So I’m sat writing our birth story one month on which I’ve now realized is far to long to wait as everything is now a complete blur! Hopefully we’ll manage to get an accurate account of events together!
From very early on in my pregnancy I had decided that I wanted a homebirth and my partner, Danny, was with me 100% on it from the start. I had always wanted a water birth however did not realize that it was possible to have both! I came across the /Leeds Community Pool Hire in my quest for information regarding having your first baby at home and within no time the pool was booked and I was being encouraged to go to the Leeds Homebirth Support group to meet with people who provide more info. I dragged Danny along (who was terribly hungover!) to see what it was all about and it was then I was made aware of the One to One midwives. It sounded perfect and decided that we would attempt to access this service. After a lot of battling with my GP practice/Leeds West CCG I was finally accepted and my booking in appointment was made. We carried on going to the monthly homebirth group where I learned so much from people sharing their individual birth stories; it helped me build a picture of what I would like my own birth experience to be like.
I started pregnancy yoga at 16 weeks and eventually found the perfect class at Yoga Kula at 18 weeks.
At some point in July I met with the lovely Amanda Wardle who was to be our hypnobirthing tutor. We made plans to cover things over four evenings throughout my last month of pregnancy. During our last session which was a week before my EDD, Amanda taught us light touch massage and explained the benefits it could have during labour. It gave me goose bumps when Amanda demonstrated it on me and I didn’t want Danny to stop! I needed a quick loo break and on returning into the room I came over all funny. My tummy felt a bit crampy, I felt dizzy, light headed and nauseas, nothing I had yet experienced. We decided to continue with the rest of the hypnobirthing we needed to cover then headed home as I really felt out of sorts. I remember needing a really big poo which seemed to help initially but I continued to have the period pain type cramps through the night which eased off by morning.
Even though my EDD was less than a week away I was still not fully prepared for my homebirth. I had decided to buy my own birthing pool in a bigger size so that Danny could get in it with me. However, the pool had a puncture, which needed to be repaired! I panicked that it would not be fixed in time and I would not have the pool for my labour and birth. Also, Amanda, who was by this point my primary midwife, was off duty the weekend before my EDD (the Wednesday) so I panicked slightly I would not have the midwife I had built a lovely rapport with. I attended my yoga class on the Saturday at Kula and found it quite challenging! I felt completely exhausted and away with the fairies! Anyway, Monday came and so did the most hideous thing I have ever seen – it was definitely the mucous plug! It lit a fire in my belly, I knew things were starting to happen. We went on a long walk through the countryside that day and Tuesday. On the Tuesday I was getting more period pain like cramps but nothing severe. I decided I’d still go to my yoga class and had Danny drive me. I could have just laid on the mat the whole way through! I did what I could manage and rested in between breathing through the crampy sensations. I did think that things would materialize that night but nothing. The next day, my EDD, I pottered around the house, bounced on the ball, nothing much! I tried to pretend it was not a significant date as I didn’t want to be disappointed when nothing happened. I knew the chances of baby coming on his date were slim so I just wanted it to pass really. I decided I’d go and have a nap around 2pm, mainly to pass time but also something in the back of my head said rest just incase. I woke up at around 5pm, I had a sensation low down and in my back. It was different to what I’d felt the past couple of weeks. I really paid attention to it and analysed it but then it went. I sat up in bed, came around from my nap and then it came back. After a few times of this happening I thought is this it? I called Danny upstairs to tell him and ask if he could contact our friend who was calling round to fix the tv and ask him not to come. Danny said he was just round the corner and had travelled an hour to get to us! I sat upstairs and put my headphones on and listened to my hypnobirthing MP3s; my friend had been and gone without me even knowing! I asked Danny to run me a bath as they were getting more intense. Danny popped his head round the door and said something, not that I heard as I had headphones on. 10 minutes later Danny rung my phone. Confused, I answered the phone and asked why he’s calling if he’s in the house. He said I’m on my way to the Leeds game! I quickly summoned him home! He later confessed he thought I was blagging so he wouldn’t go to the game! I lit the candles and jumped into the bath, it really took the edge off being in the warm water. I’d now been timing the pattern of surges and they were lasting 1 minute to 1 minute and a half and coming every 5-6 minutes. I text Amanda who said to use the hypnobirthng techniques id learned and to contact her when