Today’s birth story is very special because I was the midwife. Not that I have favourite births that I’ve attended but this is certainly up there. I’ll never forget watching my friend birth her baby girl. Thank you Ali for sharing.
This is the story of my second birth. I wanted to write this for Clemmie’s blog as Clemmie was our midwife, and those of you who have had babies will know how much a midwife touches your life, how you will never forget them. I met Clemmie virtually on Twitter and then we met in real life before Clemmie joined the team of midwives I was with and got assigned to me, so we were becoming friends as my pregnancy was progressing which was really quite special.
I feel very lucky to be writing this story, what I think is a beautiful birth story. I had a very straight forward pregnancy and my first baby was born at home and so I had planned another home birth for my second.
I knew Effie was going to be born on the spring equinox, it’s my grandma’s birthday and was a week after my due date, and I was right! My birth started in that classic move style way of my waters breaking. It was about 6am, I was lying in bed when all of a sudden there was water gushing out, I did that classic pregnant woman thing of worrying I was pissing myself so quickly jumped out of bed but it was pretty obvious it was my waters going. All I could remember was the midwives telling me to put a pad in if my waters broke to check the colour so I was pointing my husband in the right direction to find a pad, but when he finally presented me with it, I quickly realised I needed a bath towel rather than a panty liner!
Pretty soon after that the contractions started to come and my husband started to get things ready. I woke my mum up who was staying with us to take care of my son then I went and knelt by my bed whilst the contractions built. Shortly after that my husband came to check on me and I was already asking to call Clemmie. Within 15 mins or so Clemmie was with us and as soon as she walked in the door I threw up. During my first labour I had vomited for 8 hours straight and so had some anti-nausea drugs ready, Clemmie’s first job was to jab me in the bum!
I remember my husband putting the Tens machine on me but walking out of the room before telling me how to use it but I didn’t want to turn it on anyway, all I wanted was to get in the pool so as soon as was possible I got in and ran the warm water coming out of the hose down my back.
I was in the sitting room at this point and I could hear my son and my mum having breakfast in the kitchen but I couldn’t focus and asked my husband to chuck them out, I needed the peace that a two year old can’t give! I can’t really re-call every detail and I’m sure you don’t want me to but it felt like things were progressing pretty quickly, I continued to vomit a bit but nothing on the scale of my first labour so I was fine with it. The second midwife arrived (who was my first midwife at my son’s birth!) and I started feeling like I needed to push. I pushed with each contraction for a little while but nothing seemed to be happening so at that point I was examined but was I wasn’t fully dilated so Clemmie and Erika (the second midwife) told me to stop and relax a little in the pool.
I remember the next hour or so in a slightly bizarre way, I could see the midwives sitting on my sofa chatting, writing notes, eating. I don’t think I spoke at all, the pain had lessened but my contractions were still strong and regular. I clutched a sick bowl for comfort and told my husband to change the music (although I can’t tell you what we were listening to). Then after a while I felt the baby move, it felt like a huge movement and pretty suddenly the baby was definitely bearing down and I needed to push, Clemmie checked me again and I was fully dilated so I started to push. I think during my first labour I was pretty out of it by the time my son arrived, I’d been so sick and was on a drip and was pretty tired that I didn’t feel him come down or crown at all. This time it was different though, each contraction I could feel my baby move down, I knew when she was close and could feel the sting as she crowned. I could see her head when it was delivered and when she came out it was a pretty magical seeing her be born. There was a split second when she was out in the water before Clemmie reminded me to catch her and then she was up, straight onto my chest.
We didn’t know what sex we were having, and we had a boy already, but although I craved a girl, I know we would have been happy either way, once they are born and in your arms crying and pink you can’t care, you are just so happy they are healthy. After gazing into my babies beautiful eyes for a while Clemmie asked what we had, no one had seen yet, so I lifted her up and I have to admit my heart leapt when I saw she was a girl, it had all been too perfect.
I think I read in my notes that it was five minutes before I delivered the placenta, it was certainly quick, I was still in the pool holding the baby when I felt a contraction, so with the next I pushed and the placenta was delivered. Clemmie caught the placenta which was still attached to the baby!
After that, I remember the midwives had made me a path of those bed mat things to the sofa and they walked me over to it, and wrapped me up with my baby in a big bundle of towels and blankets. And that is where Effie first fed and we lay there together for hours, chatting to the midwives, eating toast and drinking gallons of water. It felt so natural and normal chatting to my new friend and my husband in our sitting room with our little addition, who was very tranquil and happy, just to be wrapped up against my chest. A few hours later my mum came home with our son and life continued as normal, Effie arrived in our home in such a natural way, it was as if she was always part of our family.
So five hours and with no pain relief, it really was such a lovely and calm birth. I am very very lucky to have had such great midwives, such a wonderful service to allow women to have babies at home, it made a massive difference to me being that relaxed and comfortable and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the case for me if I’d have been in a hospital setting.