First Time Mum
Water birth at home
I had a stretch and sweep on Wednesday afternoon, at home during a lovely visit with my midwife that really put me in the right head space for birth. I went for a walk with my puppies and in-laws who were visiting from Scotland awaiting this babies arrival. We came home to a beautiful meal cooked by my partner and ate outside. It was a gorgeous summer night and I just remember feeling really at ease. I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol my whole pregnancy but that night I decided to have a red wine and dark chocolate as we played cards and I bounced on my fit ball.
After playing cards my partner and I went and had some time alone and I had a huge show. I began to feel tightenings almost immediately. It was 11pm so I decided to have a shower and get some sleep as I had a strong feeling that the next day was going to be the day I met my baby.
Lying down was impossible as the tightenings increased so I got up and went between sitting on the toilet and rocking on my birth ball. I had dim lights and essential oils through a diffuser and I just remember thinking is this it? Am I really in labour? At about midnight I decided I was and I said to my partner I am in early labour and he should sleep because this bit can go on forever. He didn’t sleep but he let me be as I requested and I used the positive birth company MP3’s which were so helpful during this time. I also listened to some of my favorite songs which I sang along to, to help distract me. My partner helped me to put the tens on at about 1am and I have mixed feelings about whether or not the tens helped. I was still thinking things are irregular and early and this might just stop. Most surges were now coming every 2-3mins but occasionally I’d have a 4 min gap. I’d try to lie down again but my body just wouldn’t let me, so up I got continuing to rock on the fit ball and listen to MP3s and music. The most helpful mantras at this time were from Rhea Dempsey’s birthing with confidence book “Embrace rather than avoid, release rather than resist and accommodate rather than panic” and “It’s a functional normal pain, it means things are going well”
3am came around and things started to get pretty intense. I felt I really needed to get quite vocal but was conscious of my in-laws staying in our guest room. I phoned my Mum who was happy to have my in-laws stay at her place as previously planned. My partner woke his parents up, explained to them what was happening and off they went to spend the night at Mums.
As soon as they left I got really vocal, things definitely turned up a notch and there was now no doubt in my mind this baby was on its way. I remember banging my fists against the bed frame and the walls to help with the surges. I started yelling quite loudly and remembering I didn’t want to yell so I started repeating the word “love” really loudly, over and over during each surge. I find this so funny now but at the time it was very helpful.
At 3:45 I jumped in our bath at home thinking it was too early to blow up the birthing pool. As soon as I got in there I felt an urge to bear down. I thought the baby might be in the wrong position as I couldn’t possibly be ready to push yet so I called the midwife at 4:20am and she was on her way.
I got out of the bath and sat on the toilet as I really felt I needed to open my bowels. In between surges I’d lie on my left side on the bathroom floor and during I was rocking on the toilet.
My partner was amazing, getting me hydralyte, ensuring I stayed hydrated while responding to all my bizarre requests, get me this and that, rub me here, don’t rub me there etc etc
My midwife arrived at 5:15am and I remember suggesting we head into the hospital as things had hit peak intensity and I really felt I couldn’t do this for hours longer without pain relief. The midwife checked my cervix and I was 9cm. I was thrilled with myself and just in awe of what my body was doing and the feeling of my body opening up and getting ready to birth my baby.
My midwife and partner had set the birth pool up by 5:30 and I couldn’t get up into it. I lie on my side holding onto the side of the birth pool thinking things were just too intense to move. When I finally did get in the birth pool at 5:50am I felt an instant sense of relief. It’s true what they say water really is nature’s epidural. I looked outside and the sun was coming up, the room was dimly lit with a fairy light tree, my birthing playlist was on and I just remember thinking this is it, I am about to meet my baby and things couldn’t be more perfect. My partner was sitting behind me and I was holding both his hands and pressing them into my forehead during surges to keep me focused. My waters broke at 0603 and then I could feel the stretching and knew the babies head was close to coming out. I just wanted to do one big push so it would all be over and I could meet him but my amazing midwife reminded me to go slowly to try and avoid tearing. She had me make a Ha Ha Ha noise during surges instead of bearing down forcefully and it really helped to slow things down and allow time for things to stretch. I was feeling my babies head and trying to slow baby down with my hands. Once the head was born my midwife encouraged me to slow things down and wait for the next surge. Something took over me and I couldn’t one more big push and my beautiful baby was born into my hands and I pulled him up to my chest. He was absolutely beautiful, it was the most amazing feeling finally meeting the tiny human we had created all those months ago. The intensity of the surges was so quickly forgotten as I cuddled and breast fed my gorgeous baby boy. I remember instantly thanking my midwife for facilitating my dream birth and helping me get everything I could have wanted. It was a magic little love bubble those first few hours and even weeks and I’ll never forget that precious sacred time in our lives where we discovered ourselves as parents and were in constant amazement (and continue to be) of this little human we had created.
I’m not going to lie labour and birth was not easy. It was tough but I remember a quote from the movie the business of being born that said I hit a wall that was higher than myself and I scaled it. That’s exactly how I felt about my experience and to enter motherhood with that sense of achievement was just awesome. I feel so privileged to be able to have had a home birth and hope I get the chance to do it again should we be blessed with baby number 2!