Unplanned home birth – first baby.
Sunday November 27th came, and I woke having some mild cramps and twinges – so exciting! I had been booked in for a CTG with midwife Susie, (as you were 11 days overdue), and we had agreed to meet at the hospital at 2pm. My midwife was Annie, and this was her weekend off. We hadn’t really drawn up a formal birth plan with Annie, more of a ‘let’s plan for everything and see what happens’.
Your Daddy and I tried to pass the time and went to the supermarket. I remember walking along the aisles, taking notes on the frequency and duration of contractions. They continued every couple of minutes for around 20 seconds until we met Susie at the hospital, who confirmed I was in early stages of labour and 2cm dilated – yahoo! Susie performed a stretch and sweep to support progression. The CTG showed your heart rate was steady and healthy. To continue our efforts of passing the time (thinking this could go on for hours, possibly days), Daddy and I decided to take a detour on the way home and we had ice creams and a walk along the water. Now the contractions were really strong and I was having to stop and concentrate until they passed – standing still and hanging off of Daddy.
We got back home and our friend came round. Now the contractions were very strong and I was pacing around the flat, leaning over furniture and breathing deeply through each contraction (which were still no longer than 45 to 50 seconds, but coming every couple of minutes). Then at around 5:15pm, I dashed to the bathroom where I was violently sick. I heard my friend and Daddy talking and heard the word ‘transition’ (end of the first stage of labour) and the next thing I knew Daddy was on the phone to Susie updating her on our progress. Susie reassured Daddy that this was a normal event, that we were doing really well and to carry on!
Your Daddy and I thought it would be a good idea to put a movie on to pass the time. We chose Kick Ass! I couldn’t sit still for long. It felt much better to be walking and moving around. After a few minutes of doing this my contractions intensified again, and I now needed to give them my full concentration and felt the need to become quite vocal. By this stage I was all consumed and using breath and chanting to ride them out. I kept my body moving by circling my hips and kept leant over a chair. Soon enough, I started to feel the need to push. But where were the midwives! Although my contractions did not meet the criteria outlined by my midwives (lasting for 60 to 90 seconds and 3 in ten minutes), I told Daddy I knew that some assistance was needed now, so he called Susie for another update.
The midwives were now on their way and until then Daddy was told that I was not to push until they had arrived but that I could enter the birthing pool. Well, Daddy and I had been so busy keeping ourselves occupied that the pool had not yet been filled! So the next thing I know, he was frantically racing around trying to fill up the pool with saucepans of hot water in between my contractions! (What I didn’t know was that the force of the water meant the hose kept bursting off the tap – hence the saucepans were plan B!)
At 6:45pm, Ginny, our first midwife arrived, and I felt very relieved! I’ll always remember how positively she greeted me – wonderfully reassuring, putting me at ease – which was great seeing as we had never met! Ginny confirmed I was fully dilated and was given the green light to push if I felt the need. And boy, did I feel the need! The contractions now felt like an incredible pressure being exerted down through my body, like you were being drawn from me by a magnetic force. Pushing with these contractions was beyond my physical control and immensely satisfying. Susie and our student midwife Leanne arrived and gave me some wonderful acupressure on my lower back. I realised at this point that this would be a home birth!
At 7:04pm the pool was ready and I submerged into the water. BLISS! The warm water and soft inflated floor felt wonderful and definitely helped ease the contractions. The birthing affirmations playing on my iPod also helped me to remain calm and relaxed. I leaned forwards over the edge of the pool for most of the time. I remember Leanne telling me your head could now be felt in the birth canal and I reached down. There you were, on your way! My waters broke on your way down although I didn’t notice at all. For the last couple of contractions I turned onto my back. Daddy tells me that Susie started to tell me to stop pushing and start panting with the next contraction, however I have no recollection of this! A contraction came at the same time Susie was talking and woosh with another push your head was through and your shoulders and body quickly followed!
After 49 minutes of the second stage of labour, you were born. It was 7:34pm and you were placed up onto my tummy when I held you for the first time. You were perfect! I remember your skin being velvety soft. You had a full head of hair on a perfectly round head and scrunched up little face. You didn’t cry, you just took it all in! Daddy and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and I remember telling you how well you’d done.
We got out of the pool and waddled into the lounge to wait for your placenta to be born. You lay on my chest under some towels and had your first breast feed (not a lot, which we realised later was because you had ingested meconium on your way out, which you later vomited). Shortly after, Daddy held you while I got up to deliver your placenta (it was now 8:09pm). At my request we were able to take some pictures of you still attached to the placenta, before Daddy cut the cord. We kept the placenta and buried it under a tree when you were five days old.
I required checking over at the hospital and at 9:00pm I was taken by ambulance (as I’d lost a bit of blood from a tear) with Daddy bringing you in the car behind me. I still remain a little confused about why Daddy and you weren’t able to come in the ambulance with me, but I was happy to see you both at the hospital. You were a healthy, happy little boy weighing 3.94kg and our lives together had now begun!
Two years later and my birth experience – and the variety of birth stories of others – have triggered a passion for the awe of pregnancy and childbirth. Birthing women are nothing short of Superheroes and should be treated as such! My passion has led me on a journey to becoming a Recognised Doula and I hope to support other women in pregnancy and childbirth.