I guess I should start this by saying I had two wishes for this, my fourth baby’s birth:
- that I wouldn’t be an angry labouring woman or lose control; and
- that we would all (my husband, me and four kids) be in our own beds after the birth.
I’d prepared using the Gentlebirth CDs and this was our first homebirth.
I was six days past term and had been having shows all week. I was also hiding big time at school pickups. I felt like everyone was watching me, even though I’m sure they had more to be thinking about!
Anyhow, my husband had decided to take the day off . Kids were going to school and we were going to go to Avoca for lunch after the midwives did a routine visit that morning. I knew by 11am that things were moving along . I had regular tightenings lasting 30 seconds every 20 minutes. I spent the morning pottering, tidied out all the drawers in the kids rooms and we finally put the Christmas decorations in the attic.
No sign of the community midwives by 12, so I rang them to let them know (all along they kept saying to me to give them plenty of notice) . Anyhow the midwife arrived at 2pm. It was the only one of the 8 I hadn’t met – but she was lovely . She examined me and agreed with me that it was imminent but a couple of hours off . They were anxious about getting back out to Sandyford on a Friday afternoon in rush hour but I promised her I wouldn’t have the baby until that night!
Immediately they started to set up their things – I found this very calming, being a nurse myself, I knew if there was a problem with the baby that they were highly qualified to resuscitate.
My husband collected the kids from school and my sister came over and brought them to Dundrum for their tea and then to my other sister’s house . They left about 4:30pm. At this stage surges were about 10 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. I was now having to stop and breathe through them. I was very aware that I didn’t want to pay too much attention to them until I had to.
We decided to fill the birthing pool in the bedroom, when I went up my husband had already cleared the room, lit some candles and had the music on. It was just beautiful and so peaceful. I sat on the ball with a hot water bottle on my lower back and watched the movie PS I love you. The film was light enough to drift in and out of. My husband filled the pool and then covered it with bubble wrap. I felt so relaxed, and really enjoyed those few hours, I even snoozed at one point I was so calm.
Once the film ended, I decided to go to the bathroom, I knew when I came out that things had moved on. I decided to get into the pool. It was bliss. After about 10 minutes in there I asked my husband to phone the midwives. That was 7.15pm. They arrived at 8pm. Immediately they started to set up their things – I found this very calming, being a nurse myself, I knew if there was a problem with the baby that they were highly qualified to resuscitate.
I asked M to check me as I had a feeling that I wasn’t dilating even though I was having contractions every 3 minutes lasting 60 seconds. I got out of the pool and she confirmed that I wasn’t officially in labour but that once the membranes broke, I’d go fast. Back into the pool. I had gas and air now. After about another 20 minutes (I think …lost track of time) I vomited and the waters went at the same time.
I had huge pressure with each contraction and couldn’t stop myself bearing down. There was great sounds coming out of me! They got me out of the pool and we went into the bathroom (with my gas and air). We stayed there for a while (it was very comfy on the loo). I looked out the bathroom window at one stage, there was a big bright full moon. Concentrating on that got me through a few more surges.
Then back into the bedroom, got to the end of the bed and stopped for another massive surge. Katie asked me could I feel the baby moving down – I’d said I’d tell her on the next one – I never got a chance…on the next one I felt that familiar feeling of the head coming down and out he popped all in one contraction. My husband said to me “Hey this one’s got hair”. I couldn’t believe it! He came out in the membranes (born in the caul). One more push and a shoulder out, then the other and then M. caught him and handed him to my husband who passed him between my legs up to me.
My husband sums it up well – he said for the first time he felt as if he had a place in the room, that he was meant to be there, and there was no fear about the whole process.
I kept saying “I cant believe it “ – first of all …giving birth standing up and second that it all happened so fast in the end (gravity …I suppose). Poor Calum didn’t know what had happened – shooting out so fast . He roared the house down. I had planned on doing the breast crawl (letting the baby find and attach to the breast themselves) but my instinct was to offer him the breast to calm him down. The midwives didn’t clamp the cord until the placenta was delivered.
All three of us were up on the bed immediately. The midwives left us for a while – I have no idea how long…we rang our oldest son to tell him, his brother and sister they had a new brother and to come home to meet him.
They arrived about 30 minutes later. My daughter was beside herself with tiredness, but reacted well. Katie the midwife got her into her PJs and read her a story and she went out like a light! The midwives left about 11:30pm and we settled down with everyone tucked up in their beds and Calum between us. Of course, I lay awake for hours with my mind buzzing.
The birth was just fantastic. I achieved my two goals and got the most beautiful baby too… there is just no comparison between hospital and homebirth. My husband sums it up well – he said for the first time he felt as if he had a place in the room, that he was meant to be there, and there was no fear about the whole process.
It’s powerful, this baby and birthing business. I felt like I could conquer the world!
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