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My homebirth story - and why I had a homebirth.
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Posted 03 February 2006 - 10:40 AM
My journey to home birth started before I even conceived our first child. My husband was very clucky – but I was quite nervous about the prospect of pregnancy and child birth. I borrowed a pregnancy and birth book from the library and it didn’t help much – most of the book was devoted to what an “ordeal” pregnancy and birth is, with only a short chapter on the joys of pregnancy – and nothing joyous about birth. But still I felt that knowledge is power so I kept on reading. I did a lot of research in the internet, and got addicted to reading birth stories.
I noticed a pattern emerge, birth stories on the internet seem to be predominantly either traumatic or disappointing stories from women who had poor experiences, they were trying to recover from physically and emotionally - they were always hospital births, or there were stories from women singing and dancing about the wonderful birth they had, 90% of these were homebirth stories. Some women had hospital birth they were happy with, but not many raved and glowed the way homebirth women did. I also liked the idea of not being separated from my husband after the birth – a new family should spend their first days together – not with Dad sent home every night.
This planted the seed and led me to research more about home birth and it’s availability in Australia. I learnt that it is “as safe” as hospital birth (safer in my opinion – but the studies are never going to say that), that it can be difficult to attain in Australia, and is poorly supported by the public health system. But I was now determined to have a home birth, my husband was very supportive probably due to his personal dislike of hospitals, and we were lucky that the financial cost was not an issue for us. When we were pregnant I found a lovely midwife, and a back-up midwife, and I had a wonderful simple pregnancy.
To my surprise, our families were also supportive, even my paramedic brother-in-law, whom I had expected a lecture from.
So to all the women that have shared their birth stories on the internet I say a big thank you. I am so sorry for those of you that have had disappointing and traumatic experiences, but I am grateful that you shared, I learnt from you and it led me to have a wonderful birth experience. I hope that you can heal and one day also have a wonderful experience. And a big thank you also to the homebirth women that shared their stories – you opened my eyes to the way thing can and should be.
So here is my story – I’m sorry if it’s a little dull, it was a slow gentle birth – with lots of hard work, no rushing, no emergencies – just a baby being born. It was the way a birth should be.
The birth of Reef – planned home birth on the 18th of Feburary 2005 after 25 hours of labour.
Reef’s birth started with my membranes rupturing at shortly after midnight on the 17th of Feb. We thought that we could continue to get some sleep and contractions would start some time in the morning and we might get meet our baby in the afternoon. However mild contractions started a couple of hours later, I was able to just relax and dooze through them for a few more hours and at around 6 I felt the need to get a heat pack to help with the discomfort. I stayed in bed for a little longer but found lying down uncomfortable, so I got up had a shower and went to hang out in the living room for a bit. I felt OK and left my husband to sleep for a little longer as we would need him bright and rested later.
I didn’t find the 1st stage of labour all that difficult I just concentrated on relaxing my whole body during each contraction, and my husband helped me by looking in my eyes and holding my hand and rubbing pressure points. Around 12:30 mid-day I hopped in the bath which was fantastic, I was able to lie back and relax and drop off to sleep between contractions. I never at any point felt worried or out of control. One of our mid-wives arrived around 3pm and checked on our progress, my blood pressure and babies heart beat were perfect so we just kept on our way. She suggested at around 7pm that I hop out of the bath for an hour or so to see if that could get things moving along a little. Our other mid-wife arrived around this time, so we wandered back to the living room and my husband and the mid-wives had some dinner.
