Updated: Apr 5
In life I have always been drawn to more natural ways of doing things. Having a nursing background but working as a carer in a hospital I saw it as a place for sickness. Granted I am not opposed to birthing in hospital (and know of many empowering and positive stories which happened there..my sister had a great experience. She used hypnobirthing and stayed at home as long as she could before goings in. Was also her first birth) but for me I have always known there was no other place to birth than in the comfort of my own home. Being a low risk pregnancy I had the opportunity to birth at home and am grateful for that.
Planning on a home birth with no medicated pain relief meant I needed to prepare for birth in other ways. So with my community midwife (who I am forever grateful for) I had discussed and researched methods needed for this. In the weeks leading up to my birth on a practical level I was carrying out perineum massages when I could, drinking raspberry leaf teas at the recommended time frame and eating my 6 dates a day in my homemade protein balls in order to ripen my cervix for labour. I had practiced exercises which allowed me to help get baby in the optimal fetal position for birth. The birth pool was ordered and a practice run in setting it up with my husband was carried out to ensure a stress free set up for "D-day".
I was due the 19th of November. 4 days before I lost some of my mucous plug, the same happened 3 days before so I was hoping it may be a sign. Then two days before my due date we had gone about our normal day. We chilled and listened to romantic music with cuddles. I felt I needed to go to the loo so went and had dull lower back pain...I thought this might be it. I had so lost more mucous plug here. I kept an eye the pain which had not subsided an hour later. So we decided to prepare for the birth in the hopes I was in labour. So on hindsight, I was right the labour hadh started at 9.30pm that night. (Our midwife was informed at 10.30 that evening that we may be in labour as a heads up!)
We made labour aide -a homemade electrolyte drink suggested by our midwife (and practiced making many times before). My husband had started pumping up the pool and we moved furniture around and set up fairy lights, my Himalayan salt lc canamp, candles and the diffuser with calming essential oils (Clary sage and lavender) in our sitting room. After some hours of resting as much as possible, hydrating, pacing and breathing through early contractions they had started to intensify. So at 4.30 am I decided I needed some pain relief so I put the TENS machine on to allow me some sleep. I went up to bed with my husband and got a little over 3 hrs sleep.
Waking up just before 8am I had noticed the pains getting evermore intense but still manageable and more importantly quite frequent. We went downstairs and I told my husband we needed to start filling the pool. I started timing contractions on my gentle birth app which gently guided me through each contraction. The hypnobirthing really allowed me to focus and stay calm. I had a little tool called a "winner flow" given to me by my midwife. It essentially is like a short straw you blow I to to help you focus your breathing. This with my TENS machine and hypnobirthing was key for me through each contraction. I also had the mindset that this process had an end to it and understood that our bodies are made for this!
All the while my amazing husband knew to leave me in my zone and was tirelessly trying to fill the pool (2 person pool might I add which wasn't the best pool for filling up) with our immersion which took ages as our house had a smaller tank. Kettles were boiling too! Something we didn't troubleshoot prior to the birth .
At 9.30 am I felt like I needed my midwife but wasn't sure. I listened to my gut and text her. She text me she would start getting ready and make her way over. She arrived at 10.30 am. She performed an internal assessment and I was 4 cm dilated and my waters bulging so she said "I'm staying!" - which was a huge relief to me for that extra reassurance. She carried out vitals and monitored me. I decided I may need to eat - had some cornflakes which later were vomited back up.
Amongst all of this there was a knock on the door and our pre-ordered tesco shop delivery had arrived at the door! I had totally forgot about this! As they say life still goes on. This was a blessing in disguise as we had a fully stocked house after baby was born!
Not long after the shopping was delivered I had asked how the pool was getting on as I thought I may need to go in soon. My midwife was helping my husband to fill up the pool and saucepans of water were being boiled at this stage to help fill the massive pool. (You don't realize how big it is until you have to fill it! So just bear this in mind to any future mum's hoping to home birth in a pool!)
