Reflecting on the events a year ago today…
We were living a building site (classic have a baby do arenovation– run out of time!) as well as being 8 days overdue and 2 sweeps down the line, it was beginning to feel like having a homebirth wasn’t very realistic…
On that Tuesday I had just attended a clinic appointment(had another sweep!) and reluctantly booked in my induction for two days time. Following the appointment I had a huge urge to take my cocker spaniel, Alfie, for a walk to our favourite place and have some alone time with him– it was a really special afternoon just the two of us and we walked for hours until the sun began to setand I remember feeling very content and mellow.I alsoremember that we kept having to stop so that I could catch my breath– I think in hindsight Alfie was well awareI was already in labour as instead of being his usual crazy self- he walked calmly and stayed next to me throughout.
1800- we got home and and my boyfriend j was headingout running and I didn’t stop him as I still hadn’t twigged it had really started. He said he got the feeling he needed to come back and when he got home he found me frantically cleaning which is completely out of character! I managed to convince him that I was in “very early stages” so he headed off to bed and I stayed up scrubbing floors! I text Jodie to know that I was nowregularly having some twinges. She told me to rest and she would keep as ear out for her phone. I ran myself a bath, lit some candles and got my 2 hypnobirthing tracks playing on repeat. The bath felt amazing and I was beginning to realise that my little one may be on their way and all I could feel was excitement! I got out the bath and plaited my hair but I remember thinking that a 5 minute plait had easily taken an hour as I kept letting my hair go to grab hold of the sink every couple of minutes.
After the bath I went into the baby’s room and realised that their room didn’t have a lampshade- so I decided that I needed to get to work on it ASAP. During this late night craft session (photo below taken at 0018), Idecided that I would put my TENS machine on but I didn’t want to wake J incase it was “a false alarm” so I managed (using a mirror) to aim the pads in the right area on my back (not recommended!) and that first time I pressed boost I remember feeling euphoric and deciding that I would be able to cope thanks to this magic little machine.
So to paint the picture I’m in a tiny box room making a lampshade with one hand (which is unsurprisingly very wonky) boosting my tens with my other hand, breathing deeply whilst trying not to wake up J or the kids on the other side of the wall of our semi-detached house. My mooing however wasn’t as quiet as I thought and J woke up to me apparently “groaning” but still desperate to finish the lampshade! Jodie text me at 02.39 and asked how I was getting on to which I replied I was having strange pains every 3-4 minutes (you wouldn’t think I was a midwife !).
0326 messaged Jodie to say these “strange pains” were now every 2 minutes and Jodie was on her way- J was now WIDE awake and filling up the pool as directed by Jodie. Jodie arrived just before 4am and very dramatically my waters decided to break on her arrival! This was shortly followed by all of my dinner coming back up! Jodie agreed that it seemed as though labour was well and truly in full swing. J had very proudly filled the pool up (he loves a task) only to realise that he hadn’t put the all important liner in it (the pools are reuseable!) So at now 04.30 in the morning- with the equivalent of 4 baths worth of water in the pool- J was now emptying the water into the drain outside our house on the main road that we live on- needless to say that thanks to hypnobirthing and doggy doula cocker spaniel- I was completely unaware of all this going on around me!
0600 Tanya arrived as the second midwife and I had no idea she was planning to come so I remember getting really excited to have her there as well as feeling incredibly lucky to have such amazing women there to get me through this!
Very shortly afterwards I was getting huge urges to push and was encouraged by both Tanya, Jodie and J to go for it and “see what happens”- needless to say this pushing malarkey is NUTS- how do women all around the world do this everyday (again you wouldn’t think I was a midwife as my day job!)
0800 J was watching and quickly learning from the best (Tanya and Jodie) and was an incredible support I remember him moving all my affirmations into my eyesight which was really what I needed at that point. I clearly remember just looking round the room and realising that I was so lucky to have 3 (plus one of the furry variety) amazing cheerleaders there for me. I used the pool for a while but chose to jump out when I knew the baby was near.
The excitement was building and with every push I knew I was getting closer to meeting them! This excitement also bought me back into real time and realised that we needed to tell the builders not to come this morning as they were due to arrive anytime!
I knew I was getting close because I could hear changes in the baby’s heart rate but those final few pushes took everything out of me and I reached around J’s neck and that final push we did together and it was enough to get the baby round the bend.
The atmosphere in the living room changed from calm into excitement and I knew now was the time that I’ve told so many women to “just to listen” and I focused all I could into tuning into Jodie and just Jodie and I knew how much I trusted her in that moment. This was it- I was about to meet the baby I had yearned for for so long who I felt I had already known forever….All my years as a nanny and then a midwife and now I was about to meet my own little one… I heard J shout ‘there’s a head’ and I remember laughter from either Jodie and Tanya or from me as for j this bit was all new!
0850: the baby’s born! Jodie lifts the baby up to reveal their gender but the midwife in me could only see his HUGE tongue tie and then I quickly came back into the moment to realise that we had a boy- a long and slim boy who looked identical to his daddy! That relief of holding your prize after all that hard work- I’m not sure there’s a feeling like it- and then the love- the raw, unconditional mothering love that engulfs you as you cradle baby in your arms.
And then there was the other star of the show: Alfie, who we was with me from start to finish-he watched the whole process from the comfort of the sofa and came over to see and sniff him as soon as he was born and needless to say they’re still the best of friends!
So how to sum up this experience: primal but perfect- everything I imagined homebirth to be and then some! If we’re lucky enough to have another– I can honestly say I’ll be excited for birth again- whenever I remember that night I beam- I beam because I was so lucky to have experienced the magic of the Homebirth Team
Jodie and Tanya- you are our heroes! X