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Maia’s Birth Story


Maia's homebirth, my first birth


On Saturday 17th March at around 3pm I started getting strong, regular period pains that would last about 30 seconds every 15 minutes to half hour or so. I remember chatting to my friend on the phone and telling her off for saying my baby was ‘overdue’. My baby was born at 41 weeks and I don’t consider this overdue at all.


My husband and I went out and had a coffee and I got about 3 contractions at the table where I would quietly angle myself to ease the pain a bit, and then would continue sipping my coffee and chatting to my husband. Little did I know that my baby would be born in about 6 hours time.


When we got home I got out my dreaded book, ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ to look up whether or not I was in ‘real labour’. In this book they discuss ‘false labour’, ‘pre-labour’, and ‘real labour’. Well it all seemed a bit confusing to me, as this book usually is, however I came to the conclusion that yes I was in labour. I asked my husband to start timing contractions, which were more like pangs of period pain, to give me more of an indication about whether this was it. Yes they were now getting quite regular, every 15 minutes and would last 30 to 50 seconds.


We were expecting my husband’s family over for dinner and they arrived just after 7pm. I asked DH’s mum if I should ring the midwife and she gave me some good advice and said if I am asking that question it probably means I should! So I called Kusum at 8pm and I told her I thought I was in labour and told her about the contractions. She asked me if I wanted her to come over after she finished work in 2 hours. I thought about it and told her that I would like her to call then and see how I was going. Later on Kusum told me that I sounded so excited on the phone.


Meanwhile everyone was eating dinner and making a mess. I did have plans to vacuum the house that day but decided to wait until DH’s family had gone. Well the house didn’t get vacuumed for another 5 days! I used my mum’s massage pad during contractions on my hips and back and this helped ease the pain slightly. DH’s brother helped me pump up the birth pool a little bit more, as it had deflated a bit since being blown up at least 10 days before hand. I went outside to eat something for dinner but I really didn’t feel like eating, in fact I was starting to feel nauseous. I ate a little bit, which is not usual for me, and then I put my plate down and went into my bedroom.


I went onto my knees on the bed and started to feel more nauseous as contractions continued. It was about 8:45pm and this is when I count that first stage labour began. The contractions and nausea became a little more intense, and my mind was being taken over with focus on the present. I was thinking, when are they going to leave? So when DH came in and asked me if I wanted them to leave I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I also asked him to get a bucket and lucky he did because I promptly started vomiting. DH finally came back in and said they were all leaving and I was very glad. I heard them all bustling out the door and DH told his mum to go in and say something to me. When she came in there was vomit in the bucket and I was not in the most lady-like position. I asked her if the pain gets any worse than this, and she said that it just gets more intense. She told DH to empty the bucket. His step-dad said good bye and I had to use a lot of energy to respond.


Finally we were alone and I promptly stripped off. I felt the need to be nude for some reason. By this time it was 10pm and I remember DH’s mum telling me the midwife will be here soon. Kusum called pretty soon after they left and she came straight over. She arrived at about 10:45pm to find me now walking through contractions and using a wet, cold face washer on the front of my hips to ease the pain. I remember this bit being a bit of trial and error with positions as I was trying to find the best one for pain relief. I found that standing and walking was best and I tried to rest in between contractions by lying down on my knees on the bed with my feet hanging off the end. Not a very gracious sight for poor DH who was hovering around me the whole time. I remember being annoyed with him, but he was being so good I didn’t want to tell him off. Well there was nothing to tell him off for really.


DH was still timing contractions and they were getting closer together, most of the time. I asked Kusum to check my dilation and she seemed hesitant, I think because in the birth plan meeting I said I didn’t really want any checks and I didn’t want her there until the end as I wanted to ‘freebirth’ as long as I could. I think she thought it was too soon to do a dilation check as well. It was not until the last 10 minutes of labour that she actually believed the baby was coming! I was 5 centimetres dilated which was great and I asked Kusum how much longer it was going to be. She said, well, that’s the million dollar question!


I moved into the bathroom now and tried out the toilet position. At this point things really intensified. At first the toilet seemed like a good position but then it was the worst position. Pretty soon I realised that any position was not a good position. I had no lights on in the bathroom except for a little night light that I used for night trips to the toilet. DH told me he was getting the birth pool ready, and I thought I would just stay in the bathroom until it was ready. I told him there was a funny smell in the bathroom and that I thought Ernest our cat had urinated in there. I got him to smell out the bathroom and DH said he thought the smell was from when he washed out the bowl I vomited in. So after he left I washed out the laundry trough, which is located in our bathroom, in an attempt to get rid of the smell. I did not feel like seeing or talking to anyone at this point.


