I took my decision to have a home birth for the birth of my second child very seriously, I had a good birth experience for the birth of my first child, but I had to be strong and actually leave the hospital during my labour to stop the doctor from intervening unnecessarily. This was due to the fact that I wasn’t dilating at a rate quick enough for the hospital policy and they wanted to quicken things along even though both mother and baby were fine. So we made the very hard decision to leave the hospital and then return when I was fully dilated. This resulted in me spending a large amount of time while in active labour driving to and from the hospital.
Having a natural birth was very important to me, not because I was trying to be super woman, but because I didn’t want to expose my baby to drugs or the pain of forceps or a vacuum extraction caused from the use of an epidural.
I wanted to be in a place that I felt comfortable and safe, where I didn’t have to fight a system to have a natural birth; I wanted to be somewhere where all I had to think about was birthing my baby.
I chose home birth because it met all these criteria. Firstly and most importantly it was one of the safest places as I was low risk and I would have two qualified midwives in attendance. This was something that I spent a lot of time researching. Secondly everybody at my birth was going to be there just for me, they weren’t having to go from room to room, be consumed by paper work, or making decisions influenced by policies designed to prevent litigation, not what was best for my baby and me. Also I knew that every body there believed in my ability and me as a woman to birth my baby. This was incredibly powerful.
I started to have contractions on Saturday night and through out Sunday, though they were irregular so I knew active labour hadn’t begun yet. Then by 7.30pm Sunday evening I knew labour was starting as the contractions became more regular 5-7mins apart and they were getting stronger.
I changed into a dress that I wanted to labour in and put on my birthing necklace that was made for me at my blessingway. My husband then inflated the birthing pool, so it would be ready to fill when needed.
At 8.55pm my Mum and sister arrived, then at 9.35pm Tracy my Doula arrived. During this time we all sat in the lounge room together chatting and watching some TV, it was such a lovely time as every body was excited but also staying really relaxed. Whenever I felt a contraction starting I signaled to my husband as I found that I was most comfortable leaning forward holding onto him, as he reminded me to breath slowly.
I was so tried from not getting any sleep from the night before that I went and lay down and tried to get some rest at 10.40pm. The contractions at this point were still irregular and varied from 5min – 11mins apart but they were strong. This slowed the contractions down a little but when they came they were rather intense and I had to get up onto all fours on the bed and do my relaxation breathing that I had learnt in my calmbirth classes.
After only about 20 mins I went back out to the lounge room as the contractions had become more intense, they where now 4 – 6 mins apart and lasting 50 secs.
Around 12.30am the contractions were 2 -5min apart and very strong, at 12.43pm we rang Val my midwife and asked her to come. She listened to one of my contractions over the phone and then rang the other midwife Alison and they headed over straight away, arriving at 1.17am. Val later told me that she was worried that they were going to miss the birth due to the sounds that I was making and the closeness of the contractions.
We then all moved into my bedroom which was bathed in candle light and I had compiled a beautiful collection of songs to birth to that was playing in the back ground.
It was wonderful having the midwives arrive as I knew them both well and felt so incredibly comfortable around them. They checked my baby’s heart rate, which was good and strong and asked me if they could do an internal just to get a gauge of where I was at. I was a little nervous about this as I was worried that I wasn’t far enough along like last time and that there would be pressure on me to dilate quicker.
Alison did the examination and found I was 5 cm which she reported was great and that my waters were still intact and the baby’s head was still a little high. I was a little worried, but both the midwives said it was great and I had all the time in the world to dilate, there was no rush and they weren’t going any where.
Breaking the waters with each contractions become a bit of a focus for me and during each contraction from that point on I tried to imagine them braking and the babies head moving down.
Having my husband, mum, sister, doula and then the midwives there made me feel so special and totally relaxed. I loved the fact that my little boy was sound asleep just on the other side of the wall in his bed. I knew that he was going to wake up to a new little sister.
After Val and Alison checked me, Tracy made cups of tea for the birthing team and then we spend the most wonderful time all sitting around my bedroom together. During my contractions which had slowed down since the midwives had arrived but were very strong and intense, every one was silent except for one person reminding me to breath slowly and telling me what a great job I was doing. Some one else was rubbing my back while some one else was rubbing my feet. All this helped so much and I found that I was handling the contractions beautifully and felt really confident in the journey ahead.
