Birth Story of NaturoBest Baby Clementine!
After struggling to conceive for 10 months I went to a Chinese medicine and acupuncturist.
She told me to change my vitamins to NaturoBest as well as giving me some extra herbs to take.
I got pregnant the next month 😭🥰 Here is my birth story....
Wednesday- 41wk hospital monitoring….
I went to the hospital for a check up scan and monitoring. The scan was perfect. There was enough fluid and Clementine had a full bladder so she’s keeping herself nice and hydrated, she was practicing her breathing and kicking around like normal.
I was on the CTG monitor for about two hours, the midwife came in and turned it off then said “I’m just going to flag this with Robbie at the desk”. I was thinking flag what, who is Robbie. She came back in and said they monitor lots of things with the CTG and my baby just wasn’t ticking all the boxes so they couldn’t sign it off as a normal reading. I could either start it again, or go and have lunch and come back in an hour or so. I said I’d come back as I hadn’t eaten anything but a donut for breakfast as I’d slept in and was in a rush. My phone was going flat and my parking meter had ran out an hour prior. So I left and went back later.
When I got back I asked what boxes she wasn’t ticking and they just said her heart rate wasn’t consistent so they needed to check again but the scan was perfect so it should be fine.
The second time monitoring I was only on for 30 minutes, they came in and said they got what they wanted so they were happy with her now. The next thing they would do was a vaginal exam to check my cervix and then we would have a discussion about possible induction as I was 41 weeks. I said ok because i was curious to know what my cervix was doing and I was happy to discuss induction methods but I knew I wasn’t considering it until I was 42 weeks.
She started the vaginal exam and once her fingers were already in my cervix she asked if I wanted a stretch and sweep. I declined because I knew I only wanted one of those performed by one of the MGP midwives that had been looking after me through my entire pregnancy.
I was a bit annoyed that she had offered the stretch and sweep mid way through the vaginal exam, because even though I knew what it was, how it worked and when I did and didn’t want one, I felt like she asked at a vulnerable time when I wasn’t in a comfortable place to ask questions or for her to have a proper discussion with me so I could give the informed consent to have one.
She said I was 1cm dilated but my cervix was still quite far back and gave me a bishops score of 2.
After this, we sat down and she wanted to book in my induction for “the next few days” I said no, I’m not booking anything until I’m over 42 weeks. She explained hospital policy is that I can’t go past 41+3 and this is because my “placenta could dry up.” She had no further information on that. I still said no, my midwife I have been seeing will be back from her days off on the Tuesday and I will not be booking an induction until I can speak to her. She said she needed to speak to the doctor and that they would probably want to speak to me.
The doctor came in and wanted to book the induction for the Tuesday when Jen would be back. I would come in Tuesday morning for cervical ripening, they would do some monitoring. They would put cervadil tape behind my cervix to soften and stretch it out. I would then have further monitoring and be taken to the ward and stay the night at hospital. They would break my waters at around 6am Wednesday morning and that is when Dom would be able to come to the birth suite to be with me. Because of covid I wouldn’t be able to have him there during the cervical ripening the day prior.
I still said no to booking the induction. I was firm that I wasn’t booking it until I could speak to Jen.
I had a continuity midwife that had been looking after me the whole pregnancy, a doula who had done a lot of prep work with me and was going to be with me during my pre labour at home and my husband had done all the education with me to support me through our entire birth experience. If I booked this induction I would have felt like I had none of those support people and I was alone.
The doctor then said, if I go past 41+3 the chances of my baby dying will double. I asked her for those figures. She got her phone out and had to google it. Which I thought was very disappointing.
She said all she could find was a study done in the US which stated that from 41+3days onwards the risk of baby dying increases from .5 or .8 in 1000 babies to 1 or 2 babies in 1000…
I said that’s very low and I’m not booking an induction.
That is at the most a 0.2% chance. According to a study done in a different country, with a different health care system. I didn’t know when the study was done, who it was done by. Who the people involved in the study were. Nothing. I felt it was a very unreliable source of information for me to base my choices off.
I booked in for more monitoring on the Saturday when I would be 41+3 but stuck to my guns and refused booking an induction.
Thursday- natural induction methods…
After the hospital visit I was feeling quite defeated. I had gone from being extremely confident and excited about labour to then doubting my body would go into a spontaneous labour at all and I might not have the birth I had envisioned the entire pregnancy.
