Website of Lina Clerke -

Holistic Bowen Therapist,
Midwife &
Childbirth Educator Sussex UK


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Wonderful Birth Stories
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The Birth of Nathan Michael
Nathan Michael was born on Monday, 11th August 2003 at the Geelong Hospital. His vital stats were- weight 8lb 8oz/3860g, length 54cm with a head circumference of 36cm. My labour was a grand total of just under 2 hours, with no time or need for pain relief, the only medical intervention required was 2 stitches to repair a 2nd degree tear.

Here is the story.

My daughter Julia's birth was a short sharp induced affair, which resulted in a fourth degree laceration requiring a 25 stitch repair under general anaesthetic. The prognosis after her birth was that for any subsequent pregnancies, caesarian section was recommended due to the possibility of another 4th degree tear, which would possibly lead to total bowel incontinence requiring a colostomy bag. I could not believe this. I researched why I tore, I researched the exact numbers and statistics linked to my situation. The more (or less) that I read, I was not convinced that definite major abdominal surgery was equal to the small risk possibly involved in a vaginal birth, for me and my body.
So upon finding myself pregnant with Nathan, I began learning about natural, gentle birthing. How to let my body take control to birth my baby with the least amount of resistance. Any midwife I spoke to was extremely supportive and positive about my wishes and my bodies capabilities.
Any (except one) obstetrician I spoke to recommended a c-section without a mention of how to birth with a minimal risk. Only medical interventions were mentioned as being the way to go. C-section was ultimately the only recommendation. I had a horror appointment at my 37 week mark with one hospital consultant who told me that no matter whether or not I tore this time, a vaginal delivery would mean a colostomy bag- maybe not right away, but definitely 10, or 20, or 40 years down the track. Upon seeing my wish to decline the syntometrine injection for the placenta delivery, his exact words were- 'Sure its all lovely and good to deliver the placenta naturally, but it isn't very good to die naturally of massive blood loss from a post-partum haemorrhage…'
I almost booked in for a c-section that day. Thankfully I was strong enough to walk away and get in contact with Lynne, a midwife with the Family Birthing Unit attached to the hospital. She was such a lifeline during those murky days…
On the 11th August at 2pm, I had a 40 week appointment with Lynne. She was happy with my pregnancy, she was supportive of my wishes, she had the experience to help me birth the way I chose. At that appointment, she performed a vaginal exam at my request, to find me 1-2cm dilated and thinning nicely. She gave a very gentle sweep of the membranes, to give my body a clearer hormone surge to keep labour coming. I had been having irregular light contractions all day and a mucousy show as well.
At about 7pm, I was feeling regular contractions, not painful but definitely contractions. They were coming about every 10 minutes, lasting about 40 seconds to 1 minute. I had a lot more mucous appear at about 7.15pm and I was starting to feel really uncomfortable with the contractions. I didn't think I was in labour (I actually posted to the girls in the Due In August thread at 7.23pm) so I went to lie down and read.
The contractions just got stronger, faster and more regular. I rolled out of bed at about 8pm and went to the lounge room. I spent the next 15-20 minutes rolling and rocking on my fitball, lunging, swaying my hips, rocking around on all fours, kneeling with knees wide apart, but feet close together. All of a sudden (about 8.20pm) I started vomiting, I pooed every time I vomited and the contractions were on top of each other. I told mum and Andrew that I had to go to hospital. Quickly. My in-laws arrived to find me moaning on the toilet, totally incapable (perhaps unwilling?) of talking to them. My mother in law thought the bucket my mum had in her hands was 'to catch my waters..'?!
Strapping into the car was hard. The drive to hospital took about 12-13 minutes (usually takes 17-20mins). It was the most surreal drive of my life. Me belted into the back seat with mum beside me, one foot wedged between the front passenger seat and the side of the car, the other braced against the rear centre console. Mum stroked my leg, she calmly told me to keep breathing. That was all I could do. I gripped onto the handle on the roof of the car and with each contraction I would moan and pull myself up off the seat. I kept my eyes closed. I remember Andrew saying that he just passed a police car, so I actually looked at the speedo- he was doing about 90-95 in an 80k zone. We didn't get followed, if we had have been pulled over, the cop would have been helping to birth a baby! 
Got to the hospital and mum helped me out of the car, we walked to the reception area of birthing suites, another massive contraction hit and the only way I could deal with it was to drop to all fours again and breathe and moan. It was a change of shift for the midwives, so one freshly arriving quickly got down with me and said something to me, I can't remember what. I looked up and the security door to the birthing suites was open, waiting for me. I managed to get up, walk another 20 odd meters, when another massive contraction hit. Again, I dropped to the floor, except this time I could feel Nathan moving down past my bum. I knew what that feeling meant and I firmly announced that I needed to push. Someone asked what number baby this was and I snapped out 'NUMBER 2!' 
I remember looking up at this stage and seeing a man (obviously a partner of another birthing woman) coming from one of the birth suites- he was looking at me really strangely, so I swore at him in my head (I had no energy to actually be vocally rude. A wheel chair arrived, I heaved myself into it, was whisked down the corridor with my fluffy slippers guiding the way in the air in front of me. As soon as I got into my birthing room, I scrambled up onto the bed on my hands and knees, demanded a bean bag and got all primeval again. I remember as a moment of clarity my beautiful midwife Lynne, putting her cool hand on my arm and speaking directly into my ear 'Breathe your baby out Isis, remember to breathe your babe out. You know what to do.' I clung to that thought for the rest of the labour. That was at about 9pm-ish. My waters broke at about 9.05-ish (I didn't realise), I could feel only overwhelming contractions as I rocked back and forward holding onto the headboard. I bore down when I felt the urge to, I moaned and panted when I didn't. No one told me what to do. I eventually found myself pushing with all my might, but only as I felt I had to. I remember really roaring at one stage and feeling that 'ring of fire'. I immediately tried to stop pushing as in my subconscious I was worried about tearing. But I couldn't hold it in, I finished the push. I heard Lynne tell me to really breathe hard and not to push till she told me to go ahead. Nathan's cord was looped around his neck twice. Luckily by the next urge, I was able to birth his body. I laughed when I realised I had done it. He squawked a couple of times, I turned over and he was put on my chest. Still covered in vernix, but so beautiful. And big.
His cord was really long, almost 2 metres long. I had him on my chest, the cord went from him, down to about my ankles and back into my uterus. I didn't have the syntometrine injection, the placenta was birthed naturally in its own time and with no problems. Nathan suckled a few times and his Apgars were 9 at 1min, 10 at 10mins.
I laughed a lot after his birth, I felt and still feel so powerful. I birthed him with my body, no help, no drugs, minimal tearing. All in all I found his birth so triumphant. I feel as if it has healed part of me emotionally/spiritually as well.
So take that evil doctor- I don't need a colostomy bag and I didn't die from a post-partum haemmorhage when I birthed the placenta.. I am living proof that a woman who sustains a massive tear, can birth again vaginally. It required a lot of reading and soul searching, and a major understanding of WHY the tear occurred in the first place..

PS. We will be burying the cord/placenta under a lemon/orange/mandarin tree at our family beach house - I was amazed when my father-in-law offered for us to do that, I was wondering how to broach the topic with him…

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