Birth Story - One couples journey preparing for the home water birth of their first child.
From the beginning things had gone very smoothly for me, I had a wonderful pregnancy in which not only did I grow physically but also emotionally and spiritually. I felt a strong connection with my baby, and permanently had my hands on my belly- so much that all my tops started getting worn in the mid section!
During my pregnancy I had many different emotions arising, and as they arose I felt that I did my best to deal with them and overcome them. I used a lot of bush flower essences and Bach flower essences and felt that they helped me immensely to acknowledge what was going on and to deal with things in a positive way.
We had always wanted a homebirth so decided to find a midwife early. Living in Hervey bay I knew that there may be difficulties, but upon making some phone calls I got in touch with Claire. From our first phone call I knew that she was ‘the one’. We spoke easily and I really liked her views on birthing in general. And so it was that the homebirth process had begun. Having Claire as my midwife meant that throughout the pregnancy I felt really supported and special, it was wonderful knowing that she knew me and her wonderful positivity about the birthing process gave me so much faith in my own abilities- something I had always doubted in myself. I had never thought that I could be so calm about birth, but the more I began to understand the process the more I realised that there was nothing to fear.
And so the day of my labour arrived. It was the day before my due date and Claire had come for a visit. She gave me a lovely massage- the only one I got during my whole pregnancy-(which is the problem when you have an easy pregnancy!) She left in the afternoon, and although we had started to prepare the birthing room, we realised that we still needed a few things for the birthing pool so headed off to Bunning’s for hose attachments etc. Whilst in Bunning’s I started to develop a sore back. Claire had warned me that I may start to feel Braxton hicks –something I hadn’t felt yet, so I put the sore back down to Braxton hicks and the massage. We got home that evening and finished setting up the hose for the pool. I felt that my sore back was still there, however I was feeling good and even contemplated heading off to my yoga class… however due to a sleepless night the night before I decided to stay home and have an early night.
As we settled in for the evening in front of the telly my sore back started to get stronger… I didn’t mention this to Liam as I didn’t want to alarm him, but quietly set about looking at the clock each time the pains came back… funnily enough I noticed a little pattern developing every 5 minutes so I spoke up. We decided to time them properly and sure enough there was definitely a pattern there. We looked up in Claire’s book and the pain I described seemed to fit quite accurately as a labour pain, but still we thought maybe this was just a false alarm. We both didn’t want to get too excited but without really saying much to each other we went down into the birthing room and started adding some extra things ‘just incase’… Liam dragged some nice plants inside, and I set about collecting extra items I thought we may need. We decided to give Claire a call and let her know what was happening. She suggested having a hot shower and going to bed, in order to see if the pains were Braxton hicks or not as I still wasn’t sure. I lay in bed for a while with the clock in hand in order to time the contractions, it definitely appeared that they were getting stronger, so when they were two minutes apart we got up, called Claire and headed down to the birthing room to prepare some more. It was now 11.30pm and Claire said she was on her way. We decided to half fill the pool with cold water, and switched on all the heaters. We had another mattress in the birthing room so I lit some candles and we lay down to get some rest before Claire arrived. An hour and a half later Claire arrived (right on time, as she was coming from Gympie)… the contractions had slowed from lying down, she checked me and the baby and we decided to try and get some rest. As the night wore on the contractions became stronger, I went from lying down and breathing though them, to having to get up and rocking on the Swiss ball… Liam was asleep and it felt nice to have peace and just be alone within myself. By 3.30 I started to feel that things were really getting stronger so I woke Liam and suggested we start adding some hot water to the pool. At about 4.30am I was eyeing up that pool with great desire! Claire came to see how I was going and she suggested that I get in… you didn’t have to ask me twice… entering that water was bliss, the warmth was incredible relief!
From then on the contractions started getting much stronger, I tried a few different positions and found that kneeling and leaning against the side was the most comfortable, and ended up staying in this position for the rest of my labour. Liam sat opposite me outside the pool and held my hands, gave me water and lots of rescue remedy. I focused on breathing in through my nose for a count of four and out my mouth for a count of five during each contraction, which I really felt helped me a lot. In between contractions I rested with my head down on the side of the pool… the peace was bliss. I had always wondered if I would have the strength and determination to get through the labour in a positive way… I wouldn’t class myself as a very strong person but somehow this labour opened up a well of strength that I never knew I had. I feel that as each contraction came I dealt with it in the most constructive way, between contractions Liam would ask me to relax which really helped as I was able to release a lot of tension which I didn’t realise I was holding. I rarely opened my eyes, instead I just focused on relaxing as much I could, reminding myself that each contraction was getting me closer to my baby.
As my baby started coming through the pelvic region I felt an amazing sense of relief, finally I could feel that all this hard work was paying off, and my baby was nearly there. Through those strong contractions I felt an amazing sense of wonderment and euphoria, this pressure I was feeling in my pelvis was MY BABY! Together we were working hard and it was all paying off! Feeling these sensations gave me so much courage and determination to get the job done; I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. As each contraction came over me I focused on breathing down and opening up, all the time talking to my baby and asking him to come on out. As the final few contractions came over me and my baby started crowning I tapped into all the energy I had left… in between contractions I would feel him slip back but this would only help me become more determined that the next contraction he would make it out.
After 3 hours in the birth pool, my baby was born…Liam was there to catch him which was wonderful, funnily enough as I was bearing down so hard to birth his body I wasn’t allowing enough room under me for him to be born so his head was hitting the inflated bottom of the pool… Liam had to coax me to lift up so that our baby could come out. I don’t think I could ever describe the joy and elation that we all felt when he gently slipped out into the warmth of the pool. I finally opened my eyes to find sunlight streaming into the room and a beautiful baby to hold. I was so happy to finally be holding him that I almost forgot to find out whether he was a boy or a girl, but I was reminded when I felt a little package under his bum… we had a boy! The next little while is a blur to me, although when I think back all I can really remember is laughing and crying at the same time. Liam jumped into the pool with me, and we laughed and cried some more.After some close family bonding time I was helped out of the pool and onto the mattress. We allowed the cord to stop pulsating before we cut it, something that took an hour and half! Not that it felt like a long time… I was just so amazed by this beautiful baby on my belly. For the next six hours we just lay together on the mattress and stared in wonderment at this beautiful gift. I was on such a huge high, no amount of sky diving could match the feelings I had.
This positive birth experience has taught me so much about myself and life. It helped me to realise that we CAN have what we really want, even if we have doubts about ourselves and our strengths, by thinking positively and believing in what we want, the universe can provide us with that positive experience.
A million thanks to Claire Hall also, without her positivity, knowledge and faith, this experience could not have been as wonderful or fulfilling!