Dom and I had sex to get his sperm onto my cervix, as they say that will help soften it up and start getting it moving. The gel they use in hospital as an induction method is based on the properties of sperm, prostaglandin.
After this I stayed lying in bed to let it soak in lol.. I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks and had a sleep.
When I got up we went for a walk to get things moving. I did gutter walks for about 20 minutes up and back along the road behind the oval, Dom just walked beside me and we chatted. It was hot and windy as hell so I worked up a bit of a sweat!
After that Dom decided he would bake me up some spicy chicken wings.
We sat and ate hot wings and while my eyes were watering, my nose was running and my lips were burning, Dom got the REALLY hot sauce out and I put a bit of it on my last wing. It was fucking hot! It was called Blair’s sudden death hot sauce. It set my mouth on fire. But it was a fun thing to do together to try and get things moving along.
After that we drove down to the health food shop and picked up some clary sage oil and another birth blend of oils.
I’d already been using some oils Lucy had got for me but I was almost out as I’d been spraying them on me constantly as well as putting them in the bath.
When we got home I sprayed it all over me and we went back and did more gutter walks because I felt like that had made me a little crampy earlier.
Then Dom chopped up a pineapple and I ate that while bouncing on the ball.
Friday- bloody show!
I had a nice sleep in this morning and woke up about 10. We had a shower and when we got out and dried ourselves off I felt a big gooey thing on my leg and I was like "OMG DOM MY MUCUS PLUG CAME OUT” I showed him the big blood stained booger looking thing on my hand and he threw his arms in the air screamed YAY and gave me a big hug.
We were so excited after feeling a bit disheartened prior. This made me feel so happy for sticking to my wishes about no induction and trusting that Clementine and I could do this together without needing any shoving along! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t beginning to doubt myself after all the induction talk.
We decided to have sex again to hopefully get things moving along. It was absolutely pouring rain outside which made it the best. Being in bed together, making love, listening to the rain and knowing our baby girl wasn’t far away.
I had a bit of a sleep afterwards and then started spraying the clary sage and oils like crazy and bouncing on the ball.
I’d preordered a feed me box from a local restaurant that Dom cooked us up for a late lunch. It kind of felt like our last fancy meal together just the two of us, which was really special. After we ate Dom gave my calves a massage as they’d been feeling sore from all the gutter walking I’d done the day before. After that Dom thought it might be a good idea to soften the cervix with a bit more sperm lol. Its been such a nice day together and something about it does feel like our last. Which is exciting.
Saturday- I’m a mess…
Woke up this morning after a really good sleep. Which was good, but a terrible sleep from contractions would have been better. Turns out Friday wasn’t our last day. We got out of bed and cleaned up the house, which is pretty much already spotless.
Merivale, Jen’s buddy midwife came over just after 11. She did a VE and I was still 1cm and cervix quite far back, she couldn’t reach to do the stretch and sweep. We talked about it for a bit and she wanted to book me for induction on Tuesday, when I’d be 41+6. She said when I get to it then I can cancel it, but if I got to that date and decided I wanted to be induced then I would take priority and the hospital would reschedule whoever else was booked for induction. So she thought better to book it to avoid disappointing someone else. Which is fair enough. But I said I’ll only agree to booking in for Wednesday so I have the chance to speak to Jen before anything goes ahead as she doesn’t clock on until Tuesday at 6pm.
To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I felt petrified. Induction of labour is just everything I did not want for my birth story and I was so scared that that’s what I was going to have. I had a lot of work to do to change my mindset and find the positivity and confidence I was feeling for a spontaneous labour about an induction.
Dom was so positive and beautiful. He thinks I’m some kind of goddess that can just do anything. He said he knows I can still have the birth I want, drug free and absolutely smash it. But I was really scared. I cried a lot. I still had some hope she would come before Wednesday but I was feeling very disheartened. I had a long bath full of clary sage, then we went for a walk.
When we got home I sat in clementines nursery and read her a book that her Nanna bought her which was super cute. Dom came in and took me to bed to put some more prostaglandin on my cervix...
After that I put my headphones in, listened to my birth playlist and cried more in bed.
Still feeling Clementine swimming happy as Larry in there just as she did every other day..
