I’m baaaaaack 🙂
We are proud and grateful to announce our third baby – Safaia Fifita ‘Iunisi Sisifa.
She arrived on Friday 27 September 2019 at 2:18pm after a 2 hour labour.
So many emotions with all that’s been happening.
September 27 is our Anniversary of when Leki and I first started dating… this year is our 12th Anniversary.
Safaia is Tongan for Sapphire which is the birthstone of September.
Fifita and ‘Iunisi were our last surviving grandparents who passed away this time last year.
And lastly, I managed to achieve the Water Birth I was aiming for which makes me happy because I focused on achieving this for over 12 months.
This meant being healthy and ensuring I didn’t have pre-eclampsia like I did with my other 2 x pregnancies!
So I would like to present an unfiltered account of the final stages of my pregnancy just like last time with baby #2 – Kyneton Wardell Sisifa.
WARNING: BELOW YOU WILL SEE ME GIVING BIRTH TO MY DAUGHTER AND IN ALL IT’S GLORY. THERE WILL BE REAL BLOOD AND GUTS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK! 🙂
So here is the story of Safaia’s journey to join us in chronological order beginning on Thurs 26 Sept 2019:
Thurs 26 Sept
5am – Start of Braxton-Hicks Contractions
At 40 weeks and 3 days I officially started the final stages of my pregnancy.
I monitored how often they came on by popping the times into my Viber app I use with my hubby Leki.
The next few Braxton-Hicks signs were at 1-2 hour intervals 8am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2pm, 4:38pm with some pink discharge, 6:55pm, 8:07pm, 10:06pm and 10:43pm.
Fri 27 Sept
12:30am – Regular timings of Braxton-Hicks Contractions
Between 12:30am to 6:14am I had 12 x short contractions but they became more regular from every 1 hour to 30 mins then down to every 20-10 mins!
We decided that we would head into Melbourne and drop off the kids to Aunty Vine so that we have plenty of time to travel to Sunshine Hospital.
I had a short warm shower (in an effort to try and relax the muscles from contracting)… but that didn’t work as I had 3 x contractions during my 10 minute shower 😉
Fortunately I had already prepared our car, my hospital bag and had the kids bags packed and ready to go 2 weeks prior.
7:12am – ‘Normal’ morning
Leki prepared breakfast and encouraged our normal routine.
Our 4yo Emelina and 18mo Kyneton were happy, fed and cleaned up before we packed them in the car.
When we left at 8am I had 9 contractions which lasted about 1-2 minutes each and as a gauge were around 6/10 in pain (10 being the worst).
These contractions were ranging between 5-7 minutes apart!
We left home in Gisborne at 7:45am for Preston in good spirits.
8:40am – Dropped The Kids To Aunty Vine
While we were heading into Melbourne I contacted my caseload midwife Ellie and explained the situation.
I feel so grateful that I have Ellie in my corner again as she previously delivered my baby #2 Kyneton.
Fortunately she was already on her way into the Hospital and recommended heading in when my contractions were strong and regularly 5mins apart.
I was happy with that because my contractions continued to vary from 10mins to 7 mins to 5mins.
We set off to Sunshine Hospital at 9:20am which would be a 25min drive.
My contractions were consistently 5mins apart.
9:45am – Arrived To Sunshine Hospital
Instead of waiting at Aunty Vine’s house we decided to go to the Hospital and wait.
I lost count of how many times I went to the toilet… I felt like my bladder was always full and I needed to empty them even if nothing happened.
Leki and I waited until my contractions ramped up as Midwife Ellie prepared my birthing suite for the Water Birth.
Around this time I rang some family members to let them know that I was about to be admitted into the hospital.
My Mother and sisters are in Tonga celebrating my Grandmother Taina’s life and her headstone unveiling with Family. They were so excited to hear the news!
My Dad rang and wished me well.
The contractions were frustrating as it did increase in severity from 6/10 to 8/10 but the time between contractions changed from 20mins to 10mins and again back to 5mins.
