Country Comparison: Fast home birth in water for an Irish mother in Australia

We moved to Western Australia in May 2012 and I became pregnant in July. I immediately decided I would have this baby at home with minimal intervention or pressure on me like last time. I applied to the local Midwifery Program attached to the hospital and was accepted for home birth!

On May 3rd, I was 10 days “overdue” and was quite anxious about the possibility of losing my home birth if I went to +14, especially given I had gone 22 days over on my first baby. But after some acupressure, a glass of red wine and a hot lavender bath…I felt some mild contractions going to bed at 10pm. I woke suddenly at 11.50pm after hearing a sort of popping noise and a powerful contraction. It was almost like a headbutt in the cervix! It wasn’t my waters. After three of these in 10 minutes, I had to get out of bed to manage them as lying down made them worse. I crossed to the “birth room”, lit some candles and burned some rose oil. After a half hour, I woke my husband to put on the TENS as the contractions were coming thick and fast. I rang my doula and midwife and they came within a half hour. We also started filling the pool. Things escalated very quickly and I really had no concept of time. I went totally into myself and could barely communicate the simplest of requests to my doula or husband. There was no break between contractions. I got into the pool and it wasn’t hot enough! So my poor husband was running around trying to get it back up to the right temp. Suddenly, after 20 minutes in the pool, my body just took over and started pushing. I didn’t want to but I had no say in the matter! It was the most powerful thing I’ve ever experienced. As Ina May Gaskin said “Your body is about to teach your mind a lesson”!

My gorgeous son arrived into the water at 3.09am, just three short hours after the first contraction. I couldn’t believe it and was in shock for a few days especially after such a prolonged labour on my first baby. It took some time to process the birth and how fast and furious it all was. It has really taught me that birth comes in all different guises and I am so proud of myself that I did it at home with no drugs whatsoever (gas and air is not available in Australian home births). Both births have been transformative experiences for me and awakened a passion about birthing and informed birth choices I never thought I would have.

All birth stories and images featured in 42 weeks have been generously shared by members of the public in Ireland. If you would like to take part and share your story, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch through the website, through Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at @42_weeks.


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