Birthing Like A Warrior

My journey to having a home water birth

Saying Goodbye To The Home Birth Journey

Today, Hazel came to visit for Arlie’s and my 6 week check up. It was bitter sweet. It marked the end of our home birth journey. We were released from Hazel’s care, but not her friendship, thankfully.

20140930-211649.jpgArlie loves sharing our bed! Hubs and I adore co-sleeping and its many benefits.

Hazel helped me to realise my dream, fulfil it, and from this journey, has given me amazing confidence. I can’t thank her enough, and definitely can’t recommend her enough! If anyone in Central West NSW needs a supportive, caring, empathic, and amazing independent midwife, please don’t forget to look her up with the link on the home page. You can also check out the Central West Better Birth Group on Facebook to find her!

Arlie is thriving! She has put on 1.8kg since birth.

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She virtually lives in her legacy woven wrap – a Didymos Indio Krokus.

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Our home birth story featured in the Gilgandra Weekly newspaper!

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Her big brother and sister adore her like crazy! They are wonderful with her – patting gently, cooing and singing to her, and lots of cuddles too!

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She’s smiling more and more, and pulls the cheekiest faces when she’s eating.

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She helped her big sister get through her operation a few weeks ago. 20140930-213436.jpg

She is such a blessing in our lives. Arlie Atley, thank you for choosing us to be your family.

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More Photos!

I have come across a few more photos from the home birth that I would like to share with you all!
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Lots of love and support from my amazing husband.
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Pressure on my lower back really helped with the contractions.
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Poor Scott putting a lot of strength into the lower back pressure.
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Admiring our beautiful Arlie girl.
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I am aiming to exclusively breastfeed for as long as possible this time.
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Hubs affectionately calls my encapsulated placenta pills “Those pills that shall not be named”!!! He hates the concept. Whatever the case, they are a Godsend!
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Very soon, I will update you all of our little home birth baby Arlie, all her stats, and the fun of now having 3 kids aged under 2.5.

Love and light, Liss xxx

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The Home Birth Story of Arlie Atley Hanson

Scott, Lillith, Jackoby and I are proud to announce the home water birth of our baby girl Arlie Atley Hanson late last night. As per the request of some people, I’d love to share the story of her arrival earthside with you all.

*Please be pre-warned: it’s a labour and birth story, so I’m not going to tone down the description of the natural processes that can and did occur in my experience. If you don’t like TMI, this is your warning!*

Arlie Atley Hanson
Weight 2.9kg/6.4lb
Length 48cm
Born at home in the birth pool on Friday 15/08/2014 at 2309 hours.

