Waverly Fleur's Magical Home Birth
This birth was so different to both of my others. Little Waverly kept me guessing.
We had on and off surges that never built or became regular for a couple of days prior to our birth. I had a moment where I thought this might be it, but I was never 100% convinced or sure and so wouldn’t commit to saying it was.
On Wednesday evening we got a text from our midwife asking if there were any more signs or if anything had progressed from the last few days...should she postpone her glass of gin? I adamantly said no, this baby wasn’t coming tonight. I went to bed that night sure that I would sleep and we'd have maybe a week or more before she finally arrived.
Around 1.30am I woke up in the middle of a surge, I lay and waited for it to ebb away not thinking much of it and trying to go back to sleep but feeling too restless. I lay there and tried to read and had a few more surges, they were strong enough that I couldn't go back to sleep, the restless feeling not going away. I got up and walked around for a bit to see if they went away and when they didn’t decided to wake up Phil as the restlessness wouldn't go and a little voice kept telling me to get things organised. We got up and decided that a herbal tea was a good idea, we moved about and chatted between the surges about whether to call Auntie Del, who had volunteered as our childcare for the big day, just in case.
We decided it was probably a good idea to set up the pool, again just in case, which we did while I breathed through surges. They were strong enough that I had to focus but not painful and I just felt like I needed to keep moving. We then called Auntie Del to come and collect Morris (our lovely doggo), we decided to leave the kids as they were sleeping upstairs and if this turned out to be a false start I’d feel terrible for waking and moving them.
More surges came and they were getting stronger, I was having to really focus and breathe through them now, this was definitely it. Phil called for the midwife to come, knowing that my second stage is usually very quick and wanting them here in time.
After all our preparation, planning and practice I never expected what we heard. I've spoken to couples about this possibility and how to overcome it. We knew it could happen but I guess we never thought it would happen to us. As he spoke to a lovely midwife over the phone, we were informed that tonight (of all nights) they were understaffed - they only had 3 midwives on call - and 2 of them had already been called out to another birth. Due to hospital policy they couldn't send the third midwife out alone and so we would have to go in. The phone was on loud speaker and I distinctly remember the midwife saying, “did you hear me Maxine?” My hypnobubble burst and suddenly my surges felt so strong they were becoming very difficult to breathe through. Phil was brilliant and stayed so calm, explaining we may not make it in time as my labours are quick and the surges were already strong, while I shouted at the phone that we had no childcare and couldn't leave. We were put on hold while the midwives tried to find a solution. When they came back on the line, they told us they were going to send one of their midwives from the birth place with the other community midwife and they'd be there as soon as they could. In the meantime my surges were so strong, I was having trouble managing. I couldn't relax as I was now worrying about having to move, not making it if we did go or baby coming before the midwives arrived. We called Del to come and stay at ours while the kids slept, just in case we decided to go to the hospital as we knew the point of no return was very close and we'd need to make a decision either way.
As Del arrived, the surges were overwhelming. She walked in and came to sit near me, took my hand and spoke to me. I burst into tears and told her I couldn't carry on, I wanted it to stop. She talked me through as I had another strong surge and suddenly I felt really nauseous and ran to the sink to throw up...goodbye lovely tea from earlier! We were very close to baby coming, I knew. Phil called the hospital to let them know and luckily we found out the midwives were less than 10 minutes away, they kept Phil on the phone in case anything changed and we (yet again) let Del go back home. I moved between kneeling against my birthing ball or the sofa and leaning on the kitchen counter during this whole time.
I was so relieved when the midwives arrived and felt a gradual shift back to calm as they did some of their checks and set up their bits. I jumped into the birthing pool half way through and they said they’d finish their observations with me in there (I wasn’t getting out again anyway). I relaxed a bit more and Phil put on our music.
And then Lucian woke up. He was the one I had worried about keeping at home during the birth: how would I cope if he was here, how would he cope, would he be the thing that unsettled me or made my labour harder because I'd have to be mum instead of focusing on my labour? He turned into the highlight of my labour. With him there, I had one of the most grounding, utterly perfect, emotionally charged experiences of my life. Phil brought him downstairs and I saw he was unsettled by there being strangers in the house so I called him over to the pool, reached my arms over the side of the pool for him and shushed him. I told him they were here because the baby was coming. I held onto this little toddler who had also been born in this very pool and he held onto me. He leant his head on the pool with his face right next to mine and we held each other through my surges. I moaned and breathed and stroked his face and kissed him and the whole time, he stayed so calm and still and just held onto me while I rode those waves of labour.
Soon, Auntie Del came back to pick him up so he could go back to sleep at hers, I remember kissing him goodbye and telling him his sister would be here when he came home. Soon after he left, I felt pressure and had the urge to push - all in one go my plug came out and my waters went. I felt little Waverly's head moved down and knew she was coming. I had another strong surge and felt her head move lower. I checked myself and told the midwives I could feel Waves' head really low, they tried to tell me that I still had some time but I knew she was coming with the next surge and told them so. As I felt it building I pushed and her head came out. One of the midwives reminded me to breathe and as I did her little body was born. The midwife caught her and told me to turn around so that I could hold my little girl. She came out of the water screaming to announce her arrival. I felt so relieved and a little shocked that she was here. I'd never expected her to come so soon, so quickly and so forcefully.
Phil went to go wake up Reuben so he could meet his little sister. He was so sleepy and surprised and couldn’t believe he’d slept through the whole thing. He got to experience the whole third stage of labour - the blood, the checks, me delivering the placenta and he got to hold his new baby sister. He made us all toast after I’d gone to have a shower. He was the perfect little postnatal doula that morning before he went to school.
I’m so glad that we had the knowledge and experience to know how to stand our ground when we were challenged to come into the hospital. I feel so lucky that both of my boys got to experience some part of birth and especially Reuben. He can carry the memory of his baby sister being born at home with him into adulthood and know that birth can look like this, it can be calm and quiet and not wake sleeping children, it is a bit bloody and gory and that’s perfectly normal and after what that mum has done she needs ALL the love, respect and pampering.
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