Author archives: Melanie Gregory

  •  

    We went to bed as usual on Friday night and awoke as I thought I was weeing the bed and then realised I had no control over it and it was in fact my waters breaking. I quickly woke my partner Dylan and he jumped up and grabbed some towels. We were both excited as the anticipation of meeting our baby was close. Dylan fell back asleep but I lay awake with a million thoughts running through my head, as well as irregular contractions keeping me up. I moved to baby`s room right next to ours and knelt on the floor with a blanket over me, this position felt comfortable and I could nap in between contractions. Between now and 5pm Saturday we went into the family birthing centre a couple of times but I was not dilated much and they encouraged me to continue at home. I was happy to continue at home but dreaded the car ride each time, the only comfortable position was kneeling behind the passenger seat with my arms on the back seat, Lucy (housemate and good friend) supported me during this time by rubbing my back and giving me sips of water. At 5pm we went back in as my waters had been broken for 18 hours, which meant a cannula and a dose of antibiotics to help stop any infections. By this stage my contractions were gaining strength and were very regular so we stayed and got comfortable in our room at the birthing centre. I spent much of the hours ahead knelling on a mat on the floor with my arms resting on a bean bag and pillows. My support team Dylan, Lucy, and midwife did an amazing job keeping me hydrated, putting cold cloths on my neck and forehead, feeding me nibbles of paleo bars and massaging my lower back.  At 9pm my contractions were very painful and I got in the shower, it felt amazing spraying the water on my lower stomach and back during contractions. Around 11pm I asked to get in the bath and they did a quick check and I was 8cm dilated so they filled it up and I was able to hop in soon after. The feeling when I got into the bath is indescribable as it really helped with the contractions and I felt that things were starting to happen. Lucy, Dylan and the midwives all supported me as I pushed through each contraction with words of encouragement, sips of water and cold cloths. I soon felt a strong urge to push so the midwife checked but I was still only 8cm dilated so she said it can sometimes help to have some gas to help focus on my breathing rather then pushing as it was a bit early. I waited for awhile but was finding it hard not to push so I thought I would try with the gas. I found the gas helpful for me to focus on my breath but not so much for the pain, I think Dylan found it more useful then I did! About 15minutes later I threw the gas and said I needed to push, my body was strongly telling me it was time and I listened, after what felt like a long time pushing baby was crowning and I tried to slow down my pushes and follow the directions of my midwife. It was amazing to feel baby emerging and when the midwife told me I reached down to catch him and put him straight on my chest. At 2.03am on Sunday the 12th March 2017 our baby boy Rawiti Elias Crawford was born, weighing 3.9kgs/8.6lbs and 51.5cm long. The feelings were instant; relief, love, fulfillment and empowerment. As I was losing quite a bit of blood the midwife suggested an injection of oxytocin, which I said yes to, and the bleeding quickly eased. Soon after, I hopped out of the bath and we went back into our room. I laid on the bed, still with Rawiti on my chest, once the umbilical cord stopped pulsating Dylan cut the cord. I started having contractions again and soon after gave birth to my placenta.  The birth of Rawiti was the most challenging, painful and empowering experience of my life and I would do it again tomorrow if it meant holding my boy in my arms as it was worth every minute. We were so glad to be able to birth at the family birthing centre with the amazing midwives that work there who are so passionate and provide such great support and guidance. I could not have achieved a natural active birth without my support team and I will forever remember this as a positive and empowering experience.

