I have had four very different births, three of which have been at home with my very lovely midwife. This is the story of my fourth birth, which was by far my easiest most enjoyable birth, but my most challenging pregnancy.
We had decided firmly that three children was enough for us. We had three magnificent little boys, and a growing business to run. I had just got back into the swing of business when I had this overwhelming feeling that I was pregnant. I was actually at a networking meeting that morning, and couldn’t get the idea of pregnant out of my mind, so on the way home I stopped at our local shops and took a pregnancy test –thinking there was no way it could come up positive.
Sure enough, straight away two blue lines appeared on the test. I was incredibly shocked, excited, terrified, and overwhelmed all at once. My husband was under an incredibly amount of pressure at the time to provide for our family, and we were under a fair bit of financial strain. Having me out of my sales role in the business would make things incredibly tense.
Life had just been getting easier. The boys were finally sleeping through – how on earth could we deal with a pregnancy, much less the prospect of a tiny insomniac joining our house.
Needless to say, I was more than a little nervous about telling my husband our news.
I called my midwife Vanessa and asked if she was still catching babies, and was she busy in October…. I called my Chiropractor begging for advice to help me get through the first exhausting months of pregnancy and morning sickness, I called my friend who had just been through her fourth pregnancy and birth… then I called my husband.
Poor Adam thought I was joking, then when he realised I wasn’t, he went into shock. A shock that I think he has only just recovered from now that Finny is 6 months old.
The pregnancy was challenging. I had to redefine my role in our family as “just a mum” which was a big deal for me, as a lot of my mental wellbeing depended heavily on my role in our business. I love being in business, and it was really hard to step back.
I had awful SPD pain from about 16 weeks, and kept doing silly things like slipping on the kids toys and exacerbating the pain. Luckily, I was in the care of a wonderful Chiropractor who helped me manage the pain most of the time.
It challenged Adam’s and my relationship pushing it to boundaries I wasn’t sure we’d recover from.
It challenged my relationship with my three big boys, as I became larger, more tired, and less patient.
It forced me to swallow my pride and ask for help – something that I’ve never been comfortable with.
The pregnancy also helped me realise some amazing things about my family and myself. It introduced me to new friends who proved invaluable to me. It proved to me that my bond with my husband is stronger than I ever imagined it to be. It taught me to just “be” with my children, and accept that my mother-role is the most important role in their lives. It also taught me that I can overcome what I thought at the time were insurmountable challenges.
Under the care of Vanessa, my wee baby grew inside of me. Stretching my mind and body to new limits. There were some amazing highlights. Discovering that we were indeed having another little boy – and the joy that my husband expressed upon learning this. Feeling him roll and kick in my belly, as I connected and chatted to him. Being able to really tune into my baby, and build a relationship with him that was just secretly mine and his. His big brother’s reactions as they felt him kick and squirm in my belly. New love was gestated in our house over 10 long months.
The whole time, Vanessa was a solid rock of information, reassurance, comfort, and sometimes a friendly kick up the backside to trust my body and baby. She knows me so well.
As most mothers I know do, I expected this baby to arrive early. At 38 weeks gestation, I was ready to meet my belly-babe. Of course, this was far from the case, and weeks more passed and I became somewhat more impatient and fed up with my enormous body.
Having had two previous home births at the 42 week mark, it should have been abundantly clear that my body’s natural gestation time is about 42 weeks…. I hadn’t learnt!!!
I had two or three weeks of practise labour, which convinced me several times that it might be the real thing. Adam was working on an important project in town, and had organised time off around my due date. Unfortunately that came and went!
Vanessa spent much of the last week of my pregnancy sitting in my loungeroom or bedroom counselling me and listening to all of my fears and worries. I felt safe and supported, and re-assured just knowing that I could confide in her.
The last week of my pregnancy saw me desperate and begging for some encouragement to birth my baby. I was exhausted, in agony, and very much ‘over it’. Adam had a lot of work on and simply wasn’t able to be as available as I needed him to be, and I knew that I needed my baby on the outside in order to function and begin mothering effectively again. With that information, and my firm belief that a baby won’t come until it’s good and ready, I consented to some stretch and sweeps, to help encourage my body into labour.