The pains were getting super intense at this stage that the TENS machine wasn't making a difference to me. I asked my midwife how did I know if I needed to push. She asked if I felt a pressure. I felt like I did. I had 2 more contractions and knew I needed to get into the pool to push...but it wasn't quite ready! It needed to be cooled down. I beared it for 3 more contractions, pacing up and down, eyeing up the pool! I told them I needed to get in, I felt the water and the temperature was good to go! I asked my husband to rip the TENS machine off - he's so attentive and saw the urgency in me he did it straight away but the poor man got a mini electric shock as I forgot to turn it off! Please tell your husband's it needs to be turned off as you may forget with everything that's going on and thats the last thing you want!
I got into the pool at 12.10 pm. SUCH A RELEIF!! This was THE best pain relief! The pool wasn't quite up to my bump and my amazing husband and midwife kept filling it up more and maintaining the temperature to give optimum pain RELEIF. My husband also used a jug to pour the water down my back which was heaven!
I laboured here for 2 hours. I was on all fours and had the winner flow but wasn't using it for breathing I realized later. I was gripping it to brace through the pain and was breathing and mooing in a low tone myself when contractions were happening and when pushing.
During one of the contractions and pushing I felt a "POP". My waters had broke. My midwife informed me meconium was present. I was told what I didn't want to really hear -that a possible hospital transfer was on the cards but that she would continue to monitor the situation first. Although it wasn't ideal I felt calm and reassured myself all will be well. I knew I had to accept this information and that whatever happened needed to happen.
A second midwife was called to be on hand and the ambulance service informed as precaution. My vitals were good and baby's heart rate was nice and steady throughout. I could feel baby's head and I knew she was close to coming. I tried to keep hydrated as I was getting exhausted at this stage. I remembered asking the room for reassurance. I said "I know I can do this but can you tell me I can do this!" My midwife was so good she said "You not only can do this but you are doing this!" These words and reassuring words from my husband were what I needed to hear.
I could feel the head starting to come and I didn't know what position to get in but I didn't like being on all fours for this. The second midwife suggested I get into a squat position. She got a scarf to wrap around my husband's shoulders and lean back so I could hold onto the scarf and brace myself on him he held me. It was a great position for me to birth in. As the head was coming out at different contractions I felt a sharp sudden pain. This was the tearing of my perineum as the head was crowning and being birthed. This sharp pain happened twice! I stopped after the first sudden dart and was the only point I felt fear and asked them to help me. The second midwife was super calm looked me in the eyes and guided me to breath. These calm moments were what helped me to overcome this fear and to breathe through this moment. I had gotten this far and was so close! Baby's head was out! After pushing through one more contraction the body was birthed. I turned around and picked baby up careful not to step on her. I did it!! What a relief! We did it! We were a great team!
I picked her up and straight onto my chest. The moment I waited for!! To hold and meet my baby girl . It was so surreal to have her in my arms and see what she looked like and who she resembled. We just took her in. Her little cry was adorable and was amazing to hear her voice. I comforted her and she became quiet and was so alert with her eyes opened taking everything in and listening to her environment. We were proud parents and the love you feel for this tiny human is indescribable! You don't want to stop looking at her! Our baby girl was 7lbs 6oz and was born at 14.12. Barely four hours after my midwives arrival which she reminded me of. Just under 17 hours of labour. I had put my experience down to my prep. (But don't be too rigorous I had days where I didn't have a chance to do the prep I wanted - I just made sure at a given week I had something extra done especially with my midwife visiting!)
We spent the first hour having skin to skin which was amazing!
I stepped out of the pool with my baby and proceeded to birth the placenta on my couch. Myself and baby were helped with breastfeeding here. Once the cord was flacid and white it was cut and baby was taken for checks and skin to skin with daddy!
I had a first degree tear but no stitches were needed. My midwife came with me to shower upstairs. This felt amazing. I put stretchy maternity briefs on and I got straight into bed. Dad came up with baby so we could have our skin to skin. The midwife stayed for another small bit to ask if we needed anything else. She told us how amazing we were and then left! This was us...our family! What an experience!
I just hope that other mums, first time included, know that they have the ability to prepare for a positive birth. Regardless of if we needed a transfer, if you have your hypnobirthing - you can prepare for anything. I am grateful for how things have happened. I know if you believe in yourself and work through any fears you have surrounding birth that you will have an empowering birth. Regardless of where you birth or how it happens you will be able to manage things better and be as calm as you can be when something unexpected happens.
Want to learn more about having a positive birth... check out Midwife Pip Courses HERE