The full moon (super moon) was on the 10/11th of August, and it must have flooded me with hormones that caused pre-labour for about 5 days over that period. Irregular contractions would start every night around 6-7pm, wake me up occasionally throughout the night, but not go anywhere. It was frustrating, especially since I was only just getting over a chest and sinus infection, and both kids were still slightly unwell with conjunctivitis and ear infections. I was cranky, irritable, tired and becoming exhausted.
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Wednesday 13th, I was putting the kids in the bath with Scott (hubs) at around 5.30pm when I thought maybe my waters were leaking. I texted my midwife Hazel, and I monitored the pads. Our babies went to bed at 7pm, so I jumped in the shower to relax. I had intense pressure down below all afternoon after a gorgeous walk in the sunshine with hubs, our babies, and the dogs, so I thought the shower might help to relieve it. There was no hot water, so I rushed out, and while drying myself, had a pretty profuse and scary-looking show, followed by a bigger gush of what felt distinctly like my waters. My midwife Hazel told me to rest up, monitor the flow/colour/etc, and she left her house to come see me. I had filled 3 maternity pads in an hour, so thought that I was right with the suspicion of SROM (spontaneous rupture of membranes).
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Hazel arrived around 2300 hours, did some basic checks like fetal heart rate, my blood pressure, and baby’s position. Baby was cephalic and 2/5 engaged, lying slightly LOL, happy and healthy. The decision was made to obviously have no internals, monitor for contractions and signs of infection, rest as best as I could, and see what the morning brought. That night, I was woken every 12-15 minutes by quite strong period pain-type cramps. By the morning, I was exhausted! Both kids were unsettled and needed re-settling during the night, then woke early for the day. Hubs was exhausted because I kept him inadvertently awake, plus he had gotten up with the kids as well. I was feeling hopeful that the day would increase the chance of contractions becoming more regular and closer together because we were both so busy with the kids.
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Morning of Thursday 14th, Hazel and I left Jack with Scott while we took Lill for a walk to try to get the contractions closer together. We enjoyed a gorgeous gluten-free slice and a cool drink with Lill, did a little food/snack shopping, and walked home. Contractions were regular, but not getting closer together. They were mild to moderately painful, and creating A LOT of lower back pain. I was still leaking amniotic fluid (I had to stop at the chemist to buy some more mat pads and stepping off the curb caused a massive gush to fill the one I was wearing). By the time we arrived home, the contractions had infuriatingly stopped again. I was becoming frustrated, worried, cranky and negative. Hazel advised me to go to the bedroom, listen to some CalmBirth tracks, and try to nap as well. I put my earphones in, laid on my left side, and tried to sleep. I got 2 hours of restful sleep before I was woken by 7 minutely contractions AGAIN! I decided to get up, and found my lovely little family outside in the yard with Hazel, playing in the sandpit. I decided to walk laps of our backyard for an hour. The contractions continued, became more painful, but refused to get closer together. They AGAIN stopped once the kids’ night time routine began. I felt like my mind couldn’t relax enough while having the kiddies around, as I felt obligated to still be there for them 100%. Scott, Hazel and I decided that it all might pick up later that night after they went to bed.
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By 8pm (24 hours post SROM), I was showing no signs of infection, baby seemed well, but I was exhausted. I had my feet massaged with a gorgeous clary sage mix twice that day, with no effect. We had tried nipple stimulation, endless walking, yoga moves to rotate baby down further, hip rolling, belly dancing and more. My mind was becoming more frustrated, more negative, more cranky and irritated. I was becoming irrationally upset at the genuine concern being lovingly showed by my friends and family, and turned my phone off to avoid messages and calls. I was becoming short with poor Scott. I didn’t want to eat or drink, especially bloody Hydralyte, as I felt like it was all I was drinking. I was drowsy, tired, and sick of the continual, strong contractions that just wouldn’t advance. I had told my SIL and brother that baby might arrive tonight, so they started the 6 hour journey from Sydney. When it become apparent that baby was still a long way off, I became very weepy that I was ‘wasting their time’, which of course Scott and Hazel told me I wasn’t, as I wasn’t a bloody stage show set to start at a particular time, and that they would understand. I still felt horrible, and cried on and off. I packed the kids’ preschool bags, thinking that the prospect of them going to preschool the following day might help to relax me sufficiently that I might just progress with the labour. At 2300 hours, I requested an internal to see if these constant contractions were doing anything to my cervix. Hazel talked to me about the risks, but I wanted it anyway… I was at my wits end. My home birth resolve was slowly failing. Cervix was 1cm thick, could be stretched to a 3cm, no membranes palpated, just baby’s head. I was going nowhere. Frustrated to further tears, knowing that the only thing keeping the contractions going was my input (walking, nipple stimulation, etc), but also knowing that I was exhausting myself for nothing, I went to bed… Only for me to have to deal with 10-12 minutely, strong, cramping contractions ALL NIGHT! I awoke constantly, had to breathe through them, and Scott placed pressure on my back through each one, followed by loving kisses and snuggles after.
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Friday 15th, my brother and SIL arrived early morning, and went to bed. I heard them arrive, but felt so bad for telling them to drive here for nothing that I was too ashamed to go see them when they arrived. I was woken at 5.30am by a very strong contraction and Jack crying. I got up with him, tried to settle him on the lounge as everyone else was still sleeping. He howled with pain due to teething. Scott got up with me to help. We were both smashed with exhaustion – both having stayed up late, he assisted in as many ways as he could to get labour progressing, plus was woken by my breathing through contractions all night. I was horribly short-tempered with him… I yelled at him no less than 3 times before 6.30am!?! He took it with grace, and did not react at all. I apologised not long after, and he hugged me, telling me he couldn’t ever understand what I was going through, but that he would always be there for me, no matter what. More tears. My brother Matt and SIL Steph woke up, helped Scott organise breakfast for the kids and get them ready for preschool. I wallowed in my sorrows, telling Hazel of my night. I was by that stage 36 hours post SROM, google-doctoring way too much, becoming irrationally scared and upset, and emotional. Hazel told me she had to return home to see her kids (she had selflessly been at mine for almost 2 whole days). I understood, but was also becoming really crazy-upset about the risk of labour not fully starting after SROM, the associated risks of being at home in this situation, and becoming very scared for my baby’s and my health. She told me it was a very difficult situation, and that we needed to monitor well, rest up, and discuss as need’s be all the ins and outs of the situation. I reluctantly said goodbye to her, but kept stressing like crazy. I again turned my phone off, becoming frustrated at having to tell people that nothing had happened yet. I was also becoming aware that baby had not moved at all so far that day, and that I had no leakage of amniotic fluid… this stressed me further.
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9.30am – We all went to drop Lill and Jack at preschool, then went for breakfast at a nearby cafe. Matt and Steph reassured me that they weren’t upset, didn’t blame me of course, and just wanted what was best for me, baby, Scott and the family, and that they would stay until lunch time the next day, and help out where they could, regardless of whether baby arrived or not. They made me laugh and forget my worries. Scott cuddled me and reassured me constantly. I was still upset and frustrated though.
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10.30am – Scott and Matt took the dogs for a walk, to get Scott’s mind off things and to get him some fresh air and bloke-time (having being cooped up with emo me and Hazel for 2 days straight), while Steph and I did 2 brisk walking laps of the town. I only had 3 contractions the entire time, and still hadn’t felt baby. By the time we got home, had a cool, fizzy drink and rested, I realised I had only felt one small movement from baby. I jumped in the shower to relax. I then noticed that my pad was showing off-colour discharge. I became upset and scared, and called Hazel, who advised me to pop up to the hospital to get an amniosure test just to be certain, and a CTG for baby’s welfare/placenta check up, etc. I told Scott to stay home so he could nap in peace, and then pick the kids up from preschool when it was time, while Matt and Steph drove me in. I annoyed them with my constant, almost trying to vocally reassure myself banter that going to hospital would be ok because it wasn’t a bad thing, and it might ease my mind. By the time I had arrived, I had pretty much 98% thrown home birth out the window because I just wanted safety, baby safe, imminent birth and reassurance…
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5pm (44 hours post SROM) – I was placed in birthing suite triage, sent off to get a urine sample, then strapped to the CTG. I had a BRILLIANT midwife caring for me, who seemed very pro-home birth, and accepting of my choice (of course, I had to explain why I was there, why I was only presenting then, etc). She was caring, professional and wonderful. She told me that baby’s CTG was good, that baby must have just been resting after 2 days of strong contractions. This eased my mind significantly about the present moment, but not the future. I started to notice that I was having contractions 4-5 minutes apart, but didn’t think anything at all of them. The amniosure came back blazingly positive. I was becoming slightly irrational in my thinking, and wanted to know then and there if I would go into labour within 24 hours, even though I knew that no one could predict that. The doctor’s offer of sleeping tablets and induction was becoming increasingly appealing to me. I rang Scott and told him that if labour hadn’t started at the 72 hour post SROM point, that I would take the induction. I told the midwives and doctor that I had 2 concerns – 1 being having to deal with another night of shitty, non-progressive labour contractions, the combined lack of sleep, exhaustion, 2 kids under 2.5 to look after, poor Scott being equally tired, etc, and me then not having the stamina to do the home birth; 2 being how long since the SROM, and being at home. I was starting to get to the point that I actually wanted to stay in the hospital. I was irrationally freaking out about baby’s health and safety. Scott agreed with me on the phone about the 72 hour point, and said we would go to hospital if nothing happened. As for then and there, that was my decision… Steph, Matt and Hazel (via phone) kept reminding me of the hard work and effort I’d put into the home birth process, and certainly didn’t try to persuade me, but tried to gently remind me of my goal. They told me it was ultimately my decision, and they would stand by me no matter what, but to just think about it. The hospital doctor was pushy, telling me that I should have had antibiotics 18 hours post SROM as per their protocol, and that a home birth so far from the hospital was a great risk. He tried to tell me how much he would care for me if I stayed, how he would make sure I got some sleep, be induced by tomorrow, etc. I was being lulled by his offered securities…