they’re about 2 minutes apart or sooner if I felt I wanted or needed her. The rest of the night was a really beautiful experience. Danny and I chilled out, listened to music, we drank lots of coconut water and aloe water and ate lots of chocolate and grapes! We timed the surges using an app on Danny’s iphone and they slowly but surely were getting closer together and getting more intense. I loved each surge as I had learned that each one was bringing my baby closer to me and I was one step closer to meeting him/her! I remember doing a lot of squatting when I had a surge and I remember thinking, I should have listened when Lara (my yoga teacher) said to do 15 squats a day! I found myself in lots of positions id regularly been in at my yoga class, mainly on all fours drawing circles with my belly button! Danny stroked and massaged my back and breasts and we cuddled lots. I went through a phase of feeling euphoric which I had been previously told I would. We started to fill the pool around 12am knowing that it would take around an hour. I got in the pool a couple of times however the second time I got in things seemed to slow down, I wasn’t getting surges like before. I jumped out, tried squatting, massage, nipple stimulation however nothing was working. I gave up trying and said to myself that this is what people must mean when they say they had a start stop labour! We both layed on the sofa and fell asleep. About an hour later I was woken up by the most intense surge yet! I got through 3 of them on my own and then had to wake Danny. They were so much more intense than earlier in the night and so much closer. Danny called Amanda who got to us around 5.45am. Amanda suggested I get into the pool however I was reluctant as last time I got in the surges stopped. Amanda reassured they wouldn’t stop and the water would help. Getting into the water was heavenly. The water took my weight, the temperature was soothing and I felt safe. Amanda listened to baby’s heart and took my BP, HR and temp and tootled off into the background to get on with her notes. Danny sat with me and held my hand through each surge. From this point on everything is pretty vague! I remember making a lot of noise, which I had no control over. I never expected to be so vocal. Amanda kept reminding me to take deep breaths. Most surges I felt really in control of however I remember loosing control of some. I soon realized the ones I didn’t have as much control over were the ones I’d lost focus on in between. As long I concentrated on my breathing in between then the next surge would be manageable. As the surges started getting more intense the only thing I could focus on was breathing in saying ‘I inhale all the strength I need’ and breathing out ‘I exhale all anxiety and fear’, something I’d picked up from my yoga class. I remember getting a sudden urge to push and I felt something pop. I thought it was a head! It definitely was not a head, just my waters breaking! Amanda reminded me that there was gas and air if I wanted. I quickly took her up on that offer! From this point I remember a lot of extreme pushing (I could not resist the urge topush) and getting into lots of different positions in the pool. Amanda told me to reach down and see if I can feel baby’s head but I didn’t want to, as I was feeling pretty queasy, I didn’t think it would help! A couple of times I said I can’t do this but after Danny and Amanda telling me you’re doing it I quickly snapped out of it. After a massive push I felt something come out and I said the heads out! After a couple more pushes I felt everything else follow, my baby was here! Amanda passed my baby to me and I told Danny to get in the pool. We had a beautiful baby boy born at 9.45am. Not a spot of vernix on him! We had skin to skin contact but I didn’t feel comfortable and Amanda suggested we get out. As I got out of the pool my placenta just sort of plopped out with no effort! We waited for the cord to stop pulsing, Danny did the honors and Amanda tied the cord ties we’d made. Amanda suggested we all get comfy in bed and she would sort everything downstairs. We had lots of cuddles however I had really hurt my coccyx so that dampened my early moments with my baby as I struggled to get comfy to hold him. Amanda came up and weighed our little man who was a lovely 8lb 10oz! She inspected my perineum and informed me I had torn and would need stitching however she couldn’t do it, I would have to transfer in. My heart sank and I hoped she would change her mind and that I could stay at home. At that point I wished so much I had perservered with the perineal massage! (I didn’t feel the tearing, it was a frw days before I could feel it!) LGI was full so I went to Jimmy’s. Danny and baby came with me in the ambulance and Amanda followed in her car. The doctor confirmed that the anal sphincter was okay and I had 2nd degree tear. They stitched me up and we were soon home all cuddled up. I have no recollection of when I actually found out that Felix was breach! I think I may have been slighly apprehensive had I had known his position however I say that as breach is something I never educated myself on as I never thought it was something I’d have to consider! Having such a beautiful birth experience, I would not hesitate in opting for a natural birth next time around.