“When I First Heard Him Cry, I Loved It”: Steph Claire Smith on Giving Birth to Son Harvey
On May 4, 2021, Steph Claire Smith — co-founder of health and wellness program Keep It Cleaner — and her husband Josh Miller welcomed their baby boy, Harvey. Smith, who is also well-known for her modelling career, documented her pregnancy on her Instagram account and has since shared her birth story with the Australian Birth Stories Podcast.
In the candid chat with host Sophie Walker, Smith recounted the process of falling pregnant, her pregnancy, and the challenges she experienced during the birth. As Smith neared the end of her pregnancy, she revealed how the constant enquiries as to whether she’d given birth, as well as the plethora of suggestions for inducing birth via social media became a lot to handle.
“I’m happy to tell my girlfriends things that they can try but I think when people were telling me, ‘This definitely works’ or ‘My sister, my aunty and my best friend and I all did this and it worked for all of us’, I got into my own head thinking like ‘Why isn’t working for me? Is something wrong?’, when of course there is nothing wrong,” Smith told Walker.
When it came to the birth itself, Smith was induced at 41 weeks and she went into the process with high spirits. But, after hours of labour, Smith was exhausted and had only dilated two centimetres in that time. While she had been moving around the room and staying active up until then, things were getting hard for her.
“I was starting to really struggle at that point,” Smith said. “I knew that that kind of meant that I wasn’t really progressing, it had been a long time, being 6pm, and I wasn’t really progressing and I remember that I started crying when she said ‘You’re only two centimetres dilated still’.”
While Smith originally didn’t want to go down the path of an epidural, her doctor recommended it at this point of the labour. “At the start, I was a bit shattered at the idea of having the epidural but then I was like ‘You know what? I’m so tired anyway like I don’t want to get off this bed anymore anyway, let’s just do it,'” she said.
“Once the epidural was in, honestly five minutes later, the contractions felt like early labour contractions, like I could feel them, I could feel pressure but there was no pain and I just kind of sat there like ‘Oh my God, why didn’t I do this earlier?'”
As well as dealing with a dramatic drop in blood pressure and a bout of intense shakes that caused her to be sick, Smith says that the final moments of labour were positive. “The adrenaline kicked in once Amanda [Smith’s doctor] was there and once we started the pushing stage, I got a smile on my face, the shakes went away and he only took half an hour to push out and it ended up being my favourite part of the entire labour. It was so fun, I was like laughing through it.”
Smith revealed that her husband helped deliver little Harvey, passing the baby onto her chest. “It was amazing”, Smith said of the moment. “I was so excited to hear the sound of his cry because the night when we were in the hospital for the cervidil [labour induction medication] overnight, we could hear a newborn baby crying and I said to Josh, ‘The first time I hear him cry, it’s going to be like music to my ears, I can’t wait to hear his cry’. When I first heard him cry, I loved it. I was like ‘Oh my God, it’s you, you’re here!”
Such a lovely story! Congratulations again to Steph and Josh on the birth of little baby Harvey.