6pm – Realisation hits when Hazel asks me if I’m still contracting. Surprisingly, I realise I was contracting every 3-5 minutes without fail for the past hour. I was shocked! I hadn’t noticed properly, but Matt and Steph were timing them for me discreetly. She told me that this was a pretty good sign – contracting in a hospital, where most labours stall… Contracting while having large amounts of adrenaline caused by stress in my body. Woah! Realisation hit me. I told Matt and Steph – let’s go home, see how this goes. If labour starts, great! If not, I would return the next day to be induced. I happily called Scott, who agreed. We rushed to the nurses’ station, told them we were leaving, waved goodbye, and rushed out the exit. Contractions were 1 minute long, becoming impossible to walk or talk through, 3-4 minutely. My phone rang as I got into the car – the hospital wanted me to return to sign a ‘Discharge Against Medical Advice’ form, because the doctor didn’t want me to leave… I told them that we couldn’t return as we were already on the Gil Road. They received vocal confirmation that we were indeed DAMA-ing, and that we would see them the next day if need’s be. Hazel called to say she would meet us at home as she was leaving then. I started gushing fluids again.
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6.30pm – Still contracting. Picked up Maccas drive thru for everyone and Matt drove Steph and I safely home. She helped me breathe through contractions on the drive and reassured me. When we arrived home, I saw that Scott had already picked up the kids, bathed and fed them, and put them into bed, plus set up the birthing room with candles, photos, and love. The room was tidy, as he knows I have terrible OCD that interferes with my life if things aren’t in order, clean, and tidy. He helped me get through a few contractions while Matt and Steph gave us some space.
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7pm – Scott scoffed his dinner down, helped me get changed, and was rocking me through quite intense contractions. He hugged me, loved me, guided me through the pain, and made sure I was ok. Matt and Steph went to get Jack, who was hysterical by that stage with teething pain. They tried to settle him… He wasn’t bothering me, but I was worried for him.
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8pm – Contractions lasting 1.5 minutes, intense pain that I found comforting to low-moan through, every 3 minutes. Hazel called to say she wasn’t far away, and to start filling the pool so I could get in. The hot water had run out by 20% full, and we couldn’t find the peak/off-peak switch! Matt had 4 pots and the kettle boiling constantly, plus water for Scott and I, ice chips, cool face washers, plus the dishes washed up! Steph had Jack, trying to calm him, but he seemed to get really really upset every time he heard me moaning through contractions. He started screaming and wailing when one started at one point, so I asked Steph to sit him in front of the TV to distract him. He wasn’t annoying me at all, but I was so upset for him being upset at my noises. Eventually, he became hysterical during one of my contractions, so it was decided that Matt and Steph would take him for a drive… He was obviously very affected at seeing his mummy in pain. I had jumped into the pool, Hazel had arrived, and I felt I was coping well. I was amiable and chatty in between contractions. Scott had a bit of trouble trying to apply enough force for the counter-pressure on my lower back that I kept requesting of him during contractions, as I was squatting in the pool, and he was unsteady on the inflatable floor of the pool. He never complained though, and continuously listened to me growling gutturally over and over, “HARDER! LOWER!” He was amazing. I’m surprised his arms didn’t fall off by the end of it all.

