cesca, May 6, 2007 in Home Birthing
What a fabulous birth Candida! Congratulations to you, I am so damm glad that you found your inner strength at the end and demanded the birth you wanted. And fabulous for your Dh to support you in the end.
I just have to laugh however, at him trying to discuss middle names with you, whilst you are in labour. Men!
I would call it a planned homebirth. You knew you wanted it, it just took to the very end for your to demand it. But clearly you did what you wanted to do.
Congratulations. Thanks for posting it here, hadn't seen it in the birth stories section, I don't tend to go there that much, all the interventions make me sad.
Great birth story Candi!
And I am SO glad you ended up having a homebirth!
Dashy's homebirth story is here :
..and Maeve's freebirth:
Aaron's Birth story is here
Hi all. I had a hospital birth with my first son (now 2) but moved to the UK recently where they advocate more homebirthing and where it is covered under the National Health Service. I decided to give it a go and this is my story...
My husband was offered a 2 year placement on the Isle of Wight in the UK at his work’s head office. We were keen to take up the offer but first needed to fall pregnant. Our first baby was an IVF baby and was now a year old. We couldn’t exactly take our frozen babies on the plane in an esky so we needed to get organized and get pregnant before we left so we could have our children close together as I was already 37. After two cycles we fell pregnant with twins. Unfortunately we lost one of the twins at 12 weeks but feeling confident with our remaining baby, we packed up the house, rented it out, sold our cars and moved to the Isle of Wight. The remainder of the pregnancy was uneventful and I generally felt good with lots of energy.
In the UK homebirths account for only about 2% of the population but on the Isle of Wight they are about 8%. They are supported by the NHS (National Health System) and so you receive free care from a midwife lead team and homebirths are encouraged where possible and included in the NHS. You generally don’t see a doctor or obstetrician unless they have a concern. I went from a very intensive medical environment with round the clock monitoring from my IVF clinic to midwife supervision only and a planned homebirth. Exciting but a little daunting.
Drew was due on the 1st February but from about mid January I was having fairly regular contractions in the evenings. When I had these contractions I tried to visualize what was going on inside and tried to relax my body, generally sitting upright and giving my baby space.
On Friday 18th January I was getting a bit uncomfortable and felt I had next to no room left inside, but I still felt okay enough to take my 2 year old into a softplay park and even took him down the big slide! On the Friday and Saturday night I thought I might go into labour but didn’t but on Monday morning at 3.30am I woke up with a bit of cramping, I got up and had something to eat and drink and then stayed up and read a book to see if it was going to turn into more. Within 30minutes I knew I was in labour and woke my husband up at 4.45am. I was 38 weeks. By 5.15am the contractions were 5 minutes apart and we rang a midwife. With homebirths they provide one midwife for you when you go into labour and then send for another when birth is imminent to care for the baby. The first midwife arrived at 5.45am, the contractions were strong and I couldn’t talk through them but not painful. When I felt the start of a contraction I stood holding onto the back of a chair, leaning if necessary, and started counting and breathed through the counting, rocking slightly. Most the contractions only got up to about 12 but I had 3 big contractions where they got up to about 22 and I occasionally swore in between numbers towards the end! But only 3 bad ones! Then at 6.45am I wanted to push and we moved from the lounge room to a spare bedroom where the midwife laid out a ‘stock standard’ backyard tarpaulin! The pushing was hard work but my midwife just let me do what I wanted to do and I found myself in the strangest of positions which I never thought I’d want to be in! Because I was in my own home I really felt like I was the one in control and the midwife was there by invitation and was there to help me. I felt so powerful and instinctive and didn’t have any inhibitions, which surprised me, I'd say it was animalist even. I can’t quite remember when I took off all my clothes but I think it was as I walked up to the spare room, I suddenly arrived naked and can’t remember actually thinking or planning to take them off, it just happened. Each push I tried again to visualize what was happening and tried to imagine where he was in the birth canal. I gave birth on all fours and it was an absolutely amazing feeling. Up until then the midwife had not even touched me, I didn’t have any internal checks or monitoring. The midwife guided Drew into my hands and I stood up and made my way to the spare bed where my husband was watching. I hadn’t wanted any touching or massage so my husband spent half his time watching me and half his time feeding our 2 year old his breakfast in the lounge room. Drew was feeding within 10 minutes and wasn’t taken to be weighed or check until about half an hour. I had an injection to assist the placenta and although at home, Drew was still given Vitamin K injection and had all the normal physical checks you would have in a hospital.
By 8.30am I was in my own shower and then in my own bed where my husband bought me tea and toast. The midwife left at about 9 and our new family was alone in our home! At lunch time I had a visit from my local doctor to give Drew a checkover and we had another midwife visit in the afternoon. For the next 10 days I had home visits every other day or so to check on feeding and how Drew was going.
My labour was about 2 ½ hours long, it was intense and powerful and at times painful but it didn’t feel unbearable. I loved it and now that I've experience the alternative to a hospital birth, I can't understand why they are not the standard and hospital births the minority.
I just realised I had never added Tessa's birth story from Jan 07. I made it to feature member on EB this month , so thought I'd add her story to this thread too:
Growing up I dreamt of a white wedding and babies, but I never really thought about how those babies would enter the world. In fact, I don’t think I even considered it to be particularly important.
4 weeks pregnant with my first daughter, I remember looking into private Obstetricians because that was “just what you did” when you discovered you were having a baby. I guess that’s because that’s the only style of birth I’d had anything to do with. Soon after and not yet decided on my birthing choice, I heard about a seminar being held that would discuss birth options, so my partner Jono and I went along. It was here that I heard about less conventional means of birth, such as waterbirth. I also heard for the first time about Doulas and their role in pregnancy and birth. Interested, I phoned a Doula and later employed her. Our Doula was running some intensive birth classes and invited us along as her guests. I really can credit a lot of my choices regarding pregnancy/birth and indeed parenting, to these classes. They opened my eyes to more of the physiological aspects of birth and introduced me for the first time to the concept of “the cascade of interventions” that sometimes occurs in a more structured birth environment. The more I researched and spoke to people, the more I understood that a hospital birth was not for me, however I still did not contemplate a home-birth this time around. It was too much of an unknown for me to feel comfortable. I used the Canberra Midwifery Program and birthed my daughter Sophie naturally with Jono, the midwife, and my Doula by my side at the Birth Centre on Christmas Day, 2004. The birth went especially well, and we brought our new baby girl home several hours later. I remember thinking that the worst part of the entire experience was being a passenger in the car during transition, and that next time I would like to avoid that trip!
12 months later we found ourselves thinking about trying to conceive again. By now, I’d become very interested in the birth process and knew that I’d really love to homebirth any future children. Living in the ACT, the only option to satisfy a homebirth was to employ a private midwife costing upwards of $3000. Jono and I had been speaking about relocating to Perth, WA for several years and had heard about the publicly funded Homebirth Program offered there by Community Midwifery WA. Whilst not our sole reason in deciding to relocate, the availability of homebirth was a big influence.
We moved into our new home in Perth in April 2006 and soon discovered we were expecting our second child. I immediately lodged my application for the Homebirth Program. Places were very limited due to funding limitations, and were not allocated until around 12 weeks of pregnancy. In the months following, I would come to realise that I didn’t even make a contingengy plan in the event that I was not offered a place. I guess I always knew that I would homebirth this baby as long as it were safe to do so, and in hindsight would have used the Maternity Payment to employ a private midwife if I’d needed to.
The pregnancy progressed normally and at 11 weeks pregnant, I opened the letterbox to discover a letter addressed to me that was stamped from CMPWA. With trembling fingers, I opened the envelope and was ecstatic to discover I had been offered a place. I was in! Yippee!
I was allocated Linda as my primary midwife who would see me for any prenatal visits as well as attending the birth and post-natally. In addition, I was allocated a back up midwife who we would meet towards the end of my pregnancy. She would attend in the latter stages of the birth, too – or would become my primary midwife in the event that Linda was unable to.
At around 16 weeks, Jono and I met Linda for the first time at our home. Over a cup of tea and whilst Sophie had her afternoon nap in her room, we discussed my pregnancy and ideal birth. Linda was knowledgeable and she refreshed my own confidence in my body’s ability to birth this child safely at home. Although we had gently introduced the idea of a new baby brother or sister to Sophie (18 months), we started to give her a little bit more of information around this time. We read books about homebirth together – “Hello Baby” by Jenny Overend and Julie Vivas was a favourite. I can still remember pushing a loungechair around the room, demonstrating how making pushing noises helps when you’re working hard! Sophie was quite an expert at guttural grunting by the end of it all! We hadn’t yet made a decision about whether she would be present for the birth or not, and had agreed we would just wait and see what she wanted to do at the time, but to have my sister there as support for her.. Who knows, we figured if labour got serious during the evening hours, she may even be sound asleep and miss the action altogether! I was open to the idea of her being present, but also didn’t want to frighten her or be distracted by her in the late stages of labour. Looking back, I think my biggest difficulty would have been keeping her out of the pool. That’s not to say we couldn’t have had her in the water if we’d wanted to. Linda was open to discussing any of our ideas, and made sure to include Sophie during this first appointment. Every visit, she showed Sophie my tummy and guided her hands to feel the baby. Sophie listened to the baby’s heartbeat with a sparkle in her eyes, every time.
Linda had mentioned that some women chose to make a back up booking at a local hospital in case hospital transfer is required during labour and birth. We decided to make this booking with the major women’s hospital in Perth, and agreed to be referred for an intial visit – more than anything, just to have a file made up in my name. We asked Linda lots of questions that had been stewing in our minds and waved her goodbye that afternoon after nearly 3 hours of chatting, knowing that we had made the right choice.
At 21 weeks, I attended my scheduled hospital visit. I arrived there and unsurprisingly for this stage of pregnancy, needed to visit the restroom almost immediately. I was told I could not relieve myself until I’d been seen by a nurse and my urine tested. I’d also need to be weighed. I was gobsmacked! Here I was halfway through my second pregnancy, and I was being told what I could and could not do in terms of a natural bodily function. This was a lightbulb moment for me, and it simply re-iterated that hospital and all it’s associated protocols were not for me.
We decided not to do any of the prenatal tests or scans except for a 20 week ultrasound. For me, that morphology scan would provide the reassurance that all was well with my baby or provide some advance notice of possible complications at birth that I’d have wanted to be prepared for. I remain unconvinced regarding the safety of routine ultrasounds in pregnancy, and so our compromise was to do just this one scan, but to keep it as brief as possible. We saw our baby and all seemed well. The pregnancy carried on normally, with the usual aches and pains. We arranged ambulance cover through a health insurer, just in case of transfer.
For the rest of my pregnancy, my appetite for reading was insatiable. I read anything and everything I could find about homebirth, waterbirth and natural birth as well as possible complications and their management. We realised we would like to make waterbirth a possibility as itt seemed such a gentle introduction to the world. We could have hired a birth pool, but I’d learned about some inflatable birth pools that you could purchase. They seemed great, and so we sourced a display model from a Baby Expo, which we bought at half price.. I wasn’t sure whether I would want to use it for the actual birth (I had chosen to get out of the water to birth Sophie), but knew that it would be great for labour in any case. If not, it would make a great ball-pit or ice box for BBQ parties!
Around 37 weeks, I felt huge, and was convinced my baby would come early. I was having painful Braxton Hicks contractions that would have me on my hands and knees several times a day. By now I was having weekly visits with Linda and I’d also met Marilyn, my back up midwife. Linda had given me a list of items to collect for the homebirth and my EB friends were happy to help with old towels, blankets etc. We set the birth pool up in the retreat area of our bedroom and I used it a few times over the coming weeks just watching telly – easing the backache that comes along with late pregnancy. Jono was allocated the task of filling the pool when the time came, which felt like it would be soon, however Linda seemed to think birth wasn’t particularly imminent and estimated a 10 pound baby would arrive around my due date. Now I was getting scared! My confidence wavered somewhat at this point, but I knew my body had done this before and that we would simply transfer to hospital if I needed to. Linda made sure I knew what to do when labour started and reassured me that I should call her whenever I felt like it.
On the morning of 25th January, around 2am I awoke to a familiar pop and gush of fluid. My waters had broken. I raced to the ensuite and saw coloured fluid. My heart fell as I realised that if there was merconium in my waters, my waterbirth plan would have to be adjusted. Flicking on the light, I realised the colour was actually pinkish, so Jono phoned Linda. She reassured me that a tinge of pink was perfectly normal and that I should try and rest because I’d probably have my baby in my arms before lunchtime. She would wait for my next call. How exciting! Around 3am, there was only about a 4 minute gap between intense tightenings, so I sent my sister a text message on her phone to advise that it looked like we’d be needing her to come and help with Sophie today. She said to phone again as soon as we needed her. After posting a message on EB, we both went back to bed to try and doze but whilst Jono succeeded, I didn’t!.
At around 6.45, the contractions were strong and regular. Jono phoned Martina and she arrived soon after. We actually took a few photos at this time, and looking back now it seems so normal to see myself reading the newpaper around our own kitchen table during labour! That’s what I loved about my homebirth so much – life just carried on!
Linda phoned a couple of times throughout the morning, but I was managing well at home and insisted we were happy to be alone at this stage. I was in the pool, rocking from side to side trying to welcome each wave knowing it would bring my baby one step closer to us. Sophie kept popping in to give me kisses and mop my brow. When things got a bit more vocal, Martina took Sophie to the park and Jono phoned Linda. He described my breathing and that I had gotten in the pool. Linda said she was in the car on her way to another appointment, but was turning the car around and coming straight over. It wouldn’t be long now!
Linda came right in the middle of a contraction. I don’t remember her arriving. Jono told me afterward that she just popped her head around the bedroom door and watched me through the contraction, then tiptoed into the kitchen to set up her supplies. A few minutes later, she came in to see me, marvelling at how wonderfully strong the contractions were and re-assuring me that it was fabulous because my baby would be here very soon.
Sophie and Martina were pottering around. Jono was helping me, using cool towels on my forehead and pouring hot water over my back whilst I laboured on my hands and knees in the pool. Linda maintained a very subtle presence, never touching me or doing examinations. Not long after, I felt my baby descending through the birth canal. The memory of this still gives me the shivers even today. What an empowering feeling – my body was just DOING birth – all on it’s own and I was coming along for the ride! I heard Linda quietly phone Marilyn and give her a status report, suggesting she should attend shortly. Marilyn arrived with perfect timing – about 10 minutes before my body started pushing. She asked Jono if he would like her to take the photos so he could concentrate on being with me, and he agreed. We have some wonderful “action” shots of the birth that we would never have had otherwise, so I am forever grateful to Marilyn for her suggestion. The video camera was running in the corner of the room too, so we also have a full video at arms-length (not too graphic!) of established labour and birth. What an amazing memento.
After a particularly powerful contraction, I became worried about frightening Sophie, so Martina took her off to her bedroom and they sang songs and read stories for a short while before Sophie drifted off to sleep just 15 minutes before her new sister arrived.
My body was birthing this baby. She was coming NOW! Terrified of tearing (I had a nasty 3rd degree tear with Sophie’s birth), I used my own hand to support my perineum under the water. Linda suggested that I might like to gently touch the baby’s head or even gently press against it when I felt that familiar sting of crowning to provide support and time to stretch slowly. The instant I touched my baby’s head and felt that gloriously soft hair, I was able to continue - my strength had been restored. I called out “There’s so much hair” and heard laughter in the room. It’s my favourite moment to replay on the video, because it’s a moment of pure joy and lightheartedness during a very intense time.. It’s the moment I realised that I was doing it! My baby was so very nearly here!
A few more pushes, and the head was born. One more giant contraction saw the rest of the baby slide out into the warm water. Nobody had so much as touched the little darling, except me. Linda called out a little reminder to “pick up my baby” from the bottom of the pool. I think I’d forgotten that part! I scooped the baby up between my legs and rolled over to lean against the pool wall, so very very proud of myself and my baby. We’d gotten through it together, with my family around me.
We’d been told to expect a girl, so I had a look, and for a moment thought I saw a penis, but no – it was just the umbilical cord. She was a perfect little girl. We cuddled for a while in the pool, before I started getting contractions again to expel the placenta. I didn’t want to get out yet, so I was helped to support my weight on the edge of the pool for this stage. We looked at it, and Martina got the job of popping it into the prepared container to deal with later.
