It was my 3rd pregnancy, and I wasn’t going to let the naysayers change my mind this time, I was determined to have a homebirth no matter what!
In the 8th month of my pregnancy, I decided that now was the time to get some full-time help, well at least for the time just before and after I give birth, so that there would be someone to help with my 2 daughters M, about 4 at the time and H, 2 years old. 3rd-trimester aches and pains had seriously kicked in, and it was hard to run after my 2-year-old to dress her and to stop fights between the 2 who were arch enemies.
3 weeks before my expected due date, one night as I was lying in bed, I felt terrible pains in my lower back, something which I had not felt before in my previous 2 pregnancies. The last month had been filled with feelings of hardness and tightening in my belly, and back pains, so what I was experiencing on this night didn’t have me worried, although I was repeatedly teasing my husband to get a bowl and scissors ready (just cos I knew he was probably more nervous than I was).
I had planned midwife-assisted home birth, I had a low-risk pregnancy, had only one scan done and 1 antenatal visit with her (cos life was just too busy)…We hadn’t even had our 36 week check up yet where my midwife was to come to my house to familiarise herself with the route, the house or meet my husband, due to some unforeseen circumstances that came up.
And so the night passed with hardly any sleep and in tossing and turning with these terrible lower back contractions..until morning slowly came.
I told hubby that I would like some me-time that day and decided to get together with a childhood friend of mine while the nanny watched the 2 girls
She picked me up and we ran some errands together and caught up on life’s happenings. Now and again I would get that usual tightening feeling in my tummy like it was just pulling a bit stiff. Part of me felt like it was nothing cos I had felt this a million times before, part of me had a feeling this might be it…
Our last stop was Baby City, I quietly perused the aisles as she did her shopping.
I silently noted to myself that these tightening feelings seemed to have been coming regularly every 20 minutes or so…
Soon we would have to get going cos it was time for our nannies to go home. I quickly grabbed some fluoride-free (Pure beginnings) toothpaste for my girls, paid for it at the till while skimming over some promotional pamphlets ( I later discovered I had left the toothpaste at the shop! Because I was so distracted by these contractions!)
Now it was much more definite…these contractions were 20 mins apart. This must be it?
I let my husband know. Back at home, nanny and I arranged that she would sleepover for the night and help with my 2 girls, I instructed her to get my bed ready with a clean sheet, covered by a few black refuse bags opened up, then a black sheet and my normal bedding. There was a bit of a show when I went to the bathroom. Now I knew this was getting real. I gave my midwife a call and she said I must call her when my contractions are 10 minutes apart.
I was a bit stressed out. Not scared of birth, but anxious cos I was hoping for a quiet time to concentrate on my labour. In my birth plan, I had written that I hoped that someone could fetch the kids, but no arrangement had been made as yet. Hubby wasn’t home yet, kids were running around in their crazy before bedtime moods and of course like I said, dear Nanny wasn’t used to their temperaments, (read: wasn’t a fair referee) so I didn’t feel like I could focus on myself while in my bedroom getting the last minute baby stuff together on my nightstand. Remember I was not expecting to give birth till 3 weeks later!!
Hurriedly getting the rest of my room and baby stuff, and comfort stuff sorted out alone while Nanny was with kids, I didn’t take much notice of the pattern of contractions. Mom in law called to say she is on her way, and my sister said she would also come. I asked hubby to get some supper for everyone. Mom in law came bringing the salt which I hadn’t had a chance to buy yet (Yay! My saviour!) Somewhere along the line we decided that the kids must rather stay and sleep by my house, would baby H at 2 yo cope without me, would she be able to fall asleep??
I had a nice long shower, changed into something comfortable and relaxed a bit, as my husband was at home, and my kids were relaxing and eating supper with my mom in law and sister. I started noticing that the contractions were erratic. I knew this would happen :
…being stressed out about the kids was slowing down my labour!! …or maybe this was just false labour??? After all I was 3 weeks early???
Now I really started doubting myself, and was a bit worried cos now I had mil and sis sitting here at home with me at 8 pm on a weeknight!!!! Still having some nice contractions but not regular… I told mil and sis to go home, I said maybe they would regulate once the kids were sleeping. (but I wasn’t even sure if I believed that myself)
As sure as I am that the sky is blue, after the kids fell asleep the contractions quickly became regular and severe. Hubby and I relaxed in our room in the dim candlelight so as to get some rest, cos we knew we would need our energy later. He rubbed and pressed my back as I started getting some intense pains.
Just before midnight I called my midwife. This was it, so it wasn’t false labour, after all, haha sent everyone home for nothing!!! More of the show had appeared, contractions were now hellova sore and 10 mins apart. (I think hubby’s hands can still bear testimony to the pain from me squeezing them so hard)
My lovely midwife Mynie Bester, came about a half an hour later with the birthing ball and birthing stool as I requested. I spent hours and hours of labouring in squatting positions, , walking around, stretching my back on the ball, using breathing, affirmations, using warm towels heated on my oil heater to soothe my back pain, millions of visits to the toilet, 1 more shower, Mynie pressing my back and sides, and hubby holding my hand or being there for me to lean on…
I requested that she not do internal check-ups unless I requested. Every now and again she monitored the baby’s heartbeat. I drank water, ate dates, had some rescue remedy from time to time. I kept myself smelling fresh and always had my lipgloss and eye pencil on, cos it makes me feels good!
Morning was slowly but surely approaching. Getting anxious now I asked her to check how far dilated I was!!! The contractions were so strong at dawn I was sure I would give birth before the kids woke! But..I was only about 6cm…
But I didn’t : (
I heard my kids wake up from behind my closed doors and I started worrying again about what to do now because baby H was looking for me! And the new nanny almost let her slip into my room when she came to fetch something!!! I regretted the decision to let my toddlers stay at home while I was in labour – I knew it would stress me out! One thing my critics told me: was that by having a homebirth, I wouldn’t be able to have that bit of rest away from the kids…
I asked my husband to please arrange for someone to pick them up. (More like do or die!!!) The nanny got them ready, and the 3 of them left with my sister-in-law.
Peace and calm for me again
..Midwife suggested one more shower, which I was too scared to do as I was not sure how I would handle the pain alone in the shower. Mynie insisted the baby won’t fall out in the shower so I listened.
Out of the shower, dressed again and on the birth stool next to my bed, and experiencing stinging feelings and the urge to push, but still my water had not broken yet. Mil and my sis popped in before work. By now contractions sped up again and intensified. At about 9 am 29 March, it took 1 extremely hard and painful push to get this baby’s head out. It still had it’s amniotic sac intact, midwife ruptured it, and calmly but quickly slipped the cord off which was wrapped around his neck. One less painful push to get baby’s shoulders out.
My beautiful BOY! was born. (I didn’t know the baby’s gender beforehand)
She wrapped him in a flannel blanket and gave him straight to me. I had requested that we delay cutting the cord, so with it still intact my boy and I went straight to my bed where I layed and put him straight to my breast and he immediately latched. Midwife asked me to push one small push, and I delivered my placenta. I was cold, so asked to be covered. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and she clamped and cut it. My overjoyed hubby, sis and mil so desperately wanted to hold him. I was told I was bleeding a lot , so I was given a Pitocin injection. I rested a bit as everyone cooed and uhhhmed and aahed at him, and notified the other family that I had given birth to a boy. Midwife cleaned him up and dressed him, and weighed him while he cried crazily to be back in my arms. He drank some more. Sis and mil went home, a few more observations. Then hubby and baby and I all fell asleep in complete bliss.
Tell me about your homebirth, what arrangement did you make with your kids? What comfort items did you enjoy using?