Our much anticipated first baby was "due" on the 6th December, however he had other ideas, making us wait ten days to finally meet him.
During our pregnancy it was recommended that we looking into Hypnobirthing and were given Jess' contact details at Mother Moon Hypnobirthing. This is really where our birthing journey started.
I was very keen to explore a home birth however my husband had his reservations. Throughout the Hypnobirthing classes we learnt so much about birth, variations of normal and about undisturbed physiological birth. That was to be our goal. My husband opened his mind to home birth and with the support of our midwives this became plan A.
On Monday at 41+1 weeks we had an appointment with our midwife, Caitlin. I was so ready to meet our baby. As I was comfortable going to 42 weeks but nothing much more, we discussed a plan to avoid a medical induction. Caitlin discussed a VE and stretch and sweep to see where things were at. I was 1cm dilated but my cervix still has some work to do. An attempt at a sweep was completed.
That afternoon I had started with regular cramps and tightenings. These lasted all night, not getting any stronger or any closer together. They eased in the early hours, allowing me some sleep. I assumed I would be waking to stronger surges however this was not the case. I was a little deflated; patience is not my strong suite. During this time I used my Hypnobirthing tracks to stay calm and relax my body.
Tuesday brought the same early labour signs. I contacted my midwife for some advice, she explained exactly what was going on and that this was getting me ready for birth. She was my voice of reason and I always felt better for chatting with her. We were due to see her on Wednesday morning if things didn’t progress. Tuesday night was a repeat of Monday, regular tightens that didn’t progress to labour. I was so tired and emotional - thank goodness we were seeing our midwife.
In our appointment on Wednesday morning we opted for a VE and stretch and sweep again, alongside a pep talk from Caitlin. I was 4cm dilated, baby’s head was sitting right down low, my cervix was paper thin and ready to rumble. I was offered some medicine to go home and sleep before our baby came. My husband cheerfully asked "will the baby be here by 2pm tomorrow, it’s just that’s when the first test cricket game started". Caitlin didn’t make any promises.
However it would soon be evident that Alfie wanted to watch that first ball of the test with his dad.
When we got home I went for a lay down, I woke two hours later and finally my contractions had changed. They were stronger and more demanding of my attention - not quiet active labour but I was closer than before. We were on here. After about an hour at 1:30 we called Caitlin and Diana my student midwife to come. I was laying in bed, where I was reminded of my active birth techniques so up I got and walked and squatted, getting those surges to work for me and my baby.
We were thinking there was a long road ahead of us but that wasn’t to be the case. My surges were becoming more regular but still not quiet getting into a steady rhythm. Caitlin suggested that I reverse sit on the toilet to relax my pelvic floor and get gravity helping us out. After a long sit on the toilet listening to my tracks, encouraged by my husband and midwife (I was not a fan on this position, but my body loved it, I was constantly saying I wanted to get off but then a surge would keep me there) active labour was in full force.
I spent some time squatting and standing at the end of my bed I was desperate to get in the shower, but was mindful it might have been "too early". I did get in the shower and it turns out it wasn’t too early.
This baby was coming.
The third surge in the shower, my body was pushing, much to the shock of the both Caitlin and Diana. Caitlin did a VE just to check, and yep that baby was right there ready to go.
Quickly the pool was filled, the second midwife and the photographer were contacted to arrive; quickly. The birth space was set up and we were ready to go.
The surges were strong. I was breathing though them as I was taught, saying my mantras in my mind.
I stayed in the shower until the pool was filled. Baby’s heart rate was being checked regularly, all was good. Once the pool was ready, I was in. What a relief that was. My body was weightless and my surges became manageable. This is exactly what I had envisioned.
I was in an all fours position for some time. Caitlin suggested to pop one leg up to help open my pelvis and with this I felt a change in the sensations, my baby’s head was coming. Using my deep vocalisations and after a few more surges I quickly decided a position change was required and flopped ungracefully on to my back, somehow managing not to splash any water on Wendy (my second midwife) or the floor. A few more surges and I reached down to receive my baby en caul, with the support of the midwives.
Holy moly I just had a baby.
I quickly looked to see what we had, a baby boy! A perfectly healthy baby boy.
I stayed in the pool for a short time, getting out to birth my placenta. Little Alfie stayed attached to his placenta until it was birthed and he had all his beautiful blood back. Lewis cut the cord and we snuggled on the couch and he had his first feed.
I was still in awe that I had just had a baby. From commencement of active labour to the placenta being born was 2 and a half hours. Turns out those days of preparing were so very helpful in giving me a quick, calm birth. The hours after was spent eating toast and drinking tea, showering, recapping what just happened and getting checked over.
Homebirth midwives are truly angles.
I’m not sure I would have had the empowering, peaceful home birth we had with out the education and support from Jess, Caitlin and Diana. Although I had a straight forward birth, knowing I had all the tools I needed allowed me to birth confidently.
Midwives: New Life Midwifery
Birth Photographer: First Glance Photography