I’d had pre-labour surges everyday, every night for weeks, my body was getting ready for birth slowly, just like it did last time. So I knew that one night at some point the surges would just continue and wouldn’t stop until there was a baby 🙂
This is how it had happened for the birth of my second child Soraya, who was also born at home. I’d experienced regular pre-labour surges between 7pm and 10pm for 5 consecutive nights leading up to her birth and on the last night, instead of stopping at 10pm the surges just continued, intensified and she was born at 1.15am.
So I was expecting much the same pattern this time around but these pre-labour surges never formed a pattern. Some were super intense, some weren’t, some happened frequently through the day, some days they were infrequent, some woke me at night but in general there was no rhythm, just random surges at random times of day and night.
I had no signs of labour being imminent other than a bit of swelling in my feet, a lot of groin sensitivity and being able to sleep a bit easier due to the baby shifting down and not creating discomfort in my ribs. There was no birth show, no back twinges, no waters breaking, no major nesting that hadn’t already been done, just these few physical sensations that told me the birth might be close, but also might not be close.
There was so much going on at our house, we have two older children (aged 6 and 2 1/2), we were getting a pool put in the backyard and doing some other renovations in our studio, so there was a constant stream of tradies in and out, every day for weeks. I kept telling my husband he’d need to get rid of them before this baby would come and his response was, it’s all good, just have the baby in a few hours at night and I’ll take care of the tradies the next day… hmm yes, oh so easy I thought.
My due date was approaching on Sunday the 12th October and the Friday before was the day the pool tilers finished up. I told them I’d been waiting for them to finish up so I could have a baby to which they kindly offered for me help them grout on hands and knees to bring on labour 🙂 When they left that afternoon I breathed a sigh of relief … finally some peace! Then the next day, my husband Resh rallied friends and family to come and install the pool fence!
I was feeling particularly ‘heavily’ pregnant throughout the day and once or twice felt like my vagina might fall out. My Mum and Dad were staying the night, so I had a quick chat with Mum and said if the baby came tonight would she and Dad please take our toddler to my mother-in-law’s house close by. She checked on me before going to bed and I told her there was likely not going to be a baby tonight, then I fell asleep around 8.30pm.
I woke at midnight with a pretty strong surge, I immediately thought this is it. I put on my HypnoBirthing relaxation track and listened while lying in bed hoping I would go back to sleep but once I got through the entire track I knew sleep wouldn’t happen and I got up and started organising things.
I packed a bag for the kids and placed it by the door, I lit a few candles in my bathroom and when my husband woke up and asked me what I was doing, he knew right away and immediately launched into action, messaging my sister Trudy to come (she was an hour away) and our midwife Maet to give her a heads up that things were happening.
For our last birth, our Midwife didn’t make it in time because I kept insisting we had plenty of time… until we didn’t and the baby arrived unassisted. The birth pool was set up for her birth but not filled and I ended up birthing her on hands and knees on my way to the birth pool. So this time, my husband was onto it, getting the pool ready and messaging my birth team right away. I didn’t like it much though and told him to chill out and go back to bed. He didn’t and helped me make up our bed with shower curtains and old sheets, laying down soft mats on our bedroom floor, getting the lighting sorted, putting the birth ball and mats in our ensuite, lighting more candles, putting on music etc etc.
My sister arrived around 2am, I was still walking and talking but the surges were intensifying. I was acutely aware of people in the house, Mum and Dad were sleeping, as were the kids and there were loads of thoughts running through my head. Did Trudy need a blanket? What was Resh up to now? All these thoughts rushing through my head told me I was thinking too much, so I locked myself in my ensuite with the music up loud, draped over my birth ball, breathing through surges. Being alone felt good, I could delve into my experience and not feel watched or monitored.
As the surges intensified and started coming closer together I opened up the door and let my support people in. I had my sister and husband alternate with hip squeezes and counter pressure, heat packs felt great draped across my lower back and the music helped to keep me in the zone.
I was still aware of people, I told my sister to let my parents sleep until about 3.30am then wake them to leave. I think it got to about 3.15am and I asked her to move them on – Mum popped her head in the door to say bye and wish me luck and Dad murmured something outside the door that I didn’t quite catch.
Once they left things intensified further and I remember saying to my sister that this was it! I wasn’t going to do this again (no more babies, no more pregnancies, no more birthing), that I was done and then after I said that I remember thinking – ok so this is my ‘transition’ moment.
I asked Resh to get Maet here quickly… and Resh being Resh had already messaged her to come over about 15 minutes earlier so she appeared like magic at the bathroom door literally within a few minutes of me asking for her. Alison our second Midwife, also arrived at this point.
A few minutes or moments later I felt a shift in sensation, I needed to kneel upright rather than on hands and knees and I could feel my body begin to want to push slightly, I vocalised more loudly than before and there was a small release of amniotic fluid. Through all this I drank loads of water, I was so thirsty and sweating profusely at the work my body was doing.
Maet reminded me to go back to my breath and at some point amidst the vocalising asked me if I wanted to get in the pool. I said I couldn’t move just at the moment to which she replied “We can help you”. So, I walked (with assistance) into my bedroom and got one leg in the pool before deciding it was too hot. Instead I kneeled in front of the pool with my arms draped over the edge, looking into the water for the next surge.
I could feel myself opening and I could feel the baby’s head begin to emerge. It was ever so slow that I thought I had birthed the entire head before I heard Maet say, “That’s the eyebrows”.
Time seemed to slow down at this point, it was really quiet, my body was quiet between surges and gradually the chin emerged, then the head, I could feel the body turning and as I was breathing slow the shoulders were born and the rest of the baby slithered out. It was completely still and quiet, there were 5 people in the room and a new baby and it was so still and quiet for what seemed like ages but it was maybe just a moment in time where everyone stopped. I said ‘What’s happened?’ and Maet said “You’ve had a baby” and passed her between my legs, placing her on the floor beneath me so I could see her.
I held her shoulders and looked at her for awhile while she lay there, allowing that moment that’s so difficult to describe to unfold; where you see your child for the first time and you ‘know’ them, you ‘know’ them so well because they’ve been a part of you for so long but now you are discovering them as new, looking into their eyes and seeing them for the first time. I looked and discovered the baby we’d thought was a boy this whole time was actually a girl, what an awesome surprise 🙂
It was 4.15 am, she was born 8 pound 7, 56cm on the floor in my room with her Dad, her Aunty and my two Midwives present. We sat there on the floor by the pool for ages just enjoying this once in a lifetime moment.
Once the placenta arrived and we all had a good look at it, we woke up our son Milan and he joined us there on the floor. Mia, our student midwife also arrived as she’d slept through the messages during the night. Maet, Alison and Mia took care of everything while we just hung out and some time later, we burned Aria’s umbilical cord with candles, gave thanks to the placenta for keeping her safe and healthy and snuggled up in our bed for those gorgeous newborn cuddles.
I didn’t get my water birth but I did get a ‘water-view’ birth and I am just so grateful to have had this birth. It went pretty much the way I expected, quickly but not too quick, easy but not without effort, with all my people present and the support of my wonderful Midwives. For this gift I am truly thankful.
Welcome to the world Aria xxx