Sunday- taking the day off..
I did absolutely nothing birth related. I didn’t even think about it. I just needed a day off. I felt like I’d put so much pressure on myself. I was tired and over it. Dom got his fathers day present and we just had a relaxing day.
Had sex again before bed to get give the cervix another little shove.
Monday- stretch and sweep..
Had a sleep in, went to the toilet and had a fair bit more bloody mucus in my underwear and on the toilet paper which was a good sign.
Merivale came at 11 and did another VE. I was still 1cm but she could reach in to do the stretch and sweep which absolutely made my day. She said the opening was firm but behind was really soft and she could stretch it up to about 4cm. She said she could feel Clemmy's head!
I didn’t find the stretch and sweep uncomfortable or painful at all, but I was probably so ecstatic that she could do the sweep and feel the head that my mind wasn’t even processing anything else.
Nothing else happened through the day apart from normal Braxton hicks and Clemmy moving around like she usually would.
Merivale messaged and said she was going to contact Jen to come and see me Wednesday morning to do another VE and if she was happy with it progressing I might be able to skip the cervical ripening and just go into hospital with Dom on the Thursday for induction. This gave me a little hope again.
We had sex again to get some more semen up there since we felt it was hopefully doing something to help soften and stretch it.
Dom read Clementine a book before I went to bed. I tried to do a stretch and sweep on myself but I couldn’t reach. Dom wasn’t keen to have a try haha.
This morning we went for a walk to get a coffee with Helen and Brian! Just as a last hoorah before two becomes three.
I decided since I’d be going to hospital tomorrow I should do some cooking and fill up the freezer so I did a huge cook up. Then cleaned the kitchen and did some washing. I cooked us a nice healthy dinner because I knew I had a big day the next day.
After dinner I asked Dom if he would watch Notting Hill with me, I had it on my list of things to do while in pre labour because I love that movie and what better film to get some oxytocin flowing.
We watched it in bed.
I got a message from Jen at 8.45 saying she would come over in the morning at 8.30am. I felt instantly relieved knowing she was back.
When the movie finished I put my birth playlist on and Dom started watching sons of anarchy. I was sort of feeling a bit twingey but I was ignoring it because I just didn’t want to get my hopes up again. Then 10.20pm, POP! Water everywhere. It was nice and pink which meant no meconium which was super exciting. Since babies that come later have a greater chance of having mec in the waters.
Dom jumped up to grab me a towel and I messaged Jen and Kate my doula. Jen called me straight away and we had a laugh that Clementine was obviously waiting for her to get back!
Dom changed the sheets on the bed while I rang the whole family because I was so exited.
Dom forced me to eat a muesli bar because he thought I won’t feel like eating later and he wanted to make sure I had some energy.
We started burning some clary sage, Dom heated up the heat pack for me and I laid in bed listening to my hypnobirthing tracks to try to get some sleep.
Wednesday- Happy birthday Clementine!
It got to 12.40am and I felt like the contractions were getting intense-ish.
Dom said he wasn’t going to sleep anyway and he got up to get the tens machine and set it up. He reheated the heat pack and brought me a heap of towels because there was so much fluid coming out through each contraction.
I was listening to my hypnobirthing tracks and Dom downloaded a contraction timer on his phone and started timing them.
After a while we got pretty confused about contractions, they weren’t exactly regular but I was on average having three in 10 minutes lasting between 35 seconds to a minute.
I rang Lucy at 2.15 to ask what she thought because I didn’t want to bother Kate or Jen so early. I knew I wasn’t hospital ready but the contraction app was saying go, we decided this was obviously to cover their bum legally. I’d also felt the need to poo, which I’d read can be babies head. I knew it was DEFINITELY too early for that but it’s just all so confusing and I wasn’t really sure. It turned out it was just needing to poo lol.
The TENS machine was amazing, it was helping so much. It was 3.20am and my contractions were getting more intense but I just keep telling myself this is a long haul and I need to stay calm and relaxed. I would be doing this for hours.
The soft touch Dom was doing that we learnt at hypnobirthing felt so comforting and nice. He was also so calm and kept reminding me to relax my shoulders and jaw and that was unbelievably helpful. I didn’t even notice I was tensing until he would touch me and tell me to relax.
We hopped in the shower and Dom had the water on my back which felt good for a bit.