Supported out of the pool, I hopped into our very own bed with our very own baby daughter and we shared a breastfeed straight away. It was discovered that I had a second degree tear, but I declined stitches with the option to reconsider in a few days when we could see how healing was progressing. I didn’t want to have to take my baby into hospital now!!
Perfectly timed, Sophie awoke and came in to meet her new baby sister, who we named Tessa Claire. She had been born weighing 9 pound 6 ounces and was 55cms long with a headful of black downy hair at 11.40am. To this day, I couldn’t imagine a better way to bring a baby into the world. Peaceful (mostly!), with the comforts of my own home and loved ones supporting me.
Today, Tessa is a toddling 1 year old, who shares a special bond with her big sister Sophie (3). We’re moving house shortly, and I feel a sense of sadness that I won’t be able to gaze down at the end of my bed and see the exact place where my daughter was born. There’s been something so soothing about remembering that morning in our home. Still, we are moving to a new home, and we’re hoping we will be blessed with more babies in the future – homebirths of course!
So there’s my story – I got my homebirth, but I still haven’t had my white wedding!
And just some extra shots because I know I loved looking at "real homebirth pictures" when I was thinking about having my own! (more coming - I'm having trouble with re-sizing them)
Cooper's unplanned homebirth story
During the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy I had lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. After having a “strip and stretch” at 39.5 weeks, I also experienced mild cramping, a light “show” and lost my mucus plug.
So I didn’t think much of it when, on the morning of Saturday the 3rd July 2004, I started having more mild cramping, an almost continuous show, and a very slight leak of fluid.
After doing a big grocery shop in the morning, I came home and called the Birth Suite at the Royal Womens Hospital to ask their advice on the leaking. They told me to put a pad on and wait an hour then call them back. I did so, but after an hour there was virtually nothing there so didn’t even bother calling back.
Tyler and I stayed at home for the rest of the day, watching Spiderman, painting and reading. We were upstairs at approximately 2.50pm when I heard a car out the front. It was Natasha (who was staying with me at the time) and her friend, Leonie, both who Tyler knew from his old day care centre. So I said to him “Come on, we’ll go and see Tasha and Leonie”. Right at the moment that I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs, I had my first real contraction. It wasn’t too painful but I knew what it was. After another couple of minutes I had another, then another. I said to Tasha “You’re not planning on going anywhere too soon are you?” to which she replied “No” and I said “Good because I think I’ll need you”
I called Sue at approximately 3.00pm, luckily she was just down the road doing some shopping. I then called Jodie (my doula) and was a bit teary at this stage.
I remember hopping on the computer both to hide my tears and pain from Tyler and searched for a clock program with a second hand so that I could time the contractions. I found one and started timing them. They were coming at approx. 2 minute intervals and lasting around 30 secs each. I then asked Tasha and Leonie to take Tyler out somewhere as I didn’t want him to see me in pain. I kissed him goodbye and went upstairs – I know he knew something was going on as he was a bit upset too.
I was still timing them by the time that Sue got here at 3.18pm. She watched me timing them, then I asked her to go the bottle shop and buy us some wine. She ran up the road apparently and back again while I took myself upstairs for a hot shower. That was a comedy of errors as there was no room left in the shower for me after putting the huge ball in that I had bought (and not tested yet). Anyway, I stood up in the shower and got out just as Sue got back (around 3.40). She came to see me as I got out and we talked about going to the hospital. I was screaming by this time and she was concerned that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time so we decided to call the ambo’s. It was 3.53pm.
I went into the bedroom and was started to get dressed, discovered bleeding when I looked down (luckily I’d put a towel down on the white carpet). By this time Sue was on the phone to the ambos and told them. I got dressed somehow and put on the worst dress for birthing.. long and flowing but very tight around my boobs. It kept me from breastfeeding Cooper straight after his birth.
I went out into the loungeroom and tried a few positions – leaning over the lounge etc but mainly standing up as the pressure was just too much if I even thought about sitting down. It was about this time that I started feeling the need to push.
The ambo asked Sue to get me to lie down so she could check to see if the head was visible. The last thing I wanted to do was lay down but we ended up going into the bedroom again, where my waters broke with a big gush as soon as I sat down.
I remember concentrating on counting the stripes on a black and white jumper that I could see in my wardrobe. This was the best pain relief! I will always be grateful for that jumper!
Anyway, I laid down and Sue had a look but couldn’t see the head. Immediately after, at about 4.05pm the ambos came. The first thing I said was “Can I push now?” to which they replied “Yes” (in a casual type of way as they though they had no idea). They had a look but also couldn’t see the head. They said to me “He hasn’t crowned yet love”, almost as though they thought I wasn’t in labour…
I thought to myself “No because I’ve held back on pushing – you want to see him crown, I’ll show you” and pushed on the next contraction. At which point of course he crowned.
Next contraction I pushed again and his head was out, with the next one he was completely out. But lifeless. This was 4.18pm.
I sat up as best I could to see him and started getting worried, saying “Oh Sue”…
They tapped him a few times and put oxygen on him. After a few minutes he breathed and started crying!
I asked someone to get me a shirt to put on and started feeding him. Jodie arrived about now and suggested I birth the placenta at home. She got me a bowl, I sat on the loo and out most of it came at 4.40pm… (the rest was to come out a week later).
Then it was off to hospital for Cooper and I as Cooper had to have his heart monitored in special care and I needed lots of stitching up.
Dear Baby Jai,
Where to start…. Such a question as even minutes after my little boy was picked up by me I was still in denial that I had actually been in labour.
It was a Sunday, 2 days before your official due date. Jace came in to our bed just before your Dad had to go to work. We had a lovely cuddle whilst you were finding a more comfortable spot inside my belly. My last sleep in. I don’t think we got up till 9:30am.
I had a feeling that things had to get done today. I knew I had to somehow get out of the house and get a card for our wedding anniversary. I didn’t feel comfortable about leaving my home. I remember whilst at the newsagents the young girl serving us asked that dreaded question: “so when are you due?” I think I threw her when I said “tonight would be good just not tomorrow”. Whilst out I made a very spontaneous decision and decide to go and feed the ducks with Jace. We had just brought a loaf of bread. I was relaxed and nonchalant. We went back home and had lunch. All this before 11am. Jace had sleep so I had a big sleep as well.
3pm comes and Jace hasn’t stirred I know he didn’t actually go to sleep until 12:30pm, just reading his books. I get up and notice that I feel a little different. I have had a show. I’m now a little excited but know that it could be days away. I ring your Dad just to check that he will be home soon I’m quite anxious. I’ve also been walking heaps as it’s a little uncomfortable to sit. I can feel you moving and am happy knowing that all is well. What will be will be.
Your Dad comes home around 4pm and we decide I probably should call the midwife. He has noticed that I'm very blasé, and not really ‘there’. I know that my midwife won’t be back on duty for me until Tuesday, I’m not too concerned. I ring and the midwife is excited for me I explain that my tightening’s aren’t painful and they aren’t regular. I’ve only had a show. I say that I’m not in labour and just thought I should ring. This midwife isn’t too concerned but offers to come out. I don’t think its time and am not ready, my house is a mess. We agree that I will call back after Jace is in bed. My intuition is telling me that if I am in labour and it is going to be tonight it will all happen after Jace is in bed. I send your Dad and brother out to pick up some supplies for dinner, mmm homemade pizza. I rush around cleaning the house, floors scrubbed (on hands and knees might I add), bathroom immaculate, rubbish bins emptied, washing folded and put away.
Your Dad and brother come home and vacuum. I start preparing dinner. Now that I am standing still I'm in focus with you. I notice you are quieter and my belly is tight for a little longer then before. I decide to ring my Mum. I don’t tell her I'm in labour just that the midwives might be out tonight and not to worry. She laughs and says ok dear you’ll be ok.
We have dinner and bath Jace. I’m confused: I shouldn’t be eating if THIS is labour. It is only whilst reading you brother a story that I feel tonight could be the night that you enter our family. Jace gives me a big cuddle and accidently head butts my belly, you move around. The pain rushes through my body and stays in my back. I groan in pain, ‘down, out open’ I chant. It doesn’t let up, I feel as though I'm tearing down my spine. Jace calls out and reaches his arms up to me; he tries to climb out over the side of his cot. I call out to your Dad, “Scott, come quick”, I see the panic in my little boys eyes as I double over. Scott comes in and calms Jace. Finally I’m ok, the rush is over. I now have a back ache that is making me feel nauseous. I say goodnight to Jace and decide to time these contractions. The next one can’t have been more then 3 mins from the last. The pain is the same, I walk around flapping my hands, I bend over the bed and sway my hips. Oh where is the relief! Scott rubs my back. It ends. Something is telling me I need to get on the bed on my hands and knees and bounce. I do, I feel you move and a sense of relief comes over me. Down off the bed I wander around aimlessly. It’s too soon to get everything ready. I still need confirmation that this is IT. Another tightening. No pain just uncomfortable and a deep feeling. I call my midwife: “I'm still not in pain, I can walk through them, it’s so irregular, I just want to spew”. She laughs and asks why; I know I’m in labour when I spew. They are about 8mins apart and lasting about 30-45sec long. “I think we need to come out, it will take us a good hour to get to you.” I begrudgingly agree.
I announce to Scott the midwives are coming its time to get everything prepared. A look of ‘I told you so’ comes across his face and he goes about getting the birth pool set up, mattresses out and everything in its place. I'm still walking around with no sense of direction I get told to sit down and rest. It’s uncomfortable and frustrating. Whilst getting the midwifes things out of our wardrobe I feel sick. Luckily there is a bucket close by. I spew. That feels better. Your Dad comes in and asks if I’m in labour yet? I need to get clean and have a shower so I jump in the shower. Bliss I only want to rinse off but the water is so soothing and calming. I have another contraction maybe 5mins after the last; it doesn’t last long and is easy to get through by bending over into a squat under the water. I get out and am only mildly aware that the midwives are here. I say hi as I walk around our bedroom naked looking for my labour clothes. THIS IS IT I AM IN LABOUR. Its 8:38pm.
I offer for them to check the heartbeat and comment that I spewed. The midwife I spoke to on the phone laughs “so you’re going to have your baby soon then?” I'm not too sure. I need reassurance, they aren’t regular or hurting it’s so different to what I imagined. We chat about how I thought I would birth whilst Scott was at work and how Jace would be rushing for the phone and getting me a towel. Your heart beat is strong and everything is great. Your big brother is still awake and calling out. Not panicking just checking that all is ok.
We move into the lounge room and Scott leaves to make a cup of tea for the midwives. I haven’t met these particular midwives before I mention that they have attended a few friends’ births. I also ask how many homebirths have they assisted with. Upon remembering these questions later it might be taken as though I interviewed the midwives. I didn’t mean for it to come out impolitely. Both say a few but not many ‘official’ ones. I'm now back to being excited I’m staying home and my baby is going to be here soon. Another contraction I walk out to the bedroom walk up and down the hallway. Scott comes back in with the tea. I hear them telling him how calm I am and just so at ease. I walk back in and casually mention it is our wedding anniversary tomorrow. “Oh how many years”. “Just one. I don’t suppose I will be having sex tomorrow?” It was more a question and I was yet again after reassurance that this will keep going. Everyone laughed; I looked at your Dad and realized he was a little embarrassed. I think it is time for the birth pool. Your Dad goes to fill it.
I ask the midwives what they think. They said whatever I feel comfortable with. I asked about when I should have the group B strep douche (as I tested positive during pregnancy) before getting in the pool or after? I make it clear that I still don’t feel comfortable staying in the water to give birth. Just as one midwife prepares the douche another contraction starts I pace around the bedroom and then hear a strange sound as I feel warmness running down my legs. I stand over a bucket and catch most of it. “I think my waters have broken?” The midwife checks and says that we don’t have time to use the douche is that ok. I don’t care. I need to pee.
I move to the toilet: “are you sure it’s not the baby?” ‘YES’. Another contraction, things change. As I wee I feel you move, everything feels different. “Uaah No, baby” I yell and shake my head as I bear down. “We need a towel; do you have a towel to wrap the baby in?” “Yep it’s in the basket!” Your Dad yells out that he can’t find it. All I can manage to say is: “blue, bedroom”. It’s found after much discussion between the three of them. It doesn’t feel right sitting on the toilet all I can think about is how uncomfortable your Dad looks. “Do you want to get up” “Yes” “We’ll go into the lounge room, through the bathroom ok” “mmm” is all I can manage.
I get helped up off the toilet and we start walking through the bathroom between the shower and the bathroom. Down I go, on all fours. The tiles feel so good. Another urge to push as I arch my back and groan deeply. I can feel you moving down. I know its close but its all happening so quickly. Someone is asking if I want some pillows all I can do is nod my head. A midwife asks me to lift my hand I shake my head, it doesn’t feel right the tiles are so cool, I'm getting so hot and sweaty. I get reassurance that I will feel better after if I can just lift my knees and wrists. Somehow I manage and God it feels good.
I arch my back as I prepare for another push. I grunt and groan and wiggle my hips. I think I push for nearly a minute. It was a long one. I can feel the burning and it’s so hot. I feel as though this is the end of me I can’t go on. I wish someone would just pull the baby out. I am aware of you pushing your head down and then slipping back up. My mind ticks over, I don’t want you to move away, I want you to work with me. As I look up I can see your Dads mouth moving, but I’m not taking in what he is saying. I recollect my thoughts and realize I'm still at home, in our bathroom, I CAN do this. My baby is coming and it’s going to be really soon.
Your head has crowned. A give another little grunt after that push and your head slips out. With all that burning I can’t feel much just a slight extension of my body. A little heavier in the rear end. I'm offered a straw, I can’t move but am so hot. The straw passes through my lips and I drink in the cool juice. I'm getting uncomfortable again. Like I need to move my hips around in a circle and shake my baby out. My mind flicks to an image of a mare birthing her little foal. Where she is standing and does a full circle with the head out and by the time she finishes turning on the spot her foal has fallen out. If it were only that easy.
We are just waiting for another urge to push. I know this will be the last one. A midwife asks if I feel like pushing yet. I cautiously bear down. I stop. It doesn’t feel right. It feels so wrong like going the wrong way in a one way street. I shake my head. I know your head has been out for a while (3-4mins) and can feel you draining all the fluid that you have swallowed. It’s coming out your nose and mouth. I hear the midwives showing your Dad. You have your first photo taken and I think the flash startles you as there was some kind of reaction.
My legs tingle, and my back arches. I feel the power of another urge. Finally, I push with all my might. This must be the last push I don’t want to push anymore. The feeling is awesome. I grunt and groan as your body slides out. A midwife catches you and gently places you between my legs. I move backwards over you. I gently pick you up. So slippery and wet. You’re blue. I'm not panicked I gently place you over my forearm and rub your back as I say hello. More fluid is pouring out your nose and mouth. You cough and splutter and open your lungs. A huge scream fills the bathroom. I let out a big breath, as I had also been holding mine. My legs shake as I turn you over and sit back on my legs. “It’s a boy”. I knew deep within that you were a boy. I'm so thrilled that you are ok and healthy. “I didn’t even look, if he was a girl I would have been shocked” says your Dad. I can see the hugest smile come across his face. He is so proud.
We wrap you in the blue towel. I ever so carefully carry you out to the lounge room. You have a very short cord, just like your brother and I can only get you to just under my hips without it pulling through my engorged labia. Needless to say it is a very uncomfortable walk, me hunched over and you testing your lungs. I sit down and get comfortable. I lay you on belly. All is instantly quiet. Your skin is so beautiful, your eyes so big, blue and deep. You are content to just watch and nuzzle. Taking everything in. Your eyes meet your Dads as you look over my shoulder. You know who he is and wiggle when he places his hands on your back. We are left alone as a family whilst the midwives make calls and announce your arrival.
10mins later the after pains are getting stronger and I need to push. It feels different and harder work like going against gravity. I feel like I should change position but still want you on me. I tell the midwife that it’s there “just pull it out”. As I lean back on my arms and wiggle my bottom out it plops. It’s big and so glossy. We place it in the bowl beside us. At last I can get you into a better position to offer you my breast.
