My surges started to slow in the pool so Liza took me into the nursery where I laboured in the dark. I laboured better in there without anyone touching me. Jessie handed me her birth comb to try but it wasn’t for me.

One thing I wish I had organised is unhealthy snacks. Typical Naturopath- I had healthy bliss balls, coconut water and dates. I was so done with dates by this stage.

I had bought pineapple tropical juice in preparation for the castor oil I planned to drink the following day if labour hadn’t started.

Everyone was taking turns handing me a pint glass with a straw to drink up the mixture of coconut water and pineapple juice. I cannot even stand the thought of smelling pineapple juice writing this now. I must have drank 3L that night I think 🤢

We moved to my bedroom where I Laboured on the fit ball more. I was continuously hip circling to keep the surges going, Liza and Jessie had to remind me to rest in between surges. In typical Kat style I was determined to keep this labour progressing, but it was exhausting. I remember my legs cramped up regularly because of all the movement.

The surges were getting more and more intense. I said to Liza and Jessie “I do not know how you ladies did this again and had another child.” 😂

I agreed to a vaginal exam around 3.05am to see how I was travelling and I was 7cm. I was absolutely shattered I asked if I could try and have a nap. Liza agreed for me to only have 30 minutes max because it would slow down my labour too much otherwise. Todd and I laid down to nap. I think I shut my eyes for about 3 minutes and a huge surge forced me up onto my hands and knees so I came back out to the pool.

Todd continued sleeping…

Todd slept for roughly 2 hours and ran out of the room stressed that he missed the birth. Everyone reassured him he was fine and he didn’t miss much!

I was unaware of the time of the entire labour, but seeing the sun come up while I was in the birth pool caused my heart to sink, I knew I had been labouring all night.

I agreed to another exam at 7.15am and I was still 7cm. Liza asked if I was happy for her to break my waters to encourage bubs head to come down further. I agreed wholeheartedly.

I wasn’t sure how much longer I could continue… After Liza had broke my waters, I hopped into the shower. I placed both hands on the glass while the hot water ran onto my back. I started to feel faint and had to come out. It was then a continuous team effort to keep me cool with ice-cold flannels on my face and neck.

Strawney even took the opportunity to have a little drink of the water in the bowl next to the pool. Sleeping through my labour was thirsty work. Don’t worry we changed the water after he had his little drink 🙊🐶

Liza continually checked on bub’s heart rate throughout the labour and it was always perfect. We both remained calm throughout, despite how exhausting it was.

Mum and Todd took turns holding me and stroking my head, hair, and arms through each surge. At hypnobirthing, our facilitator said you may have a moment where you get annoyed during your birth. For me, this was when my mum started to breathe in my face at the same time I was breathing through an intense surge, I immediately told her off 😂

Liza suspected I had a cervical lip blocking bubs head from moving down further so I agreed to another exam and remove the cervical lip. I laid on my bed and Liza was ready when my next surge hit to go in and move the lip out the way. It was now 9.15am.

I asked Todd to hold my arms down for support. Liza asked me to push and I started to gently breathe down. Both midwives said “no Kat we need you to push hard” so I did and I let out an almighty scream.

Poor mum was still in the living room unsure what was going on so Jessie had to run out and inform her I was Ok and what was happening.

Strawney was also worried about me and ran to my bedroom door and laid down just outside to make sure I was OK 🥹

All I can say is fu*k cervical lips! It was one of the most intense moments. It was yuck.

I felt nauseous straight after and had a little vomit- up came the pineapple juice 🥴The birth team seemed happy I was nauseous. (Apparently this is a good sign birth is close.)

On the way back to the pool I squatted down in a yogi squat to push a couple of times.

I was so happy to get back into the pool, I knew it was close. I hopped onto my knees back in the pool and I could feel bub moving down the birth canal. It was a weird pressure feeling. Liza asked me to see if I could feel bub’s head with my finger, it was like an instant surge of motivational energy to get me over the finish line. She said, “One more push Kat and you’ll have your baby in your arms.”

Then of course I got the worst calve cramp, didn’t I. Marilyn furiously massaged to get rid of it.

Then what I can only describe as the most intense Chinese burn of my life down below happened as bub was born at 9.57am.
There was a lot of umbilical cord around his neck and it was super tight. Liza acted quickly and grabbed him off me and rubbed him with a towel, but he needed more assistance. Liza pulled him onto the floor as I followed and quickly jumped out of the pool. Liza gave him some oxygen and Marilyn helped me onto the couch.

They placed bub onto my chest for skin-to-skin. It was at that moment that I realised I had a son. I just looked at him for a few seconds taking it all in.

Liza said I had significant blood loss. I consented to get the oxytocin injection to birth the placenta to prevent further blood loss.

Suddenly I had the urge to talk to my baby and tell him everything was going to be Ok. I just kept saying “it’s ok bubba we will be fine, everything’s ok” and he started breathing perfectly after hearing my voice, at the same time my bleeding stopped.

I looked at Todd and asked if he was still happy with the name Bodhi. Todd smiled at me and said yes.

I needed to have a couple of stitches from some superficial tearing. Liza handed Bodhi to Todd to continue skin-to-skin and placed a blanket over him. Todd started to feel really hot and faint, he quickly gave Bodhi to mum and laid on the cold tiles. It had been a huge night for all of us.

Mum then cut the cord ❤️

There was one area where the local hadn’t worked and Liza asked if I wanted more local. She only had one more stitch to do, I said just do it. I squeezed Jessie’s hand tightly. God that was sore. It was time for me to hop into bed.

Liza hand expressed colostrum because Bodhi wasn’t interested in feeding. I had quite a good supply, we expressed 2ml and Liza fed it to him with a syringe.

Bodhi was swaddled next to me in the bassinet and it was so surreal. I looked at his little face sleeping soundly. He was so small, our little baby boy.

I was so excited to go to bed and not have to worry about getting woken up by surges!

Liza left for a few hours and returned that night to make sure he was feeding.

Liza arrived around 6pm and Bodhi latched perfectly and fed really well. I was so relieved.

Breastfeeding is something I was certain I wanted to do. I had done lots of preparation and learning regarding breastfeeding because it was something I wanted to go really well.

Todd and I hopped into bed early in case Bodhi was going to cluster feed, but we were pleasantly surprised, he let us have one night of relatively ok sleep.

I am so incredibly proud of myself for having the birth I wanted to have. Although my labour was long, hard and exhausting, not once did I feel anxious, stressed or rushed. My midwives and Jessie held the safe space for me to labour at my own pace.

Majority of the time I was labouring in a dark room while the ladies sat off to the side and just offered encouragement or reminders to rest.

It was very different to what I had imagined a hospital birth would have looked like from others sharing their experiences with me.

I am so relieved we were home and given the opportunity for skin-to-skin to work it’s magic for Bodhi’s breathing and my bleeding. I am certain we would have been separated at birth if we were in a hospital.

I am so grateful for Liza being such an incredible midwife and ensuring both Bodhi and I were safe and healthy during labour, birth and postpartum.

Birth is wild and takes twists and turns, home birth isn’t for everyone but it was the perfect place for us to start our little family.

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