Obie's Birth Story
Well it would be expected of me to start this by apologising for the incredibly long time between blog posts, but something I have learned over the past year is that once children and family become apart of my life equation, the less I feel the need to apologise, as I know I have done all I can and for that I have surrendered too!
SOOOO much has gone down in the past year and so much learning has taken place.
I have learned some hard truths about myself and humans in general but all of it seems to float on off when I talk about my children. There is purity in creating life and for every second of my experiences, I am grateful.
Can you bloody believe Obie is now 4 months and his arrival on 11.11.20 was towards the end of what was one of the hardest years myself and you all shall have faced in our lifetime.. 2020.
Not only did Covid stop my business dead in its tracks, I also came to the realisation that what filled me up work wise no longer did and the path I wanted to be on was blocked by some funky energy that I no longer wanted around.
So amongst it all, I closed the doors of the Geelong salon with one giant sigh of relief.
On the other flip of the coin however, I was battling other stresses of having the hardest pregnancy ever! If you had followed along with my pregnancy with Adelaide, you would know I am not suited to grow humans!! Or actually, maybe I am because I don’t think many could deal with the trauma of the kind of pregnancies I have and come out the other side still sane!
A bit of back story to getting pregnant with Obie.. We had hoped to have fallen pregnant soon after having Addie, not only because I wanted the babies to be close in age but also- due to the nature of my work I only have 6 months in which to give birth in the down season (Winter) to ensure I can really focus my attention on the new baby and not feel pressured with work.
We did indeed fall pregnant quite quickly but sadly I miscarried early on. I didn’t even actually know I was pregnant as my periods hadn’t gone back to been consistently regular but when my “period” came, I called Ben into the bathroom and said “I don’t think this is a period Ben...” I don’t think I overly processed it at the time. I was confused about it but just moved on. Having a 18 month old kept me distracted!
To be honest, it wasn’t the miscarriage that got me emotionally stressed or sad, it was the months following of trying to fall pregnant and not being able to. Carrying so much hope after my ovulation phase and then being so sad when my period so aggressively presented itself a couple of weeks later.
But alas after over 18 months of trying, and ironically a month after we decided to stop trying for a while, to protect my upcoming bridal season and whilst I was on holidays in America with Ben for a shoot- I got pregnant! Amazing what taking the pressure off can do to a person!
At first I was really worried as this little bubba was due in the worst possible time in the middle of the bridal season but eventually I just told myself that everything happens for a reason and I surrendered to whatever was to be.
The joy was short lived because by 6 weeks I was hit with the most incredible case of Hyperemesis. Couldn’t stand, was vomiting all day & when I wasn’t I felt like I only had 5% energy and just in general felt horrific. That continued pretty badly for 7 months, I was admitted to hospital a number of times, with one stay lasting a week. Between that and not being able to poo at all for weeks, I was just so defeated and exhausted.
Covid presented other moments for me, whilst I was so devastated that everything I had worked so hard for in the years for the business prior was stripped so suddenly, I was grateful for the space to nurture my body and rest.
Fast forward to 7-8 months and just as I thought I was getting there, even though I was still vomiting daily and has such bad reflux I had to sleep upright, I also started having these incredibly bad pain attacks.. like a 10/10 pain where I would collapse on the ground unable to breathe. I soon got diagnosed with gall stones & an inflamed gall bladder and was told as soon as the baby was out that I would need surgery to get my gall bladder removed. In the mean time, at any stage it could become life threatening and I could have attacks at any stage. And I did, on the side of a highway at the Covid checkpoint with 10 male police officers watching on helplessly (thinking I was actually in labour the poor guys. Thanks to Constable Ryan for being a total dude and helped me breathe though it. His wife had given birth a few weeks prior so he said he felt equipped to deal with it! ha) and randomly at home. It was so horrible!!
But I got there! I got to 39 weeks and was set up to be induced as soon as GMG at Epworth felt it safe for the baby to do so.
