KIRSTEN’S BIRTH STORY: FIRST BABY HOME BIRTH
The thought of labour terrified me!! I’d heard every horror story going (all very true too). Since a traumatic life event a few years back, I’d been getting on top of anxiety & depression & was concerned that a traumatic birth could set me back.
I didn’t want to leave a gentle & clam birth to chance, so at 30 weeks I did a two day group KG Hypnobirthing course with Leanne. I can’t stress enough how much this then put me on the right track. Firstly with hours of further research: KG Hypnobirthing book, AIMS, WHO, Cochrane reviews, NICE guidelines, the positive birth book, Rebecca Dekker, the positive birth movement, a local home birth group, Janet Naylor & my fave of all Ina May Gaskin (I just adore her ❤). Now all of that may sound OTT but I’m a Solicitor (so love a bit of research 🤓) plus birthing proved to be a fascinating (not terrifying) subject. The more I knew the better I felt so for me over preparing was key to feeling empowered & knowing my rights. Secondly, it set my heart on trying for a home birth.
The preparation & Hypnobirthing proved handy when midwives kept referring to my “huge” baby along with comments about how I’d get him out & assuming I would just be accepting a sweep at 40 weeks. No thank you!! ✋🏼
Every single day without fail, I listened to relaxations with lavender aromatherapy as an anchor (total bliss!), watched/read positive birth stories and did perineal massage.
On days when I had a wobble or was approached with negative birth stories, my amazing husband, Matt, got me back on track, he never once doubted me & Hypnobirthing also helped him understand his huge role in labour too. Leanne was also incredible at supporting and reassuring me, such amazing advice to keep me feeling empowered.
So here’s my birth story...When I woke that morning I knew that today was the day I’d go into labour, I don’t know why but I just did & it was.
Later that day, I started to feel really intense pressure in my groin but I thought maybe I was imagining it because of my earlier thoughts.
Unsure if I was in labour, I called the midwife who wasn’t concerned & said I’d know if I was. My husband was in a meeting so I didn’t want to unnecessarily get him to come home. Was I even in labour? I bounced on my ball, listened to relaxations, sniffed clary sage, did calming breathing exercises & tried my best to time the difference between the pressure & intense pressure (actually very difficult as it all kinda felt the same...was it even a contraction?) 🤷🏻♀
An hour later I still wasn’t sure...where was the pain? I started to panic that I didn’t know what it was & wanted my hubby with me! By the time Matt arrived home (a 10 min trip 😂) things really ramped up...each time the pressure came I couldn’t be on the ball anymore, I HAD to be on the floor. I used a tens machine, lit some incense sticks & candles to help calm me. Matt called the midwife again who kept asking if I could still talk (I could talk fine). Matt stressed that I’d done Hypnobirthing (we’d been told if you’re too calm it can be mistaken for you not being far along by Leanne). They agreed to send someone to check.
Matt started setting up the birth pool in the living room, closed the blinds, lit candles, put fairy lights everywhere & put lavender aromatherapy oil in the diffuser. Then Matt cuddled & kissed me & we looked through our wedding pictures in between timing contractions.
Matt had my birth plan & I’d given him permission to speak on my behalf to keep me in the right frame of mind, so when the midwife arrived he told her what I did & didn’t want so I wasn’t disturbed.
I didn’t want to have any cervical examinations but out of politeness to the midwife I agreed to one (in case she could just go home). She didn’t seem convinced I was in established labour especially with it being my first pregnancy & I was still able to talk. The examination (which was very unpleasant & hurt!) revealed that I was in established labour (4cm), so our midwife stayed but went to sit in the kitchen to give us the privacy needed to get things going.
I started vomiting, so the midwife put some of my peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water (an amazing instant nausea cure).
Matt read out the “releasing” visualisation from the KG Hypnobirth book & I got in the pool - which was nothing short of AMAZING!! OMG!! So soothing & calming. So it’s strange that at this point, I started to bottle it...telling Matt I just wanted a C-section & couldn’t do it. Why? I don’t know as I wasn’t in pain just scared of the unknown. Matt was my absolute rock & got me back on track to feeling empowered then did another fear releasing visualisation.
Nature & your body just takes over in a natural birth, I kept feeling the urge to do kind of lunges in the pool which eased the pressure in my groin & I floated around the pool chilling & listening to my relaxations.
Matt fed me Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (yum!) & I drank electrolytes to keep my energy up. In the last bit of dilating I started using some gas & air which also really helped.
I then transitioned which last about 45 mins. I had a laugh & joke with the midwife & Matt. I realised it was dark outside & to my amazement it had gone from 2pm to 2am in what felt like only a few hours. Nothing was happening so I took the time to enjoy the stillness.
Now this is where things got really weird!!! There had been times when I’d been practicing my relaxations beforehand that I’d fall asleep & when I woke I would have a tingling sensation all over my body...endorphins working their magic & the most incredible light feeling. The same thing happened for me in labour. The relaxations worked so well that I didn’t feel like I was even in the room. In the visualisation it describes going to a special place only you know about & when you arrive your baby is there waiting to meet you. You cuddle & bond with your baby & when it’s time to go home you take your baby with you. The next thing I knew I was back in my living room & there was no mistaking that my baby had started to descend down the birth canal, it was probably the most surreal & emotional experience I’ve ever had.
I announced to the room that he was coming!!! Then my body & nature just took over, the urge to push started gradually & before I knew it I was experiencing the most intense, animalistic sensations I’ve ever felt. The sounds I made, I had no idea where they came from or what I was even doing. It was a cross between a roar and a cow mooing 😂 anyway that all seemed to get the midwife on the phone to the second midwife (for the baby) to come out ASAP. She arrived not long after.
My body knew what to do, it was doing it for me & somehow knew what position to be in & where to move next. Poor Matt was doing laps of the pool with the gas & air canister 😂
The midwife had been suggesting that my waters had burst & I hadn’t noticed but I confidently knew they hadn’t. At this point I felt them burst. Me & Matt kissed to keep everything relaxed & especially my jaw (an Ina May tip). The baby’s head came out & Matt saw him turn ready to arrive. On the next contraction, I felt the baby fly out! There was SO much built up pressure behind him pushing him out. I told everyone he was out 😂 & Matt scoped him out of the water & placed him on my chest. Our baby looked up at me in a way I will never forget. We all had a beautiful golden hour with skin to skin. Matt cut the cord, once it had stopped pulsating. There we were a new mummy & daddy to our precious Joshua James Reay...all 8lb 9oz of him.❤👶🏻 I was over the moon that all my hard work had paid off & his Apgar score was 9,9,10!🌟
I put a lot of effort into the prep, more than needed, but honestly if I can do it anyone can. I was lucky to have such an amazing birth partner Matt with me throughout, he was just incredible & so tuned into what I needed. Labour for us was a real joint effort. I’m so glad we achieved what we set out to do by creating a calm, loving & spiritual energy to welcome our baby boy into world.