In the mean time I was walking up and down the hallways, walking up and down stairs and kept a positive mindset.
I was thinking of my little girl and set the intention to have a nice peaceful Water Birth.
11:35am – Admitted
I was taken up to Level 3 Room 8.
It was a luxurious experience and I don’t say that lightly.
The room was dimly lit but filled with nice electric candles plus soothing meditation music was playing in the background.
As my contractions continued to be irregular Midwife Ellie offered me a Stretch & Sweep to bring heighten the contractions and bring on the labouring.
After a few minutes thinking about it I decided to go ahead with it.
The Stretch & Sweep was performed at 11:45am.
12:34pm – REGULAR contractions
I was going through very regular contractions after the Stretch & Sweep.
I was standing, walking and labouring upright as I found it comfortable.
By 12:36pm I had officially started the labouring process (according to Midwife Ellie) and was helped into the Water Bath.
I was having stronger contractions and I felt like the ‘baby had dropped’.
1:00pm – Labouring in the Bath
The heat of the water was relaxing.
It helped to have Leki in there with me as he applied pressure to my lower back for each of my contractions in the water.
I was in all fours but my top half was braced on the edge of the Bath as Ellie was giving me instructions.
With each of the contractions Ellie was coaching me through what was happening.
She had a mirror underneath me to see what was happening.
I have to be honest I was so scared that I’d shit the bath.
Even though Ellie said it’s completely normal and does happen often I still didn’t want a code brown 😉
In the end I didn’t lose my bowels but I was half concentrating on trying to labour without dropping my guts LOL
Although the pain were intense each wave of contractions was coupled with a sense of getting closer and closer to the finish line.
There was a point that I felt Safaia’s head moving closer to the exits.
After that push subsided I complained to Ellie that every time I let the contraction ‘push her out’ when it stopped it was like she retreated back in.
Ellie then explained that it’s normal as the baby is moving and the passageways are stretching for her eventual arrival.
Contractions were 2 mins apart now.
2:18pm – Safaia Arrives!
One of the key instructions Ellie said was to allow you body to push when you feel like you can’t avoid pushing anymore.
That means don’t push too early… wait until you can’t hold it back any longer!
The main reason why you don’t want to push too early is that it can tear your vaginal walls which means a lot of damage, stitches and longer healing times.
I made my best effort to look for that telltale sign of not being able to hold it in any longer and then push with all that I had!
My last 3 x contractions I was increasingly getting more and more frustrated because I always felt that Safaia would edge closer to the exit and then she’s running back in 🙂
But then the time came…
There came a sensation that felt like all the lead up disappointment of Safaia ‘coming and going’ had reached a peak.
It felt like a point of no return
It almost happened magically without pain.
I peered down and with one contraction I saw baby Safaia’s top half pop out.
I gathered my strength and waited until the next contraction to come around and I fought hard not to jump the gun and push before the contraction.
Again, Ellie was coaching me through this process and was pleading with me NOT TO PUSH if the contraction hadn’t come on yet.
If I pushed too early I would definitely tear some vaginal tissue and make things worse for me after baby is born.
She also asked me not to raise her above the water when she’s out as she needs to remove a bit of the umbilical cord around her neck.
She explained that it would be easier to remove it when she’s still under the water then struggle with it out of the water.
Luckily I managed to hold on and with the last contraction…
Out she popped.
It was the most relaxing graceful entry into the world I’ve experienced so far!
She wasn’t crying, wasn’t stressed or even curious.
Safaia arrived into the world sleeping 🙂
The umbilical cord around her neck was masterfully removed by Ellie and Leki was right next to me as Safaia arrived.
I felt so relieved and blessed that it was all over.
2:38pm – Placenta Birth
Leki and I remained in the Bath which was a bloody crimson colour from the labouring discharge.
I was encouraged by Ellie to gently pull on the umbilical while I was in a semi-squat in the bath.
