It’s several days post birth of my second son Makaio and I wanted to start writing up his birth story whilst it was still fresh in my mind. Sadly I never wrote the birth story for my first son Jonah. Although I remember the major points of his birth, some details are a bit blurry now and I wish I would have written it up in the days that followed. In this entry I will include a brief overview of Jonah’s birth story also as essentially I have compared the 2 and how different they were!
Both of my sons births were tough but for different reasons. After 12 hours of labour without any pain medication I was forced to have an epidural with Jonah to stop myself from pushing, as his head was in a bad position (posterior and transverse) which had created a lot of swelling on my cervix from hitting up against it at the wrong angle. In a nutshell I was virtually fully dilated and my cervix thought it was “go time” so I was starting to bear down and push. This was creating the swelling and what they thought was going to end up a c section delivery as you cannot push a baby out of a swollen cervix.
An hour after the epidural was given the swelling had subsided praise God and I had a chance at getting him out vaginally. Jonah’s heart rate then dropped suddenly for a couple of seconds whilst I was beginning to start pushing, and my midwife was forced to push the button for further intervention. About half a dozen people came rushing in after that and things got hectic. Miraculously Jonah’s heart rate returned to normal and stayed there but the obstetricians doubted I would get him out vaginally as he was still 2 fingers in length away from descending and due to his posterior position he was not assisting me in coming down – so they did not think it was possible (later the OB admitted this to me!)
I was told I had 3 pushes or they would push his head back up and have to cut me open (the things some obstetricians will say to a woman in labour!!) so I was determined and anxious to avoid that outcome. God must have enabled me to remain calm because that was a nightmare situation for me. My midwife was a real advocate for my capabilities and was assuring them I was a strong woman and a good pusher and for them to “give me a chance.” Because the epidural had started to wear off slightly I felt all my contractions which enabled me to effectively know when my body had to push and so I made good progress in pushing him down further. They ended up giving me more time because of this and after an episiotomy and with the assistance of vacuum suction he came out in 7 pushes. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. Up until this labour. Although I felt my contractions with Jonah my actual vagina was numb so I never felt him coming out. This is definitely what separates an epidural labour to a drug free one in my opinion.
Jonah came only 1 day after his due date, and his labour went for 16 hours (which is standard for a first time experience) in which I had my first contraction around 5:15am and he was born at 9:40pm that night. A full days work so to speak! I knew that this time I also wanted to labour during the day so it didn’t take any of my precious sleep time (I live for my long sleeps haha). Turns out I got pretty close to what I wanted!
I assumed with this pregnancy that I wouldn’t go past my due date but was proved wrong. I was booked in to be induced Wednesday the 28th November at 4pm in the afternoon as I was 6 days overdue. I found out at my 40+5 day midwife appointment the day before that this was the only time slot available aside from waiting another 12 days, so I had no choice but to take it. I wasn’t happy at all about it and thought considering baby and I were doing well and there was no concerns that they would give me longer. But availability in the public system has to be adhered to so I had little choice but to accept.
It made me a lot more nervous to know I was going to be induced, due to things I had heard and read over the years that births that start with an induction have a greater chance at ending up as a c section, and I feared nothing more than that outcome. I realise every woman is different and some don’t worry as badly about a birth ending in a cesarean procedure. Some women even have elective cesareans. I also realise that cesarean births are sometimes necessary and save lives of both mother and baby. But in my mind I was earnestly praying to avoid one at all costs and my main goal or desire was a vaginal delivery. To know I was booked in for an induction made me concerned I wouldn’t get the outcome I so desired. I had to pray further about what was to come and that the Lord would either bring on labour naturally before the induction or give me the strength to face it and grant me the outcome I wanted so desperately!
The Lord really answered my prayers that next day – not only by helping me remain calm but by bringing on labour naturally/spontaneously.