9.30pm – I had hit transition. 8cm by my own judgement through a quick self-check, contractions were barely letting up. I was becoming hysterical. I told Scott and Hazel continuously that I didn’t want to do this anymore. I was high-pitch screaming during 1.5 minute long, every 2 minutely contractions (sorry neighbours!!!). I couldn’t control my breathing. I could feel a cervical lip stretching posteriorly during my self-check, which made me freak out even more, as I anticipated immense pain and a prolonged transition. I begged for pain relief that was non-existent. I begged to stop. I also could not, for the life of me, move if I tried. Stuck squatting with very little rest between contractions, numb arms and legs, I vomited violently after a contraction that absolutely took everything of me to not black out with the pain. Hazel reassured Scott that this was a good sign, that it meant it was close. I then leaned back into Scott. Rest. 3 minutes of rest commenced… It felt like an hour. Steph had returned to help me, while Matt stayed with Jack. I was vaguely aware of Steph at the top end of the pool edge, watching me… Scott’s gentle arms supporting me in the water, and Hazel watching from the bottom end of the pool. I drifted in exhaustion. It was completely silent. It was pure amazing… No other word for it.
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10.30pm – I had several contractions that I quietly breathed through, having gained my composure, and actually nodded off between as well. They hurt, but I knew I was at the end. I knew I was almost there. I was able to block out the intense, 10/10 pain, breathe through without a sound other than the breath, and then collapse in exhaustion. It was exhilarating.
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10.50pm – Awake. I was stunningly alert all of a sudden. I made this comment out loud, and my birth team laughed with me at my proclamation. I felt like an intense tiredness had just lifted off my eyes. Then the pressure started, and I started involuntarily pushing. It was phenomenal. I couldn’t describe it properly. Scott was incredulous when, after a contraction, I told him that it actually felt amazing to push. He laughed nervously at me. I felt baby’s head, I felt hair! I exclaimed it loudly. A contraction started and I deeply and gutturally voiced my opinion at the contraction. As I pushed, I felt it – the ring of fire. Spanner in the works! I screamed uncontrollably as 2 contractions worth pushed the head out, followed by the body with the next contraction. I couldn’t control it. It truly was primal. I did what my body told me to do, even though I had my team begging me to slow down so as not to tear. I didn’t care. I didn’t tear either! Not a graze! I reached between my legs at 11.09pm and brought my baby up from the water and into my chest, and collapsed back into Scott, laughing with amazement and joy and elation, just as Matt brought a hugely smiling Jack over to meet his baby sibling. Baby was here! I kept yelling, “We did it”, and thanking everyone over and over again, while kissing this sweet, tiny little being in my arms. Baby was looking around the room, calm as anything, not a sound. Blue-grey eyes, blonde hair, a little, long nose, baby was mummy’s spitting image! I uncovered baby to show Scott, who announced… IT’S A GIRL! We all cried tears of joy. Baby girl, Arlie Atley Hanson. The name Arlie was given to her by Lill, who chose it from a few names we liked. Atley is the name of Scott’s grandfather, so we are using it as a unisex middle name in memory of him.
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11.30pm – Out of the pool and onto the lounge. Breastfeeding was amazing, immediate and successful, almost like she had read the manual while in the womb! Placenta birthed not long after physiologically – a completely natural, no intervention birth, just like we wanted! I had some food and drink, while Arlie had her checks, which were all perfect. She weighed 2.9kg, length 48cm. She was alert and bright-eyed! Jack was absolutely enamoured by her, smiling and cooing at her, reaching out to touch her. Lill was brought out to meet her, after she slept soundly through the entire birth, but she didn’t seem interested. She went back to bed, while I got dressed and was settled into bed to spend our first night together. We co-slept, staring into each others’ eyes as we drifted off. We had done it! Scott, baby Arlie, Hazel, Matt, Steph, and even Jack! We had done it!!! Home birth done. The hardest thing I had ever done, hands down, but certainly most rewarding. Pure amazement!!!
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What’s Been Happening…

It would appear that I’ve been a little quiet. I have been on this blog, but not in real life. I honestly just haven’t had the time to get on here and write an update. Let me tell you – having a 2 year old, a 1 year old, being their primary carer while my poor hubs works crazy hours supporting his family, having a few illnesses here and there (both the kids and us), having to get a new-but-used bigger car, trips to Sydney and back, plus being 9 months pregnant leaves very little time on the side…

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So I guess it’s probably time to update from where I left off!!! A month ago, I posted my last post. A month seems both long and short in the grand scheme of things. Long for some people this far into the pregnancy, but short for me. It truly is going so fast. A month ago, however, I found myself having to drive to Sydney with the kids by myself to trade in Ye-Ol’-Faithful, aka the Honda Jazz. A small hatchback just isn’t conducive to having 3 child restraints in the back… At all! 2 toddlers still rear-facing, plus an infant capsule just don’t fit in the back of the Jazz. Trust me, I tried. The drive to Sydney was slightly complicated by both kids having ear infections, being on antibiotics, Lill having a chest infection, and Jack having bronchiolitis. The drive through the mountains at hour 5 of the drive was the worst part… My poor babies, screaming and grabbing their ears. It just couldn’t be avoided though. Hubs was working 7 straight, and had no time off to come with us or to look after the kids while I went (or visa versa). I have a travel ban from 36 weeks, so it truly was now or never. The kids survived and went well in the end, and had a brilliant time with Nanny and BudePop (my parents), as we stayed with them while I sorted out the new-used car. Car sorted (after many tears, endless phone calls, having to take Jac with me car shopping as he was very unwell and it wasn’t fair to my Mum to have to look after 2 sick kids, finance companies reneging on deals, contracts signed-but-then questioned, loan cars, endless car seat transporting from car to car, etc etc etc, never again)!!! Needless to say, I must thank my parents for their help and care (especially after I ended up on antibiotics myself with a sinus infection), and my brother Sparky and SIL Steph, who all helped out, cared for my kiddies, looked after me, cleaned my car for me prior to sale, and more! I felt loved, cared for, and nurtured, especially during a very trying time.