I was booked in for my induction in the morning of the 11.11 (my angel numbers so I was stoked) and had the gel put on my cervix at 8am in the morning.
From my first 3 hour labour with Addie and my 5 minutes of pushing, they knew I go quick so Dr. Michael Shembry who was my OBGY for the day wanted to slow it all down.
This birth was quite different to the fast, manageable pain labour with Addie where I didn’t require drugs and breathed through the labour. This time round the baby was posterior and from the get go the labour was considerably more painful.
The only thing I wanted to learn from Addie’s birth was that this time I wanted to feel it, I wanted to feel the changes, the baby and I wanted to be rooted to the physicality of it all. Boy, if only I knew how much I got what I asked for!!
(Ben in the early stages pressing acupressure points learnt through our Hypnobirthing refresher with Geelong Born.)
By lunchtime my contractions were coming on a teeny bit stronger but I was managing fine, being able to talk in between and have a laugh with Ben, my midwife and Rosie. For those who remember my birth with Addie you would know I actually had hired Rosie of Geelong Born to be my birth support and how lucky was I that she was working at the Epworth Geelong as a lead midwife so she was there on the day too!! What timing! She’s an angel.
Just after lunch Michael came in to burst my waters and from then on it was on! But in a frustrating way.. my contractions were inconsistent and I couldn’t get comfortable due to the baby’s position. I loved birthing Addie on my knees over a ball but the only position I could get through the contractions was standing holding onto Ben. I could feel so many things this time. I could feel when my contractions changed and when the baby was starting to move down. I could feel everything, just like I’d hoped.
By 3 or 4pm I was really struggling to breathe through the contractions, though I was still drug free I was adamant I could do this! By 5.30pm my “breathing through it” noise turned into these loud deep Sharman moans and I was really feeling it. At this stage Michael decided he should check and see what was happening internally.
The worst pain of the whole labour was the next bit and if you have given birth to a posterior baby you know of the pain I talk of! Because he had to examine me I had to lie on the bed. The first issue. The pain of doing that whilst contracting was horrible!! Lying on your back during a posterior labour is so bloody painful but then Michael checked and cheekily did a stretch & sweep and man how I didn’t scream the house down I don’t know (maybe I did but I cant remember!). Ben was holding onto both hands and was pretty much holding me down lol.
Post examination Michael noted I was 6cm dilated and the baby was now facing sideways. Hearing that I was 6cm was deflating, I thought I would be closer! Michael said its very common for mum’s who have had babies before to throw the last 4 cm quickly but I went into a big ol' negative headspace as my contractions were also misleading me and being all over the shop with their consistency so I didn’t feel like I was close.
So, I was at the point I knew I was feeling a bit over it and I asked Michael what my options for pain meds were. He said I was past an epidural but I could have a shot of morphine. Rosie tried to cheer me on saying I could do it but knowing there was a strong chance I had a while to go I just felt a bit defeated in that moment and knew I was at my upper limit. So they gave me the shot and immediately I went to the toilet to wee in between contractions.
Michael said it might be good to come back and think about hopping on the bed at the same time and as I was walking back to the bed I slowed and something intuitively told me to push.
This was confusing again as with Addie, my body did it naturally quite aggressively so I went with it, but this time round I didn’t have that sensation, it was more intuitive than physical.
And there standing 1 minute after the injection, I thought it might be good to give a push and instantly a head popped out! Michael, I later found out didn’t have time to pop on his gloves or get things ready as no one expected it. All I heard from everyone behind me was “STOP PUSHING! STOP PUSHING!” An incredibly hard thing to do can I say!! I was trying so hard and said “I am!” to which Michael responding “Well it sure as hell looks like pushing to me!” Even amongst all that chaos I managed to laugh.
In those few seconds of not pushing (after I actually stopped ha) I felt the weirdest sensations, a twisting and deep movement within me- which I later was told was the baby further rotating to get out and after a minute of pushing, with a gush and a final push, out flew little Obie James O’Connor into the safe arms of Michael!
