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Birth Stories

Mama Midwife Births First Baby At Home

Welcoming our baby, like many births I had been privileged to be apart of as a midwife, was challenging. At times I felt unsure, anxious and worried, but mostly I was stressed about the circumstances surrounding the Birth, not Birth itself.

It all started on a sunny Thursday. I had a fun day out with my friends. My husband Matt had been feeling unwell for a couple of days, so we went to the doctor in the evening. In the days prior he had headaches, extreme thirst, blurred vision and was cranky ++. But he didn’t share a lot of this with me, and I honestly thought he had the flu. But I made him go get checked out because I was approaching Birth and needed him to be well.

The doctor visit didn’t go as planned, and we found out my healthy, strong husband had type 1 diabetes. This was quite a shock to us, so the doctor suggested we go home and rest and come back in the morning to learn more about it and start insulin.

We were meant to have dinner with friends that night, I was 38+4 weeks. We went home and were both very upset. How could I have my baby now? The next morning I had a kinesiology appointment, which was very good as I couldn’t stop crying and was very worried about Matt. I hoped our little baby would stay snugly inside for a few more days, so that we could get Matt sorted and in case he had to go to hospital.

Kinesiology was fabulous, I released my fears and worries and got my head straight- we could deal with whatever life threw at us! Our little baby was coming weather we liked it or not, and our baby would choose the time of his/her arrival. I arrived home and saw Matt, had a big cuddle and went to the toilet. I think decided to plug my phone into the charger so crawled my big body across the bed, and felt a funny jab up near my ribs. I was crawling back across the bed when I felt a pop and a small gush of fluid.

I quickly jumped off the bed onto the towel I had been keeping on the floor incase this happened. At first I thought I was dreaming, but after a tidal wave of liquor flooded my pants and towel, I realised my membranes had released! I called out to Matt, who couldn’t believe what was happening. This was 11.30am We had extactly 30 minutes until we had to leave to go to the doctor again. I rang Sonya (our midwife). My waters were clear but had lots of vernix mixed amongst them. Fluid concintues to pour out like a fountain, and baby was kicking around nicely so I knew all was well. Sonya offered to come check on us then, or could wait until after the doctors. We decided to wait until afterwards. As soon as I got off the phone my first surge arrived. It felt like a mild squeeze of my tummy, and a wave of pressure. I breathed through them during this time.

Because Matt was so sick I had to drive us the 20 minutes to and from the doctor surgery. We put a towel and a pinkie absorbent pad on the seat, and I had on these very attractive incontinence underwear. The drive there was good, but we were both extremely anxious to get home, but also needing to really listen and take it what was happening at the appointments. We were shown how to record matts blood glucose readings, given some free samples of things and matt gave himself his first insulin shot. We had a long wait before seeing the doctor, and because it was bright and loud and I was so stressed my surges were intense and I couldn’t focus. I had a mini tens machine on my back, which was helpful. I would breathe and go in to my quiet space, but it was very hard to let go sitting on an uncomfortable plastic chair. There were children running around playing loudly, and lots of sick people at the surgery. I remember thinking how awful it must be for women who were in labour and have to go to the hospital, to sit in a well lit waiting area, to have a bed who’s mattress squeaked every time they breathed, to have strangers talking loudly and not feeling safe. I imagined that our trip to the GP was similar to what some women feel their whole labour. Awful.

We then saw the nurses who also took their time, but we were finally all sorted and could go home. By then it was nearly 2pm. The drive home was very interesting, with needing to concentrate on the road, whilst having surges. Matts Dad phoned him, and they talked for a few minutes. I remember feeling overwhelmed, and in disbelief that this was happening. I also had a giggle about us being so anxious to get home so we could bunker down to have our baby. Most people are the opposite and want to go to hospital! Not us.

When we got home I had a nice hot shower, put on my HypnoBirthing music and tried to relax. I was feeling anxious that things weren’t set up so I busied myself getting the diffuser on with my essential oils and the mood just right, while Matt pumped up the birth pool. I remember being worried that things would happen quickly and I wouldn’t have my midwife here, it kept playing on my mind, perhaps as a friend had given birth very quickly to her first baby only a week prior. I rang Sonya who decided she would come out and check up on me. This was 3.30pm.

