Friends of Belmont Birthing

The Birth of Holly

When my husband Michael and I found out we were pregnant we could not have been happier. We had been together for over six years and had been married for five months. We had only just started trying to conceive for one month when we were blessed with a positive pregnancy test.

I assumed I would be delivering at the John Hunter Hospital and was hoping to be in the birthing suites as I didn't want an epidural. When I saw my GP when I was seven weeks pregnant due to severe morning sickness she asked me where I wanted to give birth and I told her JHH in the birthing suites. She asked me why I wasn't going to go to Belmont. I didn't even know this was an option, I had never heard of Belmont Midwifery Group Practice, but as soon as she told me a little bit about it I was sold! This was the place for me.

holly2We had our first appointment where we met our lovely midwife, Julie, at around 15 weeks and continued to see her throughout the rest of our pregnancy. As far as pregnancies go, mine was very easy. I had no complications and my baby was thriving. We found out at 18 weeks that we were expecting a baby girl.

As my due date got closer and closer I started to have some concerns. Would I be able to do this? What if something went wrong? Perhaps I would be better off if I could stay in hospital for longer and what about if I struggled to breastfeed? I started to think I had made the wrong decision. It didn't help that almost everyone told me horror stories of their births and how I was silly to go through Belmont. Why suffer a natural birth when you can have the pain taken away? You are putting your baby at risk by not delivering at JHH and how on earth will you leave 4-6 hours after delivering, you won't even be able to walk!

My husband brought these concerns up with Julie at our 36 week appointment and she really put me at ease. She did not rush us at all and made me feel very comfortable. Each point was discussed thoroughly and we got some DVDs on breastfeeding and becoming new parents to take home and watch. I think it was at this appointment that I really knew I had made the right decision and really appreciated the service provided, and how Julie really put my mind at ease. I was now getting very excited to not only meet my baby girl but to give birth to her.

On Thursday the 9th of February, 2012 at 1am I started to feel what I believed were mild contractions. By 4am they were slowly getting more intense but I managed to fall asleep. I woke at 8.30am and they had gone! I was very disappointed as I was now five days over my 'due' date and was very excited to meet my baby. Come 11am they were back! Yay! We had an appointment at Belmont with Julie and also a scan booked in as I was overdue and  Julie wanted to check all was well in utero, which it was. I then went on the CTG (cardiotocography to check the baby's heartbeat and to measure contractions), and Julie said I was in the early stages of labour, contractions were every 5-8 minutes lasting about 40 seconds. The pain was mostly in my back.
After our appointment we decided to go and stock up the house with food so we wouldn't need to go shopping for a while. I remember getting on the floor at Woolworths, breathing through the pain that had got a lot more intense as we were shopping. I didn't even care what people thought. $380 later we were done!

Not long after we got home, at 3.30pm, my waters broke as I was watching TV, trying to keep my mind off the increasingly painful contractions. My waters didn't break with a gush as I expected but a slow trickle. When I went to the bathroom I realised they were murky green. At first I didn't think anything of it but then I remembered watching an episode of 16 and Pregnant where one of the babies had pooed and got meconium aspiration so I called Julie at 4pm and she came to our house to check bub's heartbeat.

Seeing as the heartbeat was good we made plans to meet at the birthing suite at 8pm for CTG monitoring and to work out if I would still be able to deliver at the birthing suite or if I would need to go to John Hunter Hospital.

By 6.30pm my contractions were getting very uncomfortable and I had run out of hot water by having hot showers (which worked really well for pain relief) so Michael called Julie and told her I wanted to come in earlier.

We arrived at the birthing suite at 7.20pm and Julie did an internal and I was 5cm dilated and she pushed me to 6cm. I then had two sterile water injections in my back and jumped in the bath. The hot water was amazing but it wasn't long before I wanted something else for pain so I decided to have the gas and air. For an hour or so I was apparently 'as high as a kite' but it didn't last long and I started begging for an epidural. Of course I couldn't have one, so Julie suggested I get out of the bath and she would take me to the hospital (knowing I wouldn't be bothered to get out of the bath!). So after a few hours of screaming, swearing, kicking, thrashing around, begging for an epidural and throwing the wet washers Michael kept putting on my forehead and seven more sterile water injections later, Julie suggested I get out of the bath and sit on the toilet to help me push.

