It’s taken me 10 months, but it’s been a bit of a labour of love finishing Zinnia’s birth slideshow. I grew an entire human being in less time…. but to be fair I’ve been a little bit busy keeping 3 kids alive, wrangling a baby, not sleeping and doing a million other things – including finishing all those travel posts from the trip before Zinnia was born! I am pleased though that I got it done before Zinnia turns one, and am able to share it.
If you just want to watch the video, scroll down and click on the video link. Make sure you turn on the sounds, and it can also be viewed in full screen by clicking the square icon on the bottom right.
Of course there is always a story about my photos so here is the longer version for everyone else.
Back in 2013…..
Many of you might remember that I had a friend, Melissa, photograph Soren’s birth, back in 2013. I didn’t know Mel before we organised the birth photography but we’ve since become friends, and I am forever grateful to her for the wonderful photos and slideshow from Soren’s birth. I posted about his birth (with a link to the slideshow) here.
All that I said in that post about the experience of having the birth photographed is still true, so I won’t rehash it. I can add that almost 6 years down the track, both Astrid and Soren love to look at the photos and watch the slideshow. It is as special for them as it is for me.
The third time around…
When it came to my third (and final) birth, I was again keen to have the birth photographed. Unfortunately, with only a day or two to go before the baby’s arrival , neither Mel nor Gemma (who took my wonderful maternity photos) could be available for the birth. I decided that I’d just have to make do with photographing what I could myself and handing the camera over to Anto and my Mum when possible. You can judge for yourself, but I think we did a pretty good job!
One of the benefits of the bigger age gap between the older kids and Zinnia, is that they were very excited about the pregnancy and were so looking forward to having a new sibling. They were involved, as much as possible, in appointments, and getting ready for the baby’s arrival. Astrid was only 2 and 3 months when Soren was born, and was excited beyond belief but doesn’t remember a lot of Soren’s pregnancy. With Zinnia’s pregnancy they were both so much more aware and being 7.5 (Astrid) and 5 (Soren) meant they understood what was going on and were very involved. The came to ultrasounds and midwife appointments and were asking ALL the questions. They did love the growing bump, some times too much!
I was lucky enough to have my talented friend Gemma take some beautiful photos of Astrid, Soren and my bump a few weeks before Zinnia was born. It is clear from the photos how in love they already were with their new sibling.
As I was on the older side for having a baby it had been discussed with my care team that it would be best if I didn’t go over 40 weeks gestation, due to increased risks post-dates associated with my age. As both Astrid and Soren were overdue, I was’t sure baby number 3 was going to be any more prompt with his or her arrival. Yes, we didn’t know the sex of the baby. Much to Anto and Astrid and Soren’s annoyance, I decided I didn’t want to know whether we were having a boy or girl this time around. Astrid and Soren were adamant they wanted a sister and were convinced I was having a girl, I wasn’t so sure…….but held out on finding out until the birth. A different experience to finding out during the pregnancy with the older kids. Of course due to genetic testing and about a million scans, it was all through my medical file, and it was tempting to peek, or ask my midwife and GP, but we still didn’t know until she was born!
We never did find out whether Miss Zinnia was going to be late to arrive if left to her own devices, but she was indeed just as cheeky as her big brother and had also decided to turn breech at 34 weeks after being nicely head-down for quite some time! Soren, did the exact same thing, also at 34 weeks. I can’t believe I had 2 babies do a flip at the same gestation!
Unlike her brother, whom I had managed to get to flip back to head-down at 37 weeks with some yoga and lots of encouragement, Miss Z did not cooperate. At 37 + 3 weeks , I was off to the hospital for an ECV (external cephalic version) to try and turn the naughty little bugger. She was stubbornly bottom down and my belly was a very weird shape.
Luckily the procedure worked and was uncomfortable but still better than labour! I was relieved that after a few hours in hospital and some firm rearranging of my uterus, baby was head down and I both didn’t need an emergency c-section on the day, nor the need to decide between an elective c-section or a breech birth. I was leaning towards the breech birth but was happy to have the baby locked and loaded in the correct position ready for delivery.
When I was 38 + 3 weeks pregnant, with some ongoing concerns about the baby’s growth, and with the risks of me going overdue, my midwife, GP, an obstetrician, Anto, and I all agreed it was better out than in! An induction day was set for just over 39 weeks, with the hope she may arrive on her own in the meantime.
Having gone into spontaneous labour both previous times, having time to prepare for the birth was a very weird experience. The weekend before the induction we got all the last minute bag packing, hammock preparation and car seat installation done, and even had 1 last trip out to the movies when the big kids were with the grandparents…… and that gold class movie with yummy food and comfy seats for my big swollen feet, was the last movie I have been to!
