~ THE PLANNED UNASSISTED HOME BIRTH OF TAHLIYA GRACE AMBER ~

23 APRIL 2012 – We are 42 weeks and 2 days pregnant with our third girl. My name is Amy, I am 28, and this is the most pregnant I have ever been after our 42 week girl, our 41+5 girl and an early miscarriage also.

We settled in for an afternoon of dancing and singing and just generally mucking around relaxing with our toddler girls aged 2 and 3, and let out all the crazy to our favourite CDs turned up loud in the living room.

Had been having Braxton Hicks on and off all day since we got out of bed but given the excess of Braxton Hicks I had felt for the last few weeks, I thought nothing of it except how tired I was from them all.

I was prepared to go do bed once again still pregnant, however much I wanted to meet her I had come to terms with the fact she was coming in her own good time. I was relaxed after the crazy fun day our toddlers had helped us to have and thankful to God for the beautiful girls and wonderful husband He had already blessed me with. I handed every care over to Him as I had done so many afternoons before now, and felt at peace although very, VERY pregnant hehehe.

5PM: Fed kids early dinner and I help hubs get the kids to bed (they were tired early this day which was a blessing it turns out). Sitting on the little one’s bed snuggled with my daughters, reading my girls a story and I find myself VERY agitated. I’m sore and achy, hot, uncomfortable, cross and unable to sit on the bed anymore. I call to my husband Liam “can you come here and do this please love, I just can’t sit here like this anymore!!” He stepped in and took over story time like a gem. Once he had the girls story done and tucked them in I went and kissed them goodnight and moved to the kitchen to start to clean up after the day. Asked hubby to go get some Milo (hot chocolate drink) as I really needed one and we didn’t have any, he said he would go out for some soon.

~Hindsight note; I thought it was just my sore back and hips which had been bugging me from about 30 weeks but looking back I realise the textbook unbearable teeth gritting agitation at sitting still I was feeling then, I had only have ever felt while in early labour hahaha!!

5:30PM: While cleaning up the kitchen and starting dinner for hubby and me I realise the slightly more bitey Braxton Hicks I’ve been noticing since 4pm could be more like actual real contractions, go to the loo and get a very mucousy and slightly blood-tinged show. First time I had ever noticed that with any of my labours which I was thinking to myself was kind of cool. Haha, the things you think while in labourland. I told Liam perhaps he had best stay home rather than go out to get Milo, and how did he feel about having a baby tonight? We both got very excited but tried not to get our hopes up, it had been a long pregnancy already (42 weeks and 2 days is a long time to wait to meet a little person you love so very very much!) and we didn’t want to get too excited if she wasn’t really coming. I thought I should try finish getting dinner ready so we could eat something in case it turned out to be a long night. I made crumbed fish fillets, chips and salad and found myself having to stop an awful lot to breathe and to lean on the benches or stand hands on hips and sway a little. Getting very excited now I told hubby (almost squealing with the happy) “you know I think she’s really coming honey, we’re having this baby TONIGHT!” Liam was excited as was I and being Mr practical pants asked me what I needed, and did I want him to set up the pool. I thought about it and decided best not as we didn’t want to wake the peacefully sleeping toddlers (Miss 2 and Miss 3) in the next room so we decided to go for our third land birth. I went about finishing off getting dinner out and reminding him where everything was that we had prepared for the birth (herbs and tinctures, waterproof mats and sheets, old clean towels, cord scissors and braided cord ties, placenta tub, placenta smoothie ingredients cut and bagged in the freezer etc etc)

