Positive Birth Story: Quick and Lovely Home Birth in Water

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We had been trying for baby number 3 for nearly three years, and I was getting close to giving up when finally I was sure I had ovulated AND I was Late! Sure enough the pink line came up super quickly on the pee test.

Right from the beginning this pregnancy was very different to the girls’ ones. With them all I wanted to eat was cake, carbs and chocolate – the sweeter the better! I couldn’t stomach any cooked veggies and loved pies, and gained weight right from the start, I had to be constantly eating to keep the nausea at bay.

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This time around even a plain lemonade was too sweet, I could eat chicken 3 meals a day and craved Big Mac’s. I was hardly hungry and lost 14lb/7kg in the first 12 weeks due to not being able to stomach the thought of most food.

I had very little heartburn this time as well, and my skin was so clear right up until 8 months. Not surprisingly – we found out at the 19 week scan that this baby was a boy!!

The horrendous shearing pelvis joint pain kindly referred to simply as SPD, that I had with the girls started at 6 weeks this time around. Consequently I finished up at work at 32 weeks, as walking on concrete hospital floors for 8 hours was killing me!

This time around we had decided to go for a water birth at home. We hired a birthing pool from the local home birth association and picked it up 3 weeks before my due date.

My previous babies were born at 38 +1 and 39 + 4 so part of me didn’t expect to make 40 weeks, the other part – the inner intuitive part – knew this time we would go past the due date. I also knew this baby would be born in the very early hours of the morning.

Because of my choice for a water birth, I had to get a new midwife as the one I used with the girls didn’t do home or water births. Having asked around, the name Louise kept coming up – so I decided to meet her. She was lovely – very different to my previous midwife but in a good way.

Early on during this pregnancy my best friend discovered she was also pregnant and due the same week that I was. We also both wanted the same midwife! Lucky for us Louise was quite happy to take us both on, despite the fact we were only due 3 days apart and at the beginning of the new year.

This pregnancy went very smoothly. I sailed through the glucose test, my blood pressure remained good, minimal swelling, I had very few headaches and the nausea I had settled at 14 weeks. Just the SPD that haunted me constantly.

As I was choosing a home birth, we needed someone to come and watch the girls in case they were awake. They are only 5 (very nearly 6) and 4 and Matthew will be busy with helping me. The obvious choice was my mother – who was very keen to come. I also invited my two sisters that live in town.

A friend of mine is studying to be a child birth educator and part of that training is to attend a home birth, so of course I invited her as well.

My due date came and went. I should have guessed it would be a Sunday, because both the girls were Sunday labours. The midwife attempted a stretch and sweep on Friday because I was getting so tired not being able to sleep. But she couldn’t even reach my cervix to do one, so we booked in another one for Monday.

Weirdly enough, after the attempted S&S all the practice contractions went away and I got a full night’s sleep on Friday and still wasn’t getting practice ones on Saturday either.

In the back of my mind I got a little excited as I had 24 hours rest from them before Chloe’s labour started, but me and my friend joked that actually we weren’t pregnant at all, obviously it must just be a food baby. A VERY large food baby.

I woke up on the morning of the 18th, at what I can only guess was about 2am, with a belly ache. I didn’t think much of it as I had been having runs of contractions every night at about 1-4 am so I presumed this was one of these because I hadn’t yet had either my ‘show’ or an upset tummy which were both precursors to Chloe’s labour.

So I rolled over and went back to sleep only to wake to another one, and then another one and by the 4th one I thought, “Hmm these seem kinda regular, and a bit stronger that the last weeks ones”.

So I got my contraction timer app out on my phone and timed another 3, they were 1 minute long and 4 minutes apart. The practice contractions I had been having were usually 4-5 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long, so I still didn’t believe that this was “it”.

I decided that I should at least get out of bed and pee, and then see if they subside. But no, the went straight from 4 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart, and while I was standing, or sitting on the toilet, they were sore enough to have to focus on.

