I’m so excited to FINALLY share my home birth story with you all (only 7 weeks post-birth ;)). My doula, Pam, took notes during the whole experience and I filled in some of the gaps to put my story together to share with all of you.
So here it goes…
Just after midnight on May 8th (4 days after due date) I woke up to go to the toilet and climbed back into bed. Caleb, our first born, woke up then and I told Chris to go check on him. When he got back into bed after settling Caleb I felt something pop inside of me. And I knew my waters had just broken. I then got out of bed and there was a gush all over the bedroom floor. I was right. Let the games begin!!
I had written a whole plan of action for when this time came (see type A). So both Chris and I knew the drill. I called my midwife and doula and they both said to let them know when the contractions got stronger and closer together. Chris went to get the snack box labeled “birth snacks” which I was super excited about finally getting stuck into. We ate the snacks and chatted in bed while we waited for the contractions to get going. Chris then started to set up the birth pool in our bedroom. I had my birth affirmations already hung up in the corner of the room where the pool was to be stationed. We lit candles, dimmed the lights and Chris put on my birth playlist.
Our doula, Pam, got to us first at about 2am. My contractions were already in a nice rhythm (5 minutes apart and 1 minute long) and I lay on my birthing ball while she applied the TENS machine to my lower back, warmed a wheetie and turned on my diffuser with calming essential oils. The mood was definitely set and I was ready to go.
Our midwife, Marianne, arrived shortly after and checked Levi’s heartbeat and my blood pressure. All was well. The atmosphere was calm with a hint of excitement. My support team was all there and I felt so taken care of ready for things to progress and to welcome my baby into this world.
Suddenly between contractions I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness…
It dawned on me that Caleb was going to wake up in the morning and no longer be the only one. His whole world was about to be rocked. I let myself grieve for a moment with Chris while Pam and Marianne gave us some privacy. I let it all out. Big sobs for my first born who was no longer going to have all my affection. Once I let myself work through that, things started speeding up.
At 3am the contractions were getting intense and I needed to make sure I was in an optimal position before the next one came along. On my knees holding onto the birthing ball with Pam applying counter pressure to my lower back was best for now. Chris took over doing the counter pressure with each contraction. They were now 3-4 minutes apart and getting stronger. I became really nauseous now and started to vomit.
At 3:30am Marianne the midwife came into the room and checked on me and the babe. I then decided it was time to climb into the pool. Sitting in the warm water was such a relief. I leaned with my head back between contractions and breathed deeply. I was given ice to suck on which was magical.
At 4:00am I rolled onto my knees and leant over the edge of the pool. Vomited again. My support team took turns applying counter pressure to my lower back which gave me great relief.
It was 5:00am now and I had been working really hard…
Contractions were strong and long. But they weren’t progressing. Marianne asked me what I was afraid of. I thought about it for a second and realized I was afraid of letting go. Because letting go would mean more pain and stronger contractions that I didn’t have the energy for. She told me it was going to be more painful and I needed to let my body do what it needed to do. So I let go and leant into the pain knowing that it was getting me closer to meeting my baby.
To speed things up Marianne suggested I go sit on the loo (the dilation station). This was the first time she checked my cervix at my request and I was 9cm dilated.
At 5:25am we went back into the room and I lay on my left side on my bed while my team supported my right leg in a bent raised position. And damn that worked. Things got real. Levi moved further down the birth canal.
I climbed back into the birth pool at 5:40am and I started to get very tired.
I remember saying, “can I just take a little sleep before we carry on”. Marianne read out my birth affirmations that I stuck on the wall and Pam prayed softly into my ear which gave me much needed encouragement for this final stretch. I got into a squatting position to encourage Levi to move further down.
At 5:55am I reclined back and rested deeply between surges. They were like little power naps which were delightful as I gathered energy for the next contraction. I was now in transition.
I was ready to push at 6:15am and had to work really hard as Levi was face up making it a little harder as he tried to move down while turning into a more optimal position. After a few pushes while squatting in the pool, Levi’s head came out but his shoulder was stuck in my pelvis. I didn’t know this at the time of course but Marianne knew what to do. She told me to stand up and with one swoop of her finger she dislodged his shoulder and he flopped out with ease.
I lay back in the pool relief washing over me, and Levi was placed on my chest.
He let out his first glorious cry and I almost burst with pride for the both of us. We lay there for a moment while Chris praised us softly and we gave thanks to God.
Levi was born at 6:35am, six and a half hours after my labor started. I was gently guided to my bed where I birthed my placenta and nursed Levi for the first time. His soft skin on mine while I nourished him with liquid gold.
Caleb woke up to a baby brother and we all relished in our new family of 4.
My favorite birth affirmation was:
“I give birth in safety, held by the Lord. God has perfectly prepared this day for my baby’s birth. The Lord strengthens me through every breath.” And that’s exactly how it was.