Sonya arrived and set herself up, I stayed in the shower for a while before coming out to the living room. Sonya phoned Leah (doula), Hailey (photographer) and Letisha (second midwife). Leah and Hailey came over and began working. Leah was amazing at giving me these wonderful back massages. Matt sat on the couch and I leant into him on the birth ball, or kneeling on the floor while Leah massaged me and fed me tea and food. Hailey chatted to us and snapped pictures, she was like a little angel fluttering around us all night. Sonya phoned Letisha and got her to come around at about 6pm. Sonya later told me that she didn’t need Letisha there then, but the atmosphere was so wonderful that she wanted her to be a part of it.

We had the lights dimmed, music on (changed to some normal songs as I couldn’t focus to the HypnoBirthing music, although in hindsight I didn’t try for very long), essential oils in the air and on my skin. It was blissful. Matt held me tight and the wonderful women I had gathered around me loved me.

The night wore on, I got into the birth pool after another shower. I remember asking and asking about the pool, but it wasn’t ready yet. I knew I needed it. My back was sore, and I needed to rest my legs but couldn’t sit or lay down. My surges were strong but irregular. I got into the pool late in the night, time had no meaning to me so I didn’t know what was happening. It was blissful and I stayed there for 2 hours. Eventually I had to get out as had been in there too long. I tried the shower, and sat on the toilet, and moved around. I was getting uncomfortable and Sonya asked me if I had felt where babies head was. I tried to feel and could feel babies head, but I also felt a bulging thing that worried me. I asked if Sonya could perform an examination to see what was happening. I had a swollen anterior cervical lip and baby was in a funny position (not flexed head and posterior). Sonya managed to thin my cerivix by massaging it, so I got back up in the shower to do some forward leaning and squatting and lifting my belly to get baby to flex his/her head.

Around this time I was feeling pushy, but in hindsight I think I just wanted to push. I felt like it must be time and I had pressure.

I remember feeling really scared of how strong the pressure was and I was pulling away from that. I was so worried about Matt as he wasn’t well and sleeping after vomiting. The midwives were caring for him too, but I was worried. These weren’t the best thoughts to have when trying to birth a baby. For a few hours Sonya held me up whilst I swayed and Leah massaged my hips and sit bones. Then I layed on the bed whilst they did the same. We then tried expressing some milk as my surges had slowed. I napped in between surges and cuddled up to Matt. Matt said to me afterwards that he felt physically ill when I was surging on the bed with him, as he saw how hard I was working but he was really sick too. I later found out his blood sugar was dangerously high but he wouldn’t go to hospital. He had some more insulin, but he is super stubborn so wouldn’t leave me.

It was tough. I then got up and showered some more, before going to the pool again. Before I could get it we had to heat it up, so I sat next to it on the birth ball, or leaned on it. I can’t quite remember. The midwives, Leah and Hailey all had naps at different times, but I always felt so supported and loved. I remember being worried that they would be tired, or not caring for themselves. I then got back into the pool around sunrise. By this time I needed to be connected, so I had to hold two people’s hands during surges to get me through. Leah rubbed my back, and I was feeling nauseous so smelled some spearmint on a washer. Letisha gave me some hip squeezes which were AMAZING. I was pushing, but baby wasn’t moving. I couldn’t not push at this time. After a while I got out and Sonya checked that my cervix had fully gone. It hadn’t and was still swollen. She massaged it and it thinned out beautifully, but she encouraged me to breathe through. She also asked if I thought Earl (my chiropractor) would come if we called. I said I thought he would, so try. He did, and he arrived at about 9.30am or so.

By then my body was pushing, but nothing was happening. I felt baby had come down a bit more, but not enough. Earl had me stay on hands and knees in the pool, and adjusted my pelvis which was twisted. He then helped our baby to disengage, rotate and re engage into my pelvis. He was doing all of this between and during surges, which were now strong. He also put his hands on my head (forehead and back of head) which somehow made me feel amazingly relaxed and painfree/euphoric but made my surges much much stronger. {later Earl told me that he was helping my body to release oxytocin, but he had never seen it work like this before and he was very excited for this experience}

I felt baby moving down. I had to help my body push baby out, and it was slow going. I had my had down feeling babies head for a long time guiding myself to push. Earl continued to adjust my pelvis and press my head, while Matt held me up and kissed my face and neck between surges. I have never felt so exhausted but loved in all of my life. I remember feeling a good portion of babies head out, so then gripped onto matt to help me push. I remember thinking his head must be out, and hearing Sonya say “I can see his eyebrows”!!

