Every labour and birth is totally different so it's very tricky to tell you what to expect. I would love to share my birthing experiences with you and hope they offer you some in-sight and guidance.
My main aim is to show you that you can birth at home and that your body has the strength and power to bring your baby into your own arms without any medical intervention. I had two very different home births, my first not really going as I had hoped due to unsupportive midwives and the second going amazing from what I had learnt from my experiences during the first birth.
With my first baby I was 10 days over the “due date”. My baby was also back to back which I was told could make labour more difficult. I had refused stretch and sweep and decided to do lots of walking, acupuncture and eat spicy foods to encourage baby to come.
It was after a good acupuncture session followed by long walk that I first started feeling really strong sensations and I thought that this could be it. My baby was back to back which meant the contractions were very intense and very close together from the beginning. I would liken the feeling to being a very strong stitch-like sensation that seemed unbearable at first, it really took my breath away! I sat on my birthing ball and managed to get as comfortable as I could and started to retreat into myself and would ride each contraction like a wave. I also read my affirmations and visualised my baby moving down which helped a lot.
A few hours into this now and my local midwife arrived to see how far along I was. She examined me and I was only 1cm dilated. I was so deflated. As my baby was back to back things were taking a lot longer than expected and also the contractions were very close together and very strong. I used my birthing pool to sooth my aching back and calm me down which helped so much. She gave me some gas and air to help with the contractions, but in actual fact it made me feel sick and took me out of my trance like state. The best way I found to help with the contractions was with slow breathing and hypnosis.
After 20 hours of labour my local midwife (who was very open and confident in supporting home births) suggested that we try and turn our baby. She told us about a recent home birth she had attended and the couple managed to turn their baby by using clitoral stimulation and nipple tweaking (!!!). We immediately started and within 20 minutes my baby turned during one of my contractions. Sadly during this my midwife had to leave as her shift had ended and a new one walked in on me on all fours and my husband trying his hardest to turn the baby....the look on her face was priceless.
Now this is where I felt my power was being taken away. When the 2nd midwife arrived we could tell that she was not comfortable supporting home births. She didn't seem open to our beliefs and bought with her some negative energy and doubt. I really wanted to be in the pool a lot as it was calming for me, but she kept getting me out every 10 minutes to examine me which was slowing things down and telling me I had barely dilated which was messing with my state of mind. She told me that my waters would need to be broken to speed the labour up as my heart rate was high and she was worried. In actual fact her taking me out of the pool every 10 minutes was a key factor in my heart rate increasing!
She broke my waters and instantly my contractions intensified, it seemed like with every step I took a contraction would happen...I remember crawling up the stairs feeling a strong need to lie down. I was starting to feel exhausted. The midwife was not empowering me, giving me positive words of encouragement. She was trying to get me to go to hospital as she was not comfortable. My husband kept firm and argued with her that I wanted to be at home and there was no need for me to go to hospital. I wanted to be in the birthing pool easing my baby down and letting my body do what it was designed for, but after a long labour I had such little energy so I ended up on my back in my bed “purple pushing” with both midwives holding my legs up in the air for 4 hours.
I am astounded by the sheer power and strength of my body at this point - 32 hours of intense labour, turning my baby from posterior to anterior myself and with midwives who were not comfortable and were tired and just wanted to get me into hospital. Finally my beautiful baby boy came into this world and he was so calm and perfect in every way. A sense of relief fell upon the room.
Oh it was a journey to get to this point! I felt so empowered and super human.....I never would have believed my labour would have taken so long. I had an idea of how it would play out, but it really is so important to not be attached to “the plan”....you can imagine all you like, but ultimately you just have to believe that YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Regardless of what happens you are designed to do this! Your body and baby work together for this common purpose!
I was so lucky to have a really strong and supportive birthing partner in my husband. I really want your take-home from this article to be – choose your birth partner, midwife, doula well. Make sure they are totally on the same page as you and what you would like for your birthing “plan”. Whoever is with you for the whole birth – they need to be strong, supportive and understanding of your birth-beliefs.
In my next article I will talk about my 2nd home birth, breech baby position and how I turned my 2nd baby and much more.
If you have any questions or anything you would like to discuss then I would love to hear from you.
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