6PM: (or thereabouts?) I’ve been nibbling at my dinner at the kitchen bench *hubby nibbling his while playing a computer game* I’ve been stopping to sway through waves, humming a little and cleaning up dinner prep dishes in between. I wanted to go sit on my big pink fitball and rock and roll our way through waves but I still wanted to eat, so Liam came and sat on the end of the chaise lounge next to me while I sat on my ball and tried to chew, not drop my dinner plate, sway through waves and stop now and again to tell Liam how excited I was she was really coming tonight!! I distinctly remember giggling at myself a few times when hubby went off to do some computer game stuff or get me a bottle of water or fetch some birthing supplies and I tried to get a mouthful of dinner only to have to drop the plate in a hurry and concentrate hard on the wave of labour that washed over me… Haha, I realised we might not have long and I really needed to eat for energy so I wolfed down what I could between waves but stopped with half a fish fillet and a bunch of chips left over. I either couldn’t be bothered, or couldn’t manage to eat between waves. I just wanted to close my eyes a lot and not be holding anything in my hands so a fork full of dinner wasn’t really going to work hehehe.

6:30/7PM: I put some music on and rolled around on my ball for a bit while hubs finished a computer game he was playing. (Men huh!? Hahaha) He did tell me he would come down any second all I had to do was call. I was handling things on my own quite well even though I had to pace the house back and forth a bit and get up to sway through waves at times as well. I remember drinking a lot of water too and peeing heaps and leaning on the walls in the hallway to get through waves on the way there and back from the loo haha. Sometime during this hubby had gotten around to asking me where I wanted things set up and preparing a rubber sheet, towels and blueys laid out on the living room floor in the little corner nest created by our chaise lounge – I thought it looked like a cozy place to birth her. We didn’t end up using the pool as I was so afraid to wake the girls after they had just got to sleep and have to labour with sad toddlers in the background.

9PM: I told hubs to “Turn that off and get down here!” Hahaha. Things got a lot more serious then, I wanted to cuddle and lean on hubby during waves and I was getting hot and working harder. From here on times get a little fuzzy, the times I do have are with help from hubby’s memory and time stamps on photos we have taken.

10:20: I was tearing off my clothes (to which I had previously added layers and socks as I felt cold haha, I don’t even remember putting those fluffy socks or the cardigan on, but they were there now and OFF they came, along with the rest!!) and kneeling rocking and gripping the sofa and my beloved husband –who sat and knelt on the edge of the chaise at my head- through waves. I soon began to growl and moan through them as well. Breathing heavily but deeply now- I kept sighing, smiling blissfully at my man in between waves at this point declaring over and over again “oh darling isn’t this NICE!” meaning it was lovely and safe and right feeling to be home not in a hospital, and alone and peaceful not watched and timed and bothered with questions etc – he looked at me with a mix of love and confusion and amazement hehe, he knew what I meant but couldn’t get his head around me being so intensely in pain one second and so joyfully at peace the next.

Warm clear water began trickling, then gushing through the three waves before the real yelling began….

image10:55: I feel her head drop down – RIGHT down, I growled through the next wave with my hand feeling the very top of her head – growled at hubby to “get the camera!, QUICK!” He grabbed it just in time to video her birth. Then I ROARED –and I *do* mean ROARED- my little girl into my hands, half squatting and half kneeling. I thought my Liam might have been a bit shocked but he tells me he thought it was pretty awesome (actually he tells me I’m awesome which is awesome in itself – I LOVE my man!) she came very quickly, flew out in about two pushes! Feeling my little girl’s head come out of me, and into my waiting hands. Touching her sweet soft cheeks and little lips and her hair and nose as she emerged, then catching her and picking up my wet brand new little girl was the most amazing experience, and one I will never forget. She squalled as soon as her body was out of me. I unwrapped her cord (which was loosely wrapped once around her neck) and lifted her up to my chest. I kissed her sweet wet soft squishy face and rejoiced in her beautiful red hair and teensy toes and fingers. We checked to confirm what we had seen at ultrasound –a girl- and declared for her the name we had so lovingly chosen for her while she grew inside me ~Tahliya Grace Amber~ “I did it! She’s here! She’s here and she’s perfect!! I did it and I did it all by myself!!” I squealed with delight. She had thick white vernix on her lower back and in the folds of her thighs and knees, underarms and elbows and her tummy folds – nothing ‘old’ about this little girl!!