I don’t recall any specific transition phase, but some time in the evening – probably around 8 – 9 o’clock the sensations changed and I started to push. I hopped back in the bath. Pushing was really hard work, I expected the pushing urges to be very instinctive, and uncontrollable urges but I found that I actually had to consciously push. Progress was slow, I could feel the head about ˝ a finger length in, but there hadn’t been much progress for a while so the mid-wife suggested that perhaps their was a bit of cervix caught, so we decided to do an internal to check the dilation at about 11pm – it was my only internal for the whole pregnancy and labour, and was one of the most painful parts of the labour – it hurt much more than the contractions. But I think we all need re-assurance that things were heading in the right direction. However next time – I’ll just have faith in the process, even if it is really slow. She felt that dilation was complete, we just needed to keep working at it. It was nearly 24 hrs since my waters had broken by this stage and I was so so tired. I remember saying that I wish it was "who wants to be a millionare?" And a siren would go off, and we would have to stop and finsh off next week. I really just wanted to rest. I tried pushing in the bath again, but just wasn’t getting anywhere so we decided to try using the toilet to push for a bit. My husband gave me a little pep talk, and I pushed with all my might – this was much more productive and I managed to move the head nearly all the way down. There wasn’t enough space in the toilet for the mid-wives so I had to move out into the bedroom.
I leaned on the end of the bed, and squatted, and then moved around to the side of the bed where my husband was sitting, I squatted with each push, facing him burying my face in his thigh. Then standing between contractions to get blood back to my legs. This was the only time I made any real noise during the labour and birth – I grunted with the effort of pushing, and then squealed with the pain of the head stretching me. Finally the head was out, and I waited for the next contraction to push the body out. Finally at around 2am our son was born. His hand was up near his head, which is probably what made progress so slow.
I held our baby and my husband and I gazed at him for a bit. I wish I had felt elated and estatic, but really after such a long labour and all that work, I just felt relieved and really really tired. The baby (we didn’t have a name for him at this stage) must have found it a bit of an ordeal as he pooed mecodium all over me, I really just wanted a shower and to hop into bed. I still hadn’t birth the placenta at this stage, but the midwives said I could take a shower and have a little lie down, and we would try some breastfeeding to encourage the placenta.
One of the midwives and my husband tried to encourage our son to suckle but he wasn’t really interested, and I kept falling asleep, so she made me stand up as it had been nearly 1 ˝ hrs and the placenta still hadn’t come. I gave couple of pushes and she pulled gently on the cord, and the placenta was birthed. They checked me for tears (two tiny skin tears – only a mm no stitches needed) and I was finally allowed to go to sleep.
My husband paced the bedroom with our grumpy little bundle while I had a couple of hours sleep. After some sleep, and something to eat, I felt restored and was ready to start getting to know our son.
The “official” record is 3 hrs of pushing, from 11pm til 2 am, but I feel I was fully dilated and pushing from 9pm. Either way – it is probably longer than I would have been “allowed” to push in hospital, and after 24 hrs of labour my husband and I were so so so tired, we probably would have consented to forceps or other interventions, which obviously in the end were not necessary at all. This make me so glad I was at home with wonderful patient midwives looking after us. Through out that long long second stage, but just kept checking the babies heartbeat, and making suggestions of positions I could try to help move things along.
Although I was just too wiped out to experience that “elation” after birth that people talk about – in hind sight I have nothing but positive memories of the birth and a real sense of achievement. I am now pregnant with #2, and will be having a homebirth again of course, but I do hope it is a little quicker so I have some energy left over to enjoy our new baby right away.
DS 11 months
#2 EDD 2 July 2006
Posted 03 February 2006 - 11:12 AM
Thanks for sharing Jacque. I love hearing about mums who get exactly the birth experience they are after whether it be a home birth, hospital birth, planned c/sec or whatever.
I hope everything goes just as smoothly for #2.
And by the way your story was not dull at all. It was slow and beautiful, like the birth of your son.
Posted 03 February 2006 - 01:33 PM
What a lovely story. It is so refreshing to hear a story where everything just moves along smoothly without drama. Good luck with number 2, I hope it goes just as well
Posted 03 February 2006 - 02:39 PM
Thank you so much for sharing, it was lovely to read.
Posted 04 February 2006 - 11:35 AM
What a lovely story. So inspiring Thanks for sharing with us!
Posted 13 February 2006 - 12:58 PM
How absolutely beautiful - congratulations and thanks for sharing - your story brought tears to my eyes.
Posted 19 February 2006 - 07:25 AM
Ingrid's comment sums up your story perfectly, it brought tears to my eyes. Thankyou Jac!
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