By Keishana Coursey
|Keishana Coursey||(Drama Queen, Birthing Mother)|
|Allaura Skye||(the unborn Star)|
|Cast & Crew:|
|Juliet Thorpe||(Midwife – nominated for best supporting actress)|
|Jackie Anderson||(the amazing back-up Midwife)|
|Tristan||(TC, scrummy Husband of the Leading Lady &
Father of the arriving Star)
|Judy Purple Witch||(Mother-in-law)|
Everybody has been presented with a script (birth plan), depicting the perfect HOME Birth. I, Keishana the Drama Queen Leading Lady have been preparing like Renee Zellwegger in Bridget Jones Diary for this event. Am looking decidedly plump and very, very pregnant with a belly to make most actresses fall over. Haven’t been able to see my toes since Allaura was 5 months in the making and now, can’t see anything apart from the other side of the room!
ACT 1 – It’s all On!
5am I wake. Ohhhhh, so now I know what they all meant by “you will know what a true contraction is when you feel one”. Realised that all that pre-labour stuff was just Ms Skye bouncing around on my pelvis. This stuff however, was beautiful. More rhythmical. Climbing the hill and slowly breathing to very timely five-minute apart contractions. ‘It’s all on’, I think as we picked up the few remaining things and ventured around to Jude & Dave’s house around 7:30am. They have a huge open plan room as a second story, perfect for a home birth. “We’re going to have a baby” say’s Jude as we venture upstairs into the Blue Room and everybody’s excited.
ACT2 – The Blue Room Day Spa
Before I can blink Jackie and Doll arrive. Hugs all around and we settle in to the day. It’s warm outside and we close the curtains to the Blue Room and create my cave. I just wanted to lie down and swim through each contraction. The birthing pool is already set up and it’s way too early for water yet but we’re all prepared. We called Juliet and the morning floated by in a breeze of contractions. Jude, Jackie and Doll all pitch in with my Blue Room Day Spa. Seems I had a Gold Pass. There were foot rubs with my Labour Oil, a gorgeous Rose and Neroli combo. There were hot wheat bags and cold flannels. Around noon Juliet arrived. In her usual gentle manner she assured us that we were in the early stages of labour and she was there whenever we needed her. Contractions are still around five minutes apart and intensity increasing. I had spent most of the day resting on the bed, breathing through contractions and resting in between. At 3.15pm our entourage and myself went downstairs. We did a load of squats on my birthing ball and I noticed that my whole body just began to sway and dance with the movement of the experience. Side to side rocking and swaying and rolling this baby downwards. Now there is dull pain in between contractions, which are heating up and heating up. I no longer want to lie down, just keep moving around, walking, squatting, rocking, swaying, breathing, FIRE Breathing like a dragon.
ACT 3 – The Night Falls
5.45pm Mum arrives. Very emotional for all. Seems I had been waiting for her. I cried. We all cried and bang, intense contractions and no more talk. My midwife notes say that from now on I had three and four contractions every 10 minutes lasting between one and two minutes each and labour really got going heavy, strong and full on from 7:00pm. The only recollection of time I have from now on is from the occasional comment that people would make or notes that have been written for me. It’s hot in the room and the fire is going. I had a show at 7.00pm. Things must be happening! Juliet arrives and we agree Allaura’s got to be close. The contractions are intense and the fire breathing is working every muscle in my body. It’s dark and everyone in the room has been more than amazing. Every contraction has been met with soft words of strength and endurance. I have had all hands massaging my back. Holding up my swollen tired body. Hot, HOT, towels on my lower back and the atmosphere is delicious. Music floating through the room like angels singing for Allaura’s welcome. Candlelight everywhere. I am totally naked now. Don’t remember when I lost my clothes but I don’t care.
Frustration. FRUSTRATION! Shouldn’t something be happening? The intensity is so great. Surely I can’t go on like this much longer.
“Can you feel pressure in your bum.”
“Great, you’re doing really well. You are an amazing woman and you are birthing your baby. You are doing so well, we are all so proud of you.”
“I can’t do it.”
“Yes you can and you are and this is happening now.”
“Right, you are right, we are having a baby and I am fine and this is great and I am amazing.”