Your first feed is perfect. All in your own time about 40mins after your birth. You take one look at my nipple and latch on beautifully. It’s such a big feed for such a little baby. The midwives check me over only a few frontal grazes. I think these were from your cord. Your Dad cuts your cord 10mins before the midwives leave. They leave us at midnight to bond. You are fast asleep. But only for an hour. I grab something to eat and marvel at just how perfect you are.
You were born at 9:44pm and spent most of your first night awake and alert just taking it all in. Only going to sleep for an hour and a bit within your first 7 hours of being earth side.
After a few more breastfeeds you were just about to go back to sleep when your brother makes his appearance. You gurgle as your lying on my tummy and he rushes over and excitedly points at you. “bbub, babb” his telling us with huge smile. We explain that you have come out of my tummy and this is the baby. He gives you such a gentle kiss and tries to shove you off my tummy to kiss it. Nobody is going back to sleep now.
No transition and my contractions never got below 6mins apart. Technically I never was in established labour.
You weighed 3.54kg (7 pounds 15) and measured 49cm. Just perfect.
No interventions, No drugs. Just a peaceful, natural birth.
Thank you for such an amazing experience.
Love your Mum
Tehya's Birth Story
After feeling ill with flu like symptoms and high temps for the weekend and having contractions on and off from Friday afternoon, I had a show on Saturday morning and started having irregular contractions on and off for the rest of the weekend. They started up again on Monday around 1pm and continued for the rest of the afternoon. Around 4pm I started to feel ill again and had the shakes with temp and decided that I should go and have a lay down. I fell asleep til around 6.30pm when I awoke still have contractions and feeling even worse than before. I got up and went in for a bath thinking that if they were false labour pains that they would stop while I was in the bath. They didn't, I called my midwife Victoria from the bathtub to see if she could come and check me, also to let her know what was going on as her husband had to work nightshift that night so he needed to know asap to call in. Just as I was about to get out of the bath I got an almighty contraction, one that brought me to tears - of course all of my boys were hanging around the bathroom door at this time and witnessed it.
Victoria came and checked me and I was 4cm dilated, by this time Mum was here. Not long after my gf Jenny who was to be my photographer arrived. We decided that a walk was in order to get things speeding up. Had a couple of contractions on our walk but that was it, things had backed right off, in the mean time back at Mum and Dads house the pool had been set up and everything was ready to go. I conned Victoria into breaking my waters, something that generally isn't done in homebirths, just to get things happening again. Ok waters done, abit like Niagra Falls, there was so much. But it worked. Contractions started to hot up around now. Tried to stay upright and on my feet for as long as possible, just walking around the lounge room.
It wasn't too long before I started to feel the urge to push. I got into the pool which felt like heaven, I was immediately soothed by it's warmth. After pushing for what felt like forever, around 1 and a half hours and still no progress my midwife did an internal and found that I was only 6cms dilated. At this point I should explain that the whole idea of having a homebirth is to have minimal intervention and to just go with what the body is feeling as opposed to having internals which is why this wasn't noticed earlier. I was also found to have inpacted bowels, basically I was blocked up after being badly constipated for days. The pushing sensation I had been feeling was poo push not baby push, too hard to distinguish between. Neither poo nor baby could get out for one was blocking the other. At this stage I got out of the pool. This is where it gets alittle grose. My midwives decided to do a manual removal of the poo - sorry if tmi, then to give me an enema to clean me out. Fantastic I know. But it did the job thankfully.
I was absoulutely exhausted by now as I had been going alnight and it was now around 5.30 am I think. My midwife Victoria has a 4 month old who is being breastfeed so she decided that now would be a good time to go and feed her bub. She only lives 5 minutes away so I was ok with that, I still had the second midwife Jan there. My temperature was checked and it was found to be high and bubs heartrate had excellerated due do it. After a few words between my Mum - who wanted me to have some panadol as I'd had some in early labour when the same thing was happening and it worked for me and Jan - who is all for letting things go naturally it was decided that I would have some. Thanks Mum. I stayed laying on the blow up mattress we had just breathing through my contrations, so very hard to do when your not allowed to push and tried to let my body recover abit and regain some energy and finish dilating. This happened pretty quickly, maybe 40 minutes or so.
I could feel bub moving down as the pain in my spine was killing me, all I wanted was some counter pressure and everyone had left me alone, so here I was sticking my fist into my back trying to ease the pain. I started to feel bub coming and yelled out to let Jan know and to tell her to call Victoria up. I wasn't going to do this without her. Mum and Jan asked if I wanted to get back into the pool or to just stay on the bed as I was progressing well there. I briefly though about staying there then I remember how much I really wanted this bub born into the water and summons up the energy to get up and hop backinto the water. Again instant relief. I was having big pushing contractions and I was abit scared to go with them after what had happened earlier but soon I had no choice and my body took over. Victoria arrived and I was happy to start pushing now.
I pushed for 20 minutes, screamed and swore a hell of a lot, but finally my little girl came out. I had a mirror to loook into while I was pushing watching her progress and I truely believe that kept me going throughout it. Tehyas head came out, perhaps alittle too fast as I wouldn't stop pushing but Victoria slowed her exit down alittle stopping me from tearing thankfully. The next contraction came around about 2 minutes late I think, a fair while later and brought with it her shoulders and the rest of her body which I quickly reached down and caught as she came out and put her up onto my chest. She was covered in so much vernex that she actually looked preterm even though it was the day before her due date. She arrived at 6.35am on Tuesday 8th March.
We stayed in the pool for a while and Tehya had a little hat ut on her and a bluey put over her to keep in her temp. She stayed attached to her cord until it stopped beating, probably around 30 to 40 minutes later when I clamped her cord and Mark cut it. She was taken oveer to the mattress right next to the pool, still in eye shot, cleaned alittle and weighed and measured. They told me she weighed nearly 4kg but I truely couldn't see her as that big. The were using Jans scales which obviusly weren't acurate because I took her to get weighed the following morning at the chemist and she only weighed 3710gm or 8lb 2oz and was 50cm in length, her head 35 cm. So not tooo big afterall. I stayed in the pool until I had some more contractions and delivered the placenta in there naturally and without any shots.
We called the boys up around 7.30am, after I had cleaned up alittle and was laying in the bed. It was so good being able to share it with my boys so soon afterwards.
So there you have it. My home water birth story. Didn't go quite as planned, and lasted way longer than we had anticipated but still ened perfectly. With my beautiful little girl, who I might add absolutely loves her bath.
Tehya's Birth Montage
The birth story of Abbey Raine
My birth story should begin with some of my pregnancy story. I found out I was pregnant with my 5th baby on April 5th 2007. It wasn't a planned pregnancy and was filled with many a stressful time and many uncertainties. The one thing I was certain about was my love for this unborn baby and my dedication to it. My due date was 10th December 2007 going by my lmp. However by these scan's I was due 15th December, this is the date I chose to go by.
I had some bleeding early on in my pregnancy and was sure that I was loosing my baby due to all the stress. When I finally had a scan they couldn't find any baby. I was devastated. I needed have worried though. This was one strong and determined little baby; she was just taking her time to grow nice and strong.
We found out on July 13th at 18 weeks that I was expecting another little princess. WOW, after actively trying to get a girl with Tehya here I'd gone and got a little girl without even trying. I was a very happy mummy.
My pregnancy continued pretty normally, the only upset was the blood sugar levels. Thankfully they ended up being fine and I continued on problem free. Tiredness was the only downside I guess.
I had decided early on that I was going to have another home waterbirth with this baby too. Victoria kindly offered to attend this baby's birth just as she had done with Tehya. There was no way I could go back and birth in a hospital after already experiencing the wonders of homebirth and how much more gentle it was.
Jumping forward to a few days before Abbey's arrival. I had been feeling off in the stomach and just not right. By Saturday 24th I had a nice case of the runs. Contractions started that afternoon and by around 4pm I had to concentrate. I called up the hospital that I had booked in to just to see what they would say and of course they told me to come in for a check. I was put on the monitor and was having definite contractions with really good peaks. I had explained to her about the stomach cramps and the gastro, my thinking was that the cramps were making the contractions more painful than what they should have been. My stomach muscles were killing me.
The midwife was quite nice and read my file; she knew that I was a planned homebirth and that also I was a VBAC. She told me that I had 2 real options. I could be checked out to see where I was at and then get up and go for a walk. Or I could remain there but if I did so it was hospital policy as a VBAC for continuous monitoring. I told her I would get her to check out my cervix, see where I was at and decide from there but more than likely I will be just going back home. A quick check showed that I was only 1cm dilated. So up I got and left the hospital.
The minute I got out of the labour ward doors I called Victoria, my midwife to let her know what was happening. It is worth noting that she lives around 4 and a half hours drive away. Victoria has a shift that night but was happy to be picked up after it. So quickly the ball started rolling. It was approx 6.30 pm when I left the hospital.
Mum and I called through to the shop and grabbed some last minute birth things for me, like Gatorade (that never got drunk) and lollies (that never got eaten). My dad and DP were driving up to Port Macquarie that night and doing a return trip with Victoria. I only hoped that I would hold out that long.
Mum and I got home and the pool was already blown up as was the mattress. Good boys. Dad and Mark left around 9.30pm.
Mum went home and the kids were all tucked up in bed so I got on BB for a while. I chatted back and forth with Alan and was on msn with BG. Thanks for keeping me sane guys. I went to bed around 12am. And was up again by 5.30am with stomach pains I lay there wondering if it was contractions. Nope, I needed the loo again.
Mark, dad and Victoria returned around 6.30am on Sunday 25th and of course overnight everything had settled. Victoria walked in to a smiling face. Not what she was expecting I am sure.
I asked Victoria to do a VE on me to see if I had made any progress. Nope, still only 1cm, looks like the gastro was the cause of all the contractions. We all had some breakfast and a good chat. Around 10.30am my waters broke. There didn't seem nearly as much as there was with Tehya, but then bub's head was so low in my pelvis she was probably blocking half of it. Contractions didn't start up though so here I was with no water's and no contractions.
I called up a lady I know that does acupuncture and she came out and gave me a good strong session late in the afternoon. Victoria and I took a drive up to mum's house then came home, had some dinner and went for a walk.
With kids and DP all tucked up in bed, Victoria and I sat and watched the Idol final. My choice, not her's. I was dehydrated from the gastro so Victoria gave me some IV fluids. My contractions started up at around 9.30pm hard and fast. They were every 3 minutes and lasting only 30 seconds. Not long later they had jumped to 2 minutes but still only lasting 30 seconds. I was starting to become a bit more vocal during then. And the thoughts of "there is no way I can handle hours of this" came into my head. I honestly though I had ages to go, given the length of the pains.
Jump forward an hour or so and I tell Victoria that I need to poo. She tells me it's not a poo I need but a baby, but with my days of gastro I'm not risking it. It sure didn't feel like baby pressure. I get up and go to the toilet and of course there is no poo, its bub moving down. I stand up and get a big contraction, one that has me pushing. I say to Victoria I think it's time you checked me. At this time DP, was fast asleep, mum was at home sleeping and so was Nadine who was to do my photographs.
Ok so a VE later and I am 7cm dilated!! Crap !! Time to get that pool filled, Victoria wakes Mark up and he promptly falls back to sleep. I try to call mum and the phone rings out. She calls me back and gets "Get here now, quick !!" Victoria calls up Nadine and she too is on her way. By this time it is around 12.30ish perhaps a little later.
I get into the pool at 1am, ahhhhh heaven. That is what I needed. The warm water was sooooooo nice. Still my contractions are around every 2 minutes. I've given up timing them now, but they aren't lasting long. I wonder how the hell am I going to push a baby out on such short contractions. My stomach is killing me. Not so much the contractions but I am thinking more from the gastro. It hurt way too much to push. In a weird way though. Not like pain in the vagina or anything like that. The pain was solely in my stomach, very low down, like across my scar. I couldn't verbalise this though at the time.
So I did what every one does when it hurts too bad, I just wouldn't push !! Not sure how I thought I was going to get bub out but it wasn't with me pushing. I was still in denial that we were that close to meeting our little girl. The contractions weren't lasting long enough and I didn't have the urge to push at all. Victoria had told me several times that she was right there, and I even felt in and touched her hairy little head. This did inspire me to push though. So I tried and tried, although not as hard as I could have, and Abbey just would not move. She had been posterior up until her birth. We figured she turned sometime before coming out. Eventually I turned over and got on all 4's. I didn't want to birth this way. I wanted to be the one to catch Abbey. I wanted my hands to be the first to touch her.
I pushed so much better this way. I felt Abbey moving down the birth canal further, still no huge urge though. Not until she was almost crowing did I really feel that overwhelming urge. I pushed but only a little bit. I let my body push her down with little pushes from me, and pushed again without contractions to get her to move that bit more. It hurt less to push without the contraction there.
Just as Abbey was ready to come out Tehya woke up and out she walked. Mark was about to take her back to bed when I told him that if he did he was going to miss the birth. So Tehya sat on her daddy's lap, next to the pool and watched with big wide eyes.
Victoria asked me if I wanted to turn back around so I could birth Abbey the way that I had planned. I couldn't verbalise but I didn't move either. I knew within myself that if I moved all momentum may have been lost and I didn't want to ruin what was working.
As I made no effort to turn around Abbey was going to be born with me on all 4's. Now came the next issue. I kept lifting my bum up. So it was out of the water. If I was to birth Abbey in the water I needed to keep it down and under the water. I just couldn't do it. My back was breaking and I kept arching my back so my bum was out of the water. Abbey was going to come out into the air rather than the water. A couple more good pushes with and without contractions and her head was out. Didn't seem to take much and it sure felt smaller than the other kids.
Everyone was gushing and saying how cute she was and all I could think of was it's not fair, they can all see her and I can't. I had my head buried into the side of the pool and kept telling Nadine to take photos, take photo's. I was listening for my camera as it makes a sound but Nadine was using her own. That's why I couldn't hear it. The poor girl must have taken half a dozen pictures of Abbey with just her head out. (thanks hun) Abbey tried to give the tiniest cry but it was only a whimper and that was it.
The next contraction came and so did Abbey. Ouchies. That bit hurt. My beautiful little girl was out. Victoria caught her and waited for me to turn around to nurse my baby girl.
When I finally found the energy to turn around I was greeted with the most perfect little angel. All I could think of was how small she was. And OMG no red hair !! Abbey and I snuggled up in the pool for a while and Abbey made her way slowly towards the breast. She latched on perfectly. Wow this baby can suck.
All the while Tehya sat there quietly looking on. She stuck her head over the side of the pool after Abbey was born and I asked her if she wanted to hop in but she chose not to. Can't say I blame her.
Abbey's cord was left attached for 40 minutes until it stopped pulsating. I clamped and cut the cord of my final baby. What a bittersweet moment. This was the end of us being as one. Moving from one stage in her life and onto the next.
I handed Abbey over to Mark for him to nurse. Somewhere in the 5 minutes before this Noah woke up too. My 3 youngest children all got acquainted with each other. And many pictures were taken.
My uterus was not contracting enough though and I started to loose some blood. I knew that this was a possibility being my 5th baby. Sometimes the uterine muscles are just too stretched to contract back in and this is what was happening. The placenta was checked and was found to just be sitting inside of me and after a couple of pushes it was out.
I was feeling very weak in the legs. Mum and Victoria had to just about pick me up out of the pool and put me onto the mattress I had set up. Victoria sat there and rubbed my stomach, trying to get my uterus to contract. I lay there just about in tears. It was really hurting me. Eventually we succumbed and I had some synto to help me contract and stop the bleeding. Thankfully I still had the canula in my arm from the fluids I'd have earlier so no need to it again.
Abbey had cuddles with my mum, Victoria and then Nadine. And of course there were more pictures taken. Then it was time to check and weigh her.
Weight 3.2kg or 7 pounds
Abbey was a full pound lighter than Tehya who was my next smallest baby. No wonder she felt smaller.