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We arrived back in Gil, and it’s been go go go ever since! Poor hubs has again been working what seems like non-stop. Both kiddies finally finished their antibiotics. Lill still needs to see an ENT for her recurrent ear infections, hopefully that will occur soon. Jac is thriving, my must-run-everywhere-refusing-to-slow-down little master! He has the most momentous stacks, but shakes his head without a whimper and gets back up and on with it (while giving mummy several heart attacks per day!!!). The farm has been growing, with a baby goat on board that thinks hubs is its birth mother (LOL)! It’s now 5 goats, 1 sheep, 1 rabbit, 2 dogs, 24 chickens, 2 guinea fowl, 2 cats, and 3 ferrets. Crazy country farm life!

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Baby Womb Dancer seems intent on escaping at times. Last night I had an uncomfortable ride in an ambulance to the nearest maternity hospital with 3 minutely contractions, after I became incredibly unwell with temps of 40C, severe dehydration, neck stiffness, headache, myalgia, and unrelenting round ligament pain. All this seemed to have caused the contractions, but thankfully after 4 litres of IV fluids pumped into me, various medications, tests galore, and lots of TLC, contractions slowed right down. This morning I find myself sitting on the hospital bed with a bit of a woozy head, swollen hands, feet and puffy eyes from a few more bags of IV fluid since early on, a visitor of the medical capacity every now and then popping in to advise me that they don’t recommend a homebirth in any case for any woman (as virtually all doctors seem to need to tell me these days), but also wishing me luck, but awaiting discharge into the caring arms of my amazing hubs.

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I must truly send out my love and appreciation to him right now… After leaving work early yesterday when I admitted I was unwell enough to need to go to hospital, his amazing care of the kiddies, his staunch support of me in hospital and throughout contractions, and his genuine love and care for me, he deserves a wealth of accolades and love. He was so strong for our kiddies – when Lill expressed concern for all the leads and monitors attached to me, and all the medical staff around me, he talked her through it, hugged her and helped her to understand. He kept Jac close and rocked him to sleep. He truly is a wonderful father, as well as a wonderful husband.

20140729-101808.jpg My little Eats On Feets – New South Wales ambassador!

I also want to thank my wonderful friends and neighbours, Heidi and Shaun, for taking Lill and Jac at the last minute when the decision was made that I would need to be transported to a bigger hospital via ambulance. They took our babies without hesitation and treated them like their own – feed them, bathed them, played with them and put them to bed. I cannot even find the words to express how grateful I am to them. Last night I didn’t have the energy to find the words, and today I just can’t find words that could justify how grateful I am. Hubs told me they were so well looked after, and happy as pigs in mud! What more could a Mum truly ask for!?! Thank you Heidi and Shaun. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

20140729-102340.jpg A random comparison – last week VS 12 weeks!

A big thank you as well to my midwife Hazel for meeting hubs and I here at the hospital, for being our voice and our advocate, and for your kindness and TLC when I needed it the most. Thank you to my family and friends for your well wishes, offers of help and support (especially from Karen and Andrew, who have been amazing in their offers of help), and calls and texts to keep me occupied in a place where unwell people truly find it impossible to rest. Lots of love to you all!

In the weeks to come, we will obviously be busier than we have ever been. I’m aiming to be more pregnant than I’ve ever been, home birth approaches, our family will become 5, with 3 kids under 2.5… Plus we now have to replace the front windscreen of our NEW-used car that is barely a few week’s old after a large rock thrown by a truck with a combined impact speed of 220km/hr smashed into it, not to mention for the first time ever with any of my pregnancies and births, I’m actually having people coming to stay intermittently for the next few weeks (I’ve never had any help in my last stages of pregnancy, let alone after birth) – my parents are coming to stay next week for a few days, then my awesome sister Rach for a week, and our dearest friends Leah and Chris will be coming to stay at some stage too! When labour is imminent, my birthing assistant and trainee-nurse and doula, my SIL Steph will be here in a moment’s notice with my brother! It is an exciting and busy time for us all… But one I now need to slow down with. I really don’t want to be carted off to hospital again. I want to experience being overdue. I want to experience labour and birth at home. So it’s time to slow down, put my feet up a bit more, relax with my obsession with the housework and perfectly-kept house. Time to spend quality time with my amazing husband and soulmate before our lives change again forever. Time to spend time with my babies, before Jac moves to the middle, and Lill becomes a big sister again (for which she is crazy-excited about!!!).

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Rest assured I’ll try to keep you all updated with the coming weeks’ events as best as I can. Lots of appointment updates, details about our upcoming birth plan, and of course the birth itself. Thank you to my loyal readers who gracefully deal with my current lack of regular postings. Thank you for your support. You are all a valuable and welcome part of our homebirth journey.

Love and light, Liss.

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Prayer Flags For Positivity and More!

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One of my wonderful new friends in Gilgandra, Michelle, recently made me some gorgeous prayer flag bunting. It is a welcome addition to my birth wall, especially with the home birth getting closer and closer. She wrote words on each flag that have a corresponding verse from the Bible, with which I can read, reflect on, and gain inspiration from. The words are:

Peace, strength, love, joy and faith.

I wish to take the time to thank Michelle for her time, creativity, thought and kindness in making these, not only for me, but for my family as well. You are a very kind person with whom I am glad I have a good friendship with.

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I also received my birth pool liner recently. Boy did that make the whole family excited!!! Lill especially enjoyed opening it and discussing its purpose. It has been added to our ‘home birth preparation box’, which literally just is an old cardboard box filled with the things we might need and use during the birth – lots of towels and face washers, candles, buckets, and more.

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Of course, the ones pictured are the special, brand new ones just for baby. We have a ton of old towels as well. Note the delightful scoop net in the picture!?! That always seems to get a laugh. We still have a few items to get, but as we count down the few weeks until we are home birth safe, we are feeling more and more ready.