Midnight: I must be so close and the pool has been filled so I climb into it and OH GOD, I have to birth my baby in this pool, this is unbelievable. I am never getting out of this pool. I swear I will have my baby and live in this pool. My massive body felt like a feather. Our birthing pool was full of organic rose petals. White and yellow and I floated. I felt warm and safe and calm and even when each contraction gripped my entire being I simply breathed and floated into the water and out again.
Out of the pool, on the birthing stool. On all fours, on the birthing stool. Hunching over TC. Squatting over knees. Anything to try and get my baby down and out. Birthing stool in the pool. Squatting in the pool and UP. Full body out of the pool, intense weight transfer and man “I feel like a truck”, that’s gotta push Allaura down and out. Sitting on the portaloo, sitting on anything. THAT’S IT!
3:00am. We are going for a walk and we leave. Our entourage and us. Dressing gown on and outside. Into the darkness of night. Everybody’s tired. I am vaguely aware of people taking naps on shift and thank god I am not in hospital. That would suck. I could never have all my family and my candles and my music and my freedom and my space and my voice and my experience. I have got to get my baby out of my body. We walk and shuffle and breath and yell. Those sounds are so primal. They come from the core of my being.
I peed on TC’s foot. Is it pee or did my water’s finally brake. They shine a torch, nope, pretty sure it’s just pee. What a man!
I am vomiting. “Yes”, they say, “this will have to break her waters.” And I vomit and nothing is coming up. The contractions are so intense. My waters still haven’t broken and I am exhausted.
In my heart I know. I am not making any progress. I feel that there’s something not happening. I tell Juliet I feel blocked. It’s like incredible labour and yet something’s not happening. I should have had my baby by now. I should have had my baby in my arms hours ago. What is wrong with me? Please don’t tell me something is wrong. Thank god Tristan is here. Thank god he is right beside me. I have clung to him for hours. I have clung to him since it got dark and I am still clinging to him now. HE looks exhausted. Do I totally crumble? There is a part that wants to cry and sob and say that I can’t do it and that is crawling up in the corner of the garden and she almost takes over until just in time the strong woman who is braver than she’s ever been emerges and cradles everyone to say lets take a breath. Stop all this nonsense and find out what’s going on. We all go back up to the Blue Room and in between contractions Juliet does an internal. She tries really hard not to flinch but I see it in her eyes and I know she knows how much I want to birth my baby at home. 2cm dilated. That’s what I was and that’s what I was five weeks before today when I first had a load of Braxton Hicks. I see Mum crying and no body else makes eye contact apart from Tristan whose eyes remain locked onto mine. It was 4.15am. It had been almost 24 hours. So I made the decision. Nobody said a word and the brave woman spoke. “I think we need to go to the hospital.” Like autopilot. Like one of those computers speaking phonetically. It was robotic and hopeless and that was when time stood still just for a second and I had to change tack entirely. And the bags were packed. I called Dad. I cried and I clung to TC. Then calm, robot woman gets in the car. and it’s like what I imagine it is to be on heavy drugs. Traffic lights during labour. God, most people who birth at hospitals must have to go through ‘the ride in’.
ACT 4 – The White Room
5am: Ripped Off with every contraction. I feel like I am now no longer having any purpose to all this hard work. Juliet say’s they will give me an epidural so I can sleep and they can administer Syntocinon to artificially dilate my cervix. I don’t want any drugs going through to my baby, none what so ever at any stage and I feel fierce like a lioness. Now the Birth Plan is in place and in full swing. Family (entourage) rally around us and we are prepared for a fight…but there’s none. Not at the moment anyway. Some man who looks decidedly miffed at being dragged out of bed at this ridiculous hour, goes through the precautions and ‘you must hear this’ list of blah blah blah in the delightful tone of mono before giving me an epidural. What does he think, that after twenty four hours of labour I am going to say…hold a second there, did you say one in five thousand experience permanent numbness following this procedure, just hold fire there mate and I’ll have to think this over. Come on! Give me a break, and some sleep for that matter. As for the ‘hold really still’ part. That made me want to slap him. I would like to see him hold still while his entire body convulses with the intensity of a contraction. Hold still my arse and ouch……I should have held still! I do however feel that someone could drive a truck over me and I would Fire Breath through it, invincible or insane?