  •    I just wanted to share my labour story to anyone who is interested in a home birth ?
    On a Tuesday I felt a surge of nesting instinct, I gathered my list, wallet and keys and went shopping for towels, candles and went to get a co sleeper from baby bunting.
    Whilst in baby bunting I desperately had to pee so I rushed to the loo and found a huge glob of mucus (tmi), it was summer so I was sweating life a pig running around baby bunting stressing because my mucus plug had gone and I had bad lower back pain but I made it home in peak hour but no contractions by this time it was late arvo on the 2nd May 17.
    On Wednesday at 2am I woke with mild period cramps which where enough to keep me awake, I tried a few times to get some extra rest because I knew that this was it (hadn’t had any braxton hicks). It was very manageable and my waters still hadn’t broken so I just kind of pottered around the house while letting hubby sleep and ate some cookies and drank bulk tea!
    By 5am I woke up my mum (who was going to help me out with my home birth) and she helped me set up the pool and the house move furniture ect. Contractions where 3mins apart lasting 1min and a half but I was in no rush to call the midwife. I laboured in the shower for around 2hours 6-8am, when my mum decided it was time to call for help, it was very casual and my contractions where
    still manageable with just sipping on icey water and using heat bags on my front and back.
    The midwife arrived at 9am and did a check of the heart beat all was well then checked my progress and surprisingly I was at 7cm dilated. We filled up the birthing pool and I popped on my music and lit the candles and just went with the contractions which felt like surges/waves, it was around 11am by this point. It wasn’t until I was 8/9cm I felt intense, unmanageable pain, and my waters still had not broken so with my permission the midwives popped my waters to relieve the pressure, and whilst doing so I’d gotten to 10cm dilated. I was ready to push (1.30pm)It took me 30mins of pushing for my baby to eventually arrive, and yes it did hurt but you’ve got to remember it’s one day out of your whole life, then it’s over and you’ve got a baby.
    Weighing a whopping 9.23pound, 54cm long born at 1.59pm, 3/5/17!If your in the right head space and can go with your instinct and flow you will be fine ? home birth is the most amazing thing I have every done!
    Oh and baby arrived at 39+6 days ?Little man is still regularly attending the bump, bubs group on Fridays, is now 8 months old ?

     

      
  • 14480640_1737996339751040_7855727141632816114_o

    Feed. Change nappies. Coax baby to sleep. Repeat.
    One of the great contradictions about the first weeks of being a parent was that while it was one of the most joyful times of my life, it also felt a bit like being on a hamster wheel of routine, with very little chance of taking a break to get some perspective.
    So when one of the women from my antenatal class at TheBumpWA encouraged me to sign up for the “Early Days” course, which started when my son was eight weeks old, I thought of it as a way of making sure we got out of the house, got a break, and met a few other mums.
    It turned out to be all of that, and more.
    On the first day, the facilitator asked us to break into groups and share something about ourselves that in no way related to our babies, pregnancy, or parenting.
    I was at a loss. Everything that popped to mind was baby-related. The other women in the group seemed to be having the same problem. We all eventually scrounged up something to share, but it was a good way of jolting us back into ourselves. It was a gentle reminder that while my son was my new top priority, if I was going to be a good parent, I needed to take care of myself too.
    This seemingly basic icebreaker was much like the rest of the class– no heavy-handed parenting advice, just a little help in getting conversations started… and once we started talking, it was hard to put on the brakes. Many of the mums often stayed over an hour after the class wrapped up.
    With nine mothers whose babies were around the same age, the class was small enough to allow us all to get to know each other well and felt safe enough to be honest about our experiences. It was reassuring to hear that other mothers were having the same struggles as me. Waking up every two hours at night? I wasn’t alone. A baby that hates tummytime? Join the club.
    The most valuable part of the course didn’t have to do with what we discussed as much as it did with how we discussed. Conversations about parenting can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield, with deeply held beliefs about what is best for children making it difficult to listen to other points of view.
    The ground rule for the class was to be encouraging rather than judgmental– to resist the temptation to be smug when things were going well for us, and to ask for help when there were bumps in the road rather than being insecure and self-pitying.
    And perhaps most importantly, to bring a sense of humour and have fun.
    Sure, we aired a lot of frustrations– there was a lot of lamenting about sleepless nights!– but we were also able to laugh at our foibles and delight in others’ successes.
    During the course of only a few weeks, we watched each others’ children grow bigger, develop the same behaviours, like suddenly discovering that they could roll over, begin to interact with one another, and show us glimpses of their personalities.
    Thefacilitators fostered a sense of community that helped me make it every week, when my son was being fussy. It helped that refreshments were served, including the best clotted cream scones I have ever tasted!
    Our group represented relatively diverse parenting decisions on everything from whether to use cloth nappies or disposables to co-sleeping to vaccinations, differences that often helped fuel learning rather than tension. One mum was practising “elimination communication”– a form of early toilet training– something that a number of us had been curious about, but didn’t know much about.
    The facilitators often had research and anecdotes from years of experiences at the ready, but we also learned to tap into each other’s’ parenting wisdom. As a group, we had a wealth of knowledge on everything from baby swimming classes to chiropractors to how to keep a dummy in a baby’s mouth.
    The ground rules for the class have affected the way I approach conversations on parenting generally. It’s helped me with the delicate balance between being secure and confident in my parenting decisions, and being open to new ideas.