I have had two incident free hospital births, nothing to complain about, all very special and lovely, with excellent care givers, however, now I have been able to have the home birth that I’d wanted since before Nano was born, I can see why people rave about them. Frankly I could and probably will bore on about it for ever.
After a false start on Thursday 27th February, where I even packed the children off to my Dad’s and had a midwife visit to check out my mild, regular contractions, I spent Friday with my Dad and Stepmum relaxing and I was sure nothing was happening. Even though I was three days overdue, I was convinced that the baby was staying put until well into the following week.
Friday evening I started feeling what I thought were Braxton hicks pains and I had a show. Still, I knew that it could be days before anything happened, so I toddled off to bed thinking that if things really were serious, I’d soon not be able to sleep. I woke at 11:15 and knew things were real this time. I timed the now more painful contractions for 30 minutes and phoned the midwives.
By the time they arrived an hour later we were already feeling the benefits of being at home. Mckdaddy had showered, emptied the dishwasher and made an espresso. I’d tidied the lounge a bit and got some music on. There was no rushing to get out of the house or move the children to my Dad’s. I had thought I would want them out of the house as soon as possible, but I was more than happy to leave them sleeping and see how things progressed. In fact, it felt like a comfort to have them tucked up in their beds.
Things pootled along for an hour or so. The midwives and their student retreated to another room to give me some space. They were so hands off, it was brilliant. No examinations to tell how dilated I was, no instructions, just encouraging me to do what my body told me and the occasional check of the baby’s heartbeat. Mckdaddy and I went for a walk to move things along and it felt so strange to be walking down our street in the early hours of the morning, waiting for our baby to arrive, so peaceful and low key. It was then that I finally believed it really was happening and was happening at home and felt quite excited, something I had never felt before.
Contractions started getting more serious when we got back, but again the midwives quietly left me to it, while at the same time preparing the room for a baby. They simply took their cues from how I behaved and the noises I made. We realised I hadn’t packed a hat for the baby and so Mckdaddy had to go to Nano’s room to get one, he also lifted Mini Mck for his usual nighttime wee. I was concerned they’d wake, but still surprisingly happy for them to stay put for the time being.
By this stage contractions were coming quickly and strongly. I felt able to recover between each one, but was losing my breathe during them and leaning into Mckdaddy, who was trying to remind me to breathe. I was still managing with just my tens machine, albeit on boost all the time now. Baby clothes were being put on the radiator and I could hear one of the midwives telling the student what she’d need to do when the baby arrived. I remember feeling that it was far too soon for such preparations.
I was wrong. Suddenly everything moved very quickly, too quickly for me to gather myself and I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t focus and any visualisation and relaxation techniques I had been using disappeared. I had been determined not to crumble at the end, but I was saying I couldn’t do it and the anticipation of the pain ahead made me panicky. The midwife assured me afterwards that most women say similar.
I’m not sure what happened first, me saying I needed to push, the urge to push or my waters finally breaking. All three seemed to happen with one immense contraction. However, after that I knew I needed to push and on the next contraction, accompanied by a low, guttural animal like noise from me, the head was born. I was kneeling and bent forward on the sofa. I could feel the head resting on my leg, still, warm and heavy. I’ll be honest, it was a fairly unpleasant sensation and freaked me out a little. Everything seemed to stop and I complained I just wanted it to be over. The midwife assured me that on the next contraction it would be and I only needed to wait a few moments. I could hear them urgently telling the student to get her gloves on and with little pain I pushed my baby out on the next contraction. She came out quite blue, perfectly normal for such a quick delivery, the second stage of labour had taken no more than five minutes. Time had taken on a strange rhythm for me. We had gone out for a walk at around 2am and I would have guessed that no more than an hour had passed, however she was born at 4:23am. I asked what sex the baby was and they told me to look for myself, rather than being told. I looked down and saw we had a girl, although I did wonder if I was imagining it and had to ask if I was right.
The placenta delivered immediately after, so the cord was cut. I felt weak and shaky, in shock perhaps and so, even though they had passed her to me as quickly as possible, I couldn’t hold her and asked Mckdaddy to take her. A home delivery meant he was so much more and in control and he said holding her so early, ending up with blood on his top, was fantastic.
I settled myself on the sofa and after the very painful examination, my daughter was passed to me and put skin to skin. The euphoria already wiping away the pain of labour. The midwives cleared everything away and took themselves off to another room. It wasn’t long before she began to sniffle for milk and I latched her on for her first feed, in my own living room. Mckdaddy made me a cup of proper tea, in my own cup and I just gazed in wonder. Even though I was 4 days over my due date, I was still amazed that she was here and even more amazed that she was a she.
At around 5:30 I heard Mini Mck moving around, he came downstairs and one of the midwives bought him in. He didn’t ask why there were 3 strangers in the house or what Mummy was doing on the sofa. He simply said “I need a poo and the stool isn’t there for me to reach the light.” By this point Mckdaddy was holding Lady Mck wrapped in a towel and I pointed her out to MM. He coo’ed and stroked her head for a minute and then said “I still need a poo.” By 6am both boys were downstairs. playing with the toys the ‘baby’ had given them and being generally noisy and excited. I hadn’t even had a shower yet. Real life was simply carrying on around me. It was both surreal and wonderful.
I made a couple of phone calls and because it was 7:30 on a Saturday morning my Dad thought I was phoning to ask him to look after the children because I was in labour. It was fabulous to be able to tell him I had already had a baby and that she was here safe and sound.
Once the midwives had left, Lady Mck and I moved upstairs. She had been weighed and dressed. I had showered and changed. We got in bed and stayed there for the rest of the day. Mckdaddy took the boys out for breakfast and later went out to get a haircut, while my Dad and Stepmum took MM and Nano out for the day. It seemed so normal and yet so momentous.
We stayed in our peaceful, restful cocoon for days, Lady Mck and I not straying far from the bed for long. No waiting to leave hospital or dealing with car seats and traffic and parking charges.
There was something just a little bit special about being at home and I am so thankful that this time it all worked out as planned, in fact apart from the fact we had virtually no sleep for 36 hours, it was better than planned. Children sleeping soundly and all done in one night. I’m not sure it could get much better than that.