Meeting Valentino Cali
It was the 21st of August, and I was a week past the due date of my second baby. The contractions started at 10 am, but I wasn't calling them contractions or timing them as I didn't want to "jinx" myself, I was really hoping it was the beginning of my labour, but I didn't want to tell anyone in case it wasn't real.
The day passed by, and they continued every hour, getting a little stronger yet nothing that was unbearable or even close to me needing to go to the hospital. My midwife from my first birth of my daughter was officially on her annual leave yet promised she'd be there for my second birth. She was texting throughout the day checking in, and she was the only one I was telling about the contractions.
It was now 5 pm, and they were getting stronger, closer together and a lot more intense I was doing the nighttime routine with my 18-month-old and thought maybe this is where I should ring the MGP team and let them know I might need to head to the hospital soon. My midwife, who id been texting all day, said I should definitely ring and give the heads up, so I did.
Whilst I was there, I rang my friends who'd be taking care of my daughter and told them to come over. They were on their way; my partner was panicking as this whole pregnancy, I'd been told this labour would most likely be very fast due to my first "active labour" being only 2 hours.
The girls arrived, I rang my midwives, and we began our journey to the hospital, which was 15 minutes away. During the car trip, the contractions intensified a lot. We arrived in the car park at the same time as my midwife (real-life angel). She walked the slow contraction driven walk to the birthing suites ensuring me to keep breathing as I was, that we were close to meeting the baby and that I was doing a good job.
We arrived in the birthing suite at 7 pm, and another one of my amazing MGP midwives had arrived just prior and had the room dimly lit and the pool being filled as per my request. (My first birth was a water birth, and I was hoping for the same). My partner turned on our diffuser with lavender oil inside, put my birth playlist on our speaker, and we were ready to have a baby. I stood at the end of the bed, hips swaying side to side whilst I rode the waves of the contractions. I was offered an examination to see how far dilated I was, but as I was about to answer, another contraction came and then suddenly my waters had broken they were clear, so it was safe for me to enter the pool, the walk to the pool was extremely intense as I recall getting the "needing to push" feeling straight after my waters had broken.
I was guided and helped into the pool, where straight away, I felt that pressure lift from my lower back.
As each contraction came, I was getting the urge to begin pushing, and so I must have started to do so when I was hearing the words "I'm sorry darling, I'm sorry I know this is uncomfortable" it was in this moment that my midwife had realised that it was not a baby's head it was actually the bum of the baby trying to appear. The emergency button got pressed. I was told I needed to get out of the water as fast as I could and get straight on the bed.
I kept my eyes closed, but I could hear so many new voices and footsteps coming into the room. I felt bright lights on me and no longer could smell the lavender or hear my music. I could sense the intensity through my partner's lack of words whilst doctors and specialists introduced themselves one by one. My midwives continued assuring me that it was ok that I could do this naturally as I'd first hoped for.
I was now on all fours on the bed, having to push as hard as I could possibly push to get this baby out because if I didn't… there would be a very different story to tell. After two contractions of pushing, I got told by someone I needed to now lie on my back for them to assess things better. I was now on my back, holding my partner's hands above my head, squeezing them so hard. My eyes were still closed, but in between contractions, I opened them to get a sense of reality in between everything.
In front of me stood a minimum of six doctors/specialists, and it was then I decided to close my eyes again and keep within my mind that this would still be a magical perfect birth despite what had been thrown my way. I pushed, and I pushed. I gave it truly everything I had. I remember the feeling of losing my breath, thinking I couldn't breathe. My partner was yelling at me, "come on, chicky, you have to push. You just have to" the doctors took turns guiding each other on how to get the baby out.
They pulled his legs out, and he turned on his own they then pulled one arm and turned him another way and pulled the other, now all that was left was his head inside this is where things become very, very intense as now he's receiving no oxygen from the cord or the outside world at all. One doctor pointed the directions to the other doctor of which way to pull the baby. As I pushed, they pulled and upside down.
They pulled him out, flipped him over and placed him on my chest. At first, I heard no crying but also was in a state of shock and couldn't process anything that was happening. They covered him with a towel and shook and rubbed his back until that sweet sound came out of a baby crying. It was so loud, ear-piercing almost, but it was this noise that woke me up to everything that had just happened and all that I had done.
Valentino Cali was born at 7:56 pm, only 56 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Within these 56 minutes, I felt like I had really experienced just how unpredictable birth can be.
I had endless tears, as did my partner and my midwives. There was a huge sense of disbelief at what had just happened, but I held him on my chest, a perfectly healthy baby boy that weighed 3.9kgs and was 57cms long. We had to stay the night to get the all-clear from a specialist in the morning regarding his hips which was given the all good, just needing a six-week ultrasound to confirm no damage had occurred during the birth.
The days after, I had apology after apology from my midwives saying how sorry they were that it wasn't picked up that he was breech. But I couldn't be more grateful that no one picked it up as I know I would have been in a very different situation of being told a cesarean would usually be the less "risky" option to go with.
I have so much pride and power in knowing that my body did what it had to do to deliver my baby safely, just in a less than common way. With so many thanks to my student midwife, who filmed and photographed the whole thing (showing up after a whole day of work to be there for my birth), I now can sit and watch in awe at how much magic and perfection there was amongst so much chaos. Us women are so powerful, and I will forever be amazed by what we can do.