Everyone had lots of cuddles of Abbey and we were finally tucked up in our makeshift bed for the rest of the night. Nadine packs up her camera's that she'd been busily snapping and videoing with and said her goodbyes. Mum leaves too. Mark has already taken the kids back to bed with him. And all is quite, just Abbey and I.
I'm not sure how long I lay there, just her and I. I could not take my eyes of my princess, she was finally here. And oh my, how gorgeous is she. The more I looked at her the more I thought that the name Abbey would really suit her. We hadn't yet decided on a name, but here, now, looking at her, she was so petite and a girly name seemed to really suit her. I told Mark we he finally got up that I though Abbey should be her name. It was settled.
I woke around 5am and needed to go wee so I very slowly made my way to the toilet but then was stuck there. I sat in there calling out to Mark, trying not to wake the household. Thankfully, finally he woke and helped me back.
Tehya woke at 6 am all bright eyed and wanting to see her new baby again. Yawn, only about 2 hours of broken sleep. What a night !!
In the days that followed Abbey's birth they have sure been busy. Mark had to drive Victoria back home on Tuesday, so the day after Abbey was born. I packed up and stayed at mum's house for the night after a break down. There was no way I could look after a 2 year old and cook for the big boys a day after birthing. I was exhausted. Mark got back on Wednesday morning.
I had my GP come out on the Tuesday afternoon do give Abbey and I a check over. Victoria had noticed that Abbey had positional talipes. This meant that the feet both turn in, the bottoms of her legs are also slightly curved. Abbey's fontanel is also quite small. It is opened and that's the main thing. It's just a matter of keeping an eye on it and making sure it stays that way to allow for her brain growth. Hopefully it will pose no other problem to her in the future.
My GP organized for Abbey to see a physio at the local hospital and we got in there on Wednesday, when she was only 2 days old. They aren't too worried about her legs and we have a follow up when she is 2 weeks old.
Abbey is going well and sleeping fine for now. She is jaundiced and is currently waiting for her blood test results to come back to see how her levels are and if she needs admitting for phototherapy.
So there you have it. My birth story of what I am thinking (planning) of my last baby.
My precious little girl Abbey Raine. (her middle name after my mum Lorraine)
A huge Thank you goes to my Mum for being there throughout my whole pregnancy, for supporting me through the hard times and holding my hand (and bucket) through one of the most joyous moments in my life.
Another Thank you goes to Victoria for making the journey down here and back home again so selflessly.
Thank you to Nadine for being a great friend and for taking some awesome pictures and video of Abbey's birth.
And finally Thank you to Mark for trying his hardest to be supportive during Abbey's birth. He was much more relaxed this time even though I know he's not keen on homebirth's.
As soon as I get some time I will make up a montage to go along with this story.
I hope you all got as much enjoyment out of reading my birth story as I have gotten out of Abbey herself.
Abbey's Birth Montage
As you can tell both of these stories were written not long after their births. Thank for reading.
Just adding this onto the sticky thread from the bowels of the forum.......
Gabrielle's home water birth, 22/9/2006
I don’t know how much cat breeding has to do with it, but to me, giving birth in our room like my girls do seemed like a natural, normal thing to do.
I had always said to my husband that I thought hospitals were for sick people and wanted to welcome our child in our home, so when we found out we were expecting in January 2006 I contacted the Community Midwifery Programme and filled out an application – we met our lovely and relaxed midwife and my very supportive GP wrote out the bloodwork and ultrasound referrals etc… all at once so I only had to make one trip to her for my whole pregnancy.
Slight digression: I’m sure other people here have asked this before, but why is it that when you tell people that you are pregnant, first they ask “which OB/Dr are you with” followed by “what hospital will you be going to?” And when you tell them that you are planning/had a home birth, they look at you as if you’ve just said “Hitler was just misunderstood” ?? I always just say ‘what are your plans?” which I hope doesn’t make anyone feel they have to give out any more information then they feel comfy with.
We encountered quite a bit of negativity in terms of birth and labour horror stories - MIL (to her defense, she had 5 hospital births and this is her first grandchild) mentioned at least once in every conversation some new story of a friends’ baby’s complications or DH being born with the cord around his neck. My Mum was better, she knows what sort of person I am and she did not say anything negative at all but confided afterward that she did pick my paramedic BIL’s brains because she was concerned. The result was that by the time we started our preparation-for-parenting classes, our defensive mechanisms were well and truly honed.
What a relief it was to meet like minded people !!!! Here were five couples, three planning home births, two mid-wife supported hospital births, with Taryn our facilitator who treated us like ‘normal’ people again! I really, really looked forward to those weekly sessions for my dose of reaffirmation that I was not an irresponsible mother-to-be but just someone who wanted to give birth and not ‘be delivered”
End of digression, I promise !
To make a long story shorter, I had a perfectly normal, easy pregnancy. No morning sickness, no dramas, just a growing belly with a future member of Riverdance tapdancing her way across my bladder and back. I was expecting to go over the EDD – I always say that the ‘E’ stands for ‘estimated’ not ‘exact’ – so on EDD + 2 days and sick of telling people who called that no, she hadn’t been born, I went to a towel sale. I waddled around, picked out towels, and told off (rather loudly in hindsight) some rude woman that pushed past me in the queue and nearly knocked me over ( I actually said “If I can queue at 9 months pregnant, so can you” and you should have seen the reaction when - as I tried to calm the somewhat startled people near me who now looked at me as if I were about to explode – by saying ‘don’t worry, if I go into labour now, at least we have some towels handy”).
I got home, washed my new towels, and returned a bunch of ‘is she born yet’ calls. I hung up the phone at around 5:30ish, having just told a girlfriend that there were no signs of labour at all yet. Nothing, no BH, nada. I pottered about for a little while, fed the cats, then go to the loo, and notice a slight staining - maybe I’m getting a show, I thought. I rang DH, who was finishing work before starting 4 weeks leave. No need to hurry, I say, but I think I had a show and something’s starting. I called my midwife, we chat. She tells me laughingly that she’s planning to see the Dresden Dolls in concert, they start at 10pm, but she’ll be holding the phone so she’ll feel it vibrate if it rings. I hang up.
I get a very strong tightening right across the lower part of my back. It’s strong enough that I feel the need to stop walking to the lounge room and concentrate with my hands in the middle of my back. Think to myself “a contraction, guess she must be coming sometime this weekend”. 15 minutes later I get a contraction so strong I dropped to all fours and rock and moan through it. I don’t think you really can gauge time that well but it felt like it lasted for about 2 minutes. I remember thinking “ I thought you could do stuff during 1st stage labour” when the next one hit. And I mean hit – strong, demanding, I-am-a-contraction-pay-attention-to-me hit. I’m now on all fours in the hall thinking I can’t stand, I can’t talk, how can I call back the midwife ? I hope DH ignores my ‘don’t hurry’ comment and comes home now and the contraction eventually goes.
DH gets home – YAY!!! “Call the midwife” I say. He (rationally) starts asking me questions - how many, how long etc… I (irrationally) say ‘stop asking me questions, call the damn midwife’ and he does. Another one, longer this time and another right on top. I an getting annoyed – I thought there was supposed to be breaks between contractions, and I’m not getting any. It was like being hit with waves in the surf – one on top of the other. I suddenly feel that clothes are irritation, so I take mine off. I can sort of hear DH talking on the phone, Linda has asked him to ask me something right at the peak of a contraction and I snap back “STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS” in my very best impression of a possessed Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters. The midwife tells me later that she heard my tone and knew she’d better leave now, if not sooner.
We filled our bath, lit a candle, set up the tv ( I say we, but it really was DH as I was not really in any way, shape or form helping – unless you count snapping - with contractions coming thick and fast. I got in the shower over leaning over the fitball while I waited for the bath to fill and lost track of time quite frankly. I had extremely sharp pain along my left lower back – our daughter was posterior and I felt her taking the long way around. I found vocalizing and arching helped somewhat and pushed my feet against the shower wall to ease that sharpness (breaking a toe in the process, stupidly !).
The midwife arrived, and one quick look had her calling the back-up midwife to tell her if she left right then, she should arrive before the baby. She told me to do what I liked, she could see something coming. My waters bulged out, and we had time to put some towels down (not the new ones, thankfully) before I heard them pop. The midwife told me that if I wanted the waterbirth we had planned, I’d better get in now, so I squatted in the bath and leant on DH knees with the midwife putting pressure on the sore spot on my lower back. I remember saying “Child, get out now – right now”
I recall three distinct pushes where I felt her move down, and the midwife told me to put my hand down between my legs to feel her head out (I later found out that was to help me slow down so I wouldn’t tear). I put my hand down and felt fingers and her face – one more push and she slid completely out into the water, looking up at us, her hand on the side of her face. “Lift her up” said the midwife and DH snapped a photo as her head broke the surface of the water and she took her first breath. I heard the back-up midwife *I hadn’t heard her arrive) say “born at 8.52” and I snuggled her, still in disbelief that she was here and so pink!! She didn’t cry, and I could feel the cord pumping away. The midwife asked us had we picked out a name - I just looked at DH – we had a shortlist, but had said we wanted to see her first to see what name she looked like – and he nodded and said “Gabrielle Paige” which was so right . It was only then that we decided to check she was actually a she !
I decided to get out of the bath to wait for the placenta – and realized I was shaking quite badly and was very cold all of a sudden. The midwife was ready for that with some warm towels and some socks and got me to walk over to the bed. I tried to sit down, but was feeling quite strange and very uncomfortable, and so went into the loo where I gave a little push and out cam the placenta in a rush into the waiting bowl with such a plop that the midwife got splashed all over her jeans. The midwife then opened her pack of instruments - there had not really been time before – and we cut the cord. I then was able to comfortably sit and snuggled in bed with our DD, feeling ravenous, so sent DH to the kitchen to get some of the snacks I had arranged in preparation of a longer labour to keep my energy up
My labour, from go to whoa, was just over 2 hours and 20 minutes which is apparently termed ‘precipitous labour’ and is not very common, especially in first time Mums – and was not something I had heard of other than as a one-liner and hence wasn’t expecting at all. I had a little graze, but no stitches – which was surprising given that it was fast and that she was a compound presentation with her hand on the side of her face. Although painful, it wasn’t anything my body couldn’t handle and I think we had a harder time convincing people that she had arrived so expeditiously than we had giving birth to her !
Oh yes - and my midwife made it to her concert afterall – wearing a pair of my jeans since hers were not exactly fit for wearing in public.
Wow mewsings, what a geat birth! From one precipitous birther to another, well done Thanks for sharing.
Mason Birth Story
My first birth was a private hospital birth. I was completely over being pregnant by 38 weeks, and my Ob had been concerned that my babe was measuring big, so after a sizing scan was done, she decided to induce me. At 38 w 5 days I was induced with Syntocin and 12 hours later I had birthed my first son, Byron. You can find his birth story here. In short though, I thoroughly researched birth, while I was pregnant, I wanted it as calm and natural as possible. I wanted to be active, birth in a position to prevent tearing and ideally have no pain relief. What I had was a cascade of interventions, a labour where I was attached to the bed and monitors, threats of having not progressed far enough along, so a ceasar may be necessary, pushing on my back with my legs being held and a second degree tear. I may sound very negative about the experience, I suppose I still am about it all, especially now knowing how amazing birth can, and should be.
I had considered a homebirth with my first son, but In all honesty I wasn’t ready for it. I wish I was, but I still had some fear of labour, and of any possible risks. I hadn’t realized yet, just how risky it can possibly be to birth in a hospital as well. I lurked in the homebirthing threads in EB, and was amazed and so interested. I knew that when I had my next child, it would be a homebirth. When I fell pregnant a year after my son was born, I immediately applied to the Community Midwifery Program in WA to see if I could be approved. We are so lucky in WA that we have a program that is government funded for approved homebirths. My husband was quite hesitant. He knew I hated my first birth, but he was concerned about the risks of a homebirth. We discussed it thoroughly and I pointed out all the positive research, and in the end I basically said that there was no way I was birthing this baby in a hospital. Just as I had feared a homebirth with my first labour, I now feared a hospital birth, and felt safe at home. He agreed, and I was over the moon when I was accepted into the program and Corrie was my midwife.
I first met Corrie at about 22 weeks, and I was elated, she was calm, friendly and I felt so comfortable with her. I had a very easy, lovely pregnancy. She continued to visit my house for our lovely appointments and I continued to grow both physically and mentally. I was an advocator for calm birthing and was so looking forward to my upcoming labour. I kept very active during my pregnancy, and even did my daily 5km walk 5 hours before I gave birth. Im sure this helped with my relatively quick labour.
My husband works away, and wasn’t due back until 2 days before my ‘official’ due date. This made me a little nervous, however I was completely prepared to labour on my own if need be. Thankfully, he managed to come home a week early, and as it happened Mason arrived the day he would have been due back! We spent the final week of being a family of 3 preparing for the new arrival to our family and spending precious time with our first born. I was feeling slightly ansty waiting, I was so eager to meet our new babe, and im very impatient. Id also been experiencing ‘pre-labour’ for a few weeks, period pain and contractions every 5 minutes that would then fizzle out after an hour, so I hadn’t expected to get to my due date.
The few days leading up to the Tuesday I was awake for at least 3 hours each early morning feeling like labour was about to begin. Painful contractions and back ache, but it always went before it progressed further. I was feeling tired and knew that my husband would have to fly away again for work within 10 days, so I called my midwife for a chat about what she thought. She suggested we do an internal and stretch and sweep if I wanted it. Its not common practice for this to happen with homebirths, however I wanted it, and she didn’t mind. She came by at 8.30am on the Tuesday, and I was pleased to find I was 4cm dilated, could be stretched to 5cm, and 75% effaced. She thought today or tomorrow would be the day. I was ecstatic; not long till I got to meet our babe.
I dropped Byron off at daycare as he is there on a Tuesday, and walked around the river with our dog and a friend, just in case anything happened. Everything was ready to go at home, so I wasn’t at all nervous. I had contractions about 5 minutes apart while walking and it was about 10.30am. I came home, and my contractions got stronger, so being the organized freak I am, I told dh we were going food shopping, as I wanted chicken noodle soup for after the birth. He thought I was being ridiculous, but came anyway. Contractions were about 4 minutes apart and getting very painful as we walked around Woolworths. I must have looked so funny leaning over the trolley every few minutes. We got home at about 12pm, unpacked the food shopping, I hopped on EB to update my parents group from my first child and got through the contractions leaning over the fit ball. They were very painful by about 12.30 so I told dh to get organized with the birth pool, and I called our midwife to let her know that I thought I was in labour, but I was ok and would call soon. As it happened she was at the office only 10 minutes away, so I felt comfortable not getting her to come yet.
We are lucky enough to have met a lovely fellow Eber, Fiona Colvin, just after I had my first son who is a incredible professional photographer, and have been fortunate to have her photograph most of the special events in the last few years. She had offered to photograph the birth for me, as I had expressed interest in it and we have become good friends, so I felt completely comfortable with her being at the birth. So I texted her and told her I thought she should come soon if she could. We were both so happy it was a daytime birth as this had been our worry, a flash through labour would not have been nice.
About 1pm I was in lots of pain. I jumped through the shower as dh filled up the birth pool. It was 1.30pm when Corrie arrived and I had about 3 strong continuous contractions leaning over the couch while she checked the baby’s heart rate. At 1.50 I was really uncomfortable so jumped in the pool. It was beautiful and hot and took the edge of my contractions but gosh they still hurt. You really do block out the memory of that pain!! I was only comfortable on all fours leaning over the side of the pool and stayed like this till our baby was birthed. I had no idea how far along I was, and thought I could potentially be ‘wasting’ my midwife’s time. Fiona arrived at about 2.20 and set up and tried to talk to me, but I could barely respond. Contractions were constant and I murmured to my midwife about breaking my waters to speed things along. She said we defiantly could, but I couldn’t move so we didn’t worry about it.
About 2.30 I started feeling lots of bottom pressure, I thought I needed to go to the toilet, but I was pretty ‘cleaned out’ so didn’t move. Corrie told me to go with the feeling, and push if I felt like it. The urge was so strong, and although painful, it was almost relieving. Two pushes later and I had a feel to see if I could feel a head. I felt something but wasn’t sure it was a head. Another push and the head was out. Such a strange feeling when the baby moved its head to the side. What relief I felt!! My midwife told dh to have a look into the water and see our baby, and he was so surprised. One more push and he would be here, but I was so thirsty I refused too until someone got me a drink!! Fiona ran and got it, and then one more push and he was out in the water. I pulled him up onto my front and sat back in awe of what had just happened, so quickly. It was 2.45pm on the 09-09-08.
