We decided to try for the birth we really wanted; at home, in a birthing pool. We also made a plan with a wonderful doula to join us at the birth.
Early labour signs started on Wednesday with emotional surges & "the bloody show" and were on and off until early hours of Friday morning when cramps were beginning to make themselves more and more apparent.
The early experience was beautiful, waking in the stolen hours & having Rob apply massage moves we learned from hypnobirthing alongside the dawn chorus. Things moved on and became more intense and I began to draw on everything I'd learned and practised to stay calm and confident. My most useful mantras were the simple ones: 'I'm ok' and 'my body knows what to do'. Other than that it was all about the breathing, riding the waves to the peak and coming down again. Along with quite substantial deep groaning...
I was entirely and essentially 'in the zone' from pretty early and all my instincts took over. When my waters broke I vomited and I needed to sit on the loo. When the midwife arrived it was a lovely surprise because it was the same midwife we had seen all along - although she had assured us she wouldn't be at the birth because she doesn't do home births anymore! and another very lovely midwife who is just finishing her training.
I desperately wanted to be in water and Rob was desperately fighting with various water systems to fill the pool we had set up downstairs. I decided to get in the bath while we waited for the pool and Ann examined me there. I fully expected to hear the downheartening words that I was hardly dilated and to have to find the strength to keep going for hours maybe even days more. Ann, expecting the same, had not come with birth provisions and yet her examination found a baby's head crowning and no cervix left! We were good to go and things happened very quickly from then, with Rob breathing with me and allowing me to hold very tightly to him while our boy made his way through the canal and into the water.
I remember a particular moment when I was between contractions and I knew the next push was going to be the head. I held the side of the bath, looked out of the window and felt a smile flow through my whole body. It was spontaneous but I'm sure it helped as sure enough the head came with the next push and the rest with the next two.
I pulled him up and held him and he latched on to my breast like he had been in training! It was incredible.
We waited for the placenta but when it didn't come opted for synt. When it still didn't come there was a very real possibility of transfer to hospital and the ambulance men arrived very promptly. But the doula, Ann and Charlie were amazing at helping me stay at home if possible, they organised a third midwife to bring a catheter and almost as soon as my bladder was emptied, out came the placenta. Which is much larger than I ever imagined! We will bury it in the garden with thanks.
Our experience was made possible by all the incredible people we encountered along the way, including you. Thank you. I'm sure we will forget many details of the birth and these beautiful early days with our precious boy but never the people and the gratitude we feel for you. We certainly have been able to own our birth.
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