My pregnancy was really calm, simple and enjoyable (apart from the early sickness!). My midwives visited my home for appointments which felt so informal and I got to know them, as did my little girl (aged 2); she loved helping with the Doppler! I did weekly pregnancy yoga and practiced hypnobirthing using a digital pack fro the Positive Birth Company. I felt so lucky to have the same midwives and know that they would be with me at the birth. It helped me feel like home birth was the best option for me, and better still, to feel really excited about it!
I went 6 days over my due date, and that morning I had a midwife appointment where we discussed options, and I started getting a little anxious that my homebirth dreams would be dashed by an induction at 2 weeks over (I was induced at 40+13 with my first). My midwife reassured me that we would still aim for home even if I was induced. In the afternoon I forgot all my worries about induction, hanging out in the park with all my lovely local friends and the kids playing so happily together in the brilliant October sunshine. I wasn’t expecting labour to start that night at all.
That evening I settled down in bed and couldn’t sleep…. felt tightenings (but they had been happening for a week so nothing new there)…… oh but they were quite regular….. and a little bit more intense round my back….. neither Dan or I could fall asleep. I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks over and over and the tightenings intensified. They were getting stronger and longer and closer together. I started feeling really excited and delighted. No induction! Labour is here! This is the start, and at the end is my BABY! I text my midwife at 1.30am. Then I started busying around (in between surges), setting up the lounge to be lovely with candles, lights, snacks. I bounced on the ball, used the TENS machine and put my head down on the bed during surges, still timing them. They were like clockwork. ‘Up breathing’ during the surges helped me stay calm, and although they were getting strong I welcomed the power of them, so it didn’t feel like pain. When the surges came I did UFO (upright, forwards, open) positions and moved around, as I had learned in pregnancy yoga. In between we had lovely moments of excitement and calm and serenity. And it felt amazing to have our daughter safe in the house with us while this was happening!
At 4am we decided it was time to call our midwife because the surges were a bit more intense (although we still weren’t sure if it was to early), and she got here 45 minutes later, and the second midwife a little later. They assessed me in the bedroom – the move in there made the surges feel a little more intense and less easy to manage. Dan started getting the pool ready. The surges got stronger and I started groaning through the breathing. It was harder to exhale for a full 8, so I kept trying to count out loud while I breathed. The TENS was on full force. I found myself visualising an image of opening inside, as the sensation was so vividly one of widening and stretching to make a space big enough for my baby to come. And this way I managed not to perceive the sensation as ‘pain’ but as a power that was moving me forward. I was very internalised at this point, going in to myself and focusing.
Then on one surge I started to feel like I couldn’t cope with the intensity, it suddenly felt like pain and I wanted it to stop. It was too much. I called for Dan and said “I’m not dealing with this very well. It’s too hard. I can’t do it”. I moved to lean against the edge of the pool and naturally just felt the instinct to push down on it during surges. The midwife told Dan to stop worrying about filling the pool, and said I was in transition, she could tell by my change of position. I was shocked! So soon?! I began to feel a sense of needing to bear down with the surges, even to push. The surges still felt so intense; part of me felt like they were too much to bear but a determination inside me kept me feeling empowered and motivated to keep going, especially because the midwives were telling me I was in the second stage. And because I knew the midwives, I felt instant trust and was so comforted by their presence, without needing to look at them. I kept checking with them whether baby was coming soon and heard their reassuring response ‘yes I think baby will be here soon’. No need to internally examine me, they were just observing and trusting my instinct. That felt so amazing, to be so in charge of the situation! My waters broke with a satisfying pop and then I wanted to push down even more. I mooed through the surges, pressing down with my arms and breathing down, then pushing against pressure towards the end of each one. Suddenly and incredibly, I felt this huge bulb moving downwards and I thought ‘it’s too big!’ but it moved and moved and with two surges and down breathing with a bit of pushing the head was out! I was so excited and amazed and shocked…. I was about it see our baby, find out who it is!
Then one more contraction came and the body came and suddenly like magic and pure wonderful incredible joy my baby boy was in my arms. It was 6.03am. Dan saw he was a boy and told me. I was holding him – I looked at Dan in amazement ‘he’s here!’ ‘He’s a boy!’ His slimy warm squirmy little body felt perfect in my arms. He let out a little cry and I knew everything was ok. It felt incredible! And my wonderful girl was still in bed! We had skin to skin and Dan cut the cord after it had stopped pulsating. I then had to focus on the placenta coming… especially because we suddenly felt the pressure of our daughter’s impending wake up time! Luckily it came at 6.35am and then we heard my daughter calling me at 6.45am. I walked through, still almost naked, to her bedroom carrying our baby boy in my arms, handed baby to Dan and cuddled my precious girl and showed her our boy. What a moment. She started for a minute, perlexed, and then smiled. The midwives were there and my daughter recognised them, and felt happy to see them. Then my daughter and I got into bed together to look at our baby while the midwives busied around us. I felt so content and elated! The midwives finished up with their checks and left us, with lovely hugs and giggles and happy reflections on the birth. It just all felt so familiar and homely, like I was with friends!
And then…….. we were 4! It was 6th October, a rainy Saturday morning, beginning of the weekend. We settled down, made breakfast, fed, cuddled, played, stared at our baby, and felt so so much love. Everything just felt so perfect after a totally empowering and liberating birth experience at home – moving into just hibernating at home in our little snug space together.
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