I gave it a couple of tugs and then Ellie supported by bracing me from underneath, with a few more pushes…
Out came the placenta which felt like another mini-birth.
2:54pm – Skin On Skin
I was helped out of the bath and placed onto the birthing bed to rest and recover.
One of the key things Ellie had to perform now was to assess how much structural damage there was from pushing Safaia out!
I was worried because there was a lot of blood.
Ellie checked and reported that the bleeding was normal and what was important was if it was able to stop by itself.
This meant I had to lie on my back for 30-45mins with my legs clamped shut to try and stop the bleeding.
I used this time bonding with little Miss and she spent her first few moments feeding off me and resting.
My sisters called me on Messenger and I was excited to show them my little trooper!
4:15pm – No Stitches!
I received great news when Ellie told me I didn’t need stitches.
Although I may be sore for a couple of days if I can avoid heavy lifting and excessive walking/squatting then I should be all fine 🙂
Around this time I was fed by Leki while I was resting on my back.
The last time I ate was 7am that morning and with all the effort and energy pushing throughout the day I definitely needed some food!
I prepped some food a day before and packed it for the kids to have at Aunty’s house.
I also had some prepared for us just in case.
Nothing fancy just beef mince, home made tomato paste and boiled vegetables.
Leki warmed it all up in the maternity ward kitchen.
5:00pm – Nice Shower & Change
I then got up and had a nice hot shower while Leki changed little Safaia.
It felt great to take my time washing all the pain and suffering away and change into some warm comfy clothes.
Just before her little outfit change Ellie measured her:
34cm head circumference, 51cm in length and 3.1kg in weight.
Her first little matching headband blanket/swaddle was specially made by my Mum.
I bought some material from Spotlight and she made it two weeks before Safaia arrived.
I love the fact that it was uniquely made for her from Nana 😉
6:00pm – Check All The Vital Signs & Early Discharge
So both Leki and I had a nice warm shower and freshened up.
Ellie was completing her paperwork.
Little Safaia was resting by the window soaking up some sunshine when…
Ellie mentioned that we’ll be discharged home soon!
I was kinda shocked.
Not shocked… more surprised.
I was really looking forward to staying over at least one night.
I packed for 2 nights 😉
But Ellie explained that my vital signs were stable, my birthing wounds will heal naturally without stitches, I didn’t have any pain relief and she would check up on me in the morning over the next 2 days and for 5 visits in total at my home.
She also explained that baby Safaia is healthy ans happy without jaundice or any other troublesome signs.
After I got over my initial disappointment I was actually relieved!
I can sleep in my own bed – YAY!
Soon after I rang Aunty Vine and asked if it was still ok for Emelina and Kyneton to sleep overnight.
She quickly said yes and not to worry they are having a great time.
I felt relieved and helped Leki prepare our things to leave.
It was all starting to sink in now.
We’re going to home with baby #3 in tow 🙂
7:00pm – Discharged
Leki left the car in the paid car parking next door and it cost us only $12 for the whole day!
He took our things over and came back with our capsule seat for our little companion.
While he was doing that I spent some time rugging Safaia up with layers.
And then that was it.
Leki came by, picked us up, popped the capsule into the booster seat, leaned over and gave me a kiss and that was it!
He asked me what I wanted for dinner.
I gave him a cheeky look and waved my hand into the ‘Golden Arches’.
On the way home we stopped half way because Leki was worried Safaia was breathing LOL
She was so quiet and he wasn’t used to it.
After a quick check we were good to go!
8:00pm – Home Sweet Home
When we got home we settled in, warmed the place up and placed Safaia in our bassinet attached to the pram.
Leki and I put our feet up, ate our McDonald’s watching an old episode of Criminal Minds (Leki was also keeping an eye on the Melbourne Storm match LOL) and enjoyed our time together.
We retired to bed at 9:00pm as I gave Safaia her first feed at home.