After a while I wanted to get out and use the tens machine again. I was most comfortable kneeling on the floor leaning over the couch or bouncing on the ball.
It was getting very intense and Dom was ready to call Kate our Doula, I kept saying no thinking I would have had sooo much longer to labour before going to hospital and I didn’t want to wake her too early.
It got to 4.20 and he put his foot down and said it was time to call her. On the phone call he told her what was happening and she told him to call Jen. I told him no because I still thought it was too early and I didn’t want to waste her hours early because I needed her to be there for our birth.
When Kate arrived she said to Dom definitely call Jen and that she didn’t think I was far off.
While Dom was talking to Jen and getting ready to go to hospital Kate was with me doing soft touch massage and pressure points while I moved between being on the toilet and bouncing on the ball. Her presence was so calming. I remember feeling so hot and her hands felt so soft and cold on my skin. It was really soothing.
Having a doula was priceless, even though she only got to be with us at home as she couldn’t come to hospital because of covid. It made me feel so safe having her there and Dom felt so supported by her too. It was such a confusing time and if she wasn’t there to tell me our baby was definitely coming I probably would have had Clementine on the bathroom floor because I was in complete denial of how things were progressing.
I kept falling asleep in between contractions and almost falling off the ball. Dom was kneeling in front of me and catching me when I did. He and Kate moved me onto the bed so I could have a sleep.
Once I was on the bed the contractions ramped up and I started feeling this crazy intense pressure. I wouldn’t describe it as painful in the conventional sense, it was definitely just a feeling of pressure like nothing else I’ve ever felt. I was telling Kate I needed to poo and I wanted to push, then once the contraction finished it went away. Kate said it was time to go to the hospital but I wanted a VE first because as much as I felt like I was ready and needed to push I still had it in my head that it was going to be so much longer. Kate called Jen again and told her she needed to get there ASAP as she thought Clementine was very close.
When Jen got there I kept saying it’s ok if I’m only 2cm dilated, I can still do this. 2cm is fine.
I remember Kate saying you're definitely not 2cm. She knew I was transitioning but I just doubted myself so much. I was still telling myself we could be doing this for many more hours and I needed to be prepared and stay calm because I so desperately didn’t want to have any interventions.
In hindsight I needed to trust how I was feeling but I was so confused about how fast it was happening.
Jen checked and said there’s only a small amount of cervix left and it’s time to go to hospital. (I found out later that I was 8cm dilated at this point).
Dom helped me into the car and we left.
In the car I just kept yelling to myself don’t push, while roaring through every contraction. Dom was thinking little Clementine was going to come out on the back seat. I can’t imagine how he must have been feeling but he just kept saying things like, you’re ok, you’re doing so good liv.
We got to hospital at 7.15am, Dom pulled up to the door and got the bags out of the back then helped me out of the car. I had to stop in the entrance through a contraction and I was roaring sooo loudly. There were two men there that would have got the fright of their life but I could not contain my voice I just needed to be loose and let it out.
They brought out a wheel chair but I didn’t feel like I could sit, so I walked to the birth room. I grabbed onto the side table and started baring down through my contractions. They placed the CTG monitors on because of my gestation being 42weeks. I had thought prior to labour I didn’t want the monitoring but once we were in there I didn’t even really notice it.
My legs were feeling so tired so Jen pulled over a mat and I knelt down for a while, then I moved to the toilet because that’s where I felt most comfortable.
I was absolutely roaring through every contraction and I remember Dom saying you sound like a warrior, it was the best thing to hear and it made me feel so strong and empowered and I thought.. I am a warrior!
While I was on the toilet I noticed Courtney (dads cousins daughter that got me into the MGP program) walk through the back of the room and instantly I felt so happy and relieved that she was there.
I moved back to kneeling beside the bed and they started struggling to get a good read on Clementines heart rate through the monitor so they asked to put on the foetal scalp electrode. Which is a little screw into baby’s scalp to monitor the oxygen levels in their blood. I was happy to do that because I thought if I do need to have any interventions I want to know that it was absolutely necessary to protect her and not just guess work from doctors.
