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Thread: Our wonderful home waterbirth

  1. #1
    Claire Guest

    Default Our wonderful home waterbirth

    I decided on a home birth with about 5 weeks to go until my due date. My entire pregnancy with Harry had been incredibly medicalised because of the previous late miscarriage of our daughter, Rachel Skye at 17 weeks. That had been mostly my decision initially, but I soon got fed up with all the poking and prodding. I think my GP would have been happy to have looked after me throughout the pregnancy but I felt I needed specialised care and asked to be referred to the high risk clinic at Westmead. The early pregnancy was again, as seems to be the case with me, categorised with bleeding. I visited the hospital a few times for anti-D and early scans. Although my cervix was always closed I still asked the Obstetrician for fortnightly TVUís to check, he complied and also put me on regimented antibiotics in a bid to stop the PROM from happening again. Despite the worrying, the pregnancy was very straightforward Ė I put on a bit of weight but not as much as with Emily, the heartburn was non existent until right near the end and I felt healthy and I looked after myself.

    At 34 weeks pregnant I booked a visit of the labour ward. I knew it was in a temporary location whilst waiting for the new birthing unit to open so I thought I had better get along and have a look. It was awful and I hated it. The two midwifes looking after the group showed us a birthing room without a window and I heard myself say, ďI canít birth hereĒ. I didnít really realise the implication of the statement for a few days. But I knew that my natural vaginal delivery with a physiological third stage was in great danger of intervention if I birthed there. Just the anxiety I felt showed me that I felt unsafe there.

    I called my doula, Cara and we talked it over. We discussed the options open to me and that was when I considered homebirth as a viable option. The expense was a major factor so I discussed this with my husband who said that if it was what I wanted and it was the best way to get the most positive outcome, we could afford it. What a wonderful supportive man he is.

    The next day Cara sent me the numbers of four local independent midwifes and I called them all, as well as the local birthing unit at Blacktown. Blacktown was fully booked which wasnít a surprise. I got through to a local midwife who passed my details onto Jane Palmer, another local midwife that was coming back to midwifery after a break and she had no one else on her books. Iím really grateful that I found Jane. She was the right midwife for me and we hit it off straight away.

    So there I was; I had found myself a midwife, I had a doula and a supportive husband. We spent the remaining weeks preparing for the birth; using resources to educate ourselves about the birthing process, what exactly to expect, getting our daughter ready for the homebirth and getting in touch with my 4th degree scar from the forceps extraction of my daughter. I discovered my main fear about the birth was not the scar tearing (although that was a factor) but the vocalisation I felt I would need to do to manage the contractions. I felt uncomfortable listening to the women birthing on the videos and DVDís we watched and knew that my childhood was behind the inhibition. I talked it over with my counsellor who said that I should think about taking back my power by being vocal. In the end thatís exactly what I did.



    My estimated due date came and went and I felt like a watched kettle! People kept calling for updates and I began to feel under pressure. I felt strong BH starting up in the evenings but it would fade before bed time. A few nights before I went into labour the strong BH began to feel more like pre-labour (irregular but definitely uncomfortable with pulling felt in my thighs and around the front of my pelvis).

    On Friday the 13th October although I didnít really feel like it, I went along to my prenatal exercise class and just before the class I went to the loo and saw that I had lost some of my plug. I was so excited I called Jane. I worked hard in the class and crossed my fingers that today would be the day. In the early evening the pre-labour started up again and I joked with my BIL who had come to pick up my MIL to stay at his for the weekend, that he would have to being her back in the small hours. I had a biggish contraction whilst they were still here, but still wasnít sure of it would eventuate into anything.

    My husband got home about 11pm and I was timing the contractions, they were around 7-15 minutes apart and lasting 40 seconds. I lost more of my plug. I called Jane at 12.30 to let her know the situation and decided to go to bed and see if it would stop or intensify. It intensified and at 2ish I had to get up. I called Cara and told her I would see her in the morning as I thought it would be a slow process and I still had a long way to go. As I moved around making toast I realised that the contractions were quite strong and took my complete concentration to breathe through. I asked my husband to get up and hang out in the lounge room with me. He fell back to sleep and I tried to rest on the sofa. At 3am I had a very strong contraction and woke my husband up. This was followed by three contractions in quick succession. I told him to call both Cara and Jane to come. I panicked a bit because the pain was so intense so I took some rescue remedy and we decided I should jump in the shower. The hot water was lovely on my back but I knew I didnít have long as our water tank is so small. Jane arrived as the hot water was running out and I heard her tell Jules to start filling the pool. This was very encouraging as I knew then I was in established labour and well on my way.

