Meeting Koa

Meeting 

Koa

BACKGROUND: Our first son, Marlowe, was born on 01/08/2019 at Joondalup Health Campus. In the lead-up to the birth, I knew I wanted little to no intervention, however, being a first-time mum and not very educated in physiological birth, I succumbed to interventions early on in our labour. The labour itself went well but failed to progress according to the “textbook” birth that is expected. The clock was against me multiple times. My waters were broken, resulting in my need for an epidural. I continued to labour well, but at 9cm was told I needed an emergency caesarean due to multiple reasons that weren’t fully explained to us at the time. Marlowe was born and placed in my arms for what felt like 30 seconds before being transferred to NICU, where he stayed for the rest of our stay. I remember laying there alone in theatre/recovery as Tim followed Marlowe, so confused and in pain now that the epidural was removed. I was refused pain medication until I was admitted to my room and had to choose between seeing Marlowe in NICU or going to my room to get something to relieve my intense pain after surgery. I felt I had failed Marlowe and came out of this experience with PTSD, fear of hospitals and found it difficult in the early days to ever leave Marlowe. I was adamant next time would be different. 

When we fell pregnant with Koa, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid. I was excited but more than anything, I was fearful of giving birth again. I had made my mind up that we would have a planned caesarean. I could not comprehend attempting to have a physiological birth after everything that happened the first time. That was until I watched the Birth Time documentary, which sowed the smallest seed of curiosity in my soul. I began to question my first birth and what I wanted out of this one. Around 33 weeks pregnant, we had an appointment at KEMH, where Koa was to be birthed. We were advised there was a high likelihood I would not be able to have my birth partner at the birth. It was at that moment that I realised that my fear was not around birth or my body but the hospital and that I needed to feel safe and supported this time around. I knew my safe space was home, and I began researching HBACs, private midwives and home births. I was lucky to find the most incredible private midwife (Naomi) last minute who resonated with my story. She believed in me instantly and supported this new journey I was about to undertake. Bear in mind we were a short 6 weeks away from the due date at this point! I threw myself into hypnobirthing books, joined VBAC groups, and did some fear/release therapy to prepare for our birth. Weekly, Naomi and her team would visit me in the comfort of my own home. They would encourage me to unpack my past birth experience, answer all of my crazy questions and include Marlowe when checking on Koa. It was an incredibly healing experience on its own. The continuity of care left me feeling so supported and believed in. I could feel my heart healing again, and my faith grew. 

THE BIRTH: For weeks prior to the due date, I experienced many tightenings, ones that were intense and had consistency but then fizzled. At the time, they frustrated and freaked me out, but in hindsight, they were great practice runs. They allowed me to practice my breathing and to enter a space of calm each time. I was able to work on my thinking and release any fear I still had. When it came to the day of Koa’s birth, I didn’t truly believe it was labour until it was time to push. We started the morning like most mornings. It was 7.40am, Tim was about to go to work, and I was breastfeeding Marlowe on the couch when my first contraction hit. It felt intense, but I didn’t want to look too much into it. So I insisted Tim go to work whilst I go about my day and try to relax. Marlowe went to his grandparents for a play date, so it worked well for me. My goal was to relax and see what happened, but before I knew it, the contractions picked up, and they were intense! I called Tim home at 10.30 and had my sister (one of my birth partners) and mum come over and help set up my birth space. I spent this time running through the different types of breathing and relaxation techniques I had learned in the weeks prior. My greatest lesson thus far was to get out of my head. I’m a major over-thinker, and so anytime I began to overthink, I chose to change my thinking and just let my body be in control. There was an element of having to get out of the way, so to speak. 

I told myself this was not the same birth as the first one. This was a whole different baby and experience, and I knew deep down I was safe. I have so many memories of my husband and sister around. They held me in the peak of my surges and truly kept me focused and comfortable. I travelled between rooms and eventually found myself in the lounge room, rocking back and forth on the exercise ball, the surges taking over. They were getting longer and closer together, ((not that we were exactly tracking them, as I felt I would get in my head too much with timing them). There was a moment when I knew it was time to call Naomi. I began to feel the slight urge to push and began to feel intense pressure in my backside. Naomi heard my moans as I surged over a phone call and decided it was time to come. Next thing I knew, everyone was there and ready. To be honest, all of Perth could have been there, and I wouldn’t have fully known or cared! Time began to warp and what felt like 5 minutes was, in reality, 20. It was now roughly 1.20pm, and the birth pool was ready. I was surging, and my team were surrounding me. My waters broke, and Naomi invited me to get into the pool. I felt instant relief knowing this was it. That I was soon going to be meeting our little guy. It was now that I felt the shift of baby descending. I went deeper into myself and felt my mind give over to my body. My body instinctively knew what to do, and logically I knew this. I let go and gave in to the surges. For those of you who know me, you know I don’t let go easily. I like to be in control. So I was surprised to find myself letting go so willingly and just working with my body, especially because my first experience was nothing like this. I had to hand myself completely over and become completely unravelled in that moment otherwise, the pain would have become too much. The more I let go and didn’t fight the pain but accepted it as a friend, the less intense it all felt. I just stayed in the moment and allowed my baby and my body to do what it knew to do. At one point, though I’m pretty sure I yelled out, “this baby is coming out of my a**” 😂…Not my most graceful moment! 