We cuddled in the pool for about 30 minutes, staring at our gorgeous new arrival. DH then cut the cord, and I hopped out and had a beautiful feed with our baby, while waiting for the placenta. I called my best friend Amy, who had been my support person at the birth of Byron and told her the news, and she came straight over from work. She was so surprised to see me up and walking to the shower so easily after the birth. DH and I talked names and we decided on Mason Parker. Parker because my maiden name was Parkes and we wanted to incorporate it. Placenta was birthed easily about 30 minutes later, and I went and had a shower while dh and Corrie did all the checks on our baby. DH also went and got Byron from daycare and brought him home to meet his new brother.At exactly 4.00pm I popped the news on EB and we popped the champagne open, celebrating our beautiful new baby boy. Labour was 3 hours 10 minutes including over an hour for placenta birthing.
I felt incredible. I cannot put into words what an amazing experience it was for us all, and as I sit here five days later typing this, and looking at my beautiful calm new baby, I cannot think of a more beautiful way for a baby to come into this world. My homebirth truly was incredible and we are already looking forward to doing it again in the future!!
Here is a link to my home birth story:
Milly's Home Birth
I was sure my baby would be late, first babies are ALWAYS LATE. So on my due date I booked the farrier to trim my horse's feet. That went well and it was lovely to be outside playing horses. I'd been having Braxton hicks for ages so thought nothing of them.
My midwife was away for the weekend, but when the stand-in midwife phoned that evening and asked if I wanted her to pop round I told her not to bother as there was nothing happening at my end..
At 10pm I was sitting on the toilet and my waters broke - no warning. I sheepishly phoned the midwife. She came round, had a chat, checked that the baby's head was engaged and suggested I try to get some sleep and ring when I needed her.
The contractions were about 15mins apart and not that painful but I was way too excited to sleep. DH and I set up the birth pool in the lounge room. At about 1am I couldn't lie in bed for contractions anymore, so got up and started roaming around. We phoned the midwife at about 1.30am. Dh was boiling kettles and urns to fill the birth pool.
I didn't have any vaginal examinations, the midwife checked the babies heart rate regularly and was happy with the way she was coping. I walked up and down the hall for most of the time - stopping to lean on the kitchen bench during contractions, I found pressure on my back really helped and squashed myself against the wall with my head on the bench, fabulous!
At about 4am I asked DH if he was ever going to finish filling the bloody pool, things were getting intense and I vomited. I hopped in the pool at this point and it was absolute bliss. The pain relief was incredible and I could relax totally between contractions.
At about 6.30am the second midwife arrived. At this time I started struggling a bit with the contractions. I really wondered if I would be able to do this and was thinking of going to hospital. My lovely midwife encouraged me and suggested some different positions and breathing. This helped and I felt that I was getting somewhere again. We opened the curtains and the sun was streaming into the loungeroon and was warm and caressing on my face.
At 8.10am the baby started crowning, I was still in the pool leaning forward on my hands and knees. Everyone wanted me to feel the head, but I was way to overwhelmed and caught up in the contractions. The midwife got me to stop pushing and pant so that she would crown slowly, then her head was out and in DH's hands. It was ages before the next contraction and everyone was getting anxious, then it came and she was out.
We lifted her out of the water, the cord was incredibly long and wrapped around her neck and again around her body, which is why the midwife had been unable to untangle her during the birth, she was a bit blue and was given a puff of oxygen, then pinked up beautifully.
I was bleeding rather a lot, so hopped out of the pool and lay down on the floor with Caitlin snuggled against me. I was given oxytocin and manoeuvred to the couch where Caitlin had her first breastfeed. The placenta eventually emerged when I was sitting on the toilet, skilfully caught by the midwife who managed to squeeze her way into our tiny bathroom. DH had skin to skin time with Caitlin while I was doing this. I was then tucked up in my own bed with my beautiful baby while everyone else cleaned up and brought me juice and toast. Bliss!
I had a minor skin tear but nothing that needed stitches.
I initially planned to give birth to my first baby in the local public hospital, but the more I researched, the more I realised that it wasn't for me. I was concerned about the over medicalisation of birth and about a cascade of unecessary intervention.
So I found a midwife and decided to give birth in a private birth centre. She pointed out that my house was the same distance from the hospital as the birth centre so why not do it there? People though I was crazy for a) considering a home birth at all and b) having a first baby at home. It was wonderful and I would definitely do it again.
Just wanted to announce the birth of my beautiful little man
Taylor Geoffrey born 2nd March 2009
7 pound 13 ounces (3.55 kilos)
51 cm long
1 hour 20 minute labour at home in water.
Birth story is below. Thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement leading up to my homebirth, this forum really did help me to decide I had made the right decision regarding a homebirth and I couldnt imagine anything more amazing.
Taylor Geoffrey Barrett Born in water at home Monday 2nd March 2009
After two very different but equally amazing labours with my first and second babies I tried very hard with my third pregnancy to let go of expecations. My first labour was fast ( 4hours 48 minutes) but quite managable and incredibly empowering, my second was super fast(1 hour 40 minutes) but extremely intense and almost unbearable. So I spent most of my third pregnancy hoping for a longer labour but expecting a quicker and even more painful experience.
Although my third pregnancies was relatively free of complications my life in general was extremely stressful and as a result the pregnancy flew by. I suffered
from hyperemesis for the first 7 months, this was treated with zofran and nowhere near as debilitating as it had been with my first two pregnancies at which time I
didnt know about the miracle drug that could keep me upright. I was finally able to stop taking the zofran at 28 weeks. Having been quite small for dates at my 18 week scan i had a follow up scan at 32 weeks to check on bubs growth. He was still measuring small and so started the stress of Intrauterine growth restriction.....the Dr was quite sure that bub was not thriving and would possibly need to be delivered at 37 weeks via induction. I was
completely against the idea of induction as this bubs was a planned homebirth and I knew with induction I would be stuck in hospital on a bed with monitors and drips tying me down.
My homebirthing midwife was extremely supportive and after chatting with my Dr it was decided that as well as the 35 week growth scan we would have another at 37 weeks and check on bubs progress. As it turned out he had a massive growth spurt and caught up to his dates within those
few weeks so at 38 weeks after all the stress of having an early and possibly tiny bub, the home birth was back on and I was back to waiting impatiently for our little one to arrive.
The last few weeks of my pregnancy were horrible, I was so uncomfortable and tired chasing a 3 year old around as well as dealing with my dad being diagnosed with bowel cancer and having major surgery that d-day couldnt come soon enough. As it turned out that day came and went without any baby. It was the next day that things finally started to happen.....
I woke up at around 7.00 am after a long night of braxton hicks, nothing unusual after having sleepless nights for over a month. As I went to get up I felt a small pop and wondered what bubs was doing as he had a habit of pulling his head up and down suddenly. After going to the loo
I stood up again to find that I was leaking fluid, at first I assumed it was my shoddy bladder not working the way it should but after walking around a little I realised that it was possible my waters may have been leaking. I phoned my midwife and she agreed that if I was still dribbling at 11.00 am she would come and do a quick check to see if it was forewaters (ie the possible start of labour) or hindwaters which could continue to leak for weeks....come 11.00 I was still dribbling when my
midwife came to see how I was doing. There were still no signs of any contractions and the leakage was so slight
that we agreed being past dates it might be beneficial to do a stretch and sweep and see if things picked up at all. As soon as she did the internal the leak became more substantial and we both realised that I would be having a baby some time in the next 24 hours. I was a little stressed that if the contractions didnt start within 48 hours I may end up being induced due to infection risks, my midwife was certain this wouldnt happen. We decided that we would go about our day as normal as I knew
I would go insane if I sat at home waiting for things to happen.
At 12.30 we went to my parents house for lunch to celebrate my dads birthday (which was the next day) while the kids were home from school and daycare. Lunch and the afternoon was uneventful so we decided that we would go out to dinner and have a break from the kids for a while to celebrate our anniversary (also the next day). Dh and I thoroughly enjoyed our night together talking and remenicing...after three trips to the toilet to change my
increasingly soaked pads we got up to leave when I decided I would go to the loo again just in case I had another big leak....well as luck would have it the minute I walked into the bathroom there was and explosion of waters...I was soaked, and my dark jeans didnt hide the fluid very easily. After mopping up the floor the best I could with paper towel and attempting to dry myself under the hand dryer I waddled out to the dining room and told my husband we would not be ordering desert as i was soaking wet.
we paid the bill and headed home both excited that things were starting to happen. The kids were still at my parents place so I called and asked if they could drop them home rather than us coming to pick them up. When we got home it was bedtime for the kids and action time for me. DH and My dad settled the boys into bed and when they finally did fall asleep after a very exciting day my parents headed home and left us to it. My midwife had mentioned that most home births happen when children are asleep and mums are relaxed so I was half expecting things to hold off until I went to bed myself but as it turned out the contractions kicked in less than 10 minutes after the kids were asleep and my parents had left.
My first contraction was strong and painful but not enough to convince me that this was the real thing...after another three intense contractions less than 2 minutes apart i decided to sms my midwife and let her know that things may be happening. At 9.30 I sent her a message telling her that things were starting and I would call when i was ready for her to head over. At this point I asked DH to fill up the birthing pool just in case and he sprang into action lighting candles, finding cds and filling the pool in expectation of another short labour.It only took two more contractions one after the other to convince me that my time was short so I called the midwife and asked her to come out asap. At this stage I was in the loungeroom leaning over my fitness ball on my knees breathing throught he contractions, every time one hit all I could think was how much I wanted to get in that pool but how I needed to be patient and wait until the midwife got there so she could tell me what to do, in hindsight I know she would have just told me to go with it but at the time I think I was looking for her confirmation that I was actually in labour when it was quite obvious that I was.
About ten minutes after making the call my midwife arrived and gave me a huge hug, telling me that she knew everything was going to go exactly as I had hoped. While she got everything she needed out of her bag I told DH that I definately needed the pool now. By now it was
about 10.00 and the contractions were still coming thick and fast. Bubs was sitting prosterior so the majority of my pain was in my back as it has been with DS1. After helping me into the pool both my midwife and DH asked if I needed anything, I asked dh for water and satisfied that
I was happy on my own my midwife left me in the room to work through my contractions quietly. By the time DH came back with my water I had hit transition and asked him for a bucket to be sick.....after one horrible spew that hit right in the middle of a contraction I knelt back on my
knees and said something like "wow transition already this is nearly over" at this stage my midwife called the backup midwife and told her that things were starting to get close and could she please come out to be there for the birth (a second midwife is usually present to care for bub in case anything goes wrong with mum) While my midwife was on the phone in the other room Dh was supporting my head and asking what I was feeling, I reached between my legs and said almost sarcastically "I'm feeling a head" he laughed before realising that I was literally touching our babies head. At this point I though I could feel a soft squishy cord presenting before the head and asked kel to mention this to the midwife, not expecting the head to be close at all my midwfe got out her torch and mirror and checked to see exactly what was going on down there, what I could feel was indeed the head and the soft squishy bit were his little bones overlapping ready for the birth.... My midwife told me encouragingly that I was ready to go and
as soon as I felt the need I should go ahead and push... what I didnt tell her is that I already had a few times and bubs was about to crown...breathing through the contractions I told Dh that he should move to the back of the pool so he could catch his son. This is the point of labour that I had been dreading, with DS1 and DS2 I have split terribly needing dozens of stitches and antibiotics during the healing process...this time around I was determined to make sure I didnt rush things and let bubs decend slowly. Once I felt the urge to push I slowed down my breathing and tried to let bubs decend on his own
with little help, when I felt things going too slowly I gave a gentle squeeze but until I felt that ring of fire I was determined not to do anything to rush things. When I did feel bubs crown I gave a slow,long,hard push and felt an enourmous relief when DH said his head had been born and it was just his shoulders and body to go....with the next contraction I took deep breaths and let my body push the rest of our baby out without letting my head get in the way. As our baby slid out into the water I held my breath and waiting for DH to pick him up and with our midwife help pass him through my legs and into my arms. At
this point I sat back on my legs and lifted out baby boy out of the water and onto my chest. As soon as his face hit air he opened his mouth and let out the tiniest noise before taking his first breath....then he opened his eyes and looked around as if he had been right there with me all along. After looking around at the pool, midwife, Dh and myself he then closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, completely relaxed as if he had no care in the world. It was absolutely amazing. The second midwife arrived soon after and couldnt believe that she had missed the birth commpletely. My main midwife sam said that she had never seen a more controlled, relaxed and silent homebirth...she was so excited that she even cried a few minutes after it was all over, what was an awe inspiring experience for us has also been a first for her. At this stage I looked at her and asked what time it was so we had a record of his birth and she checked her watch a little shocked that it was 10.50 exactly 1 hour and 20 minutes after I had my first contraction, here I was sitting in the birthing pool holding our little boy in our arms.
Soon after Taylors arrival DH woke our oldest son who had asked to be a part of the experience. He came in and had a hard time realizing what was happening, he walked in a little nervously and gave taylor a kiss on top of his head, then he told me he loved me and walked out again, DH went out to see if he was ok and he was sitting on the couch holding the dog in his lap, kel asked if he would
like to help cut the cord and he said no thankyou he was too tired, so dh gave him a big cuddle and put him back to bed, not what I was expecting at all but at least we gave him the option.
About 20 minutes after Taylors arrival I felt ready to get out of the bath so DH cut the umbilical cord and took bubs while the midwife helped me out.We walked down to the bedroom where there was a lovely nest of towels and blankets for me to snuggle into with our bub. Laying on my side I gave our little boy his first breastfeed and was absolutely amazed as he looked up into my eyes sucking away, i couldnt believe that he still hadnt really cried at all. He was so clam and relaxed. During the feed my parents arrived (DH had called them after the birth and asked if they wanted to come over and meet their
grandson) I handed taylor to mum who took him into the other room while I got into the shower to birth the placenta. By now it was nearly 11.30, I was showeredd
dressed and clean and able to sit on the couch with my parents, midwives and DH and enjoy a hot cup of tea while we chatted about the birth and the midwife had taylor weighed and dressed. It was all so surreal. By 12.30 everyone had gone home and it was just DH, bub and me snuggled together in bed ready to start our new life as a family of five. Thanks for reading if you made it this far....
The Birth of Jack - August 06
(very long but I wrote this for me..)
It’s hard to know where to start, so I will start just before labour.
I thought a couple of times in the 38-40 mark period that I was in labour. Had not had Braxton hicks till last few weeks, had a couple of episodes of them hitting strong and thought I was in labour. Plus I was convinced I was going early, and there were ‘signs’, so thought I was in labour. My husband kept on telling me ‘you’re not in labour’. One time he came home from work to check on me, when I had rung him up and said ‘stay by the phone, I think I might be in labour’. As it turns out I think that occasion was an irritable bowel, setting off contractions in the uterus. I was mildly irritated at my husband regularly telling me I am not in labour. How would he know? Just because his ex wife has had babies does not make him an expert in labour and what it feels like!
From then on every call to his work left the staff there expecting me to say “I am in labour”. I ring up one time telling Andrew I am in labour, as a joke. He believes me for a second, unfortunately I cannot keep the pretence up, and start laughing.
Wed 9th August I woke about 2am with bad period pains. I had been having them pretty much daily. I am lying in bed moaning, half awake half asleep, aware of these pains, wondering what they are. The thought crosses my mind that I might be in labour, but I don’t take it that seriously. Even though I know this labour event is supposed to come one of these days, the thought that this might actually be it seems surreal. Being’ in labour’ is something I expect to be in the future – not something that is happening now. I am 5 days overdue. I try to sleep and ignore the pains.
