pregnancy

“No one can prepare you”: Allanah wanted a calm water birth. It didn’t go to plan.

Birth: there's nothing quite like it, and it's clear no two birth stories are the same. Which is why we're asking everyday women and some of our favourite celebrity mums to share theirs, in Mamamia's My Birth Story series.

This week we profile Allanah Secis, Brisbane-based mum to one-year-old Harvey and water birth queen. 

Pregnancy was mostly smooth sailing for primary school teacher Allanah, who always knew she wanted a natural birth.

“My mum Michelle had my brother Dylan and I in her early twenties and then another son, my brother Miles when she was 47-years-old. Mum had an amazing home birth so I took a lot from her experience and knew that I wanted something similar.”

Watch: All our pressing questions about giving birth, answered. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

Allanah did pre-natal yoga to help her both physically and mentally, and at 37 weeks she and partner Brandon enrolled in a ‘Calm Birth’ course.  

“I had some fears about the lack of control around birthing as I like to be in control," she says.

"The course was very practical and not at all ‘hippy-dippy.' It was a safe and positive place and I came away thinking that if my body was capable of growing a baby, it was capable of getting the baby out! 

“I found the course was important for Brandon too; he was given techniques to support and guide me on the day.”

Allanah and Brandon chose to go with a midwife-led birth and as she was low risk, she barely needed to see a doctor at all.

“I met regularly with the midwife team and we put together a birth plan based on what we wanted.”

At 39 weeks, and on Brandon’s busiest day at work as a health and safety officer for the Ekka Agricultural show, Allanah went into labour.

“At 11pm I felt a wave of intense pain that quickly subsided. I had a night of broken sleep and breathing through the contractions. By 4am I got up and began meditating, then at 6am Brandon woke up.”

The morning passed by in a hazy, relaxed blur. Allanah’s mum, Michelle, came over to make sure everyone ate and to comfort the pair throughout the day. Brandon got the candles and the playlist going as per the birth plan and applied pressure to Allanah’s back while helping to count breaths.

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“I knew the early stages of labour was a mental game as much as a physical one and that it wouldn’t be over quickly. At some point in the afternoon, I decided I'd had enough.

“I wanted Brandon to lie to the midwife so I could go to hospital – if we could get to hospital, I thought the baby would just come! But he convinced me to stay home for another hour until my contractions were more frequent.”

By the time they got into the car to go to Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, Allanah couldn’t sit normally so she rested on a medicine ball in the backseat. 

“As Brandon checked me in, I was groaning and holding on to the wall – I got plenty of side-eye from other patients, probably worried I was about to give birth right then and there.

“We didn’t get our assigned midwife who was off sick, but we gave our birth plan to midwife Danni."

Danni, Brandon and Michelle ran the bath and put on the LED candles and playlist before Danni checked Allanah to see how she was progressing.

“Thankfully I was 6cm dilated and when I finally got into the hot bath I instantly relaxed and laughed. Mum said that was the first time she had seen me smile all day.”

The break wasn’t for long, though, as the pain soon returned with a vengeance. 

“I was yelling in a really animalistic way and leaning on the edge of the bath. Danni used a long mirror on a pole to discreetly keep an eye on what was happening below the water and could see Harvey’s head as it began to appear.”

Allanah was sweating from the hot water and was exhausted by all the pushing as Harvey’s head kept coming out and then going back in again.

“No one can prepare you, and by this point I felt as if I didn’t care if I died; I was done. 

“That was when midwife Danni cupped my face in her hands and said, "you can do this. You are powerful."

“After that, with the next contraction, I began pushing really hard and went into a trance, I wanted to make this contraction last as long as it could. The next thing I heard someone yelling my name and there was a baby in the water! I was so confused and had almost forgotten what I was doing, but I pulled him up to my chest and he cried.”

Image: Supplied 

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Brandon cut the umbilical cord and Allanah got up onto the bed as Danni helped her to deliver the placenta.

“I had no energy and my legs were so wobbly. I remember Danni pushing hard on my tummy. It was incredibly painful and there was a lot more blood than I thought there’d be.

“I wanted to sleep but I was also starving. The cheese toastie they gave me afterwards was literally the best thing I have ever eaten!”

When Allanah reflects back on her birth experience she feels empowered, but also glad she did her research.

“It was such a rollercoaster but all the stars aligned with my low-risk pregnancy, no medical complications, a brilliant midwife, and the birthing room equipped with a lovely big bath.

“Harvey is a beautiful, relaxed and happy child who we both adore – we know we are very lucky!” 

If you have an amazing birth story to share, let us know by emailing some details to: [email protected] and including 'My Birth Story' in the subject line.

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