A bit of background – We had been living with my parents since returning from living in London – our house was not quite ready and Christmas and my due date (the 26th) were rapidly approaching. I’d been emailing a midwife (in New Zealand you get to choose your midwife and all the care is free – amazing right?!) who I found online who sounded just perfect – very pro homebirth and not into intervening without good cause.
We had finally moved our beds in to our own house on the 21st and a few days later I set up the birth pool which I had borrowed from my midwife. I’d been having on and off contractions for around a week in the middle of the night so when I woke at 2am on the day of her birth with painful contractions I didn’t think much of it, even though i was almost a week over my due date. I got out of bed and started wandering the house, browsing the fridge, you know how it is haha. It suddenly dawned on me that these were real contractions, and that we might be welcoming our daughter into our home today! I was also so excited as it was my own lovely mothers birthday and I had been so busy organising our place that I hadn’t got her a good present yet!
I paced around for a bit before realising I needed to get the birth pool filled! I woke up the sleeping husband and got him to help me out. It was a bit of a mission because even though he had purchased hose clips for the hose to fill it from it wouldn’t stay on our kitchen tap very well. You would be surprised at how quickly you can empty a hot water cylinder! He started filling it up and then I sent him back to bed so he could rest. I spent the next few hours passing time between contractions by boiling giant pots of water on the stove and filling the kettle 1567 times (actual figure). Somehow it got to 7am and I decided I should let my midwife Debbie know what was going on so sent her a text saying I was contracting every 7 minutes. My Dad came and picked up Reuben while I hid in the birth pool, for some reason I really felt like Reuben shouldn’t see me in pain and then as soon as he left I got all emotional because I didn’t say goodbye to him! He was too excited to care – he loves spending the day at his Nanna and Grandads but I felt like the worst mum ever!
When I was in the birth pool I noticed my contractions slowed right down almost to the point where I could sleep and boy did I want to! I realised that I didn’t want this labour to drag out for any longer than necessary and thought I must have hopped in too early.I hopped out and kept wandering around trying out different labouring positions and breathing patterns until my midwife arrived at midday. I was so happy to see her, I can’t say enough about how amazing she is – I felt instantly safe and reassured in her presence. She got settled into our couch and at some point I decided I wanted to try the birth pool again. Got in and felt instantly relaxed, however once again way too relaxed and I had a couple of sleeps in between contractions – which sounds wonderful in theory but in reality it is THE WORST. You’re all relaxed and then you get woken up with this awful feeling and all confused until you realise you are having a contraction haha. I don’t recommend it. Debbie encouraged me to get out and take a walk around to hopefully speed things back up while she popped out to get lunch.
Instantly, literally the moment I got out of the water I was hit with a huge contraction and then almost straight away another one. All thoughts of using the birth pool exited my mind permanently and I realised I had just wasted an hour or so in the pool probably not dilating at all. Debbie got back and she could tell that the walking around had done the trick. She examined me and I was only 6cms dilated I was a little disappointed – also the baby was high up and not at all engaged, and my waters still hadn’t broken. We started thinking about breaking my waters, I knew it would speed things up but in the back of my mind I was scared of the intense contractions that I knew would follow. She sent the husband down the road to the warehouse to get a tarpaulin to put on the floor to protect our new carpet.. which made me a bit depressed knowing that she thought it was safe for him to disappear out for a while!
Another two hours passed, it was now 6.20pm, the husband had returned and I was exhausted. I was forcing myself to walk around but the contractions were starting to overwhelm me and I was beginning to worry about how much energy I would have to actually push her out! I asked to be examined again, and being only 7cm I gave the go ahead for my waters to be manually ruptured. This doesn’t hurt at all, but I had a massive contraction during which I had to lie down for and it was the worst. I got up and started kneeling on the floor with my arms on our couch – and with the very next contraction I felt the urge to push! I was almost convinced that it was in my head as I was sure I hadn’t gone from 7-10cm in one go.
It was completely overwhelming, completely involuntary and it scared me even though I knew this was a good thing! I was going to meet my baby girl! Debbie and the husband rushed around, I could hear Debbie calling the second midwife to come, she was instructing the husband to get bits and pieces ready on our dining table for babies arrival. The very next contraction I started to feel the baby crowning, I was screaming and I actually saw the husband run to close the windows – I do wonder what our neighbours heard!! Then it was all on. It was so intense, I got up the courage to feel her head coming out unlike last time – and then cried out HELP ME haha, not sure what I expected anyone to do but I definitely wanted someone else to actually do something thankyouverymuch!! Debbie was doing such a good job encouraging me, telling me to breathe through it and not push – and one contraction later her head was out. I couldn’t not push despite my best efforts, and it was a shock to everyone how quickly she emerged! The next contraction I gave a huge push and her body came out, complete with a great demonstration of her lung strength. 6.43 she arrived, just a few short minutes after my waters breaking! I am so thankful for the wisdom of my lovely midwife.
Her umbilical cord was so short and twisted, I was kind of kneeling on the the floor holding this tiny very vernixy wrinkly baby down by knees as her cord was too short to even pick her up! The second midwife arrived – only 10 minutes too late She was so lovely and I wanted to stand up and see if the placenta would make an appearance. To my absolute amazement I stood up and sure enough, had a little contraction and out it came! It was absolutely huge, the midwives were both amazed at the size of it and I was slightly amazed but mostly disturbed that it was so big! Everyone helped us up onto the couch where we could properly cuddle and have skin to skin and attempt feeding. Ten minutes later the cord had stopped pulsating and the husband did a stellar job of cutting the cord again (I may have pressured him into doing it – he did the first one so I felt he should definitely do it again).
Eventually I got up to have a shower while my wonderful midwives cleaned everything up (and removed a blood stain from the carpet – somehow I had managed to kneel on the very corner of the tarp oooops) and we realised a few hours had passed and we hadn’t told anyone! We called our families and told them about our sweet little girl. The midwives hung around and did all their baby checks, even helped me in and out of the shower and got me food and drink Our families turned up, my parents first with the new big brother who was quite amazed that the “baby came out!” but more amazed by the fact he got to swim in the practically unused birth pool! Everyone had cuddles, we gave up trying to make her feed – turned out she had a full tummy of amniotic fluid and spent the next few days spewing it up and not feeding at all – just like her big brother at birth.