Andrew wakes up about 2.30 to hear me moaning and asks what’s wrong. I complain of period pains. He asks if I am in labour, I say I don’t know. He listens to a few contractions and says ‘Honey, I think you’re in labour’. I burst into tears. I think sh*t this is it, the fact that it is the real thing has a sudden feeling of fear hit me and I feel small and like a little girl and overwhelmed at this womans journey I am about to start. I am scared of the unknown, excited but overwhelmed. Even though you know you are going to have a baby and that is what pregnancy is about, you don’t actually get that you will then go into labour and have a baby. It just seems like I will be pregnant for ever. I am scared and just want to cry. A little part of me is also rather excited.
I lay in bed and call the midwife. I also call the doula. No one answers the phone. (Andrew captures this on the birthing video) It is funny to watch me on the video, tears in my eyes, looking tired, and feeling the nervous energy. And then telling Andrew to turn the video off because I need to get out of bed and I don’t have enough labour hormones coursing through me yet, for me to be happy about being naked on film.
I get over my tears, and we got up and started getting ready. Things to do and organise. No time to waste. Things need doing. Sit up on the edge of the bed and roll my way out to go to the toilet. Even though I am nearly 41 weeks pregnant and really big, I love being heavily pregnant. It is a blessing being pregnant, a gift. It is an incredible unique state for a woman to experience. So I roll out of bed, it’s awkward but not that hard really. I don’t understand why all these women complain about being pregnant and want to get it over with. I don’t want it to end.
When I come back to the bedroom, see a small light pink patch on our white sheets. My waters had not broken but were obviously leaking a little bit. Confirmation that I am in labour. Guess I still don’t believe it, and this is a sign to confirm it.
I had not had much of a dinner last night. Actually the day before I go into labour was funny. In hindsight there were tons of signs I was about to go into labour. I had had a huge burst of energy the day before and was cleaning the house. Guess this is what they refer to as the nesting instinct. I just thought, at the time, that I was feeling good. Then I insisted we go shopping and stock up on labour food, that we had bought a few weeks before but eaten. Things like packets of dried fruit, Gatorade, fruit. I also had in my head I absolutely HAD TO make banana, date and walnut loaf. I had not made it in years, but decided I must make it. I bought banana’s. Andrew complained about the price. 4 small bananas cost over $7.00. (was at the time of the banana shortage) Plus I got brownish ones, which I wanted as they were going to be used in the cake so should be a bit mushy, and Andrew was complaining that I should just buy a loaf. But I wanted a rich heavy gluggy loaf, and knew I could only get that by making it myself. I joked at the time that it was labour loaf. Little did I know how very accurate that statement would end up being!!! For the next 2-3 days that labour loaf is ALL I ate. The fruit and sugar in it sustained my body and gave me what I needed, and as I did not have much of an appetite post birth, it was perfect for me. How very weird that this instinctive drive hits and makes food in preparation for my labour.
So we went shopping, and went through the 12 items or less isle with too many items, and I joked that I was allowed to because I was heavily pregnant and about to give birth. We went home and I baked my loaf, and made a big cake and some little cupcakes because I had too much mixture. And that evening I just ate cupcakes with lots of butter on them.
So back to the wed morning, we get up and I am hungry, and asked Andrew to make me scrambled eggs at 3am. I don’t like normal scrambled eggs, where you beat the eggs. I hate those. To me scrambled eggs is you fry the eggs and gently mix it so there are white bits and yellow bits.
I go and sit on the computer, and write an email to my clients telling them I am in labour and am diverting the phones to a backup service, and heard Andrew in the kitchen beating the eggs. Yell out to him and tell him sorry, that’s not what I meant and I could not eat the eggs he was making, but need them cooked this other special way. Andrew was good and doesn’t get annoyed, I guess he knows you don’t get annoyed at a woman in labour. He eats the eggs he scrambled, and cooks me up a fresh batch. I can smell them as he brings them to me and puts them on my desk, and take a close whiff of the eggs, feel nauseous and say ‘I can’t eat this” and scrape the eggs off and eat the peace of toast! How weird that the unpredictable food aversions of first trimester should hit me again when I am in labour.
I started printing off lists – the homebirth phone list I prepared; with midwives numbers, doula number, our address details in case an ambulance is called, backup midwife numbers. Another list of things we need to do to prepare for the birth (fill pool, make up nest, start fire, get food organised etc). In hindsight, this was a stupid list. I find the list in later days and see Andrew has ticked off about a quarter of it, but not bothered after that.
I kept on telling Andrew stuff that he has to do once it’s 9am and he can call people – cancel the acupuncturist as I no longer need an induction treatment. Cancel the people that were coming out Thursday to fix our ducted heating in the office. Then Andrew says ‘they can still come, you will have had the baby by then’. Er no!!! I am not having tradies in the house one day after giving birth!!!!!! Stupid men, they think far too practical sometimes, and don’t get that I would want peace and quiet a day after giving birth! I spend the next hour or so telling Andrew stuff we need to do, and tell him after my tenth command “I need to tell you all this stuff to get it out of my head, so I can relax and go primal’. I know I am supposed to relax, the voice in my head tells me what I SHOULD be doing, I should be relaxing and taking it easy, but I need to be in control and organise and prepared. I can’t relax yet. I don’t want to forget anything important and have to worry about it.
As I sit at the computer or run around doing stuff, a contraction hits. And it bloody hurts. This overwhelming period pain. But it’s not just period pain, it goes through me. It’s low and at the front, but goes through my stomach. I try my hypno birthing, doing my deep breathing exercises to have it not be painful, and it is not working. I am leaning on the hallway table, eyes closed, feeling this contraction go through my body, trying to breathe, count to 20 as I am breathing in, and I am crying and it hurts and I am not doing it right and why is the hypno birthing not working!!!!! It worked when I was practising it, it worked when I had Braxton hicks. I could control the Braxton hicks pains. Why can’t I control this? How can I have my aim of a painless birth if I am already hurting so much? I panic also, at the thought that it is hurting this much already, and I have only just started labour.
I panic. This bloody hurts, and I am scared and panicked. I ring my midwife to tell her I am in labour. She does not answer. Or rather sounds like she turns the phone off at my call. I call again in case it was an accident. The same thing happens. I am slightly annoyed, she is meant to answer, but tell myself it’s ok, it’s not urgent yet. I ring my doula, she does answer either! I call her at home and mobile. She had told me a week or so before to not worry, she will always answer, and now she is not answering. But it’s ok, it’s not urgent yet. So I leave a message telling her not to stress but I am in labour, and that I will try her again in a few hours. I also want to make sure she gets a good nights sleep and has energy for me, so decide to not call her till after 7am
It’s 3.30am. I finally rang my hypno birthing instructor at 3.30am and burst into tears when she answered the phone, and said ‘I am in labour and it hurts and the breathing isn’t working”.
She is great, and talks to me, and tells me I am panicking, and listens to me breathe through a contraction and tells me I am breathing far too fast, and to slow it down and deep breathe. This makes a huge difference. After being on the phone to her for 20 minutes or so and breathing through some contractions with her, I feel confident enough to do it on my own, and hang up from her.
The period between about 3.30am and 7am is a blur. It goes so incredibly quickly. But it also goes slowly, in that time seems to stand still. Andrew every so often tells me what time it is, and I wonder where that 1 or 2 hours went, since he last told me what time it is. Andrew puts my meditation cd on, but I don’t hear much of it as Andrew and I talk. I enjoyed the roaring fire we have going. I am grateful to be birthing in winter and get to have my fire.
I sit on the lounge, relax, deep breath, whilst Andrew prepares the house. I try different positions. I lie on the couch, I sit. I sit on the floor leaning against a nest of pillows I make against a giant bean bag. I try to find a comfortable position I can just dissolve into, but I can’t. After some period of time, I don’t know how long, it doesn’t seem long, I find I can’t lie still during a contraction. It hurts too much. So I get up from whatever position I am in and stand. Soon I no longer stand still, but start to instinctively rock from side to side. I want to hold onto someone as I do that and reach for Andrew, and lock my hands into his elbows, and rock. I ask Andrew to talk to me, and tell me to go into my place, to think of the fire. In between contractions I rest again, Andrew does whatever he is doing – I honestly have no idea if my eyes are closed all the time now. Then a contraction hits, and I get up, and call or reach for Andrew, and rock. Contractions are about 20 minutes apart at this stage. I guess I must be sleeping in between them perhaps, but I am not aware of it.
Andrew starts recording me at the beginning of labour. Video camera pointing at me’ How are you feeling?” I talk on the video. Andrew records me a few times. Gets the camera out, announces the time on the video “It’s now 5am and Sue has been in labour for so many hours” After him doing this a few times I snap at him to stop announcing the bloody time, a woman in labour is not meant to be reminded of time!!!!”.
Come close to 7am Andrew asks my thoughts on having Sarah, his 14 yr old daughter, attend. She wants to attend, I have been umming and ahhing the entire pregnancy as to whether I would have her attend or not. I wanted her to see a ‘true’ birth, a homebirth, and see what birth was like, but the other part of me was concerned as to how that would impact my safe space, and whether it would cause me to be blocked somehow. After having attended a national homebirth conference a month before, I decided she absolutely had to be there, had to see it, had to create this type of event as a choice for her own life, and had told her she would be attending. She was thrilled. But a week before I had doubts, and told Andrew it would have to go back to me deciding on the day. So we discussed it, discussed whether her mum should drop her off before school or not. I decided to let her attend. I could always ask her to leave if it was a problem. In reality, looking back at this now, I think I at the time wanted to say no. But I thought she might be able to help Andrew, and I wanted to give her the opportunity to attend. But had I been completely honest, I think I would have said no. But I said yes.
About 8.30 (again the morning just completely flies, an hour passes like 5 minutes) and Andrews ex wife drops in with Sarah. Leanne is very sympathetic towards me being in labour, and nervous and excited for me. We all stand around talking for a few minutes. I have a contraction, close my eyes to get through it, and become conscious of the room being quiet and feel all these eyes watching me. I yell at everyone to stop looking at me!! I feel like I am on show as I am going through this contraction. I think I remember asking them to be quiet too, I don’t like them talking whilst I am having a contraction.
Leanne leaves, and Andrew takes Sarah aside and quietly tells her how to help me. He tells her that I like holding onto someone, and to say soothing things to me. I tell him to show her. Andrew goes through a contraction with me and shows Sarah how to help me, and then leaves her to help me whilst he continues to do stuff around the house. I am conscious of her watching and being shown how to help me. I am conscious of a small shift in the room as she is in attendance, and it is no longer just me and Andrew. Although at the time I just go with it and it is fine, and I am not consciously disturbed by it, I can see looking back that it threw my safe relaxed space out a little, as I am mentally conscious of Sarah being there, and am mindful of how I look and act.
One of the things with hypno birthing is visualisation. Visualise a special place that relaxes you. Mine is an open fire. So even though I am standing in front of the fire, I also need to visualise it in my minds eyes. As my eyes were closed and I could not look at it. A couple of times in my contractions I would say to Andrew ‘talk’ and that would be a signal for him to say “Imagine sitting in front of the fire, watching the orange flames, feeling the heat etc etc”.
One time I say to Andrew ‘talk’ and he says ‘imagine your happy place’. I smack him on the side of the head. ‘Imagine your happy place’ sounds like such a stupid thing to say! We both have a laugh at that.
The period between about 9am and 2pm is spent just dealing with contractions, lying on the couch, getting up with a contraction, and rocking. Andrew or Sarah writing down the time of each contraction. Half the time they forget and I remind them to write it down. I am conscious as I am telling them to write it down, that I should not be being concerned with such things. But they forget and we need to know, so I am not able to go 100% within myself, and surrender to my primal state 100%
Andrew spends this time trying to get the birth pool setup with water, and getting the pump outside connected. He needs sarah’s help, feeding the tube in from outside where the heater is, running the tube behind the couch to the pool, trying to get it working. It’s a bit disruptive and slightly annoying, but as long as sarah is there for me to hold onto in a contraction, it’s not too bad.
A couple of times I have a massive contraction. It is sharper and more erratic than they seem to have been being. I am more vocal and moan and cry out more. Sarah writes these down in the notes as ‘big one’, next to the time.
I spend these early hours calling midwives, and sending sms’s to midwives, trying to find one that can attend.(my primary had pulled out a week or so before hand, and basically labour day was going to be trying to find someone that can attend. There is a whole nother long story there) Kim responded at around 8am saying she could not come. I have talked to Anna, my doula, and said I would call a few midwives. As I go through my list, they are either on their way to births, have been at births all night and are exhausted, have just finished shift at the hospital and cannot come, or I cannot reach them. I feel a little despondent at each no but decide not to stress, we have time. I also figure there will be a good 8 hours before I birth and that gives women time to recover or be available. I don’t want to call Joy, my last resort yet. I want to see if I can get someone else. Joy is not my first choice and I am concerned that we have not clicked, and I just don’t want to call if I don’t have to. I talk to Anna, tell her where things are at with the midwives, and we decide for me to email the list to her so she can call the midwives, as it is not something I should be doing in labour. In fact I feel funny having called some midwives, saying ‘Hi, this is sue, I am in labour, can you help?”. How weird, to call around and tell people I am in labour. I feel normal, I am talking normal, it is just when I have a contraction that I can’t talk.
A couple of midwives have a stern word to me, tell me I should not be doing this, I should not be having to call for help when I am in labour, and tell me to call my midwife and tell her to sort it out, it is their problem not mine. So I call my primary midwife and leave a message and tell her she needs to call the 2nd and sort it out, and I send the second midwife a stern sms and tell her to get someone organised to replace her shift and to get her a*se to my place.
Everyone is called, not much more I can do other than wait.
Andrew asks me at some stage if I want to get into the pool. I would like to, but worry about getting in too early and slowing labour down. I think I say no initially, but after he has asked me once or twice, I decide to get in.
I decide to get into the pool. Sarah is not in the room, I don’t know where she is. I strip naked and climb into the deep warm pool. I have a momentary thought about getting naked in front of Sarah’ but decide I no longer care how I look.
The pool is utter bliss. I relax into it, the water holds me, it is divine. From memory I sit on my bum in these early stages, and just try to get through contractions as they hit me.
Early afternoon Andrew and I decide it is time to tell Anna to come over. At this stage Andrew makes the call, I am starting to find the phone hard to manage and don’t want to talk in between contractions. I just want to sit in the pool with my eyes shut.
I decide to get out of the pool. Andrew helps me out, wraps a towel around me. I feel a little modest in front of sarah. Then a contraction hits and I need to hold onto Andrew, and try to hold onto the towel. I decide to not bother and let the towel drop and stand there naked, rolling my hips as I hold onto Andrew.
Anna comes at around 3pm. At this stage I have gotten out of the pool and am lying on the couch. Anna is a welcome presence in the room, and I am thankful for her being there. I stand up as a contraction hits and drop the towel I have been covering myself with. I am slightly embarrassed but not for long.
Anna is lovely. I am conscious of there being a women present, of this female energy being there for me in labour. As I spend the next few hours lying on the couch, I am conscious that the minute a contraction hits, anna is at my side ready to hold on to me. I understand what it means to ‘be with woman’. I am so grateful at how attentive she is. At times earlier in the day, Andrew and sarah where not there, and a contraction would hit, I would reach out for someone and no one would be there. And I would call out and be half way through a contraction before someone comes. That feels a bit alarming and I feel abandoned. So when Anna is there IMMEDIATELY a contraction hits, it is really reassuring.
In between contractions, Anna and I talk about what to do re the midwife situation. Anna leaves at some stage to call the midwives and see if she can get someone. By 5pm, we have no one confirmed. I decide to call Joy and have her come. We call Joy at about 6pm and she agrees to be on call.
Anna tells me later that once we have joy confirmed, I seem to change. I relax more and go into my labour more. It seems this whole midwife situation has had me drag the labour out somewhat.
This is in no set order as I have no sense of time.
I try different movements to deal with contractions. I stand up and rock side to side. At some stage my body wants to change movements, and I want to move up and down, bending my knees. It is not pushing, I am clear I am not pushing the baby, but I want to push my body down. Anna encourages me and encourages me to move the energy down. She moves down with me as I move down. Andrew asks her at some stage if my rocking is normal, she tells him it is. I think silly man, of course this is normal - I am in labour!
