Born weighing 7 lb 11 oz, in our living room, just how we wanted it.

This week’s birth story comes from a lovely couple Rachael and Matai who attended a TCBS Hypnobirthing course with Hannah O’Sullivan of The Calm Birth Midwife in Paignton Devon.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with is!


At around 5.30 am on Tuesday 18th Feb, I woke with what felt like period pains.  Something in me knew our little boy was on his way, but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions too early.  I’d had Braxton hicks the previous week and our due date was still 6 days away.
Matai went to work, but we agreed I’d keep him posted if my surges developed and I was to contact Sarah, our friend and Doula who was on call too.

I had a small “show” when I got up, so at this point I excitedly told myself that this was it!

I had made a plan for this early labour phase, to keep active, but relaxed.  I took our dog for a walk in our local woods and practiced my breathing, as I did most mornings.  During this time, I got a message from Sarah, she must have had a sixth sense that the baby was coming.  I rang her to let her know I thought this was the day.

Once I returned home, I realised something was definitely happening!  My surges were coming every 10 minutes and were manageable.  I continued with my relax plan, I had breakfast and ran a bath, I remember feeling so confident and ready.

At around 11.30 am my surges ramped up a bit to every 6 minutes, I wanted to try the Tens machine and I also wanted Matai home, so I gave him the call.  He picked up the ice cream I’d requested and came back, we were both so excited!

Sarah came round and spent some time with us and gave me a wonderful massage, she also had a great method for helping me through each surge, by applying gentle pressure on either side of my hips as I breathed through.

She popped back home for a while and we agreed we’d call her when things progressed.

And progress they did, albeit slowly over the afternoon into the evening.  My surges built to being a minute long and coming every 4 to 5 minutes.

At around 7 pm, as Sarah returned, I had just come down from the bathroom and my waters had partially broken, this was it I thought!  I remember having a huge wave of excitement come over me, we rang delivery suite to let them know our situation.

The scene in our living room was perfect and exactly as I’d planned it through our time on our hypnobirthing course.  As darkness fell, we closed the outside world out, the fairy lights were dimly lighting the room and the beautiful decorations my sister had put up for my baby shower two days before were still up.  I had chosen three affirmations which I had written up too.  We just needed the pool.  It was going to be a celebration!

Marlene, my community midwife arrived, and she checked me over and I agreed to a progress check.  I was still very far off, my cervix was at 1 cm dilated and needed to come forward still, but I was positive about this and happy to go with the flow.  Marlene offered me a sweep, which I declined.

Marlene left us to it and time moved into a blur from this point.  Matai and a Sarah pumped the pool up and filled it with warm water.  I got into the pool and remembered it feeling amazing.  I was completely out of my body at this point, my surges increased from every 3 minutes to every 2 minutes and my time in the pool got incredibly intense.

As I moved into an internal primal zone,  Sarah kept reminding me to guide my breath into my stomach after I would shout out at the start of each powerful surge. I remember holding onto both Matai and Sarah with each surge and digging my head into the side of the pool to deal with the intensity.  I even vomited which I never imagined I would do!

At some point during this time, Matai rang delivery suite again and another midwife came out to see us at around 1 am.  She confirmed I was having strong surges, but they were coming at around every 4 minutes at this point. Again she asked if I wanted my progress checked and after a lot of thought, I agreed as I felt the intensity was so full on, this must have pushed me further along.

Slightly deflated, I was told I was 3 cm dilated.  In hindsight, maybe I should have declined a progress check, as this news had a huge effect on my head space. The midwife left after an hour and we all continued our efforts into the early hours.  I had this idea in my head (that I now know was wrong)  that I only had a time limit of 12 hours on my waters having broken before I needed to be monitored and we were all exhausted.

By 4 am, everyone’s efforts to keep the pool warm weren’t working and the water was too cold.  I got out and realised my surges were waning.  This made me even more deflated.  I just remember not wanting to go to hospital and events felt out of my control.

Sarah tried everything to get me out of my head.  She cleaned the room, got me to go up and down the stairs, massaged me, but I had started putting too much pressure on myself and got completely out of the zone I needed to be in.  We were at a loss as to what to do, so as dawn broke on the 19th, we rang delivery suite again for some advice.

We were visited by a wonderful bubbly midwife who checked me over.  She told me that I actually had 24 hours from my waters breaking before they start wanting to monitor babies for infection, so we still had time for my home birth to happen.  She advised us all to go to sleep, which was completely what we needed to hear and she felt confident the baby would come today.

Matai and Sarah had some well-deserved rest and I managed to go to bed and get some sleep too as my surges had reduced to 1 or 2 every half hour. My body knew it needed a break it seemed.

We got up around midday and my surges ramped up, we were ready for round 2!  We began timing them again and we all felt ready for this new day!  Refueled and re-energised, we were in it together.

Over the afternoon my surges came thick and fast – I put the Tens machine on and Sarah and Matai again helped me through the surges with pressure on my hips and reminders to breathe.  I didn’t want to jinx the progress by getting into the pool too early.  Matai had warmed up the house with a roaring fire and had refilled the pool with fresh warm water and we now had a cover to keep the warm in until I was ready for the third phase of labour.

Around 5 or 6 pm, my surges took a drastic turn in intensity and really ramped up, coming one after the other with no breaks and I remember at this point really wanting pain relief and a midwife! I was growling at the start of each surge so much my throat hurt, but my breathing really got me through, every time.

Matai rang delivery suite and they informed us there were no midwives available at this time, but they’d ring around to see what they could do.  This terrified me as what I was feeling were the most intense surges, I could hardly bear it!  As a last resort we rang my community midwife, who wasn’t working, but my groans in the background sounded worrying to her.  She questioned whether the baby wasn’t quite in the right position.

I felt like I couldn’t carry on and roared through my powerful surges, I remember saying I wanted an ambulance and was scared at not knowing what was happening to me.  This I now know was my transition time!

Matai and Sarah suggested getting into the pool, which instantly calmed me while we waited for a call from the hospital.  Then an almighty surge came on which shook me, I needed to know what was going on down there, so I felt inside and felt what seemed to be a bulge of amniotic sack, a baby’s head!  My baby was right there!

Matai rang back Marlene and told her what I’d felt and as she lived 2 minutes away, she arrived in a flash – she was the most welcome sight!  She examined me and confirmed my baby was coming, I was 10 cm dilated!

My surges changed, and I felt the overwhelming need to push – I looked at Matai and Sarah and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief!  I cried with the fact I had finally made it to this point and I was going to meet my baby.

I had to roar again to cope with the surges that were pushing my baby through my birth canal.  The feeling was overwhelming, it was other worldly and totally primal.  I used my hypnobirthing breathing exercises to push through each surge.

We were joined by 2 other midwives who had also been called in while off shift and they guided me through the last birthing of our beautiful son Bo.   He was born in the water finally at 7.52 pm, on 19th February, weighing 7lb 11oz, in our living room, just how we wanted it, albeit a bit longer than expected.

Annoyingly after our birthing marathon, we then had to spend the next 24 hours in hospital for Bo to be observed and checked for any infection, as he was born with meconium in his waters, plus my waters had been partially broken for 24 hours.  After the initial disappointment at not getting my cuppa and biccies in my own bed with the baby, we came around and were relieved that he was safe and well.

If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!

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