Birth Stories: Narelle Payne Melnick

By Narelle Payne Melnick

BIRTH STORIES; Every mama has one. We encourage you to share your own birth story photo at #HATCHBirthStories

The epitome of strength and femininity, post-partum ayurvedic doula, Narelle shares her epic story of giving birth at their Topanga Canyon home. @sagemamma

Both of my children were born at home. Oliver is four, Willow is nearly one year old, and this is a story about her birth.

She was nine days past her due date and in the wee hours of the morning I was woken up by more intense pains than the Braxton Hicks I’d been experiencing for the past week. After a few passed, I was able to fall back asleep until it was time to get my son out the door for school. Once my husband left with Oliver, I went about my usual Friday routine and drove down to my local farmer’s market. I was monitoring my contractions with an app, and since they were going from 11 to 45 minutes and then 7 to 20 minutes, I assumed my body was just getting warmed up and I had a ways to go. However, as I was driving down, they were getting stronger and stronger… So, I raced through the market and grabbed my raw milk, kale, eggs, and just as I was choosing a piece of salmon I got a big one! I skipped the salmon and rushed back to my car to check the app and whispered to myself, “Fuck it, I need to head home.”

On my way to the house, I rang my midwife and asked her to head over ASAP. When I got home, I headed straight to the bathroom. All at once I was full ON.  The contractions began rolling in with force, and suddenly I realized I was alone in my house in the woods with my midwife an hour away and my husband in Santa Monica picking up Oliver. I anxiously sent out a group text to all of my girlfriends, as I needed strong female support immediately — I had this terrifying vision of being a wild woman giving birth alone in the woods. Finally, like an angel, my midwife appeared and exclaimed: “Oh, you’re in labor and you’re right where you need to be!” She was a vision, and her beautiful, reassuring spiritual voice made me burst into tears. I sobbed and sobbed the deepest cries of relief, while she meticulously went about preparing herself.

Josh was on his way home with Oliver and explaining to him that mommy was having these pains and his sister was almost here. Finally, when they arrived, they went about their manly duties of blowing up the birth pool and preparing the room.

When my doula arrived, it was so powerful to have another woman in the room supporting me. At some point, I desperately felt the need to be in the water but the birth pool wasn’t ready, so she helped me walk down the hall to the bathroom — which was probably the worst walk of my life. I put all of my weight on her tiny frame and she helped me sway into the bath. Of course, once I got in, I immediately had another contraction and wanted to get out to lay on the bathroom floor. The pain began crashing in hardcore, and with such intensity that I shouted to my midwife: “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!” and she looked at me intensely and said: “Listen to me and repeat, I can, and I am doing it.” That shift in my headspace changed everything, and I began rolling into the waves of contractions. My body loosened up and I felt her coming down. I knew I was getting ready to push, a sensation I hadn’t felt with my first birth. Then, like a bolt of lightning, I realized I couldn’t have her on the bathroom floor (as I’d given birth to my son sitting on the toilet). I was determined to get back to the beautiful romantic room, and so I yelled: “Back into the room!” When I got back to the birth room, Josh came to sit by me, and we shared the most intensely passionate sweet kiss. He offered me this magical little break from the pain and then WHAMMMM! I was suddenly full on, and my body went into action. I felt every move as she came down and out of my body. My husband brought her up to me just as Oliver burst through the door in his fireman costume with our Australian Shepard puppy, and we all snuggled together.

The midwife, doula, and her lovely assistant stayed for several hours after to get us all settled in and handed off to my beautiful postpartum doula which I’d arranged for the 40 Days of postpartum care.

Just like that, we were all of a sudden a bigger family and life began anew.