Naomi and her team gently guided my breathing, encouraging me to breathe down and rest into the surges as my moaning grew. I was struggling to “breathe down”, with the pain being so intense. They wanted my energy focussed inwards and downwards, not outward, which is what I naturally found myself doing. I could hear myself roaring but didn’t feel in control of it. It was involuntary. The primal birthing woman in me was emerging with force. At moments I remember feeling like I was out of my body, watching and hearing this incredible act take place. I truly was a bystander as my body worked to birth our baby boy. The breaks between surges became beautiful resting moments, which I was so thankful for. They gave me the space I needed for the next surge. The intensity grew, and I could feel Koa turning when he needed to. Naomi would tell me, “he will turn soon,” and I would exclaim, “he already has”. My boy knew exactly what to do, and it was incredible to feel it. I began to feel the ring of fire and the most intense pressure on my backside. It was in this moment I realised I was crowning. I couldn’t believe it. This had all been happening so fast it felt surreal. Naomi told me there was lots of hair, and I suddenly reached down and felt the very top of his head just beginning to crown. This moment for me, was everything. I was doing it. I was birthing my baby. He was almost here. Naomi softly explained that it was important to slow down now. I needed to allow my perineum to stretch slowly with Koa’s emerging head. I naturally felt the urge to just push hard, and it took everything in me to slow that down. Between surges, I completely collapsed into Tim, allowing my legs to sway so I could feel Koa’s hair going back and forth against my thighs. It was a welcomed distraction to get me through. If I ever had any ounce of self-control in me, this was the moment to use it! I truly felt I would tear in two. It was hard to slow down when everything in me wanted to push! But I knew I could do this. My body had already brought me this far. I had to quiet my thinking when it tried to come and tell me it was too much. All of a sudden, I felt great relief. All I remember is everyone exclaiming in excitement his head was out. I felt I had done nothing to birth his head, so I was surprised to hear this. I relaxed into it all now, waiting for the next surge. It took a little longer to come than the others, so I took it as another welcomed break. Then came the urge to push again. I allowed myself little pushes, focussing on breathing down and into my body. Then out of nowhere, instant relief came upon my body (and, let’s be real, my vagina 😂). Koa was born, and I caught him unexpectedly between my legs in the water. I looked down at him and instantly lifted him to my chest. He was here. The cord was wrapped around his neck, so the midwives assisted me in untangling it quickly. Naomi made me feel the cord, and it was pulsing. He was getting oxygen, and everything was fine. His tone was strong, and his heart was beating beautifully. He took a moment, but he got there, let out some yelps and laid peacefully in my arms. 

He was perfection, and that moment was everything. A sense of belonging filled the room. He was here, in this world, with all of us. Cradled in my arms, I felt overwhelmed with a redefined sense of strength deep in my soul. I looked down at him. “We did it”, I whispered to him. He was born at 2.37pm. The rest of the afternoon was spent in what felt like absolute luxury compared to being in a hospital. Naomi and her team prepared our room for me to move to. They checked me over and confirmed I had two small grazes, which was great news as I was worried I would tear. Koa was held in mine or Tim’s arms the whole time, and when Marlowe came home, we all sang happy birthday to him (Marlowe insisted). For weeks I had been believing for an incredible birth experience. This far exceeded it. I had been hoping for a home birth and for a successful VBAC. I even wanted to labour during the day so we could all sleep that night, and we got it! Becoming the mother of Marlowe taught me to tune into my intuition. Koa’s birth truly broke and rebuilt me in all the best ways. I know now that I needed this birth to teach me to trust my body. It has reminded me how fruitless fear is. It has taught me how strong I am. It allowed me to share my physiological birth with my intimate family, which has been a gift. Not perfect by any means. It bloody hurt! A LOT….. It was primal, raw and messy, but perfect in the sense that it has taught me so much and truly healed my heart and mind in areas I didn’t realise I needed it. Unapologetically raw, I felt stripped down, in the very best sense possible. It’s been days since the birth, and I can officially confirm and end with this… I still feel like an absolute badass! Koa Wilde Croot born at 2.37pm 10/03/22 Weighing 3.41kg Measuring 55cm long

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