My son arrived at 4am after almost 48 hours of painful contractions, and totally exhausted, it had taken me almost 2 hours of pushing to deliver him laid on the bed. Thank god I went overboard with the birth partners because I needed my sister and mum to hold my legs up as I pushed because I was trembling with exhaustion. My husband told me I was strangely silent all the way through those last harrowing hours- I was just totally spent.
I remember thinking. What if I can't do this?
I did do it. And I have never felt so proud in my entire life. But. As I approached the birth of my daughter I just kept thinking, I don't know if I can do that again.
Enter: my secret weapon. And I'd known about it all along.
With my first pregnancy my midwife was super supportive of me planning for an unmedicated birth with as little intervention as possible. I did my research, and I knew that it was what I wanted for me and my baby if we were both safe. But when she mentioned TENS during my first pregnancy, an all natural, drug-free pain management device for labour which has no negative side effects for you or baby. It seemed too good to be true! But no one I knew had ever used one. What does using a labour tens feel like? Does TENS for labour hurt? Does TENS actually lessen the pain of contractions?
I asked my mum and she had no idea what I was talking about. And if you're mum doesn't know about it, it can't be that good - right? I forgot all about it.
A few weeks from my due date the second time around I went deeper. How can I stay at home for longer during my labour? What pain relief options do I have to give me the best chance at a beautiful natural birth experience?
After some googling I discovered that women all over the world were having an amazing experience using TENS during labour, especially in the UK where home birthing and natural birthing is more common.
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and it works by optimising your body's natural pain fighting abilities, building endorphins proactively before the contractions become overwhelming, and the buzzing sensations block the pain signals to the brain.
As soon as I was sure I was in labour I put mine on (the earlier you use it, the better it works), and I was amazed. I had to keep turning it off to check I was still getting contractions! I sat at my kitchen table drawing and singing as the surges became stronger.
The TENS was the BEST THING EVER for the drive to the hospital, which I was dreading after being so uncomfortable sitting still during my first birth. I arrived to see my midwife calm and feeling in control, so much so she didn't believe I was in labour. But a quick check revealed I was 4cm and officially in labour. I settled into the birth suite, little TENS machine in hand. I felt like I had cheated the system because compared to my first birth, this was a breeze.
I eventually moved to the shower for a few hours, loving the hot water jets on my back and lower belly. When I transitioned I panicked and wanted the TENS back on, but there was no time! I gave birth to my daughter in just 5 or 6 pushes, standing on my own two feet, with my husbands arms around my waist, staring into his eyes like a deadly warrior. The rush of power I felt is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.
The drawing now sits in my daughters room as a reminder of the incredible and wonderous thing my body did that day.
I knew that day would change my life forever, it gave me my daughter. But in the next few days and weeks I became pregnant with an idea to spread the world about this drug free pain relief option that made such a difference for me, and since that Bliss Birth has changed my life completely, becoming Australia's premier supplier of obstetric TENS hires and a proud female-led family-owned and run company.