My birth was perfect. It was everything I had planned and expected it to be, albeit I had no idea what I was expecting!
I planned a homebirth because I hate hospitals and that environment was not somewhere I wanted to birth my baby into. My stress levels would have been elevated just being there. Homebirth and breastfeeding is a part of my family culture. All of my five younger siblings were born at home and while I was not present at the actual births I was there right afterwards. Long before I got pregnant I always knew I would birth my baby in my own home. In my case home at the time happened to be a housetruck (mobile home for my American friends).
I finished work Wednesday the 30th of May. Bub decided to arrive Wednesday 6th of June, exactly one week after I stopped. She came two weeks before her due date and we were somewhat unprepared for her arrival! On that Tuesday Jacob and I had been out collecting the things we were going to have in the truck. I was planning on having a bathtub in the truck after discovering that there was no way I was going to fit a birth pool in there. Needless to say the bath was still outside when I declared at about 9pm on Tuesday night that I thought I was going in to labour.
I went to bed and managed to sleep in short patches until 5am, when I had to get up to start breathing and moving through the contractions. My midwife came to check on me at 6:30am to the news that I was 1cm dilated and baby was posterior so fun back labour for me! The contractions were lasting around 40 seconds and coming 5 – 10 minutes apart at that stage. They were fairly sharp but short and manageable. I phoned my mum and told her to cancel work and head over as there was going to be a baby born today. Jacob re-tidied the truck and vacuumed again, we had got it pretty well set the day before.
I got in the bath inside the house at around 7:30am. The bath upstairs in the house is HUGE and I had to have a plastic stool at the end for my feet so I wouldn’t sink under, given that I am not exactly the longest person around. I got in and out of the bath to sit on the loo a few times. At about 9am I felt something go ‘pop’ inside and my waters broke in the bath. Well now things were all on! My mum arrived and it was all go. The contractions ramped up, I got out of the bath and made it to the living room. It was decided to call the midwife. When the phone was dialled I was all set to speak to the midwife, by the time we had the backup midwife on the phone about 3 minutes later there was no way I was speaking to anyone if it wasn’t a swear word or to yell about how much it hurt. I am really glad I had planned a homebirth as at this point there was no way I would have been sitting down anywhere, let alone a moving car!
Mum decided we had better get out to the truck. The backup midwife arrived but by this time I was pretty much oblivious to much that was going on. I spent most of the first hour of labour in the truck on my knees in front of my rocking chair. When my midwife arrived she suggested I have a pee. The loo was outside on the deck of the truck, it was raining and blowing a gale as this was in the middle of a storm. I decided I quite liked sitting on the camping toilet so it was hauled inside and there I stayed until I got off to push bub all the way out.
Sometime during the period of time I was kneeling with the chair the backup midwife wanted to check my dilation. I guess she thought I seemed to be working pretty hard for not being in labour for all that long. Boy oh boy, I don’t know how anyone labours or births on their backs, as soon as my next contraction hit (they were starting to pile up on top of each other by this point) I swore blue murder and leapt back upright. Apparently I was only 5cms dilated, but my body knew what it was doing with how hard I was working because baby was born 54 minutes later.
I felt all the contractions in my back. It was pretty awful, but Jacob and Mum applied pressure and sacral lifts while the contractions were happening and that really helped. I had a water bottle filled with water and Isagenix Want More Energy electrolyte and B vitamin powder, and I found that really helpful with keeping up my energy levels and maintaining hydration.
I did most of my pushing on the loo, got off on my midwife’s suggestion 9 minutes before baby was born after I announced that she was coming. I moved to kneeling with one leg up (semi-squat) in front of the bed. I pushed, everyone told me to slow down, midwife applied hot cloths while her head was born. I remember them asking if I wanted to reach down and touch her head, and I was really resistant to that, I didn’t want to do that at all, I just wanted to keep pushing. One minute later I pushed the rest of her out.
Elizabeth Jade Gentry was born screaming at the sheer outrage of it all. I scooped her up off the birth mats myself and held her to my chest. We got into bed and snuggled. From that point the whole labour process was forgotten. I didn’t lose much blood at all (150mls estimate), and I had absolutely no tears. We snuggled in bed together and just basked in the sheer glory of it all. I thought we breastfed right then but I am not sure, as my notes seem to say I got up to birth the placenta on the loo before feeding. The cord was cut once the placenta came out. However it happened, Elizabeth latched and fed like a total pro.
The birth was hard work and it hurt more than anything else I have felt so far in my life. But it was totally worth it and it is true that you forget the pain as soon as you hold your baby in your arms. Labour and delivery are really hard physically and I am glad that I was and am physically fit and strong as it was very tiring and hard work.
Elizabeth was born on the 6th of the 6th of 2012, at 6 minutes to 12pm, right in the middle of the transit of Venus. She is the most amazing thing I have ever created and the whole experience was magical.
If you would like to share your birth story, please email me and I will share it here!