I can’t tell my birth story without the back story of my first two births.
My son, Ethan, was born via “emergency” C-section after the cascade of intervention lead to “foetal distress”. I was induced with him because I am a diabetic mom and the OB felt my belly and said my baby was at “least ten pounds”. So, being naive and uneducated on the subject, I went with the flow. Induction ensued — I had the gels, then the drip, then an epidural and, lo and behold, 14 hours later my son arrived via C-section. I wasn’t too upset about it as I was told I did what was best for my son at the time.
Our second pregnancy was great; I had spoken to the hospital about a VBAC and they were all on board until about 38 weeks. An OB told me (tactlessly) that if my baby died because I had chosen a VBAC, it was my fault. He then asked me if I was willing to live with that forever. Needless to say, I was scared as I had never thought about my baby dying in child birth. So, instead of sticking to my well researched guns, I gave into fear and my second son was born via C-section. One midwife told me after this birth that now I’d be destined to have C-sections from here on out. I was adamant that it was not going to happen. When I developed an infection shortly after my birth and almost died, this solidified in my mind and heart that I would never have another C-section again.
I got pregnant nine months later only to lose that pregnancy at about 13 weeks. I was devastated, but even more determined to birth naturally when and if we got pregnant again.
Sure enough, we fell pregnant four months after our miscarriage and we began researching our options. My husband was a bit leery about home birthing (as was I), but we soon realised that this was probably our only chance of having a natural delivery. We both knew that there were risks, but upon more researching, surrounding myself with other home birth families and by overcoming my fear, we decided to have this baby at home.
We met with a wonderful midwife who suited us just perfectly. She felt like a part of the family already. So, we made the decision and went down the path of homebirth.
My antenatal care was beautiful. No fear, no pressure, no words of foetal death; nothing. It was glorious. I enjoyed this pregnancy so much more than my previous and knew we had made the right decision.
I had a window of three days as to when I thought my baby was due and between ultrasound and my last period, we knew the day was fast approaching.
On Thursday, 21 April, I woke up with what I thought were stomach pains at about 1am. I headed into the toilet thinking I needed to do some business and then went back to bed. I was fast asleep till 4am when the stomach pains started again. I honestly thought I just needed the bathroom again but my sweet husband had taken notice that the pains were coming regularly and started timing my groans. Every four minutes they would come and this made us realise it was more than likely labour. At about 5am he said we thought he should stay home since it would take him an hour to get to work and an hour and a half to get home should I need him quick. I got back up to use the bathroom and found that my mucous plug was coming out. This pretty much confirmed his decision to stay home.
I rang my midwife to let her know that things were moving, but I thought it would still be awhile. She said to call her when I wanted her to come and that she’d be on her way. Little did I know that she was up and getting ready as she could hear me trying to talk through my contractions. I called my other support person, Carmen, and she asked if I wanted her here yet and I said, “Oh, whenever,” but she listened to me talk through a contraction and said she was leaving then. By this time my oldest son had woken up and Hubby explained to him that I was in labour and he knew that meant his baby sister was on her way. So, he stayed around the place talking to me, building his Lego helicopter and asking if I was okay. He was very interested in why I was hurting, but wasn’t afraid or worried about me.
By now my contractions were getting stronger and a bit closer together, about three minutes apart. Carmen arrived about 7ish (I think) and my contractions were up to two minutes apart and pretty intense. I couldn’t speak through them and they were starting to last a fair while.
Within a few contractions things changed drastically. The noises that were coming out of my mouth were strange to me as I am not a screaming type of person but I could tell things were changing. It was transition time! I messaged my midwife who was stuck in morning traffic and she said she’d be here shortly. Both of our boys were happily playing and enjoying a very normal morning in our home, the only difference was that their baby sister was on her way. It was so nice to have them all around and for them to get to experience this with us.
By now it was around 8am and my contractions were only 50 seconds to a minute apart and I was not handling it. I felt like I needed to push but was not so secretly freaking out that my midwife wasn’t there yet. I told Jared and Carmen I needed to push and both of them encouraged me to hold off which felt like the dumbest suggestion ever! Within minutes, my midwife arrived and a wave of peace hit me. When she walked in, cupped my face and said, “Oh, you have labour face.”
Without a hello or any greeting I said, “I HAVE TO PUSH!” and she sweetly replied, “Okay, so push.” But, then suddenly I started to REALLY freak out. “I can’t push! What if she’s not ready? What if I’m not ready? OMG, OMG, OMG. I’ve only been in labour five minutes!” In my mind, labour was meant to drag on for hours and possibly days! I had only been in labour that morning and it all felt way too soon! But, my midwife reminded me that things are different at home and that babies come when they are ready.
I moved over to the couch and only stayed sitting for a few pushes when I knew I had to move. I got down on all fours and rested my arms on the couch. The pushing commenced. It was the most incredible and freaky feeling to have no control over my body. The sheer force that my body was pushing was not worth fighting so I went with it. My body was made for this I kept telling myself. Soon I felt a pop and a gush and knew that some of my waters had broken. There was a bit of meconium staining in them but nothing to be concerned about. My midwife checked the baby’s heartbeat and all was great. She was very happy in there despite being squished. My husband and youngest son sat wide-eyed as they watched the amazing birth process.
Soon enough, I felt the stinging and heard Julie telling me to slow down my pushing and to go slowly. I *THINK* I did my best to do that even though I was just going with what my body was doing. Soon the fire passed I felt a big gush and a relief. I heard some gurgling and looked at Jared and said, “IS THAT MY BABY!?!!” Soon she was on my chest; gooey, bloody and cuddling with her mama.
We moved to the couch after a bit of cuddling and left the cord attached to the placenta to keep pulsing for a good 40 minutes. Then I had the most amazing hot shower and delivered my placenta.
We were in awe. I was amazed that I had been able to actually do it. Not because I didn’t believe in myself, but because so many had instilled so much fear in me the last few years about a natural birth after C-section (let alone a home birth). In my mind, birth was supposed to be long and drawn out, but this little girl was born in less than five hours.
Piper May weighed in at a healthy 10lb 4oz (4.7kg), 20.1inches (51cm) and had a head circumference of 14.6inches (37cm).
She is the perfect addition to our perfect little family.