Just as I had been with Addie’s quick arrival, I was shocked as I was passed the baby under me into my arms- not too high as to pull on the umbilical cord and placenta. Whilst I was annoyed with myself that I asked for the morphine a few minutes prior, it didn’t actually kick in til I was up on the bed and the placenta was coming out, so whilst I would love to show the pics (I asked the midwives to take pictures of me birthing my placenta and of it) I look so stoned so will spare you the weirdness of my faces.
What I love about the Geelong Maternity Group and all the midwives at the Epworth is that it doesn’t even need to be asked to delay the cord clamping, to have a quiet room, to do skin to skin for both mum & dad and all the other encouraged natural birthing recommendations.. they do it already, its how they operate.
After delaying the cord clamping, Ben cut it and Obie spent 2 hours on my chest quietly and adorably, before we even considered moving. He happily fed off my boobs taking the colostrum and there in the birth suite we stayed in our little love bubble, not interrupted or asked to leave for our room until we felt it was time.
My wonderful mother in law looked after Addie at our home for a few days whilst we stayed in that bubble, enjoying our alone time with Obie and the hotel Epworth menu! On the last day they finally allowed siblings as visitors and Addie was so excited to meet her new little brother. She adores him and from the moment he joined us he has been absolutely besotted with her. Nobody makes him smile the way Addie does, it's such a beautiful thing to witness.
Whilst I was very grateful for the efforts of the OBGY's at GMG and the midwives at Epworth to prevent any damage during the birth, I stupidly went back to work too soon for a massive wedding a week after birth and recognised how important it is for mums to be off their feet in those first couple of weeks following labour. I did more damage post birth than I did in the birth itself because I was standing for too long and my body hadn't healed or strengthened in that time enough to support the pressure. Was a tough couple of weeks but I’m fine now 4 months on and though the breastfeeding part of the post birth experience was again tough I was ok to give it up quicker this time and in doing so Obie has been a more content baby and I, a happier mum.
Obie has been an absolute joy these past 4 months and is such an easy, happy baby. Ben was the most incredibly supportive partner throughout the pregnancy, wanted to and was the most involved & reliable birth support imaginable and continues to inspire me with his patience, calm and desire to be a present & hardworking co parent & incredible father to our two bubbas.
I am so lucky to have had both my babies at Epworth Geelong with GMG and the midwives there. They didn’t treat me like a number, I had round the clock care available at any time, no waiting, they made the COVID period as supportive and understanding as possible and I will be forever grateful for their expertise and willingness to offer the best and most connected experience possible but also with their biggest wish- to deliver healthy babies as naturally as possible at the healthiest time for the baby.
Having children has taught me one thing, surround yourself with those who you can rely on & have your best interests at heart; who will be there for the hard bits, best bits and the times when you stumble and need someone to offer you their hand.
Falling pregnant, carrying a child, birthing that child and raising it are the hardest things as humans we will ever do, but one of the biggest messages I have gotten out of it all is that I am a strong ass woman who is capable of anything, but my greatest asset to give this world is my love and what I can offer those two children I created with my best friend & husband.
What a ride, and now its time to hang up my baby boots as this mumma has retired and ready to raise some kind, strong, intelligent humans.
Biggest of love to you, Hilary x
Those involved in my pregnancy journeys
Geelong Maternity Group
Geelong Born for hypnobirthing & birth support
Elena Pilch, Kiniesologist for bringing my energy down and centring my purpose
Spiritual Nutrition, Kiniesiologist for creating big energy shifts and giving me the work
Matt at Procare Geelong whos my Osteo/saviour
Buaa Thai Massage & Shanti at Procare Geelong for remedial massage
Dr George Kalagropolous, wonderful upper GI surgeon who removed my gall bladder 4 weeks post op and who will be doing my corrective stomach surgery in a year or two.