In the face of tragedy, Jess shows us how with positive energy, strength of character and heart you can still have an empowering birth experience and bring love into the world, here is Jess's story...
When I first found out I was pregnant, the joy that came over me was indescribable, I had only just gone off the pill days ago, however I am one of 6 kids so there was no surprise about me being quite fertile.
I first told my partner who was away working; he got a little teary over the phone, which was beautiful. I then told my mum and one of my sisters, they were so happy for me. I got my first scan at 6 weeks and the baby was teeny tiny, at 10 weeks we had our wedding day, (yes that's right a sober wedding for the bride but the fact that I was creating life inside me was all the joy I needed)- and the wedding was one of the best days of my life, I was on a high, life was peachy. Then, a few weeks later everything came crashing down around me.
To my absolute shock and despair my beautiful mother took her own life, my world collapsed and I went into a deep dark place, my heart felt like it had literally been pulled from my chest. There was a constant pain in my chest and a hollow space; I had never felt this much pain before. I couldn't eat, drink or even think. How would I ever recover from this? How was this happening to me? Will I ever laugh again? I got extremely sick and ended up in hospital on a drip with major dehydration and extreme exhaustion. After 7 hours of being on a drip with constant monitoring, It was then that I realised that you never know how strong you are until being strong is all you have, I'm a survivor and I am still breathing! And not only that, I am so very blessed to be given the opportunity to be a mother, a nurturer, and a carer. I was creating a beautiful miracle and I was given the chance to support and love someone the way my mother had done for my siblings and myself. This baby growing in my belly was precious and needed me. I then made a choice and that choice was happiness, I woke up everyday and realised that I was ok, I was happy, I even felt guilty for feeling joyous after such a horrific event, but the feelings I had for my unborn child were so intense that yes, love conquered all!
"Now for the most beautiful part in my journey, my labour..."
It started at 9pm, I felt a very slight pain similar to period pain, it was so faint I didn't think anything of it, about 10 minutes later I felt another one so I decided to call the hospital. The midwives reassured me that everything was progressing as normal and to try and sleep. Within half an hour though the pain was a little more intense so I called back, they said to come in so they could check me, I wasn’t even going to pack my bags but my husband urged me to just in-case. Off we went to Buderim Hospital which was about a 40 minute trip, all was going well. I was barely in any pain and I was wondering when it was all going to kick in and the real labour would begin. As we pulled up to the hospital the contractions came closer together, about every 5 minutes, I still felt no major pain. Inside, the midwife examined me and said “you are going to have this baby in a couple of hours!”
I was shocked, “are you sure?” was all I could say. I didn't feel like I’m in labour, I didn’t even have a birth plan so to speak, I just hoped for no drugs and a water birth. I was already 7cm dilated and was about to enter the second stage of labour, around 10pm an hour after my first contraction I started feeling stronger surges. I sat in the shower on a fit ball while Luke (my husband) poured warm water all over me, by this stage the pain was definitely there but not anything I felt I couldn't deal with, and there was a break after every minute long contraction to recover, focus, breathe and prepare my mind and body for the next one. At 11pm the full on labour started, ok these bad boys were starting to hurt now, but I was still getting a one minute break after every one minute contraction, I had told the midwife that I was hoping for a water birth and at this point she said there was a bath available. I was so happy, she requested that I stay in the shower for a little longer which was fine with me, the pouring of the warm water over my back and the strength of my husbands soft words of encouragement were getting me through, as well as my own strength and perseverance. My mind was focused, my breathing was calm, and with every intense contraction I was one step closer to meeting our beautiful baby. At 11.45pm it was time for the bath, in I hopped and the final stage of labour kicked in, oh the intensity. At this point there was no break in the contractions, there was no time to regroup and prepare for the next contraction, it was one after the other, I started making noises I never even knew I could make, very cave woman, very primitive. The midwife told me to breathe down into my vagina rather than the grunting- the second I did that I was able to focus again and breathe through the intense labour.
Thanks to all the pregnancy yoga I had done my body felt strong, and I remembered the breathing techniques they had taught us which helped me through each strong surge. 45 minutes and 2 big pushes later I was holding my sweet angel, the baby that had provided me with so much strength through my darkest days, my daughter, Ivy Mae. After a speedy 3 hour labour, no intervention and manageable pain Ivy was born at 12:30am. I had done it! My natural, no drugs water birth had happened and we were holding our gorgeous angel in our arms! I felt so triumphant and proud, I really feel like my mother was there helping me along. I believe everything happens for a reason and the timing of my pregnancy came to me when I needed something to hold on to, something to give me strength and keep me going through a hard time in my life, my daughter was the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, and to this day brings me more joy than I ever thought possible. We are so proud of her kind soul, her big heart and her passion for life.
So all in all my labour experience was an absolute delight, my midwife Robyn was shocked that it was my first labour and jokingly offered me a discount for being so easy, she was very calm and had my best interests at heart and it was a pleasure to have her, my wonderful husband and my mothers spirit guiding me through the birth of Ivy.
Ivy Mae born 8 pound exactly and 51cm long, 12:30am.
Thank you Jess for sharing your journey, personally I cried through the whole thing. The tragedy of losing your mother, the amazing birth of your daughter and the strength of yourself and your family makes for a truly courageous and inspiring story. I am sure there are other mumma's out there who have had to really dig deep in the face of a tragedy and find the inner strength to persevere for our babies. You are amazing and so is Ivy!
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