We had been planning a home birth but to our disappointment we were told that we couldn’t have a home birth on the weekend as only one midwife is on call (there must be two present), so when I started getting surges on Saturday morning (about 3:30 am) I was excited but a little disappointed at the same time. We called the MW (Teegan) in the morning and she said to call her back when they were about 3-5 minutes apart. By 2 pm they were about 4-5 min and I was getting impatient so we called her. She came over and said I was only 3 cm and not even in active labour, which was disappointing as I was getting very tired. I had to keep moving as if I laid down things really slowed down. We thought it would be hours so Sam went to the basement to clean and I decided to rest. The surges never really got much closer together but they were getting very intense. I must admit I started to panic. I thought I was probably only about 4 cm and I didn’t know how I would manage hours of surges getting even stronger and closer together. I tried listening to my Rainbow relaxation CD and was able to doze off but kept waking for each surge. After a while I thought I’d feel better in the bathroom (it was weird how I lost all sense of time- I have no idea how long it had been, about an hour) and then all of the sudden it felt like the surges got so close I couldn’t even time them! I was thinking labour had probably just started and was beginning to panic wondering how I could stand another 5 or 6 hrs! I didn’t want any drugs but I didn’t think I could handle it. I started thinking no wonder why women get epidurals. Had I known it was almost over and I was very far along I would have found it easier to handle and relax, and would not have been tempted to get any meds.
Suddenly I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and started pushing. After a bit I felt something and reached down and felt my water bag bulging out. I called Sam in a panic and he ran up and called the MW and 911. I didn’t want to move but Sam helped me to they bed and Teegan and the paramedices arrived within 5 minutes. They weren’t sure if there was time to get to the hospital so decided I could stay home (I was very happy, there was no way I felt like going anywhere!) Teegan broke my water and I started to breathe/push whenever I felt the urge. I was on my side but this was very uncomfortable so Teegan suggested I go on my knees and lean over an exercise ball. This was much more comfortable, but after a little while we lost the babies heartbeat so Teegan had me lay on my side and push as much as I could when I had a surge. It took a little while as my surges were still only 5-7 min apart. After about an hour I pushed her head out and then I heard a paramedic say the babies shoulder was hung up. Teegan quickly had me flip on my back- I couldn’t figure out why as I know that is the most unnatural and uncomfortable position. I’d read of the McRoberts manouver but didn’t even remember it at the time. Teegan pushed my legs back and a paramedic pushed on my pubic bone and Arabella popped right out.
I didn’t even know what was going on, next thing I knew Teegan was saying ‘take your baby’ and I held her and laid there in shock. I thought I’d be crying my eyes out but I was so surprised I just stared at her. Arabella cried a little but calmed down quickly and was on my chest for hours. She is a big girl- 9 lb and 20.5 inches. The placenta came with no difficulty and I have had very little bleeding. I drank an infusion of raspberry leaf tea every day for weeks before so I really think that helped. Three very small tears- not bad considering Arabella’s size, first time mom and how I had to push fast at the end. I was terrified of tearing but it wasn’t that bad and hardly painful afterwards.
The birth didn’t go quite as planned- I imagined a very private, peaceful birth in a tub in our living room, with dim lights and Sam massaging me and a midwife sitting calmly by. Instead our room was brightly lit with three male (!) paramedics looking on. But I’m really happy I was able to have a drug-free, home birth after all!
Hypnobirthing was very helpful to me even during pregnancy, as it really helped me relax and feel positive about the birth, even when my friends were telling me how great their epidurals were and most people aren’t able to have the natural birth they planned etc. I was actually looking forward to Arabella’s birth. It’s sad how so many woman are terrified of giving birth. I did find it more painful than expected but when things started going so quickly I panicked a bit. I can’t wait to have our next baby, hopefully we will have time to have a water birth too!
Written by Tanya, September 2011
This sweet picture was taken 5 minutes after Arabella was born. Awesome.