Wednesday, 27 March 2013

:: introducing... WILLEM {birth story} ::

{disclaimer... my jeans aren't done up. Not quite there yet!}

I had to pause just now, and simply be amazed at what I'm going to write about.

The arrival of my first child. Ok, just tearing up a little!

A miracle. I'm watching little Willem sleep beside me, and I don't think I know where he came from. A drop of this and a drop of that, equals... this perfect, soft, warm little person. Complete with all working heart, lungs, eyes, mouth, even a soul. How can each one not be an act of God?

I really don't know where to start, there might have to be a 'part two'. I definitely learnt LOTS and have a few things to share that really helped, and some that didn't (for me anyway). So I'll save all the tips for another time, and just focus on the actual birth this post. I promise I'll try and come up with a short version!

Sunday 17th March: So I was due last Sunday, and although it's usual for first-time mum's to go 41weeks 5 days overdue (on average) I obviously didn't want that. Mainly because my own mum arrived 3 days before I was due, and we were hoping for more post-baby time together, rather than big-belly time!

Tuesday: A friend of mine recommended "clary sage oil" (which I had never heard of) to get contractions going. She said it worked for her and a couple of her friends, so I wasn't going to miss giving it a shot myself. She mentioned that I shouldn't sniff it/bathe in it too early in case my cervix wasn't ripe, but I'd been drinking 4+ cups of raspberry leaf tea each day for weeks to speed that part up. So at 2 days overdue (Tuesday) I bought some and started on the stuff that night. Really strong smelling, but not unpleasant. Kind of reminded me of lavender in some ways. I drenched tissues in it, carried them in my bra when I was out, and on my face when I was home. Plus took a steaming bath or 2 of it.

Wednesday: Still sniffing like an addict. Mum and I went to a Thermomix cooking class for fun that night, hoping that I'd have to cancel, but nah. Twas awesome, and during the class, I felt my belly tighten up a bit. It did this a couple of times. No pain/sensation of any sort... the belly just went hard for a few moments.

Thursday: I decide we should go to Geelong shopping (1 hour away) with my mum, and mother in law (much to the latter's horror). I figured that if labour did start, there is no way baby would arrive in the hour it would take us to get back. So I drove there and back, tissue to face. The weather was shocking too, massive wind and rain hehe. Back at home later that arvo, I spotted a little mucous show... hooray!!

Friday: Feeling a bit defeated, and like clary sage is a big joke. Still sniffing, and chugging that tea. A few fast walks, and more squatting to pass the time. I was getting the odd tightening sensation still, and a couple of stronger ones close-ish together during my nap. Braxton Hicks, I figure. A few more of these 'sensationless' tightenings through the evening, when suddenly - one of them ached slightly. Not really a normal hurt... kind of like a period ache. It lasted a couple of seconds. I glanced at the clock on the laptop, and it was 7:30pm exactly. I went back to emailing my friend, when I felt another one like it. I glanced at the clock again and was surprised that it was only 7:35pm. I went back to typing, and 5 minutes later the same thing. I decided to time the 'ache' and it was 30 seconds long exactly. This continued from then on - every 5 minutes. I was a tad confused because I thought contractions started at like 20 min intervals and when they are 5 mins apart, you go to hospital. I checked my book & it said early labour contractions can be between 5-20 mins apart, and the length of contraction 30-45seconds long. So I figured I was still in early labour.

We all decided to go to bed at about 9pm and get some rest, but there was no way I could rest with them that close together. I popped on my headphones with my birthing relaxation tracks on repeat. I then downloaded an app and started timing them properly. It was about 11pm when they were up around 45-50 seconds long & around 3-4 mins apart, that I rang the hospital. The guy told me I sounded like I was still in early stages (even though I had to stop 3 times during the conversation to breathe through the pressure!) and to kick at home for a while.

About 1:00am, mum knocks at my bedroom door and says she hasn't slept a wink (oh mum) and thinks we should go. I was hesitant, as things were around the same as when I rang the guy, but I gave in. We drove the 15mins to hospital, and were calmly given a room and left to it. I had planned to spend as much of the labour in the bath as possible, so they filled the big spa bath for me and I donned a hospital gown, dimmed the lights and spent the next 4 hours in there.