Up until this point I had been busy planning on going to the hospital in my head. I was thinking about how I would convince Kusum that I needed to go and was imagining hopping in the car and thinking it would be difficult to do. I was thinking about that epidural a lot! The pain started to shift to my back and I started making small groaning noises. As the pain shifted I stopped thinking about the hospital as there was just no way I was going to be able to move to get there and I soon forgot about it. I sat on the toilet again wondering if the baby would fall in the bowl. I then felt some wetness between my legs and I put the light on. There looked like some blood and gel-like stuff and when DH came in to tell me the pool was ready, I told him to get Kusum. She had a look at the rag with the blood and things on it and she said I’ve had a show.


I came out and got into the birth pool which was just wonderful. DH had lit some of the candles from my blessingway and the place was quiet and dark. DH asked me if I wanted Kusum to stay and I said yes. Kusum said she would stay until I was in the pool and then she would go and come back later. I remember thinking I didn’t want her to go. Contractions really intensified in the water but I was able to manage them really well. The weightlessness was amazingly helpful. As soon as I got my first contraction in the water I groaned very loudly. Pain was starting to shift position again and it was even easing. I felt a bulging in my lower back and wondered if it was the baby’s head. The second midwife, Tiffany, arrived and it was about 11:45pm. My baby would be born in an hour! Tiffany told me later the Kusum said I was having premature urges to push, but when Tiffany heard me groaning, she told me later that she thought to herself, no they’re real!


Kusum was amazing and told me I was in a safe place and everything was going so well. Tiffany and DH were busy boiling water and filling the pool to keep it warm. I had planned on having DH in the pool with me but at the time I didn’t feel it was necessary. I was so glad Kusum was there too. My original plans to birth alone, have no Doppler and to do it all without much assistance didn’t seem so important anymore and I didn’t mind when Kusum got out the Doppler to check the baby’s heartbeat. I wanted my baby born alive.


Not long to go now, and Kusum told me my baby was coming. With each cx I simply floated in the water and in between I faced the wall with my head resting on the side of the pool. The backs of my thighs felt like they were going to cramp and Kusum was massaging them for about the last half hour. I remember her remarking to DH that I had great legs. The cramping was a good distraction from the cx. I felt the burn of the head starting to push through and I said “**** it hurts” to Kusum. And she said, “I know…” But really it didn’t hurt much, I think I was more scared about how much more painful it might be than how it was currently feeling.


Kusum asked me if I would like to feel the head, and I hesitated for a second and then decided I would. I felt a little slit type opening and a gooey, hard surface which was the head. I was surprised to feel the goo as I was expecting hair! I said "Ooh it's gooey!" The head went back in and I was given some time to relax and Kusum told me that it is fine and normal that the head went back in. On the next cx the head came out and DH proclaimed “Ooh I can see an ear!” This gave me lots of encouragement as I knew then the end was imminent. Kusum told me she would just feel for the cord around the neck. At the final cx Kusum told me “little pushes, little pushes” and Whoosh! Maia rocketed into the world on Sunday 18th March 2007 at 12:45am. I said “Oh my God” and started crying a bit, but no tears came out. Kusum gave the baby to me straight away, and although I wanted DH or I to catch her, It did not bother me so much because I just couldn’t have done it and it all happened so fast.


The first few moments holding her were wonderful. I asked DH “what is it?” but I looked anyway and said “Ooh it’s a little girl!”. I still wasn’t sure though if it was a girl and kept asking “is it a girl, is it a girl?” and Tiffany said I should check again! It was hard for me to see because the cord was so short. I felt absolutely no pain at all at this point. Mild cx started after about 20minutes and before that I called my mum and she couldn’t believe it and told me I was a genius. My midwife kissed my feet and said I was a birthing Goddess! The placenta came out easily and it was placed in a bucket in the water as we were not cutting the cord. After that I got out and had a shower. It was wonderful to go to bed with my new family. The placenta was placed in the special bag I had made and Maia was weighed, a healthy 3.9kg. The placenta bag was made out of my late grandmother’s table cloth.


Giving birth at home to my daughter was the best thing that has ever happened to me. My husband thanked me for planning a homebirth. Family members have been amazed at how well Maia and I look and DH’s dad even admitted he was wrong to think we should have planned a hospital birth and that our health is a tribute to homebirth.


After 4 days, the placenta cord came off after Maia cried for about 25 minutes. I felt this process to be so very respectful of our daughter and her body. It was only a few days of being careful, no big deal at all. I have frozen the placenta and plan to bury it in large pot with an orange rose bush above it. I feel that the orange rose is my daughter.

Edited by Nina3
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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 DH 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 DH 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 DH 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 DH 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 DH say something like 'wow' when he heard me panting. DH 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 DH 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. DH 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 DH 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, DH 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 DH 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 at 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 DH 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 a 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 DH 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 DH'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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