Simone's empowered birth
Simone is founder of ithappenstobevegan.com sharing lots of Vegan goodies, and shares her journey travelling around Australia with her partner and two kids in a bus on @coastingwiththe90s 
I want to share my positive natural hospital birth of our second child, Grace. We had a beautiful calm and almost "fun" labour and a hard fast and crazy delivery! 
I felt a lot more relaxed and prepared going into Grace's birth than I did with Arnie. Throughout pregnancy, I practiced my hypnobirthing meditation more frequently and found it easier to slip into deep relaxation. During labour, we also used massage, aromatherapy, homeopathic remedies and a TENS machine. Most important to me was the MUSIC - I had a yoga/meditation playlist and a high energy party one. 
At 40+5 days I woke up to mild contractions at 3am. By 5am I could no longer get comfortable in bed so I got up for breakfast and messaged my Mum that she should start making her way down (2.5hrs from the Sunshine Coast to Gold Coast - thanks Mum!) to watch Arnie. 
Around 7am I put the TENS machine on and contractions were about 3 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds. I spent the rest of the morning preparing Arnie for the day and then breathing and meditation on my yoga mat.
Woman lays on hospital bed calmly birthing with tens machine on lanyard around her neck and her hand gently resting on her belly
Jan and I left for the hospital at 9:30am when my contractions were 1 minute on 1 minute off but still able to move and breath through them. I listened to my hypnobirthing meditation on the 20 minute drive.
The birthing suite was big and had a huge birth tub with a beautiful wallpaper of a local waterfall (which we've been too). I had the one midwife the whole time,  she was very respectful and mostly left us to do our own thing. 
The TENS machine was amazing, definitely took the edge off. I alternated positions a lot, and changed it up between meditation music and the high energy playlist when I needed to get moving. Jan did light touch massage for relaxation and firmer pressure on my hips when I needed it. I really focussed on keeping loose, light and happy. I felt really good and in control most of the time.
I got in the birth pool around 2:30pm and stayed in there until 5pm. The water felt good and I managed to have a really restorative hypnobirthing meditation here. 
Things started to really ramp up around 4pm. It was starting to feel the same as Arnie's labour where I had the pressure building up and increased swelling but my waters wouldn't break and were starting to bulge through my cervix. As a lesson learned from the first time, I decided I wanted to have my waters broken to help move things along. 
woman is comforted by her partner whilst in the birthing pool
I got out of the bath and had an internal exam at 5:30pm, I was 7cm. I confirmed I wanted to go ahead and my midwife broke my waters - the immediate pressure relief felt amazing! Within a couple of contractions everything shifted into overdrive and within 15 minutes my body was pushing. It was so fast and intense, we didn't expect that at all. I had had all intention of getting back into the bath to birth but I couldn't move. 
So I was kneeling on the bed, squeezing the backrest with my midwives and Jan trying to encourage me to breath baby down but I was struggling to focus and felt out of control. I had a surge of motivation when I could feel the top of her head which helped channel my energy, but she was a little stuck. An episiotomy and one more contraction and her head was out and in another her body was out at 6:04pm. So I went from 7cm dialated to birth in less than half an hour.
My hand was right there holding her the whole time she was being birthed and I felt such a relief to bring her up to my body. Jan thought it was a boy because he saw her umbilical cord but the midwife was like ah maybe check again and I confirmed she was a girl! 
Grace was onto the boob straight away and it feels like she hasn't stopped feeding since!
We moved up to a maternity room around 10pm. Jan was allowed to stay the night too. We were discharged at midday the next day and reunited with Arnie and my mum at home shortly after. I'll save the sibling reunion for another post.
Thank you Jan for being the best birthing partner and advocate and also to the Gold Coast University Hospital midwives - I felt the freedom to labour and birth how I wanted, empowered to make decisions and really cared for when I needed it. Also, surprisingly great vegan meals!