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As the final 10 weeks approach, I’m beginning to wind down on heavy physical activity. That means no more carrying my darlings around, to ensure I don’t have a repeat of Jac’s preterm birth, and thus no home birth. So I’ll post a few gratuitous carrying photos from last week ‘in memory’ of carrying until 37 weeks!!!

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I must admit that I am becoming increasingly excited for what’s to come. I dream every single night of birth. Invariably, it is always a home birth. It is something I look forward to experiencing, and yet I am in no rush whatsoever. I am comfortable in this pregnancy, patient and happy to go overdue. In fact, I’d really like to experience being overdue, having only ever gotten to 39+1 as my longest pregnancy. So many people tell me I’m crazy… So be it. Like I keep saying, you won’t see me or hear me begging for induction, or trying anything unnatural to bring on labour. No pills or tablets or teas, no anything really except my daily walk as per usual. If I’m happy to go overdue, I’m not too sure why it’s anyone else’s business that I’m actually excited about that?! I’m enjoying this pregnancy, and I hope it continues on that way. Yoga is still as enjoyable and amazing as it was when I first started, and I can still do everything as I could then too. Sure, bump is growing, but it’s ‘mind over matter’ for me. I need to keep going, being as strong as before, to enable the home birth to be successful. For me, that is important.

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Home Birth Support

More amazing stuff from Homebirth Access Sydney appeared in my social media feed this morning that made me sit up and realise exactly why I’m staying at home to give birth this time. This new study shows that low risk women have a 90% chance of natural birth with no intervention at home. This drops to 69% in a birth centre and only 44% in a hospital!!!

Birthplace in New South Wales, Australia: an analysis of perinatal outcomes using routinely collected data

Exactly the reason I am staying at home – I want an intervention-free, natural birth! It’s as simple as that. The statistics side with me on this one, and for that, I am grateful.

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Home Birth Gear!

A big shout out to Homebirth Access Sydney!

My awesome midwife Hazel got me a year’s membership a few week’s ago, and I’ve been reading the website’s amazing resources ever since. I found the shop link, and was so excited to see the resources in there.

I received this brilliant book for Lill and Jac, titled “We’re Having A Homebirth”. So far, it has been well received by the kids. Lill loves pointing out “baby coming out”, Jac just listens. 20140616-152931.jpg
I also got this amazing shirt for myself! It is really important to me because I really love to advertise how normal a home birth really is, and how good it can be for mum, baby and family in a low risk, healthy pregnancy. So I definitely plan on wearing this around town, to my yoga class, and anywhere else I can think of.

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Last but not least, this gorgeous little outfit for our future homebirthed baby! I can’t wait to put it on little Womb Dancer. If you’d like to check out the Homebirth Access Sydney website, just click their link on the name above! Thank you again HAS!!!

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You Don’t Get A Medal For Giving Birth Without Drugs…

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“Why would you go natural?”

I’m an idiot. I’m strange. I’m a hippy. I want some sort of imaginary medal or trophy or accolade. I want the honour in the natural birth community. I’m a sadist. I enjoy pain. I need to prove something to someone. I am uneducated. I’m screwed up in my head. The list goes on – all the reasons that people have found it (for some strangely-odd reason) perfectly fine to inform me of as to why I am choosing to have a natural birth. Natural, as I’ve previously explained, in this context, meaning vaginally and without drugs or medical interventions. You’d think that the reasons for which I have chosen to pursue a natural birth would be my own, right? Not the ill-informed, rudely-opinionated, made-up perceptions of someone else. Anyway…

When people run marathons, we don’t say to them, “Oh please, why would you do that? Stop this! No one thinks you’re a hero for doing this!” Could someone then please explain why there is such a huge lack of tolerance for natural childbirth?
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I’ll answer my own question… because people love to turn off their brains and be indoctrinated. Indoctrinated by social media, scare tactics, unreliable sources, unproven stories, one-sided and biased journalism, someone’s own story with ‘world-class’ doctors and a baby that was ‘birthed safely’, or people’s own loudly-expelled opinions. They don’t want to think for themselves, so they listen to the people (especially in the medical community) who have an extremely vested interest in doing things their way, and it’s usually in their best interest – not the pregnant woman’s and certainly not baby’s.
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The ‘norm’ these days seems to be all about inductions, epidurals, and caesarean sections, so I guess it’s natural for a pregnant woman to assume that it’s totally normal to, say, be induced at 40 weeks (or 37 weeks, because so-and-so said that 37 weeks is ‘full term’, and I believe them because they’d know, I mean, duh! They have like 5 kids and their obstetrician told them, and why would a doctor say the wrong thing… Right? Or Google search’s first result told me so, right?), or to have a c-section because the doctor told them their scan revealed a ‘big baby’. In fact, just having a vaginal birth, that is, a baby coming out of your vagina, regardless of epidurals and IV cannulas and episiotomies, is seen as ‘natural’ by most people. As I’ve said before, a true natural birth, according to most people who have spoken to me about it, is “stupid and crazy” and “hippyish”. Look, you all know that I do not judge a single person for their birth choice/decision/journey. If you want this or that, that’s your choice, your body, your birth. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to talk about my journey, my choices, my reasons, my pregnancy. It’s not a debate about what is ‘best’ and ‘most medal-worthy’. It’s about making the right childbirth decision for yourself as the birthing parent. Some people might find what I have to say about my own choices educational or inspirational, and that’s why, through this blog, I try to tell you some of the evidence-based reasons for why I choose to go natural.
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“My henna messages to myself on my hand, with one of my sweetheart’s fists around my thumb, representing the strength my babies give me”