5:00am: I was getting pretty frustrated that I didn't feel things were progressing, and decided to get out and move to the bed. They checked me, and to my surprise, I was 8cm dilated! Things were good, but I was really tired, exhausted and felt like I needed relief. I didn't want any pain relief that was going to have side effects or make me & baby drugged afterwards, so I went on the gas. Thankfully I didn't feel sick from it, and sucked hard. The stuff seemed a bit useless - barely took the edge off it, and just blurred my sight and hearing. I stayed on it though, because the really good thing about sucking gas was that it regulated my breathing (long, deep breaths on the mouthpiece) and also gave me something to do. I was still listening to my relaxation tracks, which was an excellent way to fill the space in the air, and keep time ticking.

7:30am: FINALLY the pushing urge arrived. I should have had him out a while ago (a doctor popped in to see what the hold-up was) by the progress I was at at 5am, but he was lying posterior, so that held things up a bit. I was so, so exhausted but very excited to get this baby OUT. The pain of contractions eased off at this point, and it became much more about hard work. The midwife shift changed, and I had this older lady who seemed to really know what I needed to do, and told me so. I switched off the mp3 player and mum and Jason all cheered me on as I put everything I had into each contraction. I was amazed at how much strength and muscle I had to put in... 120% of everything I didn't have at that point in time. I was so glad at that point that I'd stayed fit.

8:30am: Head arrives! And the rest of the body in one great gush immediately after. He gave a one-syllable 'squark' and was placed on my chest; wide-eyed and simply gorgeous. I was so tired I could barely look at him, but I knew he was amazing & just gave myself time to breathe. He started to suckle, and didn't cry or anything. Jason chose his name (which we hadn't been able to settle on beforehand) and we were suddenly a family.

born: 8:32am, 23/03/2013
6lb 15oz (3.14kg)
length: 50cm

below: seconds old

with my now-minutes-old boy:

extremely proud daddy:

super excited grandma:

calmly ringing up less than 7lbs:

2 hours old - all cleaned up:


  1. Congratulations Hannah! It sounds like you had a pretty easy time of it. He is so adorable. Can't wait to see more pics!

  2. oh my gosh this is precious. Ok so yes I did have tear or two!! A great big congratulations - what a precious little boy! Well done!! - Jemima x

  3. congrats hannah.. what a wonderful experience and what a perfect little boundle of joy <3 i have followed you all through this pregnancy, you are so wonderful!!! joys and happiness for your little family <3

    1. Lovely to meet you! Thanks for sharing in my journey. x

  4. Yeah um.. I'm not crying, I'm not crying, I'm not crying...
    Words like 'congratulations,' 'wow,' 'oh boy,' 'love,'... just don't do it justice. I just want to hug you Han.

  5. Congratulations Hannah and Jason! So thankful that all went well for you and how lovely to see more photos of Willem! He's so precious! :)
    Much love xx

  6. Glad to hear that the birth went well. And oh, he is very cute! Congratulations again!

  7. Hey! I don't know if you remember me, I left a comment on your blog a while ago when you were posting about your miscarriage and I had also experienced one. I pop in from time to time and catch up =) I just wanted to say congratulations. I really enjoyed reading your story and I am looking forward to any tips you have because I'm expecting a girl in two months. So keep the advice/ experience posts coming. It is nice and reassuring to read about the labor experience because I just have no idea what to expect (and I'm not a good pain tolerant I'm a little worried...). So thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Dani, I definitely do remember you. Congratulations a thousand times!!! A little girl... how precious! You're in for a treat ;).

      I'm very pleased you were encouraged by my post. I'm sorry I haven't uploaded a tips post yet... just having a mini break while my family are here but I'm keen to get it up!

    2. Oh goodness, no hurry on my end! You have a newborn and more important things to take up your time. So no apologies necessary. And congrats again. He's beautiful. =)

  8. Thank you so much everyone. It was a truly amazing experience.

  9. Congrats Mama! There is nothing like holding your baby for the first time. It's amazing how tiny he is. My son was 6lb 12oz and I still can't believe he was so small. Enjoy every moment!

    1. Hey Kelly! Thank you so much! Motherhood is amazing :)


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