I had always envisaged that I would give birth in water, so when I fell pregnant back in April 2017 I started researching the different options of where to give birth.
My sister had successfully had two home water births and this definitely helped influence my decision.
I was lucky enough to have a straightforward pregnancy and was deemed to be low risk. I attended hypnobirthing classes and went to yoga weekly and had reflexology towards the end of my pregnancy. I wanted to be in tune with my body and my baby, and have an active pregnancy.
Upon doing my own reading and listening to other people’s birth stories It became very clear to me just how medicalised and fearful birth had now become - probably not helped by what you see in films and in the media. How could something so natural need so much medical interference ?
I came to the conclusion that if my body is capable of growing my baby on its own then it’s certainly capable of giving birth to it. So a decision was made that I would have my baby at home, in private, in peace - exactly how I wanted my son to first enter the world.
After recommendations I also decided I wanted to have a doula present at the birth, to provide emotional support for both me and my partner - this I would highly recommend to other couples.
I went into labour 10 days over my given due date which is common for first time mums after having my 3rd sweep that morning. I’d spent the day bouncing on my ball and sniffing clary sage on a hanky when my waters suddenly broke at 6pm, just as my doula called me for our daily check in.
I called the midwife straight away who came to check me. Luckily the midwife on call that night was the one who had been with me throughout my whole pregnancy, which gave me a lot of reassurance. Upon checking everything was ok she left to go home - I remember her telling me to go have a bath, rest and make some dinner as it was most likely the baby wouldn’t be here until tomorrow. I remember thinking I didn’t feel like doing any of those things ! And I asked her to put my tens machine on before she left.
My surges started intensifying quite quickly, so I took myself upstairs to my bedroom where it was dark and private. I let my body lead the way, allowing myself to move into different positions, swaying my hips and leaning over the bed and letting out what I can only describe as roaring noise - a really primitive sound.
My doula kept telling me how well I was doing and also reassured me the pool was filling up nicely, even though my partner was struggling downstairs boiling every pot and pan in the house as we’d run out of hot water...
The doula shielded me from this stressful situation and made sure it didn’t affect the progression of my labour.
The deep breathing I’d learnt from yoga and hypnobirthing and the combination of the tens machine got me through my surges.
I remember thinking I needed to keep my jaw and shoulders relaxed and that every surge was bringing me closer to meeting my baby boy.
I had been upstairs for around 2 hours when I started to feel the urge to bear down, the midwife was keen to examine me - I hadn’t had any examinations up until this point. To everyone’s surprise I was already 9cms dilated by 9.30pm. I was desperate to get in the pool and thankfully my partner had just managed to fill enough hot water in order for me to get in.
Being in the water for the final stage felt amazing - having the warmth and buoyancy surrounding me and being able to move freely into different positions was great. I knew being active and upright for labour would be a lot more effective than the traditional laying on your back .
I remember kneeling over the side of the pool using the gas and air - this really helped to regulate my breathing and keep my shoulders and jaw relaxed. The feeling of bearing down was incredible! I trusted my body entirely and let it take control, it was so powerful.
I recall feeling a sting down below when he crowned (he did decide to come out like superman with a hand on his head) and after a brief rest and me switching positions the rest of him followed out into the water. The midwife pulled him out the water and onto my chest, I couldn’t believe how much hair he had and how beautiful he was just gazing up at me. Once the placenta had stopped pulsating my partner cut the cord and he went for some skin to skin with him while I stayed in the pool and managed to birth my placenta naturally afterwards. I only needed a couple of stitches which the midwife was able to do there at home on the sofa.
Elliot Arthur was born at approximately 10.23pm after a 4 hour natural labour.
He was bright and alert and latched on straight away. It certainly was a lovely feeling being at home surrounded by all my home comforts and to top it all off being able to climb back into our own bed with our new addition to the family was one I will never forget.