I want to move, and go and place my hands on the edge of the birth pool and squat down with a contraction, slowly pushing down, then standing and pushing down again. I do that a few times, then want to do something different. I walk around. I go to the toilet regularly to pee. Each time I sit on the toilet a contraction hits with force, even if I have just had one. At one stage late afternoon, sitting on the toilet, I wipe myself after peeing and it feels slimy. I inspect the paper and there is a dark bloody mucous on it. I wipe more, and more mucous. I show Anna and Andrew , who are standing there, and ask ‘what’s this!” I realise it is my plug. My waters still have not broken but I don’t ever give it much thought. Andrew is the one that worries about it, trying to get me to stand on plastic when I am walking around the house!
I try a shower for pain management. The shower feels nice but it does nothing for the pain. I try the nozzle against my belly but it does not help. Anna and I talk whilst in the shower. After a few contractions I decide to get out and get back in the pool.
In the pool I have moved to kneeling on all fours when a contractions hits, and pushing against it. I like a hand held against my forehead, and I push against it when a contraction hits. Anna, Sarah and Andrew take turns providing the hand. Sarah is best at it, provides just the right amount of counterpressure. Moves her hand with my head as I rock back and forth, pushing against my head but not too hard. Sometimes Andrew doesn’t pay attention and has his hand too low on my forehead and has his hand over my eyes, which is irritating.
Must have been on my hands and knees forever, wrists are hurting from being bent and me putting so much pressure on them when I push. Shake my hands to try to get the feeling back.
Have just been watching my birthing video, what a treasure to have. So now am incorporating including that in this dialogue. The woman in the video is not the woman in my head. I can see now how much my body’s natural drugs were present in my system. The woman in the video rests in between contractions, has her eyes closed, has a contraction and then starts rocking and moaning very loudly, the more hours pass, the louder she gets. At first the contractions make her moan, and she looks peaceful, and gently moans through the contractions. She looks strong in a quiet controlled way. Then as the hours go on, she gets louder, her voice gets deeper, she moans for longer. Sometimes her face frowns and wrinkles briefly in pain, but most of the time it looks calm and unwrinkled. Interesting considering how I felt inside.
Watching the video you are waiting for the next one, you ride through a contraction, have a breather, then ride through the next one. It is always waiting for the next one.
But in my head, in my body, it was different. There was little passage of time. And there was only each contraction. There was no past as such. There was the contraction, now. It is here now. It hits, it hits hard, it is sharp and strong and powerful and utterly consumes my body. I try different things, I breathe out in the pool and blow bubbles. That helps the energy get out. Or I move around and push against the head. The hand on my forehead is something I have come to rely on, to need to push against. And it hits, and I feel the feelings inside that another contraction is starting up, and the wave of power starts, and it rises quickly, and I go along with it, moaning deeper and deeper and louder.
(this part of the story completed 2 years later)
Transition was bloody hard. The contractions suddenly changed. Changed from being something I could ride out, could sing my mooing song out on, to having the pain feel like it was ripping my inside muscles apart in my uterus. And of course I panic and this makes the pain worse, although I don’t know at the time that this is why it makes it worse. I scream my lungs out at the start of each contraction, because the pain is so unmanageable, and my doula yells ‘down, down, down’; for me to bring my voice down. I struggle to find the note, only when I can find the note can I ride it out. Probably half way through each contraction can I find the note. I do not realise at the time this is transition, I wish someone had told me. It’s just bloody hard. And I can’t catch my breath, catch my emotions, in between each contraction. Can’t gather myself, because they are coming hard and fast. No time to talk, no time to recover, bang just into it again. I am warned I will lose my voice if I don’t bring it down, because I am screaming so very hard, but I can’t, I have to get it out. When I am talking to my baby after the birth on the video you can hear I have half lost my voice and it’s croaky.
At some stage my sounds must have changed. I must have started those grunting sounds you make, because my midwife comes over and tells me that the sensation I am feeling is baby coming, and to go with it. Pushing felt good. It was so primal and instinctive and over powering. And out of control. A contraction hits and I push and push and push, with all my might. My body takes over. I am making deep grrrrrr type sounds when pushing. I believe I was pushing for around 45 minutes. At one stage on the video you can hear me yell out ‘COME ON!!!!” because I am getting so damm frustrated, each push feels so tight, so much pressure in my vagina, I feel sure that at each push the head will pop, that tightness will be relieved, and then the contraction is over and the head is not out and I am frustrated. My doula yells out yes when I yell come on, she encourages me to focus my energy and frustration. I am also positive at one stage that I am constipated, I tell the midwife. She says no that’s the baby. I decide she is wrong, I have a massive constipation blocking the baby’s path, so decide bugger it I will push this poo out, and then deal with the baby. Not realising off course that this massive poo I felt was indeed the baby, and I am pushing beautifully by focusing on it.
The midwife encourages me to reach down and touch the baby’s head at one stage, as it crowns, but I am too scared. I have this stupid thought in my head that if I touch it, it will recoil. I am encouraged again not long after, and I touch it, and say ‘Oh my god” because it feels so bloody amazing. Soft and slimy and peeking out of my vagina. Just incredible. A head crowning!
After pushing on my hands and knees for ages, the midwife gently suggests that, only if I want to, I might want to change position. I am so bloody frustrated I take her advice, and get off my hands and knees, and sit back in the corner of the birth pool, sort of on my bottom and leaning back. There is a gap under my bottom as the mattress under the pool does not reach the wall, so I am sort of sitting in a hole.
There is all this activity around me as everyone changes their position around me, the video camera is shifted. The very next contraction is a doozy, and it is in this one that the baby’s head comes out. So that change in position was exactly what I needed. This steam train coming through me and out of me is so bloody over powering, I don’t realise what has happened. I know something has happened, but I don’t know what. The doula keeps on saying ‘the head is out the head is out’ and after her saying it about 4 times I hear her and realise what has happened. None of this calm birthing, aware birthing that you read about for me. My birth was wild!!! I didn’t feel a part of it in a way, it felt like it was happening TO me.
Then I am breathing and catching my breath with the head being out, and thinking how tight it feels inside, and it is supposed to feel better when the head is out, but it feels so tight still. And then I become aware of the baby’s shoulders turning, realise it is turning, realise that what is rubbing against my vaginal walls are shoulders, because they’re so pointy!, and say ‘shoulders, shoulders!!!” it’s all I can manage to say cause it’s so intense. Hubby thinks my shoulders are sore and starts rubbing my shoulders vigorously hahaha.
And then suddenly the baby shoots out, no contractions, just bang he shoots out, my vagina expels him all by herself. He lands on the bottom of the pool, no one catching him. The midwife reaches in and grabs him, you can see my body doing the tell tale fetal ejection reflex kick and she knows he is out. I can’t remember if I also say he is out. (we nickname him Torpedo afterwards)
And then this child is laid on my chest, and I am totally stunned. Where did he come from? I mean I know I was in labour, but there is a child at the end? And I birthed him? He is mine? I couldn’t stop saying oh my god oh my god. He was exquisite, so beautiful. Deep black eyes, just fully black, looking at me. A baby. Hubby and I ask is it just us, is it typical parent response to think their child is beautiful, or is he really exquisite? And the mid and doula both say how gorgeous he is. I fall in love with him immediately. What a beautiful gift. What over whelming love rushes over me for this amazing creature.
We stay in the pool for a while, gazing into each others eyes. I put him to the breast and he latches on easily. The midwife laughs and says he feeds like an old trooper, and I am told repeatedly how beautifully I birthed, how I birthed like I was a natural at it (didn’t feel like it!)
I get out of the pool maybe an hour later, the water is getting cold. I haven’t birthed the placenta yet and it’s a juggling act holding my baby, being supported by 2 people getting out of the pool. I have some grazes and a slight tear and the cord hurts as it rubs against my vagina.
I sit on the couch, we are wrapped in warm towels and blankets. Not long after I start having these massive contractions again. Think sh*t this is meant to be over!!!! I have to give the baby to my husband to hold as I can’t hold him and deal with the contractions. I semi stand up as the midwife holds a kidney dish under me and the placenta plops out. I find it fascinating to look at as Joy explains it to my husband, step daughter and myself. The cord is clamped, it stopped pulsing a long time ago. I am slightly anxious with this and watch jacks face for any reaction but he is fine, and my step daughter cuts the cord with help from my husband.
We all eat labour cake, we talk, we debrief the birth a little. I love watching this part on the video too.
The baby moon begins. There is more to tell but I have to stop somewhere!
Random thoughts, written a few weeks later:
I would freebirth if I have another baby.
My homebirth a few weeks ago was great, by all accounts. The doula and midwife said I birthed beautifully and naturally.
But it could have been better. Some women I know have commented that everyone, no matter who, brings their own sh*t to a birth. Including midwives and doula’s.
And although my homebirthing space was sacred and private and intimate and respectful, there were one or 2 very small concerns raised by the doula and my husband, that interfered with my space. And my step daughter who was there also broke the space at times, unintentionally. By asking the time. Which really p*ssed me off. But she did not know or understand that it was a question I specifically did not want to hear the answer too.
I had a long pre-labour and birth. Well it felt that way to me. But what interfered with my primal space was hubby and the doula telling me I was stalling labour, at times. And suggestion I get out of the pool to move labour along.
Oh how I wish I hadn't been told that. Because it introduced the thought into my head that something was wrong, that it was not as it should be. And at one stage I ASKED PERMISSION to get back into the pool. Because I so desperately wanted to labour in the pool, but thought it was bad for me, and was holding up my labour. How silly in hindsight, to ask permission to do something, at my own homebirth.
My most favourite time of labour was when my stepdaughter and my doula were sleeping. They were exhausted. The midwife sat there in the background, quietly observing, not uttering a word. And I laboured for a couple of hours in silence, in the pool. Sleeping in between contractions. And each contraction I woke up, DH silently (due to his own exhaustion) placed his hand on my forehead (as he had become accustomed to doing) and I pushed against it as I bore down with the contraction.
And this space continued for a few hours, but literally seemed like minutes. Sleeping, being pulled awake with a contraction, then falling asleep. Silence except for me.
It was my most primal time, my most altered time. I was not there, it was like an out of body experience almost.
And it is what I believe true labour should be like, if left to be. If left how nature designed.
I want to experience labour again, and want to create a safespace that gives room for that sort of space. And I think I can only do that if it is me and my husband and no one else. Don’t get me wrong, my doula was absolutely awesome, and my step daughter was 99% great, but next time I would chose a different approach, now that I know what to expect.
Epilogue, written 2 years later:
I only just finished this birth story. I wanted to make sure it was completed before I birthed my second child, to have it be untainted. I wrote it in dribs and drabs over the 1st year after jacks birth. I kept on changing the tense of it. I have just re-read it now, 2 ½ years later, heavily pregnant with my second child, waiting to give birth any day now. It’s interesting to read it. So very much I had forgotten.
What I find most fascinating in reading it though, is that I sound so insecure and untrusting of myself. Every pregnancy is a journey, and I have had stuff to work through this one also. Mainly fear of transition. But I am ready now, ready to birth, at the ‘bring it on’ stage, I want to get my teeth stuck into it. And I had thought that I was lacking confidence, but in reading this story, I realise how far I have come, how much more confidence I have in myself and the process now.
This pregnancy I have employed a midwife, and had continuity of care throughout the pregnancy, which has been awesome. Truly a gift, everyone should get to experience one to one midwifery. Unlike an ob appointment of 5 minutes, the typical midwife appointment was 3 hours, most of it chatting! But I have also been clear on working towards giving myself the option of freebirth. And I am clear that it will only be my husband and myself attending this labour. No one else. And I will call the midwife towards the end, if I need that emotional support, or after the birth. No spectators, no people there that have me have any thoughts of being self conscious. I do not even want my toddler there. If I labour in the day, he will be taken away, if at night, he will be sleeping.
It’s also interesting to read this story, because I have written words, but words cannot convey the spirituality of birth. I have come to see birth as this spiritual holy event. Not holy in the sense of god, but sacred. Un-reproducible. This gift we get to experience. Untouched, uninterrupted labour is such a gift, and so many women are denied the experience, and it makes me sad. But that is their journey.
So I will finish this story for now. If I rewrote it now it would be quite different. I would focus on different things. But I will leave it how I wrote it at the time. Time to focus on the next birth now. There are other parts of this story that I haven’t covered, such as the shock I felt at the intensity of labour. I was in shock for a couple of days. I felt traumatised. Everyone said I birthed beautifully but I felt traumatised at the intensity and violence of it. Whilst J was lying on my chest, in between admiring him, I also told myself that I could not go through this again, it was too traumatic, next time I will have a c/s. And then the very next day I was singing to the world how awesome it was, and how I want to do it all over again. Ah the bliss of labour hormones!!!!
Well I have chosen a homebirth again this time, no way I would have it any other way.
Time for the next journey to begin. Bring it on!!!!
Sam's Home Waterbirth Story
Six months after the event I finally penned my home birth story.
My first childbirth took place in a hospital. Katie came out the “natural” way, though to me there was nothing natural about it. This experience left much to be desired. Transfer from birth centre (not enough staff), labour augmentation, continuous foetal monitoring, a drip, catherisation, episiotomy, culminating in vacuum extraction. The classical cascade of intervention so commonly found today. Thankfully it did not lead to a Caesarean. If I had chosen an epidural earlier on I’m sure things would have been different. To mask the pain would have been so easy, but the part of the birth plan which I had any control over I stuck to.
I started looking more into the option of a home birth second time around. I discovered it was most definitely a viable and safe option in a normal low-risk pregnancy. The respected Cochrane Group who are a source of evidence-based research worldwide attests to this. I felt empowered and excited.
My main midwife was Clare from Midwives Naturally. She came to my home several times before the birth and we had nice long informative sessions and I felt very comfortable with her experience and knowledge. I also had a second midwife, Helen. They are a fantastic team.
I remember waking up at around 3.30 am on Saturday morning, one week before I was due. For the last week I had been experiencing what seemed to be minor contractions, but these ones were enough to jolt me awake. I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. At 6 am I was up and in the shower. The contractions were now 5 minutes apart. I woke my husband up and told him it was happening today!
It was the day of the AFL (Australian Rules Football) Grand Final and I switched on the television while I prepared for labour. I turned the volume up loud to hide my loud groanings as I couldn’t contain them. Unlike being in the hospital I could make as much sound as I wanted here and not feel self-conscious. I got out the beanbag and tried to keep myself upright throughout. No one was going to make me lie on my back if I could help it! I was not hungry at all but forced myself to eat bite-sized portions as I really needed as much energy as possible for labour. My husband rang Clare and told her the situation. By this stage contractions were every 3 to 4 minutes. They would be on their way.
My husband started preparing the bath upstairs. It had to be filled twice as it had not been cleaned out. We were going to do this in a few days’ time but baby obviously wanted to get out sooner. It’s a big spa bath and hadn’t been used in years. Clare and Helen arrived with all their gear. I was so glad to see them because I wanted some reassurance that everything was fine, and it was. They routinely checked my pulse and blood pressure, they massaged me and advised me on other various positions. It made such a difference to have them there encouraging me along and being so positive the whole time. I kept asking if the bath was ready. It seemed like forever.
I wanted to know how far dilated I was. I can’t remember what it was at that point but Clare and Helen thought I was ready to go in the bath. After one more contraction I made my way up the stairs. As soon as I reached the top I had another one. But that bath felt so good! It was warm and the buoyancy felt great. Being in a hard bath was no problem. I squatted and gripped the sides for a while and the bath was fortunately large enough for me to move around in. Helen gave me sips of orange juice between contractions and wiped my forehead. I took some Rescue Remedy and some honey. At this point Alan was busy taking pictures, which was what I wanted and Clare and Helen were giving me tremendous support. Clare monitored the baby’s heartbeat with a handheld Doppler which meant I could move around freely without being tied to a machine.
Throughout all this Katie was looking on with interest. She had gotten to know Clare and Helen pretty well before the birth and sensed something exciting was going to happen. I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to me being in labour screaming. Truth is, there was no screaming but there was definitely pain. Like waves of severely extreme period pain. Once they pass there is relief, but only for a minute or so.