In between contractions there was this lovely time of sharing stories. Mum told the story of my birth which was positive and beautiful, and Val told some lovely funny stories about births that she had been to over the 35 years of being a midwife. This to me was one of the most special times of the birth, and if I had decided not to have a home birth this time would have been replaced by the horrid trip in the car to the hospital.
At 2.58am I got into the shower, which was wonderful. My husband sprayed water over my back and I held onto Tracy and Alison’s hands during contractions. The contractions were intense and low down and during this time in the shower I started to feel pressure in my bottom.
At 3.20am I got into the birth pool, which was heaven. I even lay down on my side when I first got in to fully cover myself in the warm water. I then sat up leaning my back against the side of the birth pool. I believe that this was when I started to transition as I started to not feel sure of myself, how I wanted to sit and if I could really do this. Val had me get up onto my knees and lean against the pool as the contractions had slowed a little and lost some of their intensity, this really helped and they where back as strong as ever.
I started to worry that it wasn’t going quick enough, and started questioning Val why it was taking so long and was there something wrong. Val assured me that it wasn’t taking too long and everything was going very well and I was doing a great job.
I remember during this time struggling a lot with the pain and being worried that I wasn’t going to be able to push her out. I just kept telling myself that I needed to stay relaxed and that of course I could do it. I had done it before, my body knew exactly what to do and this was what I was put on this earth to do it. Val also kept reassuring me that I was doing great and that really helped.
Somewhere around 4am I started to push. I was still obsessed with breaking my waters with my contractions as I knew they hadn’t broken yet and I was sure they where stopping my baby from moving down at a quicker pace. At 4.40am Val recommended that I try to feel the babies head with my fingers to see how close she was. I reached down and could feel the big hard bag of the waters just inside with my finger. I remember feeling very angry that it was there and hadn’t broken yet which I verbalized. Val recommended that I try and break it with my finger on the next contraction, which I tried to do, but it wouldn’t break. I then tried again and this time it broke.
I could now feel my babies head starting to crown, I felt like my whole body was opening and the sensations were intense and scary. The pushing contractions had 5mins breaks in the middle when I actually could feel myself fall asleep I was so relaxed, then a contraction would come and I would wonder if I was going to be able to make it through it, then they would go and I would fall asleep again.
My daughters head started to appear at 4.47am and 4 minutes later was out, followed by her body 2 minutes later. Val saw that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and body so before she lifted her up out of the water Val unraveled the baby then brought her up onto my chest.
As soon as she was placed on my chest I heard and saw her take a small breath, but she didn’t continue to spontaneously breath and she was very limp. Val instantly asked Alison for the oxygen which they had placed right next to the birth pool. Val then used it on the baby. Straight away I could see her turning bright pink from the face down, and Alison reported feeling a good pulse through the umbilical cord. After 2 1/2 mins she opened her eyes, though she still hadn’t cried. Alison then cut the cord as it had stopped pulsating and shortly afterwards she let out this beautiful big scream which was music to all our ears.
We then checked that she was a little girl and I was just so full of emotion, not only did I have this beautiful healthy baby but the first granddaughter on our side of the family.
I then birthed the placenta on the next contraction which was fantastic as it was a natural third stage. Every body then helped me out of the bath, while I still held onto my little girl, and put me straight into my own bed. This is truly one of the nicest things about having a home birth. I then stayed there for close to an hour skin to skin allowing my daughter to take her time finding the breast and have a little feed.
Val and Alison weighed and measured her while I had a shower with the help of my doula Tracy. I was then deposited back into my bed all clean and fresh, with my daughter in my arms and my husband by my side.
Everybody had left by 7am just before our little boy woke up and came into our room to meet his baby sister.
I had a beautiful day in bed feeling amazing, and Val and Alison can back that afternoon to see how we were doing, which was fantastic.
I would like to mention that the high that you are on after a natural birth, where you have felt in control is like no other. I think the body needs to go through the intense feelings of child birth for you to feel this amazing and this empowered. It is like no feeling that you will ever experience any other time in your life. It is something so incredible and is something that only a woman can ever feel.
It breaks my heart when I hear of women giving it up so easily for a medically managed birth, or having it taken away from them with unnecessary intervention. I believe that it is something as women we should cherish and not give up with out a fight!
Thank you for reading my story.