Charles Birth by Holly Neilson

I was set up for a bad birth experience. Inexperienced in life, and happy to go along with whatever my doctors told me, high risk, and young. I was only nineteen when I got pregnant with my son, Charles. I confidently told everyone I was going to have a caesarean section, and that was that. Then I attended my childbirth education classes held by Thrive Teen Parent Support Trust. They were wonderful, but the subsection on epidurals terrified me, the needle alone was not appealing, and right then I decided I wouldn’t have a caesarean section, and no epidural. I would see how I coped with labour and decide on pain relief options once I knew what I could handle.

My pregnancy was complicated, I threw up anything that went near my lips for the first 25 weeks of pregnancy. I had to have daily fluids to keep me hydrated and then once the hyper emesis gravida had calmed down, I started to spot, which continued till I got to term. I had low iron levels and a history of collapsing. We would later find that the collapsing was unrelated to my overall health but was a result of untreated PTSD, but at the time it all contributed to a high risk diagnosis.

So, by 39 weeks I was well over it, I had been told I wouldn’t get this far constantly from 27 weeks, had steroids shots because of this, and was excited to meet my baby. I look back at the person I was and I just want to shake myself, ask what on earth was I thinking? But my boy had opinions on how he was going to come to meet us.  He grew and grew while I lost more weight until I was all baby, 20 kilograms lighter than when I started thanks to the hyper emesis.  The ten months of pregnancy felt like a lifetime to me, when my waters broke at 2am on a cold winters day I was ecstatic, then the first contraction hit, strong straight off the back, I went to stand in the bathtub, while my husband called a taxi.

I kept quiet and calm as we road in the taxi, mostly as I was very worried about getting a soiling the cab charge. It seems silly now but that’s where my mind went and I am so grateful it did. I firmly believe that kept calm throughout the rest of the labour. I opted to hop into the pool until contractions got stronger, at which point I began to feel pushy and I hopped on the bed. I never made a sound, until he began to crown. Unfortunately, this is also when the husband called work to say he wouldn’t be in that day. Whoops…

Why did I hop on the bed? Because that’s how you give birth. That’s how I had always seen it on the TV. Looking back I wish I hadn’t hopped on the bed, my wonderful midwife told me I could stay where I was but I determined.

He got stuck, and I was deeply unhappy that I opted out of pain relief, while my boys head was out and his shoulders still in. Then out of know where comes my midwife, the one was currently doing antenatal clinic she had come into work and spotted my name, come to see how I was doing. Perfect timing, within minutes my son was out with no damage to my lower genital track. 

Looking back, it was a wonderful birth, my son was born at 8.35am, six hours after my water broke, no pain relief, no damage, no screaming, just quiet reflection, and water. I remember noticing my body pushing on its own, right as I asked to hop on to the bed. How it was nothing like I expected, just easy, gentle pain that never lasted very long. Complete opposite of what the media would have me believe it was like.  My only complaint would be that I was given an injection to deliver my placenta without fully understanding what was happening. It is recorded in my notes that I had a haemorrhage, however I can confidently say that I did not. I know this because I did haemorrhage (500mls) with my second child.

Charles was 8lbs 9oz or a solid 4kilos. He is now a happy six year old boy, who gleefully tells his classmates the facts of life, and that there is no such thing as a stork. His birth gave me the strength I needed to speak up for myself within the medical system, and while the pregnancy experience deeply impacted my life for a long time particularly when I had his sister four years later, I appreciate the care I was given during my birth, and the quick actions of my midwives when the birth dystocia hit. 

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