Births - Welcome, Baby Zoe
Congratulations to Catherine and Steven

Welcome, Baby Zoe


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Congratulations to Catherine and Steven

This is the story of Zoe's birth as told by her mum, Catherine...

"My pregnancy journey has taught me two things: how to empower my body through education and how to listen to my body’s intuition versus “winging it”, as many first-time mums think to do.

When I first discovered that I was going to be a mother, the future seemed full of uncertainty and yet I felt excited about labour and what lay ahead for my body. My husband supported my preference for obsessing about birth knowledge rather than what pram or bouncer was best. A private 1-on-1 session with [About Birth co-founder] Lael, two hospital pregnancy classes and lots of reading later, we both felt excited and "ready" for labour.

At the public hospital we had booked into, my obstetrician recommended an induction. This was because the obstetricians and my shared care GP kept measuring me small, despite my ultrasounds measuring above average. Rather than trusting a measuring tape, however, I was determined to let my baby go to full term as long as possible.

At the 39th week my obstetrician booked in an induction for two days before my due date and performed a cervical sweep – at this point I decided to surrender and trust that this was best for the health of our baby. On the day, however, my body kicked in naturally with contractions strong enough to warrant us going to the hospital. When we arrived I was already 3cm dilated – bye bye induction! We celebrated the news and went home with instructions to return at 6am the next day or when my waters broke. 

At home two hours later, my waters broke. It was a surreal feeling closing the door to our home knowing that the next time we would return it would be as a family of three. We were greeted by our amazing midwife ready for the marathon ahead. She read through my birth plan before setting up the birth room for us. Throughout this she continued to ask how she could support us during labour. 

Hours passed. Contraction after contraction. Our baby was in a posterior position so the pain in my back was through the roof – I thought after this I'd never complain about pain ever again in my life! The obstetricians performed checks every four hours. The internal examinations and monitor reports said I was dilating well, and both baby and I were all okay.

More hours ticked by and my back pain increased dramatically so we tried gas to help with my breathing. The gas helped me regulate my breathing and perform the techniques I had done so many times at home with the Calmbirth tracks. My husband was there to help maintain the rhythm of my breaths: in, out, avoid tensing up - breathing is such a simple thing, but in the middle of labour being reminded really helped!

The midwife wanted to speed up my contractions so she applied a syntocinon drip, despite me often asking to turn it down or off. It was now many hours into the labour, and despite trying all sorts of different positions my back felt like it was ready to snap. I knew that I had reached a crisis of confidence. I looked at my husband with distress and asked what choices or suggestions the midwives had. They suggested water injections for the back pain which turned out to be my saving grace. As if in a flash the pain was gone and I was standing, pushing, ready to meet our baby. 

I was still mystified as to how on earth I was going to push a baby out of me, but listened to the three supportive midwives and my own sense of anticipation for the joy that was about to come. Our baby's heart rate was in some distress so a midwife asked me to lay down  immediately. One last intervention, an episiotomy, was suggested but my body said no. Suddenly, my hormones were going crazy and in a blur our 3.3kg baby entered the world, and was then on my chest latching instantly.

My husband lifted our baby to announce we had a daughter and uncontrollable tears of joy ran down my face. Everything I thought I wouldn’t do I did – yes to a mirror, yes to looking at our daughter's placenta and yes to seeing my husband proudly cut her umbilical cord. The most joyous moment, one that I will never forget, was watching my husband hold our newborn daughter on his chest.

The midwives celebrated too, calling me some kind of superwoman when really I thought they were the super ones. I felt so blessed to have support like this in a public hospital. Tears kept rolling until I left the hospital hugging and thanking the midwives – I had become very attached to them. I am proud and will be forever grateful to have achieved the labour I wished for!" 

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