At around 3am I woke up to wee and getting back into bed I started thinking about labour and being induced the next day. Different scenarios were playing in my mind and I started to pray about the induction again and also asked the Lord to bring on labour beforehand, although I did have my doubts that would happen. Praying and thinking kept me awake and a couple of minutes before 3:30am I felt a contraction. It was noticeable due to the fact it went for a bit longer than some of the few sporadic contractions I had been having the day prior, and it was also was a bit stronger. I made a mental note of it and tried not to get my hopes up. Around 5ish or so minutes later I had another contraction. I roughly counted in my head and it was maybe 20-30 seconds. I just laid there and waited. About the same amount of time later I had another. The same intensity and for approximately the same amount of time. I decided to wake Phil and tell him. He was like “Oh that’s good news darling”. I told him I didn’t want to get my hopes up but 3 contractions in 10 mins was a hopeful sign. I asked him to make note of any others I had. Sure enough a few minutes later I was having another. Then another. Phil started to time them as we to wanted to be sure before calling my mum to come over and watch Jonah in the early hours of the morning. By 4am we knew it must be the real deal as I was having contractions around every 5-6 minutes and they were about 30 seconds long.
I called mum and told her what was happening, she was very happy I was in labour before the upcoming induction. Due to the fact she lived on the opposite side of town I told her she better make her way over very soon. At 4:15am Jonah woke up, he was a bit emotional and wanted to be near us. I thought it best we keep him awake so that when we left the house for the hospital he could understand what was happening and he wouldn’t wake up with just mum there and freak out (he’s not very familiar with my mother.) He came into our room and laid on the bed next to Phil and was such a good boy. He was a bit concerned for me that I was in pain but handled it well and told him that baby was coming.
I called the hospital and spoke to a midwife and informed her of the details of my contractions. She told me to try and hold off coming in for 30 mins to an hour if possible, and that they wanted to hear my contractions were up near the 60-90 seconds long before coming in. I was fine with this. By 4:30am the contractions were starting to get more instense. I couldn’t talk through them and they were reaching up near 40 seconds in length. Mum sent a text around this time saying she just left the Northside. I started to freak out coz she took half hour to leave after my call and I knew things were happening fast. I just prayed she would get there in time. I texted back saying to please hurry as things were happening fast. Phil was reassuring me not to stress myself and that at 4:30am the roads would have next to no traffic so she should make good time.
Phil offered to make me breakfast at some stage during that next half hour but I refused as I knew I would probably just vomit it all up. I asked for him to just cut me an apple instead as I wanted something light to eat. Leading into 5am he took Jonah out of the room and started to make breakfast for the both of them. I stayed in the room and timed my own contractions. I was fidgety and doing a few things before this but noted that walking around was making my contractions come quicker so I just laid on the bed so they wouldn’t. I wanted my mum to arrive first!!
Just after 5 my contractions started to come more quickly. Around every 3ish minutes apart and were about 40-45 seconds long. I couldn’t talk or stand through them. My mum arrived at virtually 5:15am on the dot. What a relief! I showed her my stomach and told her to have one last look at my pregnant belly as I wouldn’t be pregnant again haha. I went for a quick shower soon after for no more than 5 mins. I had 2 contractions in the shower. I got dressed and then can’t remember what I did for the next 15 mins of my life after that. I assume I was just having contractions in my room? I know I called the hospital again in that time though and told her my contractions were really intense and coming every 2-3 mins apart and were 45 seconds in length. I told her I wanted to come in and she said I could.
We left for the hospital at approximately 5:45am. Before leaving Jonah was crying and I got a bit emotional coz I forgot to say goodbye and kiss him so I quickly walked back to the door to do this. I told him I loved him. Phil had to go give him a new toy and comfort him for a couple of mins and I sat in the car and had a contraction. I started to get frustrated by this point and just wanted to get to hospital incase anything major happened and I didn’t know how to handle it! At the same time though I wasn’t sure how fast I was progressing as I hadn’t had any bloody show or loss of mucus plug and didn’t want to get my hopes up that I was. I had 3 contractions in the car on the way and the last one was very long and intense, which made me feel like fainting and vomiting. From this my confidence started to build that I must be progressing quick.
