Home Birth Story of Oscar Thomas
The night before
I was having serious, irregular ‘niggles’, but I rolled my eyes at them since I had been there so many times before and at 40+3 I was bored of exciting myself! I carried on and fetched some washing in and sat sewing PP CSP on the sewing machine. I then had a telltale ‘show’ and had a very good feeling that this finally was it. My OH was asleep on the sofa with a RUBBISH Paddy McGuinness stand-up show playing to itself so I decided to leave him and carry on nesting around him. I woke him and we went up to bed together at around 11pm.
The big day
At 2am I turned over in bed and felt what I thought was my waters breaking with a pop. It turns out that it wasn’t my membranes….but my word I still have no idea what clicked and felt so odd inside me at this point! I then became very aware of the niggles becoming more noticeable and I woke OH and we went down to do some bouncing on the ball and make a plan for Birth Day.
I called the midwife unit at 3am, and I asked if it would be ok to ‘ready’ the midwife but leave us for another couple of hours. I remember watching some different but equally as rubbish comedy on the TV and asking OH to put some music on – we chose Beach House (spotify them) and they became the soundtrack to the labour. We never stopped listening to the albums on repeat all the way through. I called the unit back at 4:30 and the midwife was ‘dispatched’, I called my Doula and let my mum know to get the first train to come and help look after the toddlers. I felt completely blissed out that my birth team were slowly assembling around me as people arrived. I alternated between bouncing on the ball and walking around the house to keep the surges going. The initial midwife was a little demanding, and kept trying to tell me to get up and move, but my Doula and OH quickly stopped her and knew that I knew exactly what I was doing. Aside from this, she was really great and monitored me visually only aside from a sonicaid when she arrived and one when she left.
Between 7am and 8am, the house went totally crazy! The toddlers woke up so I went up to get them and got them dressed, cleared up breakfast as usual. All the time buzzing my TENS when necessary but not paying too much attention to the surges. My mum arrived and the midwives did a swap over. Now this is the best part – the midwife who swapped was the AMAZING midwife who I had met three times antenatally and seemed to totally ‘get’ me and my confidence in my ability to birth naturally at home. She adored my girls (they picked her some lavender before an antenatal appointment once and she said she had never forgotten how sweet a thing it was). As soon as she walked in I felt all shreds of anxiety disappear and I knew that this birth was going to be incredible. She did her own set of observations and without noticing it the surges had really picked up with all the moving around with the girls and everyone being in place.
Before I was aware it was 9am on a normal day, but my house was full of birth junkies and I was in labour. Properly cool. This is where I loose time awareness, but within the next hour mum took the girls to the park and we started setting up and filling the pool. I very definitely started to ‘crack on’ when the girls had left and everything was getting organised. All the time everything was very normal apart from me zoning in and silently stopping for surges and buzzing on the TENS. My birth plan was being respected and I was in a completely blissed out, calm state. I love being in labour.
I then had a chat to my OH and Doula and after a little while I decided I would like a VE at this point before entering the pool. I can’t really explain why I wanted it looking back now…something just made me have a burning desire…odd, unlike me but hey. I can honestly say I didn’t feel her do a thing. Walking up the stairs to bed was by far more uncomfortable! And being lay on my back was just urgh….I couldn’t labour on my back…the thought makes me shudder. She found that my membranes were still intact (what the heck was that unearthly pop then?) and that I appeared to be around 7cm.
All the time my Doula was downstairs on pool duty frantically trying to sort the temperature out because I had made it very clear that I was getting in as soon as I got downstairs (the top was cold and the bottom was hot making the thermometer go a bit bonkers!) Once that was sorted with a few buckets being removed to make room for more cold water, at 11:30am I plunged in and oh my word it was amazing. Just as I remember from my last two babies, that blissful weightless feeling is indescribable. Just amazing.
The last two surges before I got in were getting a little bit sharper, with a definite ‘downwards’ feeling to them. These carried on beautifully in the pool and the downwards feelings were increasing with each. Now I felt the need to have someone physically touching me and holding me all the time during a surge. My doula was mainly doing this, but OH and the midwife took their turns too while everyone moved around and readied themselves for the birth. I will never be able to thank my doula enough for doing this for me – she knew exactly what I needed and her presence and strength was just wow. I had been in the pool about half an hour (I found this out later!) and I told OH that I will have given birth before the second midwife arrives because I was getting a lot of pressure and was actively breathing ‘upwards’ to avoid creating any grunty pushy pressure.
I had had two previous third degree tears and had spent so much time antenatally going through this point in labour so as to avoid not getting a third third! Not giving any huge pushes, keeping everything very calm and relaxed even though my whole body wanted to bear down and just push the baby out was the hardest thing I have ever done. But with the help of my doula and OH being either side of me breathing in time with me I somehow, unbelievably managed it. I remember allowing myself a little tiny push and feeling my waters break (still the most bizarre feeling ever, even though exactly the same thing happened with my second baby!). With the next surge I felt tingly, but not the stinging burning feeling I felt with my other two. Almost an awareness of ‘numb’ like pins and needles. I remember then an overwhelming urge to push, but my birth prep was flowing through my mind in a calming chant-like manner, telling myself to breathe ‘up’. Then I made the first noise I had for the entire time which was a very long, gurgling gasp in and I heard the midwives and my doula say ‘oh wow well done’ – this was his head being born. I then tuned in to everyone else and heard them cooing over him and how amazing it was. I felt the next surge and the rest of his body and shoulders slid out very easily. I turned over like a lightning bolt and scooped him up between my legs (nobody was touching my boy before me!). The next bit is a blur of squishy oxytocin loved up mush, but my placenta arrived in the pool physiologically after 30 minutes.
I still have no concept of time at this point. But he was born at 12:30pm – an hour after getting in to the pool, completely naturally with no pain relief.
I remember the feeling of dread when the midwife was readying herself to check me for a tear, but the feeling of relief when she said I had a very slight second was overwhelming. Tears sprang to my eyes and I was just completely overwhelmed – I had done it. I had got my perfect birth to the letter and I felt like an amazing, powerful birthing goddess. She quickly stitched me up while I had him latched on and I got off my face on gas and air while she did it. She told me afterwards that hadn’t she done the VE she would have been less confident to assess the tear to be a second, given my scar tissue. I like to think the universe helped me out there and gave me a nudge to get the VE when I did.
We were then left to bond with our gorgeous boy in our own home, with no transfer for a tear repair and no need to go to the hospital. His sisters came home and were totally smitten with him. A month on I am still walking around in a bliss-like state. Birth is beyond words amazing.