Despite me doing plenty of walking and bike riding and having lots of contractions, I didn’t quite manage to go into labour of my own accord. I did give it a pretty good shot though. The afternoon before the induction, Diana, my midwife, had come over for a home visit to check on me and give me a stretch and sweep. I did then manage a 30km bike ride, which produced a lot of contractions, so I marched the alpacas up and down the hill for bit. Aside from another night of contractions that were too annoying to sleep through, but not strong enough to go to hospital, I did manage to make bub’s head come right down, speeding up proceedings for the next day!
On the morning of Tuesday the 13th of November we were up bright and early. I’d had virtually no sleep between contraction, pregnancy insomnia and general nerves/excitement. Astrid and Soren were besides themselves too. Anto’s parents arrived pre-7am to take over kid-wrangling and get them off to school, while Anto and I headed to the hospital for our 7.30am admission.
It was a very different experience driving to the hospital, knowing you are having a baby that day, and not being in active labour. A more pleasant car ride than the ones with strong contractions!
I had told the kids I’d do my best to see if the baby would be out by that afternoon, but I couldn’t make promises. I had gone into labour with Astrid at about 6pm and she was born at 7.39am the next morning. Soren I was in established labour around 1am and he was born at 8am, so I was hoping this one would be quicker. Well, it certainly was quicker, with a just over 2 hour established labour!
I’ll let the slideshow tell the rest of the story, from our departure to hospital, the labour, the birth, meeting Zinnia and discovering we had another daughter, to our first few days at home…….. I hope you enjoy the story of meeting Zinnia.
Immense thanks to my Mum and Anto for the photos they took when I was busy giving birth! My Mum did an amazing job as stand in photographer. She hates using my DSLR and freely admits she struggles with even her phone camera. I had set up my camera for her as best as possible, gave her a quick lesson and let her loose and she did an amazing job. I shot bits and pieces between contractions (and from the bed once Zinnia was born) and Anto was also on hand when he wasn’t busy being a support person. It may not have been an ideal scenario but I think we did pretty well photography wise. I did spend a lot of time editing and putting together the music and images for the slideshow. It’s much harder to work on something that is so personal, than if it were for someone else. I think the finished product is something that all the kids will love to watch for years to come.
Diana, my midwife did an amazing job through my pregnancy and before and after the birth. I’ve been so lucky with amazing midwives every time. I didn’t get another water birth this time, but I came close, with Zinnia being born only 4 minutes after I had to get out of the bath. Although the labour was both induced and quite fast, I had an amazing support team (two Di’s with my Mum and Di the midwife) and yes I was laughing and joking for much of the morning and able to enjoy the small time between contractions.
It was a totally different experience this time being on constant monitoring, but I was still able to move around. There were plenty of laps of the stairs, a wander to the cafe for morning tea and bouncing up and down on the fitball. I again managed without pain relief, even when the oxytocin drip cranked things up!
I was hanging out for that bath but Diana had warned me I only had 2 hours in the bath with the mobile telemetry. I kept telling her I was going to have a baby in under 2 hours and it turns out I was right as I was only in there for 20 minutes before having to get out due to issues with picking up the baby’s heart rate. Gee that 20 minutes was nice though……. well as nice as it can be in the last stages of labour!
Getting out of that bath when I needed to push was extremely difficult, but I don’t think anyone realised exactly how close I was to having a baby. I did almost get another water birth. Miss Zinnia was certainly in a hurry, arriving in 1 push 2 minutes after I was back on the bed. My Mum did a great job to get photos of her arrival as everything was moving so fast by then.
Zinnia was definitely in a hurry to meet us and let us know about how unhappy she was about her rather abrupt arrival!
It wasn’t until seconds after Zinnia was born we had a look to see what we had, although her screams as she was born were so similar to Astrid’s that Anto and I guessed before we looked (and I was convinced I was having a boy). Once we clapped our eyes on her, we both said “that’s Astrid”, Zinnia was so similar to Astrid, there was no mistaking it!
She was born at 2.24pm, so true to my word the kids got the news at the end of the school day, and were up to meet their new sibling a couple of hours later. We waited to let them find out the sex before telling anyone else, and they were so thrilled to get their sister and give her cuddles!
10 months on and they all adore each other. Zinnia giggles and claps for her siblings now, and she is adored by both of them. Her face light up when she sees them or hears their voices, and she loves to give them kisses, hugs and waves before she goes to bed at night……..
……… and that is the story of meeting Zinnia. I hope the kids continue to watch and enjoy it for years to come and may it bring a smile to others too!