Only an hour or so had passed in the bath but I was feeling fatigued and felt really discouraged. My previous labour was 13 hours. Clare and Helen egged me on and suggested I now move on to my back in between contractions as a more comfortable position. I was in that classical transition stage. I just wanted to give up and wasn’t sure if I could go on. The midwives told me I was ready to push. They could see the head and after a few more minutes I felt a huge warmth release out of my body and my baby immediately placed on my chest. Words cannot describe that moment. The softness. The perfectly formed features. His cry. Just sheer relief. I was delirious with pride and love as I gazed down at his little head stroking it. I held him and held him.
He was wrapped in a towel to keep him warm and Apgars were checked. My husband cut the cord, and later I pushed the placenta out, large and meaty. I only had a very minor vaginal wall tear but it didn’t need any stitches. I was helped out of the bath and I changed into comfortable clothes and got into my own familiar bed. Sam was put back into my arms, snuffling and snuggling. Clare and Helen cleaned up while the four of us cuddled together. He was weighed a little later – 4 kg! Helen told me later how Katie’s jaw dropped as she saw Sam pop out of my body. We have video footage but I’ve yet to watch it back. I gulped down eggs, toast, tea and orange juice and my husband did the ring around. All up it was a four hour birth. A couple of hours later, after a family visit, I slowly ventured downstairs. Sam slept in a bassinet beside me and I watched the last half of a very exciting grand final.
I had also experienced a grand achievement of my own that day, one I have absolutely no hesitation in repeating, if and when I am blessed with another child.
*I have only recently written this up for my blog. If you want to see the slideshow that goes with the story the link is http://www.melbournemum.com/2009/04/sams-h...-slideshow.html
Alexandria’s Birth Story.
It all started at 0340 on Friday 20th March. I woke with the need to go for a wee, while on the toilet I had a bloody show. I went back to bed thinking I’ll have my baby soon. 10 minutes later I had my 1st contraction. The contractions then started coming every 15minutes. I woke Simon at 0520, had a coffee, and tried to get some sleep thinking it’s going to be a long day, but I couldn’t sleep.
So we all got up, got the kids ready for school, all the while I was having contractions and leaning against the bench in the kitchen. Simon and Maddy took them to school. The contractions were ranging from 30minutes to 6 minutes apart at 0930. I rang Dorine my midwife and told her I was in labour. So she cancelled her appointments for the day. Going by my last pregnancy, my labour was only 2 hours long.
Simon and I went for a walk to the opshop bin, during the walk I was kerb stepping just to help the contractions. The contractions went up to 1hour 40 minutes apart and down to 5 minutes. The midwife had come at about 1130, Dorine checked me over, BP, temp, all was fine, Used the Doppler on the baby, 140bpm excellent. I went to sleep at about 1445. Contractions were coming 8 minutes apart, but I was so tired, I had to sleep. It was a bit of a funny afternoon with the contractions coming and going, It all stopped about 2300, as I went to sleep I was so tired. I woke a couple of time thru the night but nothing major. I was a bit sad that no baby came.
Contractions started up again around 0800, coming every 7 – 15minutes last 1-2 minutes. Dorine visited again, I asked her to check me over, as I didn’t feel that anything was happening, I had dilated 4-5 cms and her head was at -1 slightly deflexed. So it was more kerb stepping and walking, fit ball, and sitting astride a chair to encourage her to move into the right position since she was in my pelvis but off to the side. Dorine came again during the evening and stayed until 4am, I got into the pool in the evening and the contractions basically stopped, in the end they were 30 minutes apart but the baby’s heart rate was good and strong. Dorine went home apart 4am after sleeping on a yoga mat for a while.
Sunday – contractions picked up again, and were coming 5 – 10minutes apart, I rang Dorine and asked her to come, I said “if the baby doesn’t come today, I want to go to hospital, I’m so tired and I’m not coping”. Dorine arrived and checked me over, she tried to break my waters but there was no fluid at the front. 7 - 8cm dilated. Baby’s heart rate hadn’t changed, she was very comfortable in there and didn’t want to rush out to meet us. Her head was still stuck on the right side of my pelvis so it was back to the ball and walking. My contractions were still all over the place. 10 minutes apart and lasting 60 seconds. It was a different feeling now, more intense. This went on for another couple of hours. Contractions getting down to 5 minutes 60 seconds apart. Started taking Caulophyllum 200c and Arnica 200c. I found the most comfortable place in the house was the toilet.
At 1724 my second midwife was called. I thought things were moving, my contractions were intense down to 5 minutes and lasting 90 seconds. At 2000 Dorine checked me again and said I’m still 7 - 8cms dilated, and baby is still stuck. I was so upset, all this work and she hadn’t moved. I said “I want to go to hospital, I can’t go on” Dorine spoke to Simon about it. He agreed too, but only cos I wanted it. I so badly wanted to have my baby at home and now I can’t, all cos I was tired, I don’t like KEMH but I have to go there to birth my baby, I kept asking questions of Dorine about what would happen at hospital, like would she be there and stay. Can I come home after the birth. Hospital was called and they said if we could wait for 45 minutes and then we could have a big room cos if we come now we will have to go into a little room. I went back to the toilet were it was comfortable, Abbey chatting to me while I’m having contractions, saying it’s ok, I’m doing well.
I decided to get into the pool while I’m waiting to go to hospital, I’m theory was last night the contractions stopped while I got into the pool so in I got with the idea the contractions will stop and I won’t be in pain for the drive to hospital.
Well, I was wrong the contractions picked up. I started to go into myself, withdrawing from the people around me. Not listening to them, not looking at them. Just thinking about how to get the baby out.
At 2139 the contractions picked up and had now established, every 2 – 3 minutes apart and lasting 60 +seconds. There was more pain, I knew I was having a baby at home. Woo hoo.
Dorine spoke to me and Simon again, asking if I still wanted to stay home. YES….
Abbey rang the hospital and said we are staying home.
I had said to my daughter Ashleigh “I want a 200 word essay on this by tomorrow”. By 2225 I wanted to push. Dorine said follow your body.
I kept saying “Come on out bubby”
2326 I want to push. “The baby’s coming” I said. I put my hand down there to feel her head. Lot of hair.
2327 Her head is born. 2329 The baby is born, pink.
I pulled her between my legs and up onto my chest, she coughed, and was quiet. What a beautiful baby, I cried. Simon holding both of us, I felt so safe. We stayed in the pool only for a few minutes as it was a cold night and hard to stay warm in there. I looked up to see my neighbour Angi still here and Ashleigh my 16 yo. I laid on the yoga mat and was covered in lots of blankets to keep warm. My baby found and latched on to my breast all by herself while we were getting sorted on the mat. Dorine said “I need to look”, no one had looked to see that we did have a girl. And yes it was. It was a lovely thing to see, this little baby finding her way to the breast. She stayed attached at the breast for an hour. The cord stopped pulsating 1.5hours later. Simon then cut the cord and clamped it. Simon then took our baby and dressed her while I went upstairs to shower and birth the placenta. The placenta came at 0156. I was so tired and to bed we both went. Leaving the midwifes, Simon and Maddy down stairs cleaning up.
In the morning, when the boys woke up, I was asked why my tummy was squishy and “where’s the baby” from my 5 and 3 year old.
In the end my labour
1st stage 2.46hours
2nd stage 3minutes
3rd stage 2.27hours
Apgar 9 and 10.
Head circ 35.5cms
Total laboring time 68.5hours.
Isobel's Birth Story
Isobel's homebirth (almost free birth!)
When I woke up on 19th August 2009, I felt different. Well I felt more tired than usual. So tired that I had to lie down at 10am after only having been up since around 8am. The day before I felt quite tired too. However on this day I was getting 'tightenings' regularly. Only about 2 per hour to start with and they were so mild I tried to brush them off as paranoia lol. The mailman delivered the beautiful Ellevill wrap I had ordered that morning (to wear my newborn in) - another sign that today could be the day. In the afternoon, I went to the park with Maia, feeling a couple of tightenings on the way and fantasising about calling Adam and telling him that I thought something was happening. I resisted the urge, as I didn't want to be disappointed if it turned out to be a false alarm.
At the park I thought to myself that this is the last time I will be here alone with Maia. Next time we come, there will be another little soul with us. I tried to savor the time there and really be in the moment. I sat on the park bench and watched whilst she played in the doggy water bowl, getting her feet and tights all wet. She was having a ball. And I was enjoying the sunshine.
Eventually we left and I felt the tightenings get a little more intense...to the point where I was bending forward. I was now getting several per hour. I still was not convinced that I was in prelabour, but I most certainly was. I had an appointment with my midwife that day so we went home to meet with her. I told her I thought something was happening and she said she was going out that night for dinner but I was to call if things got more intense. We spoke about 'natural' methods of induction via use of homeopathy, osteopathy etc but Nicola pointed out that since my last labour was quite fast (five hours) it may not be a good idea to hurry things along and that the baby will come when she/he is ready. Meanwhile I had the clary sage burning... she told me how homeopathy might get things going but I could then be in prelabour for days. I decided to let things be and mentally crossed my trip to the compounding pharmacy off my list of things to do. Just let it be.
Well it wasn't too long after Nicola had left that things seemed to progress. I rang Adam and asked him to pick up some chips to go with our dinner and also a mirror from the local pharmacy to use during the birth. I decided it was safe to tell him that labour had started and he said he would come home straight away. It was late afternoon by now and told him not to rush, as I knew things weren't quite imminent. Still I felt glad that he took it so seriously and insisted on leaving work straight away.
Because Adam had just returned from working for two months in Singapore, Maia couldn't wait for him to come home from work that day. So we went out the front to wait for him. Up and down the street we went, or what really happened was Maia ran up and down the street and her 41 + 1 week pregnant mother waddled hurriedly behind her. I managed to pin her down for awhile as I laboured away on the lawn outside our house. The contractions were about every 15-20 minutes and it was joyous sitting there with Maia on my lap, feeling this new baby prepare for the birth, and waiting for my husband to come home as the sun was setting. Eventually I was too tired to keep running after Maia so we went inside for a minute, which she wasn't happy about at all. I gave in and went out again but not before calling Adam and seeing where he was. He said he was walking down our street so we went out and met him much to Maia's delight.
I started cooking a pumpkin soup to eat after the birth. It took about an hour to make and contractions started getting pretty full on and required me to pant and stop and eventually get out the frozen bricks from the freezer to apply to the front of my hips. I heard Adam say something like 'wow' when he heard me panting. Adam helped with dinner while I cooked the soup. I ate a lamb shank and chips for dinner, which was all brought up in the sink about an hour later.
I got a text from my friend Laura, also Maia's support person, asking how I was. I told her things had started. 'Wooohooo' she texted back and asked if she should come over. I said no but to be prepared for a phone call. I was thinking that she was probably wondering why I had not told her that labour had started. Some contractions were 5 minutes apart at this stage so we called my midwife, Nicola. She said it was hard to say whether it was time for her to come over as I had only had a couple of contractions which were five minutes apart. But she also said she would come over if I felt it was time. I wasn't sure so I said I would call.
I finished making the pumpkin soup and cleaned up the kitchen until the labour started getting too hard. Too hard and contractions too close together for me to get anything done. I went into the bathroom to get some peace and quiet, I suppose, and because that is where I laboured intensely with Maia's labour. I yelled at Adam to get the birth pool ready and to call Nicola. I heard him telling her I had told him to fill the pool. Soon I vomited all my dinner up and I was glad because now I knew things were really coming along. I scooped out all the vomit from the sink and threw it in the bin..ick. Adam came to check on me and I yelled that I was fine and to just keep filling the pool. I also told him to call Laura. I heard him tell her to take her time and hang up. I then yelled at him again and asked why he said that because she needed to come now. He said not to worry because she said she was going to leave straight away.
So everyone was on their way and at some point I heard Adam call my second midwife, Helen to make sure Nicola had called her. She had and was on her way. I was labouring still with the ice bricks and walking to Maia's room and labouring there until each contraction ended. The dark, the cool and the peace and quiet were welcoming. When I was in the bathroom Maia was at my feet and I really just wanted to scream at her. But I kept going; almost every light was on in the house, Adam busy unsuccessfully filling the pool, water everywhere and Maia roaming about talking about the "baby coming out". There was solace in her bedroom (which has no bed btw). Sometimes I'd go back into the bathroom, mainly to see what was happening with the pool as this was between the bathroom and Maia's room. Sometimes I felt like screaming at Maia but what could I do? I just quietly kept labouring.
When I checked the temperature of the pool it was boiling hot. Poor Adam got screamed at again but it wasn't long before it was an ok temperature and I could get in albeit half-full. There was no time to set up the video camera, the candles, the fireplace. I had envisioned this birth to be under the full moon (we have high windows from which to see it from), fireplace on, candles on, quiet dark and romantic. Not so it would seem. So whilst he was adding cold water (probably my fault cos I told him to fill it with hot water first thinking it would run out pretty quickly) I went into our bedroom. I didn't really know what to do because no position helped with he pain. Only the thought of the pool with its' weightlessness, offered some relief. Something popped as I went to kneel on the bed and rest my weary legs. It was my waters I think. Not gushing but just wet. Took off my bottom half and left the clothes on the floor. I was conscious of not getting the bed dirty so I went into the kitchen, and leaned on the bench for support, resting my weary legs and my head onto the bench. I thought, whoever walks thru that front door was going to get a bird's eye view of my backside. Poor Laura, I thought.
Oh sh*t I could suddenly feel the head bulging. Ok I remember this from Maia's birth. It was all just like Maia's labour except much much faster. **** the head was going to come out and the baby would land on the tiles! I tried to hold the baby in, mentally, at least. I felt like pushing. I remembered this from Maia's labour because my midwife thought I had 'premature' urges to push. Of course they weren't premature at all and neither were these. I kept looking up a the front door to see if anyone had arrived. Bang I hit my head on the range hood. Oh well. Time for the pool. I heard Adam say it was still too hot for the baby. Ok that's fine but you've got only a few more minutes.
Finally I got in. I needed the water to hold me, help me. I found the familiar soft sides of the pool and collapsed in there, resting my arms over the top and my head also. I started to moan at bit and I could feel the head opening up my vagina. Ok this is going to be free birth, I thought. I mentally thought about how I was going to catch my baby. Yeah so if it shoots out I just feel my way and scoop it up. Ok roll. I stuck my hand down to feel.. the head. Right still no one here. I concentrated on not pushing, despite my body doing it anyway, and holding this baby in. The head kept inching out. Nicola was there. She was very calm and reassured me all was just fine. She asked me if I'd like to catch my baby and to roll onto my back. I heard Helen ask Adam if he wanted to catch it and he said no. I’m not sure why she asked because I said I was catching it in the birth plan meeting. Anyway I slowly roll onto my back. The head inches itself out completely. Easy. Especially with Nicola's calm words helping me along. Everyone was there including Laura so I keep my eyes shut. I opened them again for a second to see my beautiful baby girl, Maia, standing there calmly in front of me. Watching and patiently waiting. I will never forget that image. This last glimpse of my child before the next phase of our lives begins. You have taught me so much little girl. She is my teacher.
Helen reminds me to open my legs as I keep closing them. Time to catch your baby. Nicola had her hand gently on the baby's head, just before the body was ready to emerge. I reached down and picked up my baby. It was the most natural thing in the world. It was easy, beautiful, normal. Here she was my baby. Look at her hair! There was so much hair and it was dark brunette. I was a bit bewildered by that. She took a little bit to breath and Helen told me to blow on her face and slowly she breathed and made some noise. She was fast asleep you see! Gotta love a home water birth! Wake up baby, mama is here now. I feel between the legs. "A little girl I think!" I felt guilty about finding out the sex as that was meant to be Adam's job. He tells me later he saw it was a girl as I was pulling her up to my chest. Photos were taken and the placenta eased out almost straight away. Another perfect birth. I’m very efficient, says Helen. We are left alone for some family time and Maia comes into the pool. She is happy to meet her sister, Isobel. Soon I fed Isobel in the pool and then had a shower. I had not even a graze.
As I lay down in bed with my family, I listened to the rain outside. Tears of joy were running down my face. I had both my daughters on either side of me. My newborn resting on my arm. This was what life was about. This was, ecstatic mothering. I felt so good.
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