I remember thinking “You have GOT to be kidding me! Only his eyebrows?!”

Followed by “eyes, nose and lips” with two or three different surges. It was slow but good. I remember thinking that this was it. I’m about to become a mum. I still didn’t believe that I would do it. That I could do it. That I was doing it. I remember looking at Matt and he was so happy, he was telling me we were so close! Babies head was born, and Leah, Sonya, Letisha and Hailey all ooed and aahhed as he had these gorgeous pouty lips.

One more surge and baby’s shoulders were born, and by two more surges he was out. Sonya lovingly brought baby to the surface of the water and up to me. I remember instinctively knowing where baby was, and I flipped over into a sitting position to hold baby.

I felt an overwhelming sensation of relief, excitement and awe. I did it! I had birthed my first born baby at home, in exactly the way I envisioned. Matt was sitting behind me (outside of the pool) and holding on to me and baby. Our beautiful little one breathed and squirmed, all was calm and peaceful. Someone asked if we had a girl or boy, and we hadn’t even checked! We lifted the towel and together Matt and I saw that we had a son. He was much chunkier than I expected!

Our little boy had some wicked moulding of his skull, and our chiropractor lightly touched his head while he was on my chest. He later said this would help the skull to go back to normal shape, and helped kick in his reflexes to breathe. We stayed in the pool a little while, maybe 10 minutes or so. Letisha asked if I wanted to stay longer, as she would add more hot water. I was ready to get out though, so we made our way to bed. Baby and I were still attached by his umbilical cord, as his Placenta was still inside. We snuggled up in bed, and continued skin to skin, matt laid beside us, and we were in awe of our gorgeous little person. After a little while the cord had stopped pulsing, but there was no sign of Placenta. I got up onto my knees while the midwives supported me, to try and see if some gravity would help. The entire time our baby was still on my chest.

When this didn’t work, we decided to cut the baby’s cord and that Matt could have some skin to skin time while I tried to Birth my Placenta. I was feeling dizzy and had started to bleed slightly. We tried a few different things, including visualising the Placenta coming away and being born, before the midwives asked if I would consent to the synthetic oxytocin injection to help the Placenta come away. I agreed, as I was very tired and was starting to worry about the bleeding. Things happened quickly after this, my Placenta was born and checked over, and bleeding slowed considerably. I was also very excited to find out that my slow birth of my little boy meant I didn’t have any tears! Matt passed our baby back to me, to have a feed and continue skin to skin. He latched on first go.

We stayed skin to skin with our baby for about the first hour and a half of his life, then I had a shower and Matt continued skin to skin. After that we weighed and measured him, he weighed 3850g (8 pound 5 ounces)! Leah fed me spaghetti (which I had going in the slow cooker to feed everyone) while baby was feeding.

We loved up our little fellow and after a few more hours the midwives packed up and left us to our new life as a family of 3. Our Birth team had cleaned our home and made sure we had lunch and dinner ready before leaving, and they visited most days for the next week to check in with us.

Our birth journey was not what I expected or envisioned. It was a long, hard slog, but having hypnobirthing as one of our tools in our toolkit was so very useful. My whole labour I was visualising an aqua mist of peace and calm surrounding me, and my powerful uterine muscles opening and surging to Birth our baby. I also did the fear release exercises a couple of tiles in labour, which were also extremely helpful.

Matt’s diagnosis through quite a curve ball at us, and we barely had time to catch our breath before welcoming our baby. But 8 months on we are very glad that we invested in HypnoBirthing, as we got to have a blissful, euphoric Home Birth.

Photo Credit Hailey Sherrie Photography

Alice and Matt attended HypnoBirthing classes with Alecia Staines from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland for the birth of their baby Cameron.

Alecia Staines

Visit Alecia’s website: http://www.aleciastaines.com.au/

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