Olive’s Birth Story

The birth of Olive, shared by her mum Hannah

In the early hours of Monday 21 July I woke up around 3am, not because I was in labour but because the rain was so incredibly heavy. When I woke up I had a strong urge to write a letter to my “Baby Bino”. So up I got, and proceeded to write a letter expressing how I was feeling. It went something along the lines of “I am now 6 days overdue and losing my mind. I know you will come out when you are ready but if you don’t come out soon then we are going to have a c section on Wednesday and I really don’t want to put us thru that so today would be a good day to be born please”.

It’s funny because right from the moment I decided I wanted to have a vbac, I just knew that little Bino was going to arrive on a Monday. Don’t ask me why…..It was just a feeling. My EDD was July 15th. Well, we had missed Monday 7th and 14th so Monday the 21st had to be the day. After I had finished writing the letter I tucked it away knowing very well that someday I would pull it out and read it to my Bino. Then I went back to sleep.

For me, there is something so healing about writing things down that just seems to make everything ok. When night turned into day I awoke feeling the best I’d felt all week. I had some funny cramps in my stomach but to be honest I didn’t really think anything of them. I’d had cramps all week and twinges here and there so I just kept it to myself.

Off I went to the obstetricians for my scheduled 41 week check up where I burst into tears on hearing my confirmed c section time and date. I guess I should give you some history as to why I’d had a previous elective c section and why there was another one scheduled.

In the summer of 2008 I suffered a serious spinal cord injury when I dived head first into a shallow swimming pool. I broke my neck in several places and was instantly paralyzed. After spending months at the Auckland spinal unit and many years rehabilitating, I can proudly say I am a walker. I no longer require a wheelchair and looking at me now you would never know what my body, mind and spirit was subjected too. However, the complications arising with such an injury are often internal and the risks associated with a vaginal birth are much higher. Hence, for my first baby, we all agreed that a c section was the best option. And I don’t for a moment regret that decision. I had a fabulous birth with my daughter Ruby but this time around I had more faith in my ability to bring my baby into the world the way my body was designed too. My mantra was “I learnt to walk on my own two feet again; therefore I can birth my baby out my vajayjay”.

However, as that dreaded c section date loomed closer; I decided that Bino might need some encouragement to come out the natural way. I guess I’m a little bit ‘crunchy’ and avoid western medicine as much as I can, opting for natural approaches or alternative therapy, so I booked myself an appointment with a Chinese doctor for 2pm on the afternoon of July 21.

When I arrived for my appointment the lovely Chinese doctor looked at my tongue, took my pulse and observed my body before explaining that my energy or ‘chi’ wasn’t flowing nicely. The top half of my body was great but it wasn’t connecting with my lower half and in order for me to go into labour naturally, it needed to be unblocked and flowing as a whole.

He began an ancient technique on me, where small incense like sticks are placed on pressure points and set a light. Well, we only got through one side of my body before I went flying into fast and strong contractions that were roughly 5 minutes apart. Hallelujah I was in labour (or I was having some freaky weird reaction to these incense sticks). There was absolutely no way I could drive, although the thought did cross my mind as I wasn’t too keen for my beautiful man to come and pick me up knowing he’d have to launch our gorgeous girl out of her afternoon nap. But too bad because I was in labour and this was real, it was actually real and I was super excited and over the moon that my Bino was on the way. This probably sounds crazy but I’ve never been so happy (well apart from the time I learnt to walk again and the first time I looked into Ruby’s eyes) this was way up there on the happiness scale. The next hour is somewhat blurry. Ian did come and pick me up, along with Ruby and our wonderful friends came and collected her. I must have called the obstetrician and then all of a sudden (thanks to Ians driving skills) I was at the hospital.

It was about 4.30pm when I checked into North Shore Hospital and when my obstetrician arrived to examine me I was already 7cm dilated. I knew that if I didn’t progress or things went backwards or my body showed signs of autonomic dysreflexia (a serious condition with high level spinal injuries) that I may end up having an emergency c section. I was really calm and feeling good and just happy that I had gone into labour. It was all up to me and my Bino now and I knew that my body would amaze me.

The contractions were pretty strong but I have a high pain threshold and in comparison to the pain I endured with my spinal injury, this was actually bearable. The last thing I wanted was to feel paralysed again by an epidural so for me it was mind over matter and a few massive inhalations on the gas. The majority of the time, I was up on all fours leaning over the bed with my eyes closed just riding the waves and listening to my beautiful man’s voice. At some point my obstetrician broke my waters and then it was all on. I was 10 cm dilated and I’ll never forget him saying in a very serious doctor like voice “Hannah, you are going to deliver this baby vaginally very soon”. Those words were all I needed to hear and although I still needed to push my Bino out I felt a sense of relief that I had avoided a c section. I pushed for half an hour and that was bloody hard work. I knew this would be the hardest part for me as I cant engage my pelvic floor muscles very well due to my injury but I gave all the strength I had until my legs started spasming and I needed help to control them. My body was so fatigued that it was share releif when my obstetrician decided to help me and my baby by using the ventouse.

And with one last push my beautiful Bino was out and lying on my chest. I had just given birth to our gorgeous daughter and I felt on top of the world. On the 21 July at 7.39pm Olive Millie Robinson was born weighing 8.7pounds. Olive is a dream, her birth was incredible and my body continues to amaze me.