Her heart rate wasn’t coming back up after dropping and they wanted me to move onto the bed and lay on my left side. I had said the whole way though that I didn’t want to go onto the bed and I would not lay on my back to deliver my baby. But at this point I was so exhausted and I knew that Jen was going to make sure I got the birth experience I dreamed of if I could. Clementine's safety was the top priority now and trusted that Jen had both our best interests at heart. So I got up onto the bed.
Once I was up there Clementine started crowning and Jen asked if I wanted to move off the bed but I was so tired I just couldn’t.
Dom said her head is there and told me to reach down and feel. I knew it was time to push.
On my birth plan I had written not to give me push prompts, I would push as my body feels. But I guess as it was my first time it was a strange feeling, I knew I had to push but I wasn’t sure how and I was feeling lost in the contractions as they were short and I couldn’t quite work it out. Jen then said to me the doctors wanted to come in and do an episiotomy and asked what I thought. I told her I trusted her and what she thought was right. I feel like she gave me a bit of a look and said something along the lines of ‘push, you can do it.’ So I knew I had to dig deep.
I clenched my teeth and pushed with everything I had. The midwives were holding my legs so I could push against them. Dom was cheering me on like I was about to win gold at the Olympics or something and his voice gave me every power I needed to push this little girl out.
Her head came out and I had to push again to get her body out but I think I was hesitating a bit, I just kept saying “Dom get her.” He assured me he’s got her and so I pushed again and out she came at 9am on the dot. someone had to help him because Clementine had the cord around her neck. I could see the cord wrapped around her but from the education I had done I knew that wasn’t anything to worry about and I was calm while they detangled her. Then Dom lifted her up onto my chest. It was the most bizarre feeling in the world. I looked at this baby and I just couldn’t believe my eyes. She was perfect. I was rubbing her and willing her to cry, so that I knew she was ok and breathing. She let out a big cry and it was the best moment of my life.
I asked for her apgar score and they said 8 and 9, I was very proud!
I had requested to birth my placenta on my own without the injection. Those after pains/uterus contractions were awful. I moved to the toilet to try and get it moving, they usually don’t let you have too long to try a physiological third stage. I think Jen was really buying me my time. I got 90 minutes into that and I decided to have the oxytocin injection to get it moving. The instant relief after it was out I can’t even describe. I’m glad I tried the physiological third stage but next time I’d be happy to have the injection much sooner.
I had a second degree tear and also a bit of an upwards tear. I had a local anaesthetic to numb the area so I wouldn’t feel the stitching and I went to town on the gas because that feeling of having stitches down there was so uncomfortable. I squeezed Doms hand and he squeezed my arm really firm so I could concentrate on him instead of the stitching and that really helped.
The gas made me so spaced out and I couldn’t help but think that I was so glad I didn’t have it through labour because I wouldn’t have wanted to feel like that when I first met clementine face to face.
The grogginess did wear off really quickly though which was good.
I had Clementine on my chest doing skin to skin the whole way through doing that. She stayed on my chest for the 3 golden hours, which is meant to help with starting off a positive breast feeding journey.
Jen helped me get her to latch onto the nipple and she had a short feed.
After we had the 3 golden hours Dom took her and she got weighed, 4.070kgs, 9 pounds they said. She was 50cm long and her head circumference was 36cm. A big bubba!
Dom and Clemmy had skin on skin while I had a shower and she got her needles then too.
We went to dress her but I had only brought in 5x0 clothing not thinking we would have such a big baby. So Dom had to go to the car to get the 4x0 clothing. When he went he took our bags back so he had less to carry when we left. But he took the bag that had the blankets in it. So after we dressed her and we were ready to leave birth suite and go home we had to wrap Clementine up in Doms jumper that he had been wearing all night.
We chose to go straight home from birth suite as I was in the MGP program and would have support from Jen at home over the following days. Also because of Covid the restrictions on the ward meant Dom could only stay two hours and we couldn’t have any other visitors. So we birthed Clementine at 9am and we left hospital by 2.30pm. I was so happy to get home.
The education I did during pregnancy-
- Hypnobirthing Australia course-Geelong born
- Head start to breast feeding, one on one class- Geelong born
- Birth world, birth time documentary
- The breastfeeding program- Dr Robyn Thompson method
- Australian birth stories the birth class. 1. Physiological childbirth with doula Rhea Dempsey & 6. Pain management and birth interventions with midwife Beth Ryan.(I wish I signed up earlier and listened to them all and not just two).