I wasn't on the toilet long when Julie said I needed to either get back in the bath or go on the birthing stool as my baby was on her way! I got on the stool with Michael supporting my back and 15 minutes later my beautiful daughter Holly was in my arms. Michael was crying. I was just in shock and losing a fair bit of blood so I had an injection to help me deliver the placenta. I jumped into bed where I quickly delivered the placenta while Holly and I had a cuddle. I was feeling really weak and cold but the feeling soon passed and Holly started to breastfeed.

Holly Grace was born at 11.06pm after 10 hours of labour. She was 3.1kg, 33.5cm head circumference and 49cm long and absolutely beautiful. I had a first degree tear and a graze that didn't require sutures. Pain relief was sterile water injections (nine in total) and gas.

By 1.30am we were all home. I gave Holly another feed and then I had something to eat and went to sleep. I can't remember a lot of my first night as a mother. Only that Holly didn't wake again until 7.30am where I attempted to give her a feed but couldn't seem to get her to latch on properly. Eventually I managed to get her back to sleep and I had a shower.

Julie came to visit us at 10am. I have never been so happy to see anyone before in my life! Holly was crying, I was stressed and neither Michael or I had any idea what to do! She showed me how to latch Holly on properly and talked to me about what to expect post giving birth.

A few days after giving birth I was starting to really miss being pregnant. As much as I love having Holly with us she was a lot easier to take care of when she was inside me. I regretted not enjoying my pregnancy more and being so impatient for it to end. I wished that I could re-live Holly's birth and take every moment in rather than spending so much energy yelling for an epidural.

Over the weeks to come I spent a lot of time reflecting on the birth of Holly wishing I could do it again. Although her birth went perfectly to plan I was disappointed in myself for being so agitated and carrying on the way I had. I didn't trust my body and I didn't take notice of all the support I had from Julie and Michael.

When we decide to add to our family I will definitely be going through Belmont again and this time hoping for a homebirth. I now know what my body is capable of and I know that next time I will be a lot more calm and have faith in myself and my body.

One of the aspects of going through Belmont Midwifery Group Practice I liked the most was the one to one care. Throughout the pregnancy we got to know Julie and I completely trusted her. I know that there is a chance the midwife you see throughout pregnancy may not necessarily be the one at your birth, but I was really lucky that Julie was at mine. We were able to develop a therapeutic relationship over the seven months, so that when it came time to say goodbye three weeks after Holly was born, I was very sad. I hope that when we give Holly a sibling we will be lucky enough to have Julie as our midwife again.

holly1Julie really supported both Michael and myself in the transition from being a couple to a family. She spent many hours at our house helping us with whatever we needed from breastfeeding to swaddling. I don't think I could ever thank Julie enough for her amazing support throughout pregnancy, birth and postnatal.

Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done. Nothing can prepare you what it is going to be like when you take home this little person. I questioned everything I did in the first few months of Holly's life. I had no faith in my ability as a mother. I think at around the three month mark I started to get the hang of things and we had both adjusted to life as parents.

Now at eight months, nothing feels more natural than being a mother. Holly is a beautiful, vibrant, social, loving baby. Being a mother has given me more joy than I ever imagined. I have never been happier than I am now. When times do sometimes still get tough, I remind myself that this too shall pass and one day I will miss our 3am snuggles.

To anyone reading this story who is contemplating or who has chosen to go through Belmont Midwifery Group Practice, I can guarantee you are in good hands! I have never heard a negative word spoken about the beautiful Belmont midwives and the service they provide. Trust yourself, your body and your midwife, and enjoy the amazing journey that is pregnancy, birth and motherhood!