I seriously considered going and sitting in the lounge for a while just to be sure – luckily intuition said to get ready instead. So while I was in the bathroom I tied my hair up and brushed my teeth (how considerate am I?). I also changed into my ‘labour clothes’: a spotty skirt, sports bra and singlet top.

I woke Matthew up at 2.40 (the poor man only got to bed at 12am!) and went to the lounge to ring the midwife. I had my heart in my throat – what if this isn’t really it and I wake her up for nothing! She said she would be an hour or so away.

To speed up the set-up I helped Matthew set up the pool. I also rang my mother, who was in charge of contacting my sisters, and my friend who was also coming, I told them all not to rush – that the midwife will be there about 3.45 so that’s when they aimed to arrive too.

We got the pool filling, I was terrified we wouldn’t get it filled in time so we had one hose going from the kitchen tap to the pool on full speed hot, 4 pots on the stove heating (which we never used) and an outside hose running in to the pool on full speed cold. I shouldn’t have worried, I think it took about 30-40minutes to fill.

I was leaning over the bench breathing through contractions – Matthew would come and rub my back, which was a great distraction. I thought I would wait until the midwife arrived and gave me the all clear to get in the pool. But when 3.45 came and went and the pool looked so inviting, I thought stuff it, I’m getting in anyway! Ahhhh bliss, it was so warm and inviting. I had one contraction in the water, and while it didn’t take the pain away, it did make it easier to cope with.

Straight after that contraction the midwife arrived, followed closely but the rest of the support crew, only my youngest sister made it, the other had only just gone to bed!

The midwife did the usual checks and watched me through a few contractions, I don’t think she realized how intense they were as she commented later that I was very hard to asses as I was so calm and quiet (I didn’t feel calm and quiet on the inside haha).

She tried to listen on the Doppler for the baby, but she couldn’t get his location, and the contractions just kept happening. I think it was then she realized how close we were to having a baby, and she decided she should call the second midwife.

While she was on the phone to the other midwife I remember getting a particularly strong contraction (that made me make funny raspberry/horse lips sound which made me laugh on the inside – where the heck did that noise come from??) and a familiar but weird sensation – “I think… oh nope, it was my waters going” but that contraction didn’t really stop, it subsided a little and then ramped up again, I was on my knees and just knew I needed to lift my right leg to a half squat “Here comes the baby!”

And an almighty grunt and he crowned all the way to the bridge of his nose (poor sod had black eyes/nose for the first few days from that pressure). The midwife quickly hung up the phone and came rushing over to the pool with a torch. She is very hands off, and just said “Breathe Dana, Breathe”.

While waiting for the next contraction, I gave tiny little breathy pushes to ease his face out. The next contraction arrived and so did the baby!!

The midwife scooped him out of the water and told me to turn around. I couldn’t believe he was out that quickly as both the girls got their shoulders wedged and I had to change positions and push hard to move them, but not this time!

He had the cord wrapped around his neck twice with a big twist in it, and then wrapped around his arm as well. I had to stand up and walk to the midwife and it took the two of us about 15 seconds to get him properly untangled. Not surprisingly he spent the next 30 minutes having a good time exercising his lungs! The second midwife arrived about 20 minutes after Micaiah was born.

We sat in the tub until I started to feel cold and the contractions for the placenta were getting too distracting. I would bear down with each contraction and it stopped them hurting but that took a lot of focus.

The cord had stopped pulsing so Matthew cut it and had some skin to skin cuddles while I tried to push out the placenta.

Eventually I went and sat on the toilet, the placenta came away with ease about 30 minutes after the birth. I had a shower while I was in the bathroom and then on the bed the midwife checked out the damage – I had one small tear that didn’t even need a stitch! I made my way back to the couch to snuggle and feed my beautiful baby boy.

After his first feed, the midwife did a quick check and weight – 4.3kg (9lb 7oz) & 54cm long.

Our little Micaiah Stanley George is just perfect.

Home birth is amazing – both Matthew and I would recommend it to any one. The recovery has been much smoother and less stressful that previous pregnancies and it is so lovely sleeping in your own bed and washing in your own shower.


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