We arrived at the hospital at about 5:55am. Phil dropped me at the entrance and parked. I had my pillow and threw it to the ground and kneeled down on it as soon as I arrived as I had a contraction and it was a bad one. There wasn’t a single person in sight thankfully or I can imagine by the sounds I was making I would have scared people! The doors to the entrance weren’t opening and I was so annoyed! At that moment a nurse starting shift arrived and let me in. Phil was running up behind me and we walked through together. The nurse offered a wheelchair and we accepted but I wanted to keep walking to the birth suite while he got it. I had a contraction down the corridor and dropped to my knees on my pillow again. I just found this was my default position – same with my labour with Jonah. It’s what I did instinctively and felt most comfortable. Phil caught up with the wheelchair and I got on it but facing the rear on my knees, holding onto the back. There was no way I wanted to sit down on my bum!
By this stage I remember some details in brief almost dot point forms due to the pain of the contractions and the intensity making me phase in and out of what was happening around me. So excuse my writing style 😂
Arriving at the birth suites on 6am they asked what number pregnancy and I replied my second. Got wheeled into the room. I recall a couple of midwives finding it a bit funny and unusual how I was positioned on the wheelchair haha. A midwife came into the room and started to ask questions about my previous birth. Phil was mostly answering them, I chimed in a couple of times. I remember him saying I was scared that this time I would labour or push for ages and not be told or give feedback if baby was in a bad position and I didn’t want to go through that experience again. Wasn’t that the truth!! (With Jonah I was contracting and bearing down in the shower for 2.5 hours in vain!) The midwife (who afterwards I remembered was called Ros) asked me to try and do a wee so I went to the toilet. She also asked if I had lost any mucus plug etc and I said I hadn’t. I was then offered pain relief. I remember being surprised that I was being offered it. I don’t know why I was surprised. She asked me if I wanted her to examine me. I told her as I climbed into the bed and laid on my side that I wanted to have a couple more contractions first before she did. (What an odd thing for me to say haha.)
Although I refused the array of pain relief on offer I did then say to her I “may want an epidural later.” 🙄 haha it makes me laugh now. If only I knew how close I was to birthing my son at this stage! She politely but bluntly said it didn’t look like I could have one. She then said there was one woman who was about to have an emergency cesarean and another lady who had already asked who was next in line. It dawned on me at this point that I was doing this thing and was going to feel it all. I felt a bit deflated and scared for a moment that I couldn’t have an epidural if I decided I wanted one, but God must of dismissed those deflated thoughts coz I just carried on with the task at hand. Right after this short conversation I had a very intense contraction. I dry retched and tried to vomit. Very soon after I had another contraction and vomited into the bag Phil was holding near my head. That apple I ate earlier came up 🙊 The midwife (Ros) was saying “very good, that’s a good sign!” in a really happy voice.
I knew that vomiting was a good sign and assumed things were progressing fast based on this and the pain. This made me happy yet a bit scared. In an emotional whingy voice I said to Ros “can you examine me now?” to which she said “Yes darling but I need you to be on your back for that and not having a contraction.” So I rolled onto my back even though I didn’t like being in that position. She began examining me and wasn’t even 5 seconds in when she exclaimed “wow your forewaters are bulging right there ready to go, can I break your water?” (These are the words I recall). A friend had told me prior that if it was offered to have my water broken I should agree as it helps progress things much quicker. So remembering this I agreed even though I was nervous, and told her she could in my shaky voice. A couple of seconds after I agreed to my water being broken they broke on their own! What timing! Upon knowing and feeling this I was shocked, relieved and nervous all at the same time. I think I knew it was game on after this. I immediately turned over and kneeled facing the rear of the bed and holding the back of it. I wanted to get off my back! I was close to tears at this point and said in my whimperish voice “I just want to go in the shower.” Ros said “Ok then well let’s go, come on.”