10:58PM (ish?): We hear Miss 3, our eldest shuffling about in the bedroom by her door (right at the end of the hall not far from us) hubby calls her in and she came joyfully to meet her. She told me then “Mummy, I heard you when Tahliya was coming out but I waited at my door for you to be done” sweet angel girl ~ we asked if she was frightened by the noises and she said “no Mummy, you were just working hard to get the baby out, I know that!” LOVE her!!! All the talking, birth video watching and role playing really were good preparation for her. Liam whipped around folding up and whisking away wet stained bluey pads so that Miss 3 wouldn’t freak out or get dirty. He was so efficient I barely saw any mess!!! Liam tells me there was hardly any mess anyway. After a quick meet up with biggest sis littler big sis Miss 2 woke up crying for milk and daddy went and got her and told her the baby was born and she wanted to come see too so she did. I moved to sit on the lounge (had been sitting on the floor where I birthed her till now) which Liam had covered with a waterproof tablecloth thingy and a big soft beach towel, and I sat there, babe still joined to the placenta inside me while her daddy and sisters cooed over her and she tried to feed.

11:10PM: Liam then got the little big girls back to bed as I said I was feeling “off” and didn’t want them there right then as I wanted to focus. As soon as he got back I squatted over the pretty pink tub we had for the placenta and -yeuck- plop! Out it came – much better! I think it may have been sitting just there ready for a little while but I was distracted with the kids and everything.

11:50PM: We waited till the cord was well and truly flat and limp, snuggling baby and enjoying getting to know her. Then we tied it with the cord ties I had braided from silk embroidery thread and cut it. I had a look at the placenta and membranes and checked that it looked whole and all there – it was complete and perfect and VERY rich looking! Nothing old about her placenta at all!! Hubby made me a placenta, banana, strawberry and choc sauce smoothie which I drank and it actually tasted ok. We froze the rest of the placenta. We were thinking about encapsulation but I think it is expensive to get someone to do it and mucking around making capsules is not something I had time for so it will end up being food for a very special fruit tree or similar in our garden which will be a special way to remember her birth also…

We had a tincture of shepherds purse on hand ready in case of PPH but had no need for it. There was very little bleeding at all. The placenta smoothie really helped with energy after the birth and my blood flow / recovery, I was not even dizzy at all. Amazing.

We weighed our little girl (after she broke the fish scales and we used the bathroom digital scales and daddy and some maths!) – she weighed 4.9 kilos – 10 pound 8 oz!

12AM: We printed footprints of her teensy wee brand new feet with an office ink pad onto the pre-prepared home birth certificate I had designed and printed off for her long before her birth day. Then popped her in a nappy, singlet, socks, and a snuggly all-in-one that we had laid out for her arrival over a month before she was born. We cuddled some more, I finished my placenta smoothie, she fed some more, we cuddled and fed and cuddled some more. Then while Liam held his newest little girl I washed up a little, replaced the blanket my hubby had snugged us up in with some clean clothes and we headed to our bed for some more snuggling, feeding, floating over the birth we had just ROCKED! and texting people of her arrival etc etc.

1:53AM: Baby girl Tahliya was nice and warm and fast asleep and full from all the constant feeding since her birth. We left the heat on so we would all stay warm while we slept. We lay her in a snug warm sleeping bag, in her bassinette right next to my side of our bed. Then we cuddled up to sleep till she wanted to be fed next. I went to sleep floating on a cloud of fresh birthy bliss, a big goofy smile plastered on my face!! That smile didn’t leave my face for months afterwards, and I still find it hard to shake it when I think of her birth or read over it again… Things could not have been more peaceful, perfect, healthy, normal, relaxed and natural. Divine. Purely divine. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. This was by far the most incredible of all three of my births (the first two were in hospital although still completely free from drugs, gas or interventions in labour and birth)