One Month ago today we welcomed baby number 5 into our little tribe. In classic Kristy style I had weeks of the annoying prodromal labour. I thought for sure baby would come at 37 weeks! But 37 weeks came and went and I had to once again let go and trust the process. Which is easier said then done when you resemble a land whale.
The final 3 days leading up to the birth I was getting strong Braxton Hicks coming pretty rhythmically 10 minutes apart but they weren’t painful, just annoying. I was beginning to wonder if baby’s position was hindering my body going into labour. So the afternoon of Sunday 24th September, I did the full Miles Circuit. If you haven’t heard of the Miles Circuit, it is 3 positions/movements that you do in 30 minute segments. Well let me tell you, this land whale was not used to such movements, mainly the one called “curb walking”. Curb walking is exactly what it sounds like—finding an empty street and walking on the curb. Unlike regular, both-feet-evenly-paced-on-the-ground walking, curb walking involves one foot taking steps on the ground and the other walking at an elevated angle on the curb. Let’s just say my labour recovery seemed like nothing compared to my leg recovery!
Sunday afternoon I continued to get my regular Braxton Hicks but something deep down felt like I needed to make sure I had things organised incase I went into labour that night. I remember saying to James, put Levi (our 3 yr old) to bed with his socks on so if we need to go we can just put his boots on, and leave the kids jackets at the front door. James at this point was starting to catch on that maybe I knew something he didn’t…
On a side note: If you’re reading this and don’t know us, we live and travel full time in our caravan. For this birth we had organised to have it at the caravan, but as a back up plan, incase weather wasn’t suitable, we had a room set up at my parents place who were only a 10 minute drive away. Our caravan was parked at a friends property so we had some privacy (Unlike a caravan park haha!) We had setup a space outside under our awning with a birth pool and instant-gas hot water shower where I could labour.
Ok back to the birth story: I crawled into bed that night quietly wondering if anything would eventuate. Me and James lay there chatting to each other about baby, life after baby, health, family, ministry, travel, goals and dreams.. it was actually such a beautiful time together. It was about 11pm when we said our final good nights and fell asleep. Accept I didn’t fall asleep..
I lay there taking note of the steady tightenings I was getting every 10 minutes or so, and then very quickly I realised that what I thought were Braxton Hicks, which had been going for days, actually started to feel different. They were more distinct and they were causing me to focus and breath through them. I felt overjoyed that this could be it! It was about 12:30am and I thought I should get up and use the toilet and see if anything changes. If the contractions build or fizzle out. I waddled myself down to the bathroom (which in our caravan is only 10 steps away). And as I stepped into the bathroom I felt warm fluid trickling down my legs creating a puddle at my feet. I thought, oh my I really must have needed to wee! But then realised, no.. I don’t think I wet myself, I think my waters just broke (or part of them).
I sat myself on the toilet and peered down the hall, past the sleeping children in their bunk beds and down to my unaware snoozing husband. I called out quietly “James?? James?? Can you wake up?” He stirred and sat up looking bewildered and still half asleep. I asked him to come down and smell the puddle on the floor and tell me if it was wee or my waters. He looked slightly concerned but after a pause, he got some paper towel and dabbed the unknown liquid. He was puzzled but after a moment, said it wasn’t wee but had a metallic smell. We chucked a quick google search and concluded it was definitely my waters!
By now the contractions were coming every 5 minutes and were getting stronger.
My last birth was pretty quick so I knew we had to get organised and decide if we were birthing at the caravan or transferring over to my parents. James stepped outside to see how cold it was and the icy wind that came in with the door opening confirmed to us that it was going to be too cold to birth outside tonight. So, we called our Doulas and my mum and said we would be going to my folks. James quickly packed the truck, birth pool and all, got the kids in and off we went. Everyone feeling excited and hopeful.
Once at my parents James and my Dad worked quickly to set up the birth room, including fairy lights. I sat in the truck waiting till the next contraction came and went and climbed out of the truck and waddled up the steep driveway. It wasn’t long until the birth team arrived.
After I settled in the birth room (at around 2:20 am) with worship music playing, the lighting warm and low, I was able to relax into labour land and shut out all other thoughts and distractions. It was just me and James holding each other, James massaging my back and praying over me. Last birth, my contractions were overlapping at this point, but this time they were still just 5 minutes apart and not getting any closer. This was making me wonder if I had hours and hours to go..
Blocking out those questioning thoughts I knew I just needed to tune in, listen and trust my body. Even though my contractions were staying 5 minutes apart, they were intensifying quickly and I was struggling to fully relax my body through them and keep my breathing steady. Meanwhile, the team had sneakily got the pool filled and were back in the lounge room with my older son, who was too excited to go to sleep. They were keeping him company and listening out for us if we needed them.
When I felt like I couldn’t control my breathing leaning over my gym ball or the bed anymore, James helped me into the birth pool so I could enjoy the relief of the hot water. Having a 5 minute break in between each contraction was such a nice experience compared to my other births. I kept saying to myself through each contraction “Power and Pressure Not Pain”. That each contraction was preparing my body beautifully to birth this baby.
We had another 5 powerful contractions while in the birth pool before my focused breathing starting to turn into deep and fierce groanings. I had birthed enough babies to know this was it! We were about to meet our baby! The two doulas knew the queue and were now with us along with the older children. With the next contraction, my body taking over, I began to roar as baby descended. Reaching down I felt the head and the excitement in the room was high! With the next contraction coming quicker, and my body roaring once again, I guided babies head out (4:27am). I kept saying we are going to have a baby! Tears or joy starting to flow knowing we only had one more contraction before we would finally be holding our little one.
At 4:30am, Letting out my last roar, baby was born and I lifted our little one of the water and onto my chest for the first time. I did it!
We did it! I kept saying the baby is so tiny! My doula had been with me for my last 2 births and knew that I was capable of producing big babies, the last one being 11lb! She was excited too!
We were all rejoicing! The pure relief and joy is something no words can describe. We were finally holding our little one.
With my four children around me, my husband holding me, we turned our little baby over to see that we had a GIRL!!!! I had been psyching myself up for another boy. To know we had been gifted this precious little girl and the overwhelming peace we had, we knew in that moment our family was complete. Amazingly, we kept our “girl, boy, girl, boy” pattern!
Active Labour was 2.5 hours and the doulas said she was pushed out in 3 minutes! Baby didn’t spend long in the birth canal! I birthed the placenta in the pool standing up, to let gravity help. We had the beautiful birthing tinctures from Blissful Herbs on hand which I loved using, especially the After Pain Ease! Those of us that have had a few babies know those after pains can be nasty.
After the cleanup we all laid in bed completely in awe of our newest family member, grateful that our prayers had been so beautifully answered in such a healing birth, a healthy baby, and smaller one too! My heart was full.
We named her Shiloh Rain. Shiloh means “Peaceful, Tranquil, Abundance, His gift” and Rain means “Abundant blessing from above”. All of those she certainly is!
Born at 39 wks, weighing a sweet 8lb 11 oz. She measured 51cm long with a 35cm head circumference full of beautiful dark hair- I’m being told I may have finally gotten a baby that looks like me! Only took having 5 of them haha!
Thank you for reading and I hope this free birth story encourages you.
Kristy & James, Olla, Ari, Piper, Levi and baby Shiloh