One such reason is the cascade of interventions. Interventions lead to more interventions. Interventions have side-effects. These statements aren’t just random speculation. They are proven, fact, hard evidence. Not just side-effects for the mother, but for the baby as well. The baby is often the silent person in the labour equation. Baby relies on its mum to be its voice, because they can’t say, “I don’t think that intervention will be very good for me, mum, please don’t give it to you and therefore me because I might come to you very sleepy and unable to breathe properly.” Do yourself a favour! Please, right now, as you are NOT in labour and able to truly read and understand what you are reading, please go and read the side-effects of having syntocinon/pitocin administered to you and your baby during your labour and birth. Just as an example. I’ve thrown syntocinon out there, but pick what you like – epidural, lying on your back during labour, episiotomy, etc. Please, I implore you. Because when you’re in labour, you won’t have time to read all the fine-print, nor will the doctor have enough time to fully divulge the side-effects of its administration, and the ones they do tell you about, do you really think you’ll be in a fully-capable mind to comprehend, and therefore make an informed decision regarding? Please go and read the proper, reputable, rigorous consumer medication information, not just a google search of what Mrs Blah-Blah and Miss Whosamawhatsee say on Baby Gaga or Baby Bump or Wikipaedia. PLEASE!?! For your sake, for your baby’s sake. It might change your mind. It might affirm your decision. It might change nothing at all. But whatever the case, you owe it not only to yourself, but to your precious unborn baby too, to make the most correct and informed decision that you possibly can.

I choose to have a natural birth. My reasons are my own. They are informed, based on real research and study, and methodically chosen. To me, having a natural birth is the safest way to birth. Safest for baby. Safest for me. Safe, for me, my body, my situation, my pregnancy. If it’s not for you – well that’s ok! Don’t go around spreading silliness about someone else and their situation and their baby and their birth. To the great big fools out there who gain great glee in sprouting the absolute garbage of “you don’t get a medal”. You idiot!!! Of course you don’t! Who told you their reason for having a natural birth was to get a medal? And what planet were you on when you thought that was a legitimate response?!?! The premise is not that you should give birth with every pain relief drug on board possible because you don’t get a medal… The premise is that you give birth how YOU choose. All I ask is that you choose wisely, choose after having done thorough research, and choose for yourself.

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That’s it!!!

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The Hectic Life of a KOSAHPAOMLM

A-who-se-ma-whatsa?!?! A KOSAHPAOMLM??? Liss has gone bonkers!

KOSAHPAOMLM – Kind-Of Stay At Home, Pregnant And On Maternity Leave Mum. That’s how I’d describe myself. I mean, I’m kind of a stay at home mum, sure, but I’m actually not unemployed, as such. I’m still on maternity leave from Jac, and about to commence my maternity leave period for baby #3. The implications of that are fun, but I’ll leave that there.

Anyway, life has been hectic for us for the past few weeks. We had Lill turn 2 and Jac turn 1 within a week of each other; the kids had a joint birthday party, and Jac was baptised on the same day; we have driven to Sydney and back 3 times in the last month…

Let me pause there to elaborate… anyone who has 2 very young kids to travel fair distances with, and one of those times was by myself mind you, will know that this is no easy feat. Those leisurely stops you see people make… They’re not leisurely when you have to find a place that is reasonably kid-friendly, lug two kids and a pregnant belly/bladder/appetite around by yourself, then organise a meal or snack, plus change nappies, plus go to the toilet yourself without leaving the kids in the car/leaving them unattended/taking them into the toilet with you to touch all the unsanitary items they possibly can (I’ll let you ponder on that scenario), then pack them all back into the car and off we go again, listening to the soothing sounds of crying and/or gagging/vomiting from the backseat. Ahhhhh the serenity!

… We’ve had a funeral, appointments, double ear infections, countless colds that I never though were possible to contract in such a short time, delightful Braxton Hicks contractions from a thoroughly-utilised irritable uterus, shows, visitors, mountains of washing, sleepless nights, did I mention vomiting (???), and more.

The point of my telling you all this is:
A. I am apologising for being a bit lax in my blog post delivery.
B. I am backing up my apology with valid reasons for my laxity.
C. I adore my kids, my life, my everything, and wouldn’t change it for the world, just so you know. It may be hectic, and busy, and tiring, but I am not complaining (and even if I am, I would think that an occasional rant is granted here)!

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So that’s why I’ve been a bit quiet lately. I must also admit that I’ve been making an effort to spend more time with hubs when he’s home from work, and less time on my phone/computer (I rarely go on my phone when the kids are awake or around, this why most of my blog posts are posted late at night). He is important to me, as is our marriage, and we both decided a few weeks ago that with another baby soon to grace our lives, time with and for each other would be even more tough to come by, so we need to make an effort to ‘fill our love tanks’ for each other (for those familiar with the book called “The 5 Love Languages”).

