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Home :: Blog :: Stories :: Home Water Birth — Michelle

Home Water Birth — Michelle

100_0104My son was born at 2.01pm on Mother’s Day 2005. Being born into the world here in my bedroom in the birth pool. A very fast labour, after waiting for many days after his due date to arrive…. and he is huge 10 pounds 7 ounces. Luckily birthed without tears.

He was expected to arrive nearly 10 days earlier so I was feeling very overdue and getting tired and lots of pressure by others, constant questions and inquiries about when I was going to go to the hospital and be induced.

I went for acupuncture on Friday night to try a natural way to bring the labour on. I was reassured by the acupuncturist that 2 weeks over dates is normal and he gave me moxa sticks to burn over pressure points regularly over the weekend. My wonderful midwife, Robyn had also said up to 42 weeks was still fairly normal and I discussed with her going to have the ultrasound test for the amniotic fluid on Monday if he was not born over the weekend.

Saturday night I had a show with Braxton Hicks contractions picking up. Thought I may go into labour Saturday night after a bit of an emotional outburst in the evening felt like I was clearing the energy. Once everyone else was in bed I sat in the rocking chair in front of the fire silently talking to my baby before I went to bed.

I woke up on Sunday morning, Mother’s Day feeling like today would be the day. Had another show. Went for a walk with my daughter and came back. By 11am I was getting mild twinges. Andy said he was going for a surf. I said OK. As I looked in his eyes I knew I would go into labour but I figured he would be back in 2 hours – little did I know!

By midday the contractions were really picking up. I rang my sister and asked her to call Mum and cancel our Mother’s Day afternoon tea and left a message for Andy to come home. I asked my 6 year old daughter to start timing the contractions so I could give her a job to do. She was an angel, checking the time and writing them down. I rang my midwife, Robyn and discussed whether I needed her now and I decided to call her back in an hour and wait until then to fill the pool.

By 12.30pm I realised the contractions were 4 minutes apart and really strong. I was already moaning and getting on my hands and knees with each one. My daughter was being amazing, getting me drinks and holding my back for me.

Luckily at 12.45pm Andy arrived home. My daughter ran up to meet him, “Mummy is going to have the baby soon.” My sister arrived a few minutes later. She was the person I had chosen as to be there for my daughter during the birth. I was so happy to see her. Then things get crazy.

I am able to talk for a couple of minutes between contractions. They start getting the pool ready. I go to the bathroom for a while. Andy comes down in the middle of getting the pool organised and encourages me to come out of the bathroom as I am crouched on the floor where it feels comfortable. Earlier in the bathroom when I had been alone with my daughter I had been reaching up and holding onto a towel rail attached up on the back of a door and hung all my weight off it — something about that position really helped with the pain. I think gravity must have worked stronger maybe pushing on my cervix. My feet were only about 20 cms from the ground so I couldn’t fall but it felt so good. Looking back now I must have been further along than I thought at that point.

Once I got back up the stairs, it all got very intense. I went into the bedroom and the pool was set up with a tarp under it. I think I started telling them to straighten the tarp as it was not neat (must have been in transition as that is very out of character for me!)

I had a few contractions on the hard floor on the tarp, just starting to feel out of control as all hands were on deck to fill the pool.

My sister asked me if we should call Robyn back about 1pm. I think I had kind of forgotten! By now the contractions were really intense and I asked my sister to call her as she lived about 45 minutes away. Robyn talked to me briefly and said she was coming right now.

Eventually I got it together to tell the others I needed a mattress on the floor and pillows.

My daughter was holding the hose filling the pool and my friend arrived about 1.30pm. She was amazing as she knew exactly what I needed as she had given birth twice before, once at home. She was totally focused on me.

Around this time, I started to feel very pushy and was starting to bear down during contractions. I had this need to be on the floor with my head down and my bum up in the air all during this stage. My friend was using a hot pack and soothing me with her words.
Finally the pool was full. We tested the temperature and they added in some cold water to cool it down a bit. I was reluctant to get in until Robyn my midwife arrived but my friend encouraged me to. So at about 1.40pm I got in the pool.


My midwife, Robyn Dempsey with Theo soon after he was born

The instant relief from the water was amazing. The pressure inside my body had been so intense and the water just totally changed the energy. By this point I was making heaps of noise with each contraction and had been for a while. (My next door neighbours were hanging over their balcony getting updates from my daughter on my progress & offering blankets and soup as they had also had 2 home births. I did make quite a bit of noise so all my neighbours were lucky enough to hear a baby being born on Mother’s Day. I hadn’t got around to warning them all but didn’t have any complaints.)

Soon as I got in the pool I really really had to push although the contractions seemed to pace themselves out more. I think I was still holding my body back instinctively waiting for Robyn. I can’t imagine if I had chosen a hospital birth instead trying to get in a car and drive like that.

Robyn arrived at 1.50pm. She immediately checked baby’s heartbeat with the doppler and told me to bring the baby down. I felt that sensation high in the birth canal of him moving down. Luckily he didn’t slide back. The head started to emerge. I felt the head crowning and with the next contraction his head was born. It felt amazing touching his head while his body was still inside me. “Oh baby,” I moaned. That had been quite a powerful contraction but the next one was incredible. I pushed and screamed and not much happened. In the space between the contractions he wriggled inside of me — amazing!

Next contraction, Robyn said, “Push with all your might,” and reached down into the water to help him out onto my chest. She said later he had “sticky shoulders.”

2.01pm My baby had been born. Shock, stunned, so fast. Holding him — did not yet know it was a him. He gave a little cry and then looked around. Finally realised I did not know the sex of the baby and looked under the towel that Robyn had put over him and was really surprised and happy, he was a boy!

What an incredible experience!

When Robyn weighed him at 4.74 kgs, she said I got the record for the biggest baby born at home in her 13 years of being a midwife — but someone else beat it the following week.


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5 Responses to “Home Water Birth — Michelle”
  1. Jennifer

    Wonderful story, does make you wonder about those obstetricians that tell women they need to be induced or have a caesarean because the baby is too big?

  2. Jodi

    OMG, your lovely story made me cry thank you so much for sharing……after three children, all c-sections I am in mourning for the beautiful experiences I have missed, thank you so much for sharing with us your lovely birth day!

  3. Lisa

    Your story has helped me and I am sure many other couples who are told they will need intervention to birth their ‘big’ babies. Thank you

  4. Jo

    Wow Reading your story really put into context the birth of one of my friends just 3 weeks ago. She also had a home water birth and delivered a really beautiful healthy 12 lb 2oz baby girl. All with just the help of her supportive husband and amazing midwife! It can definitely be done.

  5. Kristyna

    Michelle, your story of your son’s birth totally captured the moment and it sounds like an incredible experience. What a gift! I see now why you are so passionate about educating parents about this option and to have it continue to be an option in Australia. A home water birth is what I’ve always said I want when my time comes, so after reading your experience, I definitely want to stick with that birth plan.

    Thank you for sharing.

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