Here is my birth story of baby number three, written, as he lies on my lap only a day old! I’m happy to write this story down now even if it is more rambling than a coherent story, as I can already feel the magic of his birth slightly fading. We haven’t decided on a name yet, so I will just have to call him baby!
On paper his birth was around 2 hours, but of course that’s established labour, which doesn’t recognise all your hard work behind the scenes in the lead-up!
My older children go to nursery two days a week, so rather sensibly my body decided that labour should start Friday morning which is a nursery day!) – women’s bodies are clever like that! Early hours of the morning I started waking up with some tightenings. I went downstairs and just watched TV before the children woke up. I got them ready for nursery and my husband Patrick dropped them off.
I was expecting things to just ramp up from there, but labour pretty much stopped for the day. In the back of my mind I was thinking about the children being collected from nursery and getting to their grandparents - so I wasn’t completely relaxed at that point! Emotions have a direct effect on labour.
Things picked up again on Friday night, my husband went to sleep and I attempted to, but I wasn’t comfortable lying down. Instead I sat on the birth ball by the side of the bed, balanced some pillows on the bed and nodded off in between surges. I had my TENS machine on at this point as I wanted to make sure I used it from early on in labour.
In the early hours of the morning I made my way downstairs and I started walking back and forth from the dining room to the front room whilst visualizing I was walking barefoot along a sandy beach. The fairy lights were on by this point and I was already using lavender oil on muslin, which I had used in my previous labour and always used when I practiced my Hypnobirthing. I also had a birth ball upstairs as well as downstairs so that was pretty useful.
I worked through the surges focusing on my breathing. By 6.30am we decided to call the birth centre and let them know we were booked in for a home birth. The midwife told us on the phone that the midwives changed shifts at 8am so we needed to choose if we wanted someone over there and then, or hold on till 8am. I felt I wanted to have the midwife there, but decided to avoid the shift changing - which would have caused interruptions and slowed labour.
The midwives arrived and one was Laura (the midwife that had been with us at home for my son Bax’s birth) - which was amazing! I was unsure as to whether I wanted to have a vaginal examination, as I just didn’t want anything to throw me off and I knew if I was ‘only’ at the beginning that would affect me emotionally. But, I was undecided at that point, I later changed my mind when I felt as I really did want to know.
I had my check and at that point I was 7cm, and I felt happy to get in the birth pool! Things progressed straight away after and I just started to feel this incredible urge to push. I thought surely this was too soon and I even asked the midwives - of course because they were brilliant midwives they both said ‘listen to your body’ so that’s what I did!
I wanted to breathe the baby down rather than push. So, I just breathed and took it slowly which helped hugely and I believe that’s why I didn’t have a tear, even with baby making an exit with his arm up by his face, just like Superman as Laura described!
I had put on my birth proposal that I wanted to be the first to catch my baby and for my midwives to help me. So that’s what they did and I managed to kneel up, reach down and guide baby up to the surface once he was born!
I also wanted to get a photo of the baby with the placenta and to watch the cord run white so I knew all the blood was back in the baby, and again this was on my birth proposal. As I was planning to get my placenta encapsulated, my midwives made sure I birthed it onto a clean towel and helped pop it into a container after its photo shoot!
So baby boy was born an hour after the midwives arrived, at 9.20am weighing 8lb 2oz. Afterwards, it again reminded me how amazingly powerful women are, however they birth their babies. What helped me was Hypnobirthing, my birth partner, the birth pool, lavender oil and feeling supported by my midwives at home in my familiar environment.