About mind the baby

One mum's adventures in growing, birthing, minding, teaching and loving her baby

A home birth for a first time mother

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted a homebirth. I’m no fan of hospitals (who is?) and felt it made much more sense to bring my first baby into this world in the safety and comfort of my own home. My partner, Conan, felt the same. We were relieved and delighted to find independent midwife Sue Cole living and working near where we lived in West Clare. We had trouble finding a GP to take us on, so Sue suggested one a little further afield who had already done antenatal care for one of her homebirthers. The reaction from the local GPs was disappointing but expected and further concreted my wishes to stay as far away from the medicalised world of doctors and hospitals as possible. I wasn’t sick after all. In fact after the tiredness of the first trimester had gone I don’t think I’d ever felt healthier or happier. Continue reading


A second time mother’s home birth

I was due on 27 December 2012 and waited for my so much wanted home birth. On my due date everybody was asking if anything started and really annoyed as it was putting more pressure on me and reminded me of 14 days countdown. I had absolutely no signs of upcoming labour. I started losing any hope for home birth with days passing. On 3 days overdue I woke up full of energy and ridden with period cramps but irregular. They were gone by night time. Next day passed really quietly, no cramps, no energy. Continue reading

A waterbirth at home for a second time mum

It’s hard to believe it’s 3 weeks to the day (now just over 4 as it’s taken me a week to finish this!) since Lorcan arrived – just like with Aoife it’s almost like he was never not here, yet I can’t quite figure out where he came from! Every now and then I find myself looking at him thinking “where did you come from!” Funny, how we have 9 months to prepare and it still seems to take us
unawares. Continue reading

A home birth in Ireland following a hospital birth and a domino scheme birth in the US

I was so happy to be having a homebirth. It was what I’d always wanted, but living in rural America, and in poverty at that, paying for – or even finding – an independant midwife that would travel more than an hour was completely out of the question. I was only 16 but I’d decided I wanted a natural birth, I exercised and ate as healthy as I could afford to. I wasn’t all that knowledgeable, even though I’d done my best to research – I research everything. So when my doctor was going on holidays at 39 weeks, having already started dilating and effacing a few weeks earlier, I agreed to have my waters broken as I thought it was still “natural.” You all know where this is headed. 5 hours later I was railing against pitocin-induced contractions – I didn’t even know I’d been given pitocin – and my sister and aunt persuaded me to take a narcotic called demerol – I think it’s called pethidine here. He was born less than two hours later – all 6.1 lbs of him. The doctor cut me unnecesarily to “prevent tearing.” It was a less than ideal way to give birth, and I was numb with shock for weeks, unable to bond with my new baby. Continue reading

Baby #4 and a first homebirth

I guess I should start this by saying I had two wishes for this, my fourth baby’s birth:

  1. that I wouldn’t be an angry labouring woman or lose control; and
  2. 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! Continue reading

A gentle VBAC water birth at home

It was 2am on Tuesday morning, 5th March, and I woke up to cramps. They were very manageable, really just felt like period cramps. After timing them for about 40 minutes, it seemed they were 10 minutes apart. Shortly after that my 4 year-old little monkey woke up and wasn’t feeling the best, so I took him down to his Daddy to mind and got back to bed to rest and keep an eye on the cramps. I wasn’t due until the 8th March, so I still thought that it might have been just Braxton Hicks. Anyways at 6am, they were still going and so I knew I was on my way. I pottered downstairs and turned on the immersion so the water would be ready when it was time to fill the pool. I didn’t want to disturb anyone at this stage as I felt it was too early yet. But by 6.30, they had moved to 4/5 minutes apart so I gave my midwife a buzz and she was on her way. Next phone call was to my sister who we had asked to look after the kids. Continue reading

A first time mother’s natural birth in CUMH

So I thought that nearly 17 weeks later it’s time to get my birth story down, before I forget any of it. Our son Daniel was born on the 5th June at 12.25am, it was a totally natural birth which I really, really wanted (even though everyone told me to be flexible I was determined not to take drugs or have an epidural). I was aided by my fantastic hypnobirthing CD and my also fantastic TENS machine. I had a really positive experience and I can honestly say that I didn’t really feel any pain once I put the CD and TENS machine on, only pressure and the will to push like the bejasus. Continue reading

Country Comparison: A second baby in a US birth centre for an Irish mum

I’m an Irishwoman who lives in America. My first child was born in Texas, and when he was four months old we moved north to a Maryland suburb of Washington DC. When I got pregnant again, 21 months later, several friends and acquaintances in the delightfully slightly-hippie-but-not-snobby town I live in recommended a birth centre about half an hour away. Having had a straightforward hospital birth with no epidural (but some narcotic) the last time, I was ready to try for an unmedicated birth. The centre is a five-minute drive from an excellent hospital, and I trusted the midwives to know in plenty of time if someone would need a transfer in an emergency. Continue reading

A second time mum’s positive birth story: when plans change unexpectedly

When I was 38 weeks I had an appointment in the midwifery-led unit (MLU) where we discussed my birth preferences, only to be reassured that everything I was talking about was considered best practice there. At home, as the birth approached, we reevaluated who should accompany me for the delivery. Charlie found the whole experience very traumatic last time around, and he felt it affected him for days afterwards. So when he developed a bad chest infection, we took it as a sign and asked my mother to step in as birth partner instead, something she was excited to do. Continue reading

A first time mum’s fast labour with a domino scheme

Our first baby was due on Friday 8th February. I had kept pretty active during my pregnancy, I walked, swam, done a pregnancy yoga class, and bounced bounced bounced away on the pilates ball! I also listening to Gentlebirth CDs. I had a fear of hospitals, sickness, blood, needles and honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through pregnancy let alone labour. But at the same time I knew that I would love to have a natural, pain relief free labour. I wanted the best start for my baby and I really wanted to experience labour and feel my baby entering the world. I believe that keeping myself active throughout my pregnancy, informing myself of all my choices and keeping as calm as possible really helped me have the birth I wanted. Continue reading

A first time father tells his daughter’s birth story

I woke up early Friday morning, probably around 1:30am and Anna was awake. She was restless, fidgeting, uneasy. I asked her what was up; she said she couldn’t sleep properly. I went back to sleep for a while and woke up again at 3ish. I too was not sleeping well. Anna had said she felt funny and had been timing some pains in her stomach region. Without leaping out of the need in a panic I calmly talked with Anna about how she felt. She was pessimistically optimistic about what might be happening. Continue reading