Joshua’s Home Waterbirth
January 19, 2009
At around 2am on the 19th (I was 40+1 weeks) I woke with a feeling of heavy period pain. It lasted around 40 seconds and was very much reminiscent of an upset tummy. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Another ‘pain’ woke me around 15 minutes later, so I went to the loo and sat for a few minutes. Nothing more so I went back to sleep. I woke a couple of times with other pains, but just breathed through them and barely even opened my eyes for them. The children came in at around 7.30am to wake us up. Once up and about, the pains seemed to be coming anywhere from 8-15 minutely, lasting anywhere from 15-40 seconds. I wasn’t sure this was early labour, or just a tease. I told my husband to go to work, jokingly telling him to expect a call as soon as he got in there, to come home. I truly wasn’t sure what was happening.. I walked my daughter to school (a 6 minute walk). Had a contraction while chatting and laughing with another mum at the playground, then had another walking home. They were really weird pains, not what I had experienced with my 2nd child at all. These were felt exclusively down in the lower part of my uterus, as if it was purely dilation pains I was feeling. Where was the supposed textbook contraction, beginning gently at the top of my uterus, working down, slowly tightening to a peak, holding, then releasing slowly? These ones hurt, they took all my concentration to remember to breathe, rock and let them happen. Especially while trying to hold a conversation with a 3 1/2 year old boy!
I was expecting my midwife and my follow-through student midwife to be over at about 10.30-11am for a check up, so I just pottered about and chattered to my son, while slowing regularly to listen to what my body was telling me. My midwife rang to say she was leaving her house, I almost cried hearing her voice, because I was so unsure of what was happening and needed someone to tell me what was going on! So much for being a doula myself.. My student midwife arrived at 10.30ish and immediately started doing some vacuuming (I was having a mad nesting urge to clean the birth pool and the floor) and general tidying up while I stopped every now and then to work through a contraction. My son was busy watching TV, chatting to me, helping the student clean. My main midwife arrived at about 11.15am and I told her what I was feeling, she sat down and got out her paperwork and BP cuff etc while I kept pottering. She watched me for a bit, then I heard her say to the student, that she was going to get her kit out of the car, that baby was arriving today.. I finally called my husband and told him to come home- by taxi from the city, not train.
At about midday my son needed a nappy change, that was way past my concentration ability to clean up so I popped him in the shower to wash, while I sat on the toilet for a while. I noticed I had a bloody show when I got up, I reported this to my midwife when I next passed through the lounge room. She quietly got on the phone to our back up midwife to see where she was. She was unable to leave work, so we had a quiet brain storm about who I wanted to come and be back up. My choice was contacted, she was only 15 minutes away and free to join us. That was fate stepping in to pull together the birth team that ended up being in attendance. 🙂
My husband arrived home shortly afterwards, hearing me getting slowly more vocal as the contractions were really getting teeth. They were truly all centred around the base of my uterus and my cervix, with no seeming regularity, timewise or lengthwise to them. Admittedly, I was not watching the clock, I was just wondering around, and stopping where I needed to when I needed to. The birth pool started being filled at about 12.45, while I paced around it and the lounge room and the kitchen. I had a massive contraction that actually had me crying out, with tears and the first thought of ‘what am I doing, I don’t want this, go away’ (transition anyone?) This contraction is caught on video and it was a long one, with my son in the background asking why I’m crying, with my husband reassuring him that I am okay, just working hard. When it finished, I stood up with my eyes closed, wiped the tears away and looked at the camera with a grunpy expression and said ‘That was tough.’. Thank goodness for the spells of nothing between contractions!
I sent my husband and son off to get my daughter from school at 1.15. Apparently as soon as they were gone, I got really vocal and serious about working through the contractions, which now seemed to be constant. The water temperature felt so good on my hand, when it was deep enough, I literally threw my clothes off and loaded myself in. Bliss. Utter bliss. The heat and depth of the water dropped me to another level totally. I laboured hanging over the edge of the pool, I laboured with my head resting back on the edge, with my hands wedged under my sacrum. I could hear with each contraction, I was really starting to bear down. The roar I had with my son, was happening again 😀 I heard my midwife asking the student if she had my husband’s number, because he and the children had to come home RIGHT NOW. His was the only number not listed on the fridge. I could have given it to them, but of course, they didn’t want to disturb me. They found the number, his phone didn’t answer anyway..
I was on my knees over the edge of the pool, when I felt that familiar poo sensation, that I recognised as baby moving past the bowel. I tried to not push, but it felt so good to work with that, so I sat back on one knee, with the other lunged to the side, put my hand down to feel what was happening. I could feel his head pass down the birth canal, I could feel his head crowning, it felt so, so good. I was again trying not to push, trying to breath him out, but he was just coming, my body was in control, not my mind. As soon as his head was born, I rested back to lean my head on the pool side. Again, the contractions were ruling my actions, my midwife was reminding me to breath, I was trying, but the roar was happening. It was now that my husband and the kids ran in the door. Apparently they had heard my roaring from 3 doors away and bolted home. Andrew picked up the video camera in time to film my 2nd son’s body being pushed into the water at 1.39pm. My midwife had to unravel his body in the water as he was tangled in cord bodily and around his neck, then she bought him straight out and into my arms. The time from his body birthing to him being given into my arms was just seconds. The kids raced to be beside my head. My daughter was indeed already touching the baby as I was still coming to terms with the fact that I had done it. Given birth, at home, in the pool, to our third child. Fantastic, powerful, shocking, fast, intense, satisfying, primal, sensual, joyous.. All wrapped up in a few hours, with the prize of a beautiful 7lb, 14oz (3.5kg) fair haired baby boy. I would say that officially 1st stage was about an hour and 20 minutes, 2nd stage about 15 minutes, physiological 3rd stage about 25 minutes. So all up, about 2 hours again.
My newest son had a little cry, then gazed around and fell asleep. During this time a girlfriend arrived and I realised that the people around me at that moment, were exactly who were meant to be there. From having a planned cast of thousands, to just my close family and trusted midwives, with a dear friend arriving practically straight after the birth. Couldn’t have asked for more.
I stayed sitting in the pool for about 25 minutes, then I got up to get out, so I could birth the placenta. It was then, that I saw that there was a knot in his cord. What a spin out that was. Born wrapped in his cord and with a true knot in it as well.