    I laboured for a bit on my bathroom floor and then moved into our bedroom where I knelt up against the bottom of our bed. I would be sitting on my feet with my hands on the floor for a contraction and would then move up to rest my upper body on the bed. I had pillows under my knees and feet. Cara and the trainee midwife Heather turned up and my labour changed. Although the contractions were still intense, the spaces in between lengthened and I was able to drift in my own private space. My husband came to see me a few times and I remember smiling at him or squeezing his hand. I felt at peace and very well supported whilst I waited for the pool to be filled.

    Just after 5am I got into the pool and felt wonderful. I immediately perked up and was able to have conversations with the people around me. The contractions started up again and I found the best position was to remain as I had previously been; a variation of all fours. Emily woke at 6am and my contractions slowed again for me to be able to talk to her. She knew what was happening but was a little confused as it why there were all these people in her home at that time in the morning. I was glad she was there but I did find her distracting once my contractions started up again. My mother in law tried to keep Emily busy. In hindsight I should have prepared my MIL better for the task of minding Emily. When I became very vocal, my MIL took Emily outside and she missed the birth of her brother.

    I began to push at 6.20am and I vocalised as much as I felt I needed to. How liberating it is to growl and grunt! I was amazed by the way my body would follow my own pushing with a big push of itís own at the end of the contraction. Some of those expulsions were incredibly powerful and primal.

    Jane did a VE to check my cervix as she was unable to see any progress being made from the outside and declared the babyís head was definitely coming. The VE gave me two big contractions which were very powerful. I birthed Harryís head very slowly Ė over 15 minutes from the time the 10cm diameter sized piece was seen. Although it was incredible painful, my body needed the time to stretch. It was only then that I felt scared about tearing and about tearing the scar. Whilst Harryís head was being born I felt the stinging at the top of my vagina and was scared I would tear there. But I couldnít change position so I knelt on one foot and stood on the other to open myself up as much as possible. Pushing the head out was incredibly difficult emotionally but I did it and the sense of relief when his head was finally birthed is almost indescribable.

    I had to push out his shoulders and feet too! He didnít slide out once his head was born.

    It was amazing to be handed Harry after I birthed him. I have a great photo of the moment that shows the triumph and emotional release of my birthing experience. It sums up the birth for me. Itís a journey of discovery giving birth without drugs, on your own terms. You really do have to confront yourself, itís an incredibly liberating and strengthening experience. I knew I was a strong person but now I really know just how strong I am.

    I found parts of the labour painful but it was almost always followed up with a lesser contraction so I had time to compose myself and get ready for the next one. I also learnt something new with each difficult contraction, a better way to manage the next one. I found my thinking was very clear even though I was not interested in relating on the most part to the rest of the world. I had moments of quiet reflection, I had epithanies. I heard the support of my doula and midwife and knew I could do it.

    For me, I could never have done it without female support. I had known the importance of it before birthing my daughter but it was only after I understood why.

  2. #2

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    Awesome story! And well done on a wonderful birth.

  3. #3

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    Thankyou for sharing such a truly awesome birthing experience!

    I'm in tears

  4. #4
    feeb's Avatar
    feeb is offline Thankful for the kindness of my 2012 RAK making me Life member

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    What a gorgeous birth story!!! Sounds magical like it should be.

    Well done on knowing what you wanted and seeking it out!!!

  5. #5

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    Claire, that was just fantastic! Just brillant! Well done..

    Very inspiring! Huge congrats to you and your family!

  6. #6
    SueB Guest

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    What an inspiring birth story ... you should be very proud of yourself

    Congrats and thank you so much for sharing your birth with us

  7. #7

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    Claire thank you for sharing your birth story with us. What a beautiful home waterbirth. I can't wait to do the same come December

  8. #8

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    Claire that was great! I'm so glad you achieved the birth you wanted. Well done

  9. #9
    Ellibam Guest

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    thank you for sharing your wonderful story!
    it makes me get all warm and fuzzy when i read more homebirths on hear! its so great that more women are realising they really do have a choice!

  10. #10

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    Congratulations. What beautiful story.

    Your photos are gorgeous too.

  11. #11

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    What a lovely empowering experience you had. Makes me wonder if I should try a homebirth fo number 2...
    Thanks you so much for sharing, it gave me goosebumps.
    Amazing!

    Sasa

  12. #12

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    Wow Claire!! Fantastic!!!

  13. #13

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    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! What a wonderful time for you and your support crew. Well done!

  14. #14

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    WOW Claire! im speechless cause your birth sounds so incredibly amazing and everything you hope and dreamed of. Well done and i had the pleasure of meeting your little boy today and he is just adorable!

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