I made my way there very quickly, Phil took my bra off and turned the shower on and I was straight on my knees, with my elbows on the silver exercise ball in the corner having another contraction. It was so painful and I thought to myself how much this whole thing just sucked in this moment. (Haha yeah go figure!) Ros started shoving towels or something under my knees for some padding, which I was relieved about coz that shower floor was hard!!
The next contraction my body just wanted to push. It felt like it was involuntary really, I was unsure how to handle it but my body just gave itself over it the feeling. I held onto the silver bars against the shower wall to help control and support myself plus clutching on hard did help me handle some of the pressure. My head and upper chest was supported by the exercise ball. Ros said as I was pushing “Oh feeling a bit pushy are we darling?” To which I just grunted in response. There was a lot of groaning and grunting from this point, it was a very primal experience and towards the end I felt a bit like a wild animal. I was trying to breathe through that pushing feeling initially, not knowing I could actually start pushing in unison with my bodies urge to push. I felt myself do a number 2 at this point (sorry for TMI) and I felt a briefly embarrassed and sorry for Phil, Ros and the other midwife who I don’t know the name of for having to watch that and shower it/clean it up but the intense pain quickly sidelined those feelings.
With the next 2 contractions these immense urges to push came as intensely and it honestly felt like my butt hole was just opening up and all this poo was coming out. Haha I know that sounds crazy but that’s what I was envisioning! Turns out I didn’t do much poo at all but it’s hard to decipher exactly what’s going on back there 🙈 Ros was telling me that due to the fact I was breathing out through the pushing urges that I was wasting my energy and needed to hold that breath and push into my anus to progress. I guess I just thought my body pushing on it’s own was enough and didn’t realise at that point I needed to hold and push further. In my birth with Jonah I never felt any of this part so it was all foreign and new to me.
Once she gave me this feedback I felt like I had some direction. From this point I was pushing with my body and I could feel the baby coming closer to the entrance. There was so much pressure! Wow I’ll never forget that. That next contraction and push I recall Ros and Phil telling me they could see his head. Any encouragement or instruction Ros gave me Phil repeated to me which helped because of the pain I would phase in and out of listening as I was trying to remain in the zone and cope with the pain.
The next push I felt the sting of his head crowning and Ros was telling me I needed to push through that feeling as I quickly recoiled when I felt it for the first time. Gosh it was such an unpleasant feeling! I knew I wanted it to be over and knew there was no other way but then to push past it. Mentally this was a small hurdle I had to overcome. I kept pushing into my anus as Ros instructed, the sting and burn followed which was pretty awful but with her encouragement it passed and she was saying something more about the head which I don’t remember. I felt her pushing her hand/fingers against my butt hole applying pressure throughout this time which I was relieved about as I requested perineal support to help prevent and minimise tearing, especially into my anus. I felt like yelling “press harder!” as it didn’t feel like she was pressing hard enough! I couldn’t get past the feeling of my butt hole feeling like it was being torn open! This was distracting me somewhat, as was the pressure down there. My mind was going between feeling that and feeling pain at my entrance from a head coming out.
Ros spent the next 2 contractions talking me through intensity of pushing after his head had crowned. I remember her clearly saying “very good, now small pushes, SMALL PUSHES.” At this point I was pushing his head out but at the time I was unclear as to the exact progress, I was just focusing on listening to her. I pushed harder again the next contraction and she told me “not that big of a push!” and instructed me to push small pushes again – so I obeyed immediately. She told me afterwards she was instructing this to prevent me from tearing badly. I was very grateful as I may have torn worse if it wasn’t for her.
