My birth story starts in quite a boring way actually. It was 11 am and I was lying in bed relaxing and watching YouTube videos when I felt a small gush of fluid making a little patch on the bed. I quickly jumped up and hobbled to the bathroom with my knees squeezed together. Could I have finally wet myself at 40 weeks pregnant or was it just pregnancy fluid? It was clear and smelled sweet. I was slightly nervous and excited. I put a pad on and ran back to the laptop to check in with my online parenting group to ask for opinions. Their verdict – my waters definitely had broken.
I felt the urge to go and prepare my birth space in the living room and clean the house. A sudden burst of energy overtook and I ended up mopping all over downstairs and scrubbing my front porch and patio with a wire broom and bleach!
Once calmed down, I drew the curtains in the living room and stuck up birth affirmations on the mirror. I played some relaxing music and had my essential oil diffuser on that cycled through different lights. Around 4pm, as I bounced on my ball relaxing and visualizing the birth, I could start to feel some mild tightening. I practiced my breathing exercises learned in Daisy Birth class and focused in on the diffuser lights, pretending to blow it like a candle. The contractions were all in my hips and upper thighs at that time and felt like tight squeezing. I was surprised not to feel them in my belly or back.
My appointment with a midwife was set for 6 pm and I was desperately hoping my husband would make it home from work on time. He did get back and was amazed by the smell of the cleaning products. He helped me set up the room and the sofa, lay down soft blankets and duvets and a waterproof cover – all ready for the imminent birth.
The journey to the midwife’s clinic was uncomfortable: I felt every bump in the road and was seriously struggling through the tightenings that were still in my hips and came every five to ten minutes. Once there, I was swaying through the contractions and couldn’t stay still. Me and my husband were shocked to find out that my iron, which had supposedly been low the whole third trimester, suddenly jumped up to ‘normal’ levels. Regardless pressure from the hospital to change my mind, I had always convinced my homebirth was happening! Midwife confirmed I am in labour and gave me some clary sage and lavender to rub on my belly for relaxation.
Then we went shopping and bought loads of food and drink. I had to stop every few minutes to breathe and move through the contractions; still we went to another shop and bought more food. Struggling with the queue to pay, I had to let my husband sort it out as I moved to the exit to concentrate on my breathing. I was hungry and desperate for fish and chips and saveloy. Scoffed the lot when I got home in between contractions but this was probably a bad idea as it backfired on me later on (vomited it all).
We got home and I started timing the contractions on my phone and put music back on. I kept the lights dim and tried to get comfortable. My husband suggested I take a shower while he called my mum and asked her to come.
I was having a hard time getting undressed and was gripping the headboard for ages before getting in the shower. I couldn’t speak so I couldn’t call for my husband although I needed him to rub my back and help.
Eventually I shuffled into the shower and stayed there in the dark under the hot water for what felt like ages. It was really soothing and I enjoyed the water running down my back and hips during the contractions. I felt in control and I was still able to breathe through them.
Finally my mum arrived and helped me to get out and dressed. We went downstairs and I tried TENS machine. It was a nice distraction for a while but eventually it got annoying and I demanded it to be ripped off.
The rest of the evening was a blur. The midwife arrived as I was having pushing sensation, thinking I need the toilet. I got to the loo and managed a wee but the poo feeling was false, it was just the baby coming down. Midwife Becky from the Barkantine Birth Centre was very nice and respectful and always asked permission to listen to baby’s heartbeat or measure my blood pressure. She held my hand and encouraged me.
Contractions got really strong and I was feeling very hot. I needed cold water down my back and asked my husband to squeeze my hips. Some contractions were “doubled up”, one came on top of the other.
Feeling like a lemon squeezer, I was being twisted and pushed down inside by my uterus. I was shouting: “No! It isn’t supposed to be hurting!”, – just as I thought it was over, another one came. In between them, I slept; I was away in a colourful magical land, riding the oxytocin high.
Next thing I remember my husband shouting: “The head is here! I can see baby’s hair!”
“No it isn’t”, I told him. Surely I can’t push him out yet! I didn’t want to. But I had no choice. My body just pushed – first the head, then – the little body, all within one push. I was kneeling up against the sofa.
Midwife passed him through my legs and I turned and sat to grab him. I lifted him up – it was a boy! He looked at me and I looked at him as if we knew each other already.
It felt amazing. My baby! I birthed him! Born at 2.41 am.
I took my top off and put him on my chest. We delayed cord clamping and cutting until he had all his blood from the placenta; the cord was white and completely thin. The placenta arrived within a few minutes; I had to cough and it flopped out – huge and red like a dinner plate! My husband cut the cord eventually and we allowed him to be weighed. My tiny bundle of joy – 2.980 kg / 6lbs 9oz.
We had to get the baby dressed quickly as I had to transfer to the hospital for stitching of a perineal tear. We missed out on the long bonding period, but the actual delivery was smooth and peaceful. Homebirth was the best option for me and I definitely recommend it to everyone.
Lorrelle is a qualified nurse and volunteer with Community Parents in Tower Hamlets as a family peer support worker. Her passion is working with and supporting women and families and she is aspiring to be a doula in the near future. Lorrelle also has keen interest in natural health and wellbeing. She is mum to Caedon, born in September 2016.