We both feel asleep, dead tired, in our own beds in our own home with our little girl nestling right beside us sleeping soundly.
What a relief!
In just over 12 hours I had left home, pushed out a baby and returned home like it was a normal day!
Well, if you have stuck with me all the way through – THANK YOU.
I really wanted to experience the water birth process and make it real for you and me.
My intention for this story was to be real and not hide any details.
If my pregnancy and labouring effort sounded easy and breezy I don’t apologise.
The fact is it was very smooth and pain free compared to my other 2 x pregnancies and birthing efforts.
We had put a lot of thought and preparation for having the best experience.
We spent time researching birthing options and decided water birthing was what we wanted.
We decided to take control of our health and eat better.
I spent time working on my self talk and being mindful of my thoughts both negative and positive ones!
Leki and I often talked about how much effort it would take to get from Gisborne to Sunshine.
We shopped and packed our bags early to avoid any surprises.
We asked for help from Family and Friends.
We planned for Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
All this effort didn’t go unnoticed.
I’m at home already preparing for the upcoming week as Leki prepares to get back to his work and I’ll be holding the fort until some help arrives in the form of my Mum (when she returns from Tonga).
So if you’re interested here’s my…
Top 3 Hacks For Having An Easier Pregnancy & Labouring Effort:
1. Get control of your health BEFORE you think to conceive
It’s amazing to think how much of this was the critical factor in the whole process.
Getting yourself in shape physically, mentally and psychologically BEFORE you even think to get pregnant is my BIGGEST recommendation.
Just think… you may have conditions that are mostly coming from lifestyle factors and can be completely reversed RIGHT NOW!
Poor nutrition, poor stress management, poor sleep, negative self talk, poor social support and poor financial habits.
Put some time into reversing these things and find what works for you and it will make your whole experience all the more successful 🙂
2. Routine & Structure is the way FORWARD
A big part of reversing your bad habits is to automate your new habits.
If you have a diet plan that you’re going to follow. Prep the meals.
If you have a weight loss strategy or exercise plan. Find a friend or partner to be accountable to.
If you work or stay at home full time organise a timetable that is non-negotiable.
The thing Leki and I observed with our routine is that when things get out of hand we know what it takes to reestablish our normal day.
It’s like being on a seesaw. If you go too much one way then you have to allow the other side to come up to counter balance.
For example, once we’ve establish our game plan for prepping our meals we saw how long it takes and we can decide which day of that week has a 2 hour window where we can bulk cook. Weeks can vary with commitments but we are committed to our food prep work because nutrition is key for our well being.
3. Get Out Of Your Own Way
Growing up I always had thoughts of not being good enough.
I set the bar low on expectations for myself.
Can’t read well.
Can’t write well.
Not confident when talking to people and always go red.
Even now with so much self development work and ongoing positive self talk I still find myself battling with “Imposter Syndrome”.
Am I being who I am truly on this blog?
My reading and writing have improved a lot with the help of my husband by just persisting with something uncomfortable.
By working together as a team.
I’m not even going as red anymore and it takes extreme cases if I’m being shy or embarrassed.
I remember meeting someone new for the first time and I can feel my cheeks getting flush with blood.
Now… yes I still get a bit nervous but it’s more because of the excitement in meeting someone new who’s interesting rather then the embarrassment of them judging me.
When it came to this pregnancy it all fell into place when I got out of my head and got out of my own way.
We fell pregnant within 1 month of trying whereas our first effort took over 18 months.
I lost a lot of weight without much exercise and being very disciplined with my eating habits.
The list goes on…
In short you are able to achieve remarkable things Mama if you just get out of your own way and make it happen! NO EXCUSES!
So there you have it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as we have presented it to you.
And just like that we’ve grown to a Family of Five.
Belinda, Leki, Emelina, Kyneton and Safaia xo
P.s. We are aiming to have 5 x kids so you’ll have another 2 stories in the future 😉