Wired up to the bed before I knew it with tubes and monitors and belts and beeping blipping you name it’s everywhere. 7:30am Juliet broke my waters. The flood gates were open and the vernix was aplenty. Perfect clear waters she said. Jackie (back-up Midwife arrived and Juliet left to rest and refresh). They said they would give 4 hours for my cervix to dilate. The machine said I was having a contraction and my inner self knew I was still labouring but my physical body was finally having blissful rest. No breathing, no rocking, no dancing, no pacing or primal noises. Just sssssssshhhhhhh and everyone rested. All of us in the white room and I slept just a little. Juliet went home, TC napped, the entourage slowly left for coffee and food and I was in the room by myself. Terrified. Exhausted. Confused. Strong. Brave. Ferocious. Asleep.
12:00pm We are all awake and everyone is back in the White Room. My Dad arrived while I was asleep and has held my hand and stroked my face ever since. He has the same look on his face, like he did when I had a really bad cold as a kid, bless him.
ACT 5 – Is the Woman Going to Explode?
All are rallied around the bed and Juliet does another internal. FULLY DILATED! You can imagine the elation. Loads of tears, laughter, jokes and excitement from everyone. We are going to have a baby. Allaura is arriving very soon in this room and all I have to do now is push and our baby will be in our arms.
They start by propping my legs up and oh my god. I can’t feel a thing. Nothing. Zilch. I guess that’s the whole point of an epidural but seriously, I can’t feel my legs. I can see them, just, but I can’t feel anything. I can’t even feel my bum, or back or chest. How do I push when I don’t know where I am pushing. So I push the only place I can feel. My face…and just about explode. “Direct your pushing downwards”, they say and guide me with a mirror. TC, Mum, Jude, Dave, Dad, Sarah, Jackie, Ads, Juliet and Jackie are all there. All gathered around the bed, all giving me strength and encouragement. Quiet at the perfect times and supporting just when I needed it like an unspoken choir of guardian angels. Holding my legs, holding mirrors. Cold flannels on my head. Sips of water. Music on in the background. I push and push and man this is so frustrating, I can’t feel a thing. This is going nowhere. I felt more in control when I could feel the rhythms of my body. I want my contractions back and feeling in my legs, I need to feel my body to do this. I can’t do this lying on my back but I can’t get on all fours until I can feel my legs. I know that I have to get onto my knees. 3:05pm I can feel my legs enough to get onto my knees and the beached whale is moved around the bed. The epidural is running out and my hip feels like it’s going to break. Hot towels, boiling hot towels on my hip. It gets worse through the pushing and I hear Juliet and Jackie say that it’s a window where the pain relief is wearing off then all of a sudden I have full blown final stage of labour contractions right in my hip. It’s too much and I totally lose focus. Crying uncontrollably Ican’t do it, my hip is too painful and I can’t go on. Something happened behind the scenes and a nurse appeared to fix the epidural and close the window on my hip. Focus returns and I know we are so close. They have been seeing Allaura’s head for a long time now and finally I can reach down and feel it myself. My hand and Tristan’s hand on Allaura’s tiny head. In a celestial blur of wonderment and emotion that simply will not ever be put onto paper, I pushed my baby girls head from my body and within a minute her body passed finally from mine. Between my legs and through up onto my chest with swollen dark huge big eyes and a mop of bloodied black hair. Time stood still. I was vaguely aware of all the wet eyes in the room totally focusing on new life, there was just us three. TC, Allaura and I. In the cocoon of birth and brand newness and then the official introduction. “Hello, I’m your Mamma and this is your Daddy and Welcome Allaura our darling baby girl.”
And after 36 hours the Paparazzi went wild.
They weighed our angel and dressed her and 10 out of 10 for alert, wide awake and ready to face the world. I don’t think that anyone could believe it when she weighed in at 10lb 2oz!
It has since occurred to me in many a moment of contemplation that of course. Of course Allaura was born in hospital. Of course this was not a stock standard 12 hour first time labour and a baby born at a nice a normal 7 or 8 pound. And Oh, No, of course I was gigantic and waddley from early on in pregnancy and most certainly of course was this affair huge in every aspect because the Drama Queen herself simply could not have had anything but the Drama. And that is that! Allaura has never slept since and a friend sited recently “how could she with parents as high energy as you two”…well not up until her now 16 months of age. She is very proudly breastfed and totally attached to her parents. We share our sleep and our lives in every aspect and life has and never will be the same and I thank the universe for that every time I wake in the morning.
Finally…a bikini wax will forever be a walk in the park!