Rasa, born December 2016
Aaron and I decided that we would conceive a baby and that its name would be Rasa. Three months later we were elated to find out our little baby was on its way. Jo was one of the first people to receive this exciting news and that evening we shared a meal with her and pondered on Rasa's amazing journey ahead.
We have known Jo for many years as our yoga teacher and from this connection we have become good friends. As I reflect on my journey into motherhood, I am grateful that our friendship with Jo has deepened, as she has provided great support throughout my pregnancy, labour and post birth. Now Rasa has an Aunty Jo!
Right from the start of my pregnancy I registered for a home birth with Midwifery Group Practice (MGP). I was confident and sure that I wanted to have our baby as naturally and undisturbed as possible. At the 13 week ultrasound Aaron and I got the first glimpse at out little one, so active right from the start as our little baby performed a summersault right in front of our eyes. The pregnancy continued without a glitch. The medical oversight from MGP was reassuring yet uneventful.
I began restorative yoga with Jo from 8 weeks of pregnancy and really enjoyed this nurturing practice as I found it to be very beneficial in relieving my tiredness and nausea. Then from 14 weeks I was keen and ready to continue my regular yoga practice safely and to gradually prepare myself for my birthing day. So, I began pregnancy yoga and continued weekly classes right up until my 'due date'. As my belly began to expand I found the classes greatly therapeutic allowing me to work and rest my changing body, guided by Jo's gentle voice.
Just after 25 weeks of pregnancy, Aaron and I attended the HypnoBirthing childbirth education program facilitated by Jo. We enjoyed the home practices and became familiar with the essential breathing and visualisation strategies I would find beneficial and use during my birthing. I found the affirmations and relaxation practices particularly vital during the entire first stage of my labour.
During pregnancy, I found the audio tracks particularly useful, listening to them on a daily basis assisted in developing a routine of self-care. Overall, I felt more relaxed and confident during my pregnancy and eagerly looked forward to Rasa's Birthday. I also enjoyed the way the course allowed Aaron to be actively engaged in our journey, participating in the classes and providing a space for us to stop and reflect on this amazing time and what was to come.
O.K. so here is Rasa's birth story.....
Aaron and I were sure that Rasa would come before the 'due date' so all prepared and ready to go that date came and went, we were getting very keen for Rasa to announce himself. I knew walking was a tried and tested way to encourage labour, so in the days leading up to his birth I went for long walks, I would feel some light tightenings which soon subsided with rest. I knew we were close.
On the final morning Aaron and I woke itching to get out of the house and do stuff. And what an eventful day we had; first we went shopping, then did a bumpy ride out to Wriggles Waterhole, we drove back out with lunch, then going for a little walk around and then we dropped off into the Telegraph Station for coffee on the way to the town pool where we did a few laps, then lounged around in the warm water.
When we finally got home in the late afternoon, I was having some tightenings that I didn't want to fade away with rest, so I went for a long walk and then at 8pm we went for another drive on a bumpy road just to make sure of it. As I began to breathe deeply through these periods of intensifying tightness, Aaron declared to me that I was definitely in labour and we went home to prepare for Rasa's birth.
When we got home I realised my contractions were stronger and regular and finally became convinced, that I was in fact in labour. Aaron filled up the birth pool and this was where I rested in labour for the next 6 hours. I enjoyed the water, it gave me space to claim as my own as the contractions became stronger and more frequent.
Aaron called Jo at 2am (as we decided early in the pregnancy that we would like her to be our support person). She arrived with her partner Rick, I remember Jo introducing a warm towel and pouring warm water on my back, which was relieving as I leant forward and rested on the edge of the birth pool. With the HypnoBirthing tracks playing in the background, I maintained a calm and restful atmosphere by using my breath and a deep verbal tone through contractions. I felt connected with the love and support around me.
The midwife soon arrived and checked Rasa's heartbeat, a reassuring calm thump reminding me of the prize for my efforts. At some point around 4 am I got out of the birth pool and stretched my legs in the shower, hearing a 'pop' my waters broke and I immediately felt nauseated and vomited- which relieved this sickness. The second midwife arrived and I knew it was soon time for Rasa to emerge.
Aaron stayed close as I felt a profound shift in my approach to the labour. I began asking for information about how it was progressing, when it would happen and how much longer? I was feeling tired and a little restless- wanting Rasa to be born sooner rather than later. Looking back, I realise I did not have my usual afternoon rest or 'down time' in preparation for labour. The long busy day was taking its toll- I was feeling exhausted.
So, from the shower I walked and then crawled up onto the bed to rest with side lying and then after some time I realised I needed to be more active, so I tried the all fours with a lunge while resting my upper body on the birth ball, focusing on what I had learnt from Jo. The midwife assessment showed that Rasa's head was close to crowning and at this point I stopped to reset and re-evaluate the situation and realised that I knew what I needed to do- I needed to stand up and walk.
With Aaron by my side we walked around the house inside and outside stopping and bracing through the last hour of contractions. With Aaron as my legs I leant on him heavily during the contractions. With a supported standing squat Rasa soon emerged head first, then the rest quickly, the cord was unwrapped and he was placed safely into my awaiting arms. I nestled in close and there on the kitchen floor we could finally rest back and take it all in. Our beautiful son was a surprise as both Aaron and I were convinced Rasa was female. We embraced, enjoying the special moment together before moving to the bed to cut the cord and birth the placenta. It was a magical moment as Rasa bobbed his little head on my chest and snuggled in for his first feed.
Within a few hours everyone had left to continue their day and Aaron and I relaxed back and cuddled our little boy, with a cup of tea, watching movies in our own bed.....
Our new life had begun!
Jasmine and Aaron, Feb 2017