I love reading birth stories! After sharing my own two very different birth experiences [emergency c-section and natural VBAC] I decided to ask other mums and dads to share their wonderful birth stories with me too. I’m absolutely delighted that so many people want to share with me! If you’d like to share your birth story, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.
This week Adele from Nest & Dressed is sharing the beautiful birth story of her first baby, born at home in the water. She’s currently pregnant with her second baby and you can read more about that over on her blog!
Is this your first baby? Yes
Was your baby early, overdue, or right on time? 2 days late
What type of birth did you/your partner have? A water birth at home
Did you/your partner use pain relief? Hypnobirthing and Entonox
Who was present at the birth? My partner & a midwife. And the dog!
What did your baby weigh? 7lb 15oz
Did you have a boy or a girl? Girl
Was it straightforward or were there any complications? No complications
Tell me your beautiful birth story…
It’s been 2 and half years since the birth of my daughter Madeleine so I recently asked my midwife (I am currently 24 weeks pregnant) to go over my birth notes in case I had forgotten anything. It was such a lovely, relaxed birth that I had no real sense of timescale and at what point certain things happened. It was a rather uneventful birth so the notes were pretty sparse to be honest but I did discover that I had asked for Entonox a lot earlier in the day than I realised, which was interesting.
So here is my account of the cold December day in 2012 on which my life changed and my heart burst…
3:30am I woke to find I was wet and having some mild cramping in my stomach. At the time I presumed it was my waters breaking but the midwife later said it was just my ‘back waters’ leaking. I had been having contractions on and off for a week and was 2 days past my due date so I was prepared and felt very calm. I got changed and headed back to bed to try and sleep.
5am After an hour and a half of trying to get comfortable the contractions started to kick in so I gave up and went downstairs to potter about. I knew there was no point waking The Other Half just yet and didn’t see the point of us both being knackered so I left him snoring while I found odd jobs to do, like cleaning out the cutlery drawer!
7am I deemed it a reasonable hour to wake the midwife so gave the out of hours number a ring and told them of my progress. She said it didn’t sound like there was much going on so to ring back in an hour. I think it was about this point that I got bored and went to wake my partner up.
8am I rang the midwives again who said they’d come out in an hour to see what was happening. By this point I was getting a little more uncomfortable and really wanted to get in the pool but I needed to be examined first. I was still very calm and using breathing techniques to stay relaxed.
9:30am The midwife had arrived and examined me. I think I was 34 cms dilated and she said I could get in the pool which we had set up in the living room. It was amazing! The relief was immediate. In fact I was so relaxed in the pool that I was dozing between contractions! They were lasting 50 seconds and I was having them every 3 minutes or so at this stage. I was well and truly ‘in the zone’ and coping well thanks to the relaxation techniques I had learnt from the hypnobirthing classes. Although at 10:25am the midwife did note that I was “looking flushed in the cheeks”!
10:30am I hadn’t eaten anything all morning and although I didn’t feel hungry I attempted to nibble on some apple. My mind was so focused on my body and the birth that I couldn’t manage much. It was at this stage I requested the entonox. I remember that I had lost my focus a bit and was struggling to control my breathing through the contractions. The entonox really helped me concentrate on slowing my breathing down so that I was back in control, although I can’t say I noticed any difference in the intensity of the contractions.
11:30am The midwife made me get out the pool and try go for a wee. I couldn’t manage one despite not having been since the early hours but there was a ‘show’ in my knickers. Again, I think my mind and body were so much in the birthing zone that any other bodily functions took a back seat! I must say I was relieved to get back in the pool after having a couple of really strong contractions on my failed toilet trip. How people give birth on dry land is beyond me! The contractions were still lasting 50 seconds but coming more often with around 2.5 minutes between them.
12:30pm The contractions were stronger now but I felt very much in control and was still using the entonox to help me focus on my breathing when I needed. I remember feeling so in tune with my body and I knew exactly where Madeleine was as she made her journey down to meet us. I knew there wasn’t long to go and sure enough during a contraction I felt some pressure and then a ‘pop’ as my waters broke. The midwife rang the 2nd midwife on duty (you always have 2 midwives attending a homebirth) to update her. I overheard her saying “Her waters have just gone but she’s showing no other signs so don’t rush”. I shook my head and said to The Other Half, “She’s coming”.
12:40pm I was aware of pressure at the height my contractions which I knew was Madeleine’s head. The midwife had a quick look but said there was nothing visible. This was probably the scariest part for me because I was no longer in control of my body. It had taken over and I was involuntarily arching my back as my body contracted to push the baby out.
12:45pm The head was delivered and I could catch my breath for a few seconds while she turned. Now that is the weirdest thing to watch and I will never forget the feeling of her turning inside me. How do they know to do that?!
12:46pm My baby arrived and the first hands to hold her were her Daddy’s as he caught her and then handed her to me. I was so relieved that my first words to her were “Blimey, I’m glad you’re out of there!”.
Then we just stared at her for about 10 minutes...’we’ being me, her Daddy and the dog who had barely left the side of the pool the whole morning! I had opted for a physiological 3rd stage so handed her back to my partner whilst I stood to get out of the pool. It was now that my little girl opened her eyes for the first time and looked up at her Daddy before promptly weeing all over him. A sign of things to come!
1:05pm I felt very wobbly as I got out of the pool and just as I did the 2nd midwife arrived to taunts of “What time do you call this?!”. I sat on the floor leaning against the sofa and nursed my baby girl for the first time while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. When it did The Other Half did the honours and I enjoyed cuddles with my girl while we waited for the placenta.
2pm The midwives asked me to got to the loo as sometimes the placenta can struggle to get past a full bladder. Again, I couldn’t go so I ended up on the hallway floor with my legs akimbo while they put a catheter in. Sure enough about a pint of urine came out to the midwife’s surprise! I then went back to the bathroom (which thankfully was downstairs!) and sat on the loo to pass the placenta. I was so glad that it was over. The waiting and the intensity of the contractions while my body struggled to pass the placenta was the worst bit of the day for me. It took so long & I was exhausted and starving by this point.
I needed to get my head together for a minute and take a breather before I could relax and enjoy my beautiful girl so I left her having skin-to-skin with her Daddy while I took a quick shower. I felt so much better for it and it was lovely for Father & Daughter to have that initial time together.
I put on some clean pyjamas and settled on the sofa while the midwives cleaned up and did their initial tests on Madeleine. The midwife who had been with us all day later said that it was the loveliest birth she had ever seen, which was really sweet! I’m not sure what time they left but I think it was starting to get dark so maybe around 4-4:30pm. As soon as they were out the door I sent The Other Half into the kitchen to make me a cup of tea and a big platter of cheese & paté on toast! Best. Meal. Ever.
Thank you so much to Sian for letting me share my birth story with you. I’ve really enjoyed reading the others in her Beautiful Births series and you never know, I may be back at the end of the year to tell you all about number 2’s birth! In the meantime you can find me over at Nest & Dressed for pregnancy ramblings, family life, fashion and recipes. Adele x
Wow Adele, this is amazing! So quick and it all sounds so perfect! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful birth story – and please do come back to share number 2’s birth!
You can read more beautiful birth stories here.