Chantel’s birth plans changed more than once along her journey of birthing little Aaron. Firstly she had to let go of her dream of a second home water birth; next she had to let go of birthing at The Family Birthing Centre; THEN she had to let go of having Aaron arriving on his own terms and instead she had to be induced at King Edward, and THEN she was also told that she couldn’t have a water birth due to being induced. The changes didn’t end there though, as she was scheduled for induction on December 12th but delays meant that although we were all at the hospital on the 12th, the induction didn’t start until the next day. Throughout it all, Chantel took it all in her stride and was determined to make the experience a beautiful one regardless. And she did.
Aaron’s birth was the most beautiful and peaceful experience, whilst also being so much fun. There were many times when it was like a party in that room with dancing to music and lots of laughter, and then many many times when it was just so peaceful. Chantel’s beautiful midwives and I spent time just quietly watching this gorgeous mother labouring so calmly – her breathing focused and her mind ‘in the zone’. At the same time her husband Dony was always there – showering water on her whilst getting wet himself, massaging her endlessly, and frequently making declarations of love and admiration: “That’s my Channy”. Chantel laboured on her own, with only a brief stint on the gas before it was time to push her beautiful baby out.
Chantel and Dony have two boys at home, and didn’t know what their third child would be. The moment Chantel saw that it was another boy her face just lit up in her gorgeous smile and I captured that moment on camera. They would have been happy whoever their baby was – they were just ready to love them. There were a few moments where baby Aaron was in a bit of shock and needed some assistance – I know this was particularly hard on Dony who was able to watch on. Aaron was strong though and before too long he was pink and happy and peaceful in his Mummy’s arms. He only cried very briefly in the whole time I was there after his birth – and from all accounts his calm nature has remained at home. He was just happy to be held, to look around with his alert eyes, to suck on Daddy’s arm, to have skin to skin time with both of his parents, and then to have a feed with Mummy. This was a particularly beautiful moment for Chantel as her other son had trouble with feeding, but Aaron took to it straight away. While Dony was holding Aaron he kept telling him how much he loved him, and he may have even shed a couple of tears. It’s always a surreal moment holding your baby for the first time – the atmosphere in the room goes from intense with the birth process, to light and joyous as everything else is forgotten.
Chantel, you were amazing. Truly amazing. You made the whole birth experience just so beautiful (and yes – you made it look easy!), and I feel so privileged to have been able to be a part of it. Thank you Chantel, Dony and Aaron for letting me into your world so that I could help you tell your story.