Jess’ Homebirth Story
On the 23/05/17 at 40+4 weeks pregnant I woke up at 4am feeling a little disheartened labour still hadn’t begun after I'd had a few birthy twinges and a show the night before, I did some reflexology to help bring on labour and fell back asleep. I then woke at 7am to some mild surges, not really knowing if it was actually labour or if it was just another twinge, it just felt like a very mild tightening in my lower back. An hour later I was sure this was definitely going to be the day we meet our baby. Mild surges were coming every 10 minutes or so.
My partner Danny and our 19 month old son went to a toddler group at 9am so I could chill out for a while, I washed up and pottered about for a bit, getting my birth space ready and listened to some upbeat music, I danced and swayed through the surges. Soon after I felt the need to be on my hands and knees so I popped my birth affirmation tracks on, kneeled over my birth ball and focused on my breathing. I was starting to feel like I wanted Danny home so I called him and asked him to come straight back after the group. I was relieved when they got back at 11.30 and soon afterwards our son was picked up by his grandparents.
Things were ramping up now (I didn’t realise how quickly..) so I rang the midwives and said I felt like I want somebody to come over, and Danny started getting the pool filled up. I’m not sure how often the surges were coming at this point, they were still not painful but were requiring all of my focus, I called for Danny every time a surge began so he could massage my lower back through it which felt amazing. I remember feeling bad because he was going to get terrible backache after hours of this! He was wonderful and multitasked like a pro, getting the pool set up and being so encouraging and helpful throughout. Every time I called for him he came to me immediately, he was amazing.
I felt incredibly relaxed and blissful, and at times emotional (actually cried a few happy tears!) because I was so happy my baby was finally coming to me, I welcomed every surge knowing each one was bringing us closer to meeting. It was euphoric.
Feeling her moving down was incredible.
Our midwife arrived at 11.55 and I was so happy to see it was the midwife I had seen throughout all of my pregnancy! She was amazing and I feel so lucky I had that continuity of care through the nhs, it is very rare! Having somebody I knew walk through the door was invaluable.
Surges were coming thick and fast now but I still thought I probably had another few hours to go. I was willing for the pool to be ready so I could relax in the warm water, remembering how lovely it felt being in the pool during my labour with my son.
The pool was ready by half 12 and I hopped in. Luckily our amazing birth photographer Jennie arrived, just in time!
Surges slowed down for a few minutes and I wondered if getting in the water had slowed down labour, little did I know, I was in transition. I had a few minutes to rest. When they kick started again I immediately started feeling immense pressure and I knew my baby was coming!
Feeling her moving down was incredible. I feel like I really connected with the process, whereas with my first born I feared it and kind of blocked out what was happening at this stage. I felt everything this time and I embraced it. When her head was born I smiled. It was a beautiful feeling knowing I had one last mountain to climb and she would be in my arms. There was so much positive energy in the room. I remember feeling her wriggling around in the birth canal and thinking how weird it felt. With just one more push our baby was here, I reached down and brought her up out of the water and into the world, her cord was wrapped around her neck and body tightly so there was a bit of a rush to untangle her while she was trying to breathe, while this was going on I got a glimse of her bits and I saw that she was a girl, I cried with happiness. All was well and she was perfect. She was born at 1.10pm after a speedy 6 hour labour from first surge to first breath.
I didn't have any pain relief, I didn't feel like I needed it. I can't describe the feelings as 'pain'. The only way I can describe it is intense and powerful.
We chilled out in the pool, I soaked her up in utter disbelief I had a baby girl and then we got out for skin to skin and her first breastfeed on the sofa. We waited an hour or so before cutting her cord, and weighed her a couple of hours later. She weighed 7lb 5oz.
Our labour and birth was completely hands off which was what I had asked for on my birth plan, I had no vaginal examinations throughout and our midwife encouraged me to trust and listen to my body and follow its lead.
I didn't have any pain relief, I didn't feel like I needed it. I can't describe the feelings as 'pain'. The only way I can describe it is intense and powerful. I felt every sensation and embraced it, trusting my body and the amazing birth process. It was the most beautiful experience of my life and being at home was utterly incredible. Everything was exactly as I had dreamt it would be!
I know the importance of sharing my positive experience of birth, and if my story inspires just one pregnant woman to believe in her ability to birth her baby, to dream up the birth she desires and deserves and to make it happen then I will be VERY happy. Birth certainly does not have to be what we see on the TV and what society expects to be a horrendous, undignified event. We need to stand up and challenge these 'norms' and bring positive, supported, empowered and beautiful birth into the mainstream.
Trust the process, prepare for it and don’t fear it, it is truly magical entering motherhood feeling like you can take on the world!