Of course, babies don’t come until they’re good and ready, and Finny wasn’t good and ready until 42 weeks. It was a Tuesday, and I woke up feeling anxious, agitated, and rolled to Adam and said “I feel like a cat looking for a cupboard” I begged him to stay and work at home. I must have sounded desperate, because bless his heart he did.
Vanessa had come around in the morning, for my appointment, and had decided not to do a stretch and sweep, as Finny seemed in a funny position with his waters poking out, but no head engaged. I was frustrated, but somehow not overly concerned, as as I was sitting on the bed, my belly was gently contracting, gently encouraging Finn down, and gently preparing for labour.
Later that afternoon I decided to have a bath. As I hopped in the tub, I called to Adam “We’ll be meeting our baby tonight” I don’t think he believed me. As I soaked in the bath, my body began to squeeze tighter and tighter, encouraging wee Finny down. It was an intensely pleasurable sensation, and I knew I was finally going into labour.
I texted my beautiful Doula to let her know it would be tonight. I texted Vanessa to give her a little pre-emptive warning. I told Adam to trust me and organise my mum to look after my big boys.
I kissed my babies goodbye at about 6pm, and Adam dropped them off at my mum’s house. In the time he was gone, I organised my little birth altar, pinned flags on my curtains, lit candles, posted my affirmations on the wall, and had a shower. It couldn’t have been more than half an hour he had been gone, but as he returned, I went into labour.
I texted Vanessa and told her that things were happening, and that I was going to make it bigger. The sensations were strong but incredibly pleasurable. I welcomed each rush with vocalisation, and turned completely inward to focus on my baby.
Adam arrived home at some stage – I believed I had a perfectly coherent conversation with him, and asked him to inflate the pool, vaccum my bedroom, and fetch me stuff -apparently, it was more incoherent grunting. Luckily for me, Adam is incredibly in tune with me, and anticipated my needs and wants perfectly.
I was surrounded with love and support, and at no point did I feel alone.
My gorgeous doula arrived and began playing a crystal singing bowl along with each rush. This was the most amazing tool to help me focus. I could feel the vibrations in my belly, in the pool, in the ball I was sitting on…. I toned along with the bowl, and sung to my baby.
Finally the pool was filled enough for me to get in, but as I stepped in I snapped out of my labour trance to look at Adam, swear at him, and tell him that the pool was too “fucking” hot.
This should have told me I was nearing transition. The rushes were rolling one on top of another, but because they weren’t particularly painful – infact they were pleasurable, I thought I had many hours of labour ahead of me.
Suddenly, POP my waters broke! This woke me up, my doula came in, reassured me the pool water was clear, and Adam snuck away to call Vanessa.
The next contraction, I secretly pushed, and to my surprise, out popped a head. A tiny, soft, delicious, head, with a wisp of soft hair. I looked up at Adam and said “Heads out” he looked at me with utter surprise, as the next rush I grunted “Get ready to catch”
My wonderful husband caught our baby as he slid into the world, wearing a waist coat of membranes, pink, wailing, and perfect in every way.
I fell in love with my wonderful man all over again, seeing the pride, the relief, and the love in his eyes as he looked at his newest son. Adam snuck away to call Vanessa (who as on her way) and let her know that Finn had arrived and all was well.
I was chatting with my doula expressing my pride at having birthed a baby all on my own!! From strong contractions to Finny arriving, it was all an hour and a half.
Vanessa arrived, snuck in quietly, met our little man, and supported me as I birthed my placenta. This time it was easy, I knew how good it felt to push something soft out after birthing a baby, and my placenta slid out.
I was then tucked up into bed, brought cups of sweet hot tea, and made delicious food by Adam.
I began to bleed a little bit, and felt a bit dizzy and faint, but only enough for Vanessa to firmly ban me from undertaking my other favourite post birth ritual of having a shower 🙂
My mum brought my other babies home, and my eldest boy snuggled up in bed with Finn and I. Adam kept a watch over me throughout the night making sure I was safe and OK.
I spent the next few days in a cocoon of love and support. Vanessa and my student midwife came each day to check on me and Finn, Adam cared for the older boys while I rested in bed – it was incredibly hard to walk those first few days!!!
Finny let go of his placenta exactly five days after he was born, to the hour he was born. Our little son woke up, and we took him on his first tiny outing to the beach to welcome him to the world.
I could probably write an entire novel on this birth – but I think I’ve covered the bits that are most important to me.
We’re very stoked with our little man!!