- LISA -

I appreciate my body for how incredible it is, birthing a child is the truest process of alchemy.

When I first found out I was pregnant a cacophony of emotions rushed through me all at once. Amongst the joy and surprise and happiness there was definitely "fear" and "apprehension" as well. Before even taking the time to truly embrace what was happening to me and marvelling at the awesomeness of it, I was frightening myself with the fear of the unknown, and the idea of excruciating pain. I knew I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and focus on the positive aspects and I recalled a friend mentioning Calm Birth to me, a quick search on the internet led me to a local midwife Tracey and I will be forever grateful to my friend for mentioning the word "Calm Birth". 

Through the classes my partner Simon and I became acutely aware that this pregnancy was not just about me, not just about the baby, not just about Simon... It was about all of us. A journey to becoming a family and that even though I would be the one delivering the baby, I was not on my own. Calm Birth taught us that I had to let go of the fear and embrace what my body was made to do, my body has all the tools necessary. My body, my baby, my partner, my mother, my midwives- we were all in this together, I was not alone and I was more than capable. 

Simon and I listened to the meditations nightly and practiced our breathing and visualizations until it became second nature to simply "slip" into that world where all that existed was my breath. When our due date came and passed I was advised to book in to be induced. Through the Calm Birth classes I was aware of what was involved and as I had no risk factors decided to wait as long as I could in hope of having as natural a birth as possible.

"I can't explain exactly what I felt but the best way I can try and convey the feeling is like a "Gut instinct."
I knew, I somehow knew that my baby was so close to coming on his own..."

I went in to be induced on Monday the 17th, I can't explain exactly what I felt but the best way I can try and convey the feeling is like a "Gut instinct", I knew, I somehow knew that my baby was so close to coming on his own. I told the Midwife that I didn't feel comfortable having the induction today, she was very empathetic and did a "Wellness scan". The test showed plenty of fluid around the baby and a strong heart rate, so they said I could re-book in for Wednesday the 19th, waiting any longer would be going beyond hospital recommendations. That afternoon it rained, in fact it poured. I went outside on my balcony and danced in the rain. I felt connected to Mother Earth like she was cleansing me and preparing me for what was to come. Tuesday the 18th, I spent the day with my parents and Simon. We went for a long walk on the beach which included some squats and jogging. I looked at myself in the mirror, held my belly and said "This is it, it's time. If we want to do this our way and together you and me, today is the day, otherwise Wednesday they will take you out". After dinner that night I felt a tightening like no other I had felt before. I quietly timed myself and after repetitive lower cramp like pains coming every 10 minutes I alerted my family. 

 I was calm and focused. I immediately fell into my breaths, whilst Simon and my family made our home a quiet and comfortable space like we had planned. I laboured at home from 8.30pm - 12.20am, when I felt a contraction strong enough that made me feel like I needed to be in the hospital.

When we arrived at the Hospital the strength of the contractions had increased and as we pulled up I vomited, and the nursing staff rushed out a wheel chair for me. I told her I could walk and with a thick American accent the nurse said "Oh honey, you are gonna need you're strength". So I sat and was wheeled to the delivery suites. Inside the suite I kept breathing, moving around and generally felt calm and in control. I was so focused on counting my breaths I didn't notice time creeping by. 

By 5.30am our midwife (the incredible and lovely and charming and wonderful Tracey) offered to break my waters to assist progress, which I agreed too. Immediately the contractions came faster and stronger. I went into the shower and continued to focus on my breaths holding onto Simon and moving around as much as we needed too. My mum held the shower head on my lower back which I found soothing. 

By 6.30am I was moved into the bath to have my planned water birth. In the Calm Birth classes it was mentioned that during "transition" stage I would may have the urge to get up and leave and just want to "go home". I distinctly remember saying to Simon, "I'm transitioning to the final stage, I know because I want to go home". Simon was able to remind me that this was important and meant we were close to meeting our baby. However, due to a cervical lip although I had a strong urge to push and two hours had passed no baby had arrived. I was tired and exhausted and feeling as though I was ready to give up. My mother, Simon and Tracey continued to remind me of my low breaths and to visualise, this helped tremendously. While waiting for the Doctor to arrive I was moved onto the bathroom floor and asked to stop pushing and let my body take over. This was the moment I truly realised that my body was in control here, I was along for the ride. Not pushing felt so bizarre, when every fibre and muscle in your body is working to push the baby down. It was harder not to push and these moments on the bathroom floor were my greatest test. The Doctor arrived to help the baby pass over my lipped cervix, at this stage I had no medical intervention but was offered the gas to help  take the "edge" off. The moment the baby moved passed the lip the urge to push was more intense than ever. 

 We moved from the bathroom to the birthing suite again where I felt like i gained a new strength and energy and an even bigger desire to push. I was able to move around and change positions and in no time I felt the burning stretch which was mentioned and although it was a new pain it gave me the biggest surge of energy because this time I KNEW that I was so close, and sure enough Tracey was soon telling Simon to come down for his big moment. Simon had decided he wanted to be the one to first touch our child, and put him on my chest. As I lay on my side holding my mothers hand Simon says "I can see him!" and I felt more determined than ever and out he came into Simon's arms and onto my chest on Wednesday the 19th of November, two hours before our planned induction. 

Wylie Joshua Boyles

Although our birth plan was to have a water birth, I am completely fine with how our baby came into the world. For the most part I felt completely calm and focused, and for those moments I didn't I had such a great support team who reminded me to breathe and focus on the outcome. I have such a wonderful respect to all mothers no matter how they bring their baby into the world, each way is challenging and fulfilling, but having had a natural vaginal birth I feel in such awe of the women before me and the strength we have to endure the marathon of giving life. I appreciate my body for how incredible it is, birthing a child is the truest process of alchemy.