Giving birth at home used to be the norm. Whilst the majority of births today take place in a hospital, with the right support, knowledge and preparation, giving birth at home can be the most amazing and empowering experience. Here mum Azure talks about the home-birth of the gorgeous baby Archie…
On 4th August 2017 I woke up at 2:30am having Braxton Hicks. As I had experienced this all pregnancy I didn’t think much of it. I’d had a couple by 3am and started thinking to myself I wonder if today is the day. By 3:30am I started pottering around and knew it was the day. My husband Dan came out of my toddler Mia’s room and asked what I was doing. I told him we would have a baby today! He said ‘should we fill the pool?’. I said no and that he should go back to sleep for now. I turned the lights on in that space and listened to my Spotify playlist which included ‘I’m not afraid’ and ‘I feel it coming’. I waited until a decent hour of the morning, 4:30am, to text my midwife Jo Hunter saying it reminded me of 10 hours before my daughter Mia was born. I was scared and in denial of becoming a mother of 2 under 2 all pregnancy! I only accepted that this was actually happening at around 3am!
My next job was to set up the go pro. I had read about having a labour project, that was important – well it sure did take my mind off the surges. It was possibly the most frustrating hour of my life and I was using Wi-Fi so I had to swap over into my downloaded The Hypnobirthing Mum tracks from our private Hypnobirth course. I became quite passive aggressive with the affirmations like “I am calm” because I wasn’t feeling so calm dealing with technology.
Mia, my 23 month old toddler, had been waking upwards of 10 times a night for most of her life, yet this night she didn’t wake up at all until 6 o’clock in the morning calling out for a breastfeed. I lay with her hoping to get another hour out of her. Due to vaspospasm and aversions I usually breastfeed with gritted teeth and curled toes, however the surge of oxytocin amped things up so her painful latch was the least of my worries. I texted Jo letting her know that I was starting to struggle during the contractions. I didn’t want her driving all this way in case it faded out. I was conscious of peak hour traffic prepared in the pregnancy in case she didn’t arrive prior to the birth. We got up and Mia and I played between surges, during which I’d run to the loo, my position of choice. I texted her again asking her to come now, mostly for moral support as my waters hadn’t broken, something they did when I was 3cm 41mins prior to Mia’s birth.
My waters broke at 6:30am. Now, in addition to pressure in my back and belly, they felt like someone was trying to fit a triangle shape through a circle. It was becoming harder to play in between surges and Dan was torn on who to look after so I asked him to text my mum, who moved from Brisbane to three levels above us, to come take Mia. I was a little bit disappointed that she would miss the actual birth, but I think she knew what was happening which was important to me. I guess this is why people have doula’s, to tag team baby sitting and birthing woman’s support with hubby!
At 7:30am I was then able to relax a bit more knowing little Mia would be happy with her grandma and Dan could focus 100% on me. It was clearly transition as I started to get demanding, barking instructions for ice each surge like in Yoni Yoga Birth Couples yoga preparation for childbirth class. ‘How did he not know what I needed’ I thought? ‘I need to push’ I told him, thinking to myself omg Jo isn’t here yet! But I knew I could do this if she didn’t make it! And of course a few surges later she arrived and I had a wave of calm, something I felt every time I met with her, even if I had a rough time with Mia’s sleep or work dramas. I really started to lose control, Jekyll and Hyde style. Why did I choose home birth? I then rationally thought it would be the same pain if not worse in hospital with less oxytocin. Then I had a bit of a reprieve and asked if I had the purple line up my bum, she said ‘yes you do love’…I wanted so badly to ask for a quantitative answer to correlate with dilation but knew to trust the process. I was flipping around the birth pool like a maniac trying to get comfortable in vein, then thought maybe the baby was descending? I should try feel his head! An inch or so away gave me great hope! But moved back up after each push which was cruel and something I hadn’t experienced but had heard of. Jacqui arrived at 8:15am (I never expected her to make it as my daughter’s labour was 41mins) and I again felt so much love and support and simple encouragement from everyone. Once his head was out I felt like I wanted to pull his body out with my hands but just gently guided him. It was much slower than my daughters 3 pushes which makes sense now we know how big he was comparatively. And then he was here! I did it! We had another baby! Oh look its an anterior tongue tie…
One of my favourite things about this birth experience was not being rushed. It was really important for me to birth the placenta naturally using gravity as my wish was denied last time for no medical reason which was the most painful part of her labour and delivery. My husband Dan said seeing my strength through the birth was such a powerful experience he asked, ‘How could we not do this again?’. I thanked him for unlearning societies conditioning on the safest way to bring babies into the world over 9 months and becoming so informed. He watched many videos, read articles and talked to other Dad’s at Homebirth Access Sydney’s Dad’s night out! One of Jo’s other clients said it best, ‘thank you for your unwaivering support, your compassion, your calmness, your involvement, your empathy…just thank you’.