“….he was born into water at home surrounded by the people who would love him most in the world….”

Birth Story of the Week comes from Rhian who is sharing the story of her beautiful son. Rhian loved reading all the other Birth Stories so wanted to share hers with you all.

“Several friends had recommended hypnobirthing to me in the past few years and I had noticed that they were, in general, the only ladies I knew who hadn’t ended up with C sections. As I researched hypnobirthing further during my own pregnancy I realised I was more and more drawn to a home birth. I really wanted a water birth and knew this would be the only way I could guarantee access to a pool. I was anxious about broaching the subject with my midwife thinking I’d be steered away from the idea as it was my first child but my lovely midwife didn’t even bat an eyelid when I mentioned it. Her confidence gave me confidence, particularly when facing the barricade of concerned comments from friends and family when I told them of my plans.

As my pregnancy progressed I accessed the Calm Birth School online and attended a hypnobirthing course at Chichester hospital. Both were invaluable and fortunately my lovely husband was completely supportive of my choices. I practised my breathing and we rehearsed our scripts and our massage as the big day approached. Dan also practised inflating the birth pool after it was delivered from Mermaid at Heart.

For my 39th week of pregnancy I came down with a horrible cold. I was left exhausted and barely able to get up off the couch. I felt so despondent! All my hard work and preparations could be useless. All the eating of Dates and mass consumption of Raspberry leaf tea would be for nothing if I went into labour so unwell. I reached out on the forums and was pleased to hear that in most similar cases, a woman’s body would not let her go into labour while she was still sick.

I listened to the Fear Release Mp3 and managed to calm down again.  On my due date I woke up feeling not 100% but vaguely human for the first time in a week. I had some pains in my bottom which I assumed was constipation (which I had been suffering from). Just before bed, I noticed a significant amount of mucous when I went to the loo. I wondered if this was my ‘show’ and so, when we went to bed, I asked my husband if he ‘wanted to try and make the baby come’.

At about 2am I woke up with period pains. After a while I got up out of bed and lay on the sofa watching Frozen breathing through the still mild surges. After a while, they started to require more attention so I listened to the Mp3s and used my visualisations to get through each one. Assuming we were in for a long first stage of labour, I woke Dan at about 6am with a pineapple juice and a list of household chores.  My surges were about every 6-7 minutes and Dan called triage to let the on call midwife know. She was already on her rounds and said she had some bloods to take and would be over about 9am. I took a shower as Dan set about cleaning the bins. He was never to finish his chores however! Once out of the shower the surges started coming faster and I needed the TENS machine to get through them.

I also started to ‘moo’ leaning over the sofa. I told Dan that I thought we needed to get the midwife here sooner than 9 o’clock! Poor Dan was half in the middle of washing up whilst frantically trying to put the birthing pool up and now trying to get hold of an unavailable midwife who was not answering her phone. We made a decision and decided to call in my Mum. It hadn’t been part of the plan for her to be there but, as things were progressing at such speed, Dan (and I) needed some extra help! 

My mum arrived shortly afterwards (after having hit every red light on the way apparently!) and she and I went into the bathroom. I leaned over the bath while she rubbed and pressed a cold flannel into my lower back. Dan set to frantically trying to finish inflating and filling the birthing pool. The midwife finally arrived and I went into the bedroom to be examined. I was roaring through the surges by this time and I remember thinking ‘if I’m only 2cms dilated I’m going to need to go to hospital for an epidural as I can’t cope’. Looking back this may have been transition! 

The midwife examined me and through my labour haze I heard her say that there was no cervix left!! This baby was on its way. I heard my mum tell me how well I’d done with emotion in her voice and thought – ‘thank god’ as I gladly accepted some gas and air. I still didn’t have urges to push yet as the second midwife arrived with a student. I’d originally said I didn’t want a student there as it’s quite a small flat but by that point I didn’t care how many people were there! 

The pool was finally ready and I waddled to the front room to climb in. Heavenly bliss!! Looking back, the lovely warm pool probably slowed my birthing down a bit from here which was a blessing as it had been a bit of a runaway train up until that point. I now started to have urges to push and the midwife prompted me to use my breath to push rather than roar. I must have been making a bit of a racket as I heard my mum say ‘you can tell she’s a singer, can’t you!’

During pushing, I naturally changed position a few times to allow the water to soothe and support me. I barely had any conscious thoughts and just allowed myself to be in Labour Land with my husband holding my hand. I even micro-slept at points in between surges. 

The midwife told me that she could still see the waters and I felt immense pressure until they finally burst. She said she could see a head of dark hair! I felt the burning of my baby crowning and came back up onto my knees to allow gravity to help. Through the burning sensation I gripped my husband’s hand and had one of my few conscious thoughts that I must be breaking his fingers! With one more push, the head came out and I was minded to rest at this point but the midwife prompted me to give one more push, I think to make sure the baby didn’t retreat backwards. Quite the opposite however, with one more push the baby slid out and I was told not to sit down in case I sat on the baby! The midwife reached down and lifted the baby out of the water.

I sat back and cradled the slippery bundle of life on my chest as we were both wrapped in a warm, wet towel. The midwife helped my husband to look between the legs and he told me we had a beautiful baby boy!! The baby pinked up before my eyes as I held him close to me and he snuffled into my chest. After a while I needed to get out of the pool to birth the placenta. I gave our son to Dan for some Daddy skin to skin time while I moved to the sofa. As I was sitting there waiting for the placenta, I knew what our baby’s name was, Evan. 

After a natural third stage I needed stitching and was quite faint from exhaustion and blood loss. After mainlining jelly babies to get my blood sugar levels back up, the midwife was finally convinced that she was ok to leave me and I had a blessed sleep while Grandma and Daddy watched Evan.  I woke a short while later to cuddles in bed with my baby and my husband. Heaven! My whole labour from start to finish lasted 8 hours with him being born at 10:48 on the 1st May, a day after his due date. He had Apgar scores of 9 and 10 and we never saw the inside of a hospital. Instead he was born into water at home surrounded by the people who would love him most in the world”.

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