A couple of small pushes later his head was out. I sort of thought the pushing and effort was over and the baby would just fall or flop out from here (can’t believe how naive I can be sometimes!) but Ros told me “ok just a couple more pushes and you’re done!” I remember thinking “oh my gosh are you serious? When does this end!!” I pushed again hard with determination. I remember making somewhere between a roaring and yelling sound a couple of times as this was by far the worst pain of my life and of the whole labour. Pushing his shoulders out was worse then the head for me, hands down. I pushed about 2 more times after that and it was excruciating. More yelling and the loudest grunting you’ve ever heard. I was encouraged and relieved by knowing it was almost over. I knew my body could not physically take any more pain than that. I felt the rest of his body come out and Ros caught him. He cried immediately and then I started crying. I cried from sheer relief at this point, not happiness as yet. The relief that it was all over and the instant the pain ceased was what brought me to tears. I’ll never forget that feeling. It very quickly started to dawn on me that he was here and I actually gave birth without any pain medication and felt everything. That’s when the happiness came flooding in with the relief and it was the best feeling. Pure elation!
Ros asked me to turn around so she could put my son on my chest. I was a bit unco and weak from pushing but managed to turn around, sat down and he was put on my chest. He stopped crying straight away. I looked at him whilst crying and he was perfect. He was curling up in a ball and was warm to touch. I felt weak in supporting him coz I was so exhausted but Phil was kneeling on the floor behind me so I could lean up against him which helped a lot. We sat like this for a few minutes as I wanted delayed cord clamping. They offered to cut the cord after 5 mins and even though I was getting uncomfortable on the floor I asked for a couple more minutes which they happily gave me. I asked Ros to take a quick candid photo. You can see in it how exhausted, relieved and happy I am. I’m glad to have captured this moment forever as it’s such a raw and real moment.
After 5 or so more minutes Phil cut the cord and Makaio was handed to him so I could stand up and make my way to the bed. I had been given a needle to pass the placenta and did so after being in bed for about 5 mins. I felt a slight contraction and out it came. It wasn’t painful just a slight pressure and a bit of a gooey and slimey feeling. It was a healthy and heavy placenta and Ros gave me a look at it after she examined it. Makaio was put back on my chest and we had a few minutes together before the nurse came in the room to examine me to check for tearing. She examined me very thoroughly which was SO uncomfortable due to the fact it was about 10-15 minutes after I gave birth and I was very sore and sensitive. She told me I had a second degree tear along my episiotomy scar from my first birth. I was a little disappointed to hear this but the relief and elation I felt after giving birth with no meds kept my spirits high. Ros said when she saw my previous scar she guessed I may tear along it as scar tissue has no flexibility or “give” when under strain. I was told the tear wasn’t too deep or too long and was relatively straight forward, so this was good news to me. The nurse gave me a local (which I was so scared would hurt badly but it was honestly nothing compared to labour!) and began stitching me up. This took 15 minutes or so and I gave Makaio to Phil as I just wanted some room to breathe as all the poking and prodding was so uncomfortable for me even though I was partially numb.
Once she was done Makaio was back on my chest and with the help of another lovely midwife Marianne he latched on and had his first feed.
I started to relax my body for the first time in hours and fall into a peaceful contentment at what God and I had just achieved together. My son was born and my body managed to push him out. I felt it all and I couldn’t have been prouder of myself in that moment, nor feel more empowered. Ros informed me of the speed of how it all happened and I started to ask some questions as I was in slight shock myself about how fast it had all progressed. After my water broke I was in the shower for 12 minutes labouring before Makaio was born. It was the longest and most intense 12 minutes of my life and I learned more about the capabilities of a woman’s strength in that time than I have ever known. Yet I cannot take all the credit and know God helped me deliver my son and also blessed me with such an amazing experienced midwife and husband who helped talk and encourage me through each step of the way.
I felt in that moment and still do feel the biggest sense of gratitude about the whole experience.
We called our son Makaio Ezra Parata. He was a healthy 8 pound 5, 53cm long and his head circumference measured 35cm.
Makaio is a Hawaiian/Hebrew name meaning “gift from God”.
Ezra is Hebrew for “help” – which is relevant to my birth as the Lord helped me bring him into this world 🙏🏼
Our family is now complete and I know I am truly blessed.
Thank you for reading 💙