I wanted to also mention a special group of ladies here, before I sign off with a horrid head cold that will see me in bed pretty early for once. I’m a member of a few groups on my social media platforms, and they’re mostly filled with lovely, supportive people. One very special group has come to be so close to my heart. I have never met a more supportive, kind, caring, special, amazing bunch of women!!! I have never been judged by them for my pregnancy/labour/birth decisions and journey. I have actually had many of these wonderful women ask me to assist them with knowledge, to empower them with what I have learnt, and to help them understand why I’m undertaking the journey that I am. They are genuinely interested, incredibly supportive and upliftingly positive towards me, and to each other as well. It is a group of women that I adore. There is no judgement at all, of anyone’s decisions and choices. Amazing! Something that is hard to come by these days. I certainly haven’t been a part of a group like this during any pregnancy I’ve had! Last week, I posted in the group about how I was feeling a bit scared about whether I was strong enough to cope without the prospect of pain relief, especially after Jac’s labour ended up with me begging for an epidural… I was floored by the response from these beautiful, amazing, positive women!!! They absolutely empathised with me. They told me it was ok to feel like this, to acknowledge the feeling, and to overcome these feelings because I could do it!!! There was not a single ounce of doubt for me. How amazing!?! These ladies were brilliant! I had several private messages from a few of them afterwards… I won’t divulge their names just incase they wish to remain anonymous, but I will show a few of the uplifting affirmations that they sent me:

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So to the group of Aussie ladies who have welcomed me with open arms – much love to you. Thank you for being inspirational and awesome. You are ALL birth warriors – strong, capable, amazing. I am blessed to be on this journey with you, to be able to share my journey with you, and to be able to share your journeys with you all. This is for you all, from me, no matter what your labour and birth journeys have in store for you:

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Pregnancy Yoga!

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Last Wednesday, I went to my first pregnancy yoga class! I usually do yoga at home, almost every day in fact! Hubs bought a “Bumps Yoga” DVD for me. I enjoy it so much at home, although I often wonder if I’m doing it correctly, or if the fact that the kids are screaming or yelling in the background renders its purpose meaningless. It was therefore inevitable that I went to a yoga class. Fortunately, I knew just where to go!

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When we first moved out here to country NSW, hubs and I were trying to conceive our third baby. Being the crazy planner that I am, I researched every resource I could have access to out here when I received those two sweet lines! One important resource I came across was Calm Beginnings in Dubbo, with classes held by Catherine Brennan. I saw that she ran Calmbirth courses, yoga for pregnancy and post-birth, as well as meditation and relaxation. I had pestered hubs at the time that we were trying to conceive, begging him to let me go when the time came. I ceased pestering him after a while, as I decided that it would be crazy-difficult to attend any of the classes with hubs working full time shift work on an ever-changing roster, no family or close friends to babysit our two-kids-under-two every week (or for a whole weekend for the CalmBirth course) in the event of hubs working when the class was on, plus the drive into Dubbo and back would make the whole situation even more difficult, not to mention how difficult and costly it is to get the two-kids-under-two into daycare!?! So I just did my own ‘version’ of yoga at home.

Enter a lovely friend who I met through hubs’ work – her hubs works with my hubs. Police wives! Karen had mentioned to me a few times that she attended yoga held by Cath in Dubbo. I had in passing mentioned it a few times to hubs as well. At one point, he said to me, “Just go, I’ll look after the kids.” WOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH!?! OK! I wasn’t going to argue with him. So I went to my first yoga class. It was amazing!

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Think of how my home birth journey is proceeding thus far – calm, positive, strengthening; affirmations being a big part of my journey; lots of quiet time and relaxation; nurturing of the mother. Well that was all incorporated into this yoga class. I walked in to the class feeling nurtured already, by being welcomed, and shown around and made to feel comfortable. I was asked to choose an affirmation card… WOW! This meant so much to me! My affirmation was about the positivity of change. What was I changing here? I was giving myself time, time to relax, time to find inner peace, time for me, time for my baby. Things I hadn’t previously done with any of my pregnancies. I was changing my attitude, my outlook on my journey. This is my time. I sat on my towel and reflected on the changes that were to come…

The class itself was amazing. I felt empowered, and strong. Amazingly strong. Cath had told me at one point that I was a “strong woman”. I took time in myself to reflect on this… Sure, I thought I was physically strong – definitely! I don’t know many 7-months-pregnant women who can carry two almost-12kg kids, one on my front and one on my back, while walking to and from the shops, 3-4 times a week. But was I emotionally strong? Mentally strong? Spiritually strong? I felt empowered and uplifted, and was beginning to believe in myself that yes, I was strong in all those areas!

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The ladies who attended the class were ethereally beautiful, as virtually all pregnant women appear to me. Being with them to practice yoga just made me realise that these women were strong too. It was just such a positive experience. I felt nurtured by Cath, and I felt that my sweet baby Womb Dancer was nurtured too. Cath really seemed to care about everyone in the class, and their babies too. She gave a few alternative moves that were appropriate for different stages of pregnancy, making everyone feel comfortable and involved. She also ensured that everyone was well at all times – ensuring we stayed hydrated, plumping our pillows for relaxation, making sure we were comfortable, and my absolute favourite part of relaxation, covering us with sarongs (aka ‘tucking us in’), because who ever tucks the mum in when it comes time to rest?!? How awesome to have that!!!

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Did I want it to end? No. I really didn’t want to leave. I am itching to go again next Wednesday!!! I am so very much looking forward to attending the upcoming 6 week yoga pregnancy course. I know how beneficial this is going to be for me and my home birth journey. To feel so nurtured, affirmed, positive, calm and strong. To tone my body, my muscles in anticipation for one of the toughest things I will ever do. To spend time by myself, for myself, surrounded by lovely women and especially Cath, who so understands and empathises with pregnancy and birth. To prepare mentally and emotionally for my journey, which approaches ever closer. This is going to be amazing!

I’ve linked Cath’s Calm Beginnings website to the menu, as well as a little page about Cath and her wonderful business. If you’re from the Central West, I cannot recommend this enough! Please check it out, and tell your friends if they’re pregnant or planning to have a baby!

Now to convince hubs to attend the CalmBirth Preparing for Birth Course…

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