With my second son, I knew that a homebirth was perfect for us. I found two lovely midwives and a wonderful doula to help us. I attended workshops with two very special spiritual midwives who guided me along the way and were particularly helpful with my plans for a lotus birth. I read a lot and once again practiced hypnobirthing. I went to bed every night visualizing the birth that I wanted.
I did expect another long labour, but as I had coped well the first time, I was ok with this. I planned to cook and dance and watch russian water birth videos through the labour and would give birth in a birth pool in my room with Chris, my mum, my doula and my midwives present. Mitchell would be involved as much as he liked, I really, really wanted him to experience the birth.
This pregnancy was once again lovely, though it went much quicker and I had a lot of pain and difficulty walking towards the end. Throughout this pregnancy I had been wanting to get out and buy a new digital SLR, but I didn’t feel that I was ever going to get around to it. I started having braxton hicks a few weeks before my due time and as the date drew near, I felt that every day could be “the day”.
I was completely confident that I would have a wonderful peaceful birth at home. Eventually I rang the camera store and told them to get the camera ready and that I would come in and pick it up, hoping that the braxton hicks would not develop into labour while I was in the busy shopping centre. I picked up the camera on the friday and enjoyed an evening taking photos of Mitchell (2 years and 2 months old).
That night I went to bed, once again having strong braxton hicks contractions (I was now a week past when I thought I would give birth) and visualizing the birth that I wanted. I woke just before 4am desperately needing to go to the toilet, quite an unusual feeling for this time of day! I quietly got up and went off to the bathroom, but each time I sat down, I was forced up by a strange band of discomfort under my tummy. I was quite frustrated and confused at this. I was up and down and rubbing my tummy. I thought I might have to go standing up!
I thought maybe a warm pack would help my “tummy ache” but as I walked to the kitchen, I was stopped several times by these cramps. The warm pack did not help at all (this was quite a different feeling to the labour that I had had with Mitchell). I felt like I needed to kneel on the floor and so went into the lounge on all fours. I decided to time these odd cramps and found that they were lasting one minute and three minutes apart.
At this point I thought I must be in labour. I went back to the bathroom and was finally able to go to the toilet. I wandered around a bit not really knowing what to do. I wanted to get in the pool, but knew if I got in too early, labour would slow, but then I thought I could sleep until morning and start again then.
I just had to decide whether to get in the bath incase I messed up the pool and would then be unable to use it for the birth, or to get in the pool so as not to waste hot water incase I was indeed close to giving birth.. hmmm… I woke chris and asked him to fill the pool (thankfully we had pumped it up a couple of weeks before). We frantically tried to prepare the room, putting down curtains and towells on the carpet, with me stopping to lean against the wall or kneel on the floor during contractions. I said to Chris that I was still unsure if I was in fact in labour – he said “I think something is definitely happening” in a tone that was obvious he thought I was a bit stupid! I told him we would not ring anyone until 6am (a more decent hour), but by 5am I was feeling really out of control, my body was taking off and I was left way behind. I needed my mum and my doula.
I rang my doula first, but had to throw down the phone while I breathed through a contraction, I tried to blurt out what was going on before the next one hit. She spoke to Chris and told him to call the midwife straight away, but I thought she was telling him that I was a long way off and to wait until morning! I got in the pool with it only 1/3 full and tried to relax into it. (In the meantime, Chris had rung the midwife and my parents).
My doula arrived first and I was so glad to see her. I was not happy with the position I was in but did not have enough time between contractions to move. I lay down in the water and put my face under and blew bubbles through the contractions. Soon my midwife arrived and at about that time my body started pushing. I was thinking “hang on, give me a minute to catch up!” I continued to put my face in the water and blow bubbles, thinking I would take a breath in-between the pushing, but there was no in-between. I thought i could drown!
I was so amazed at my body and how powerful this feeling was. It really did feel like the baby was going to come out of my bum, I was totally in awe at this experience and so glad to be feeling it so completely and naturally. I was putting my head up now and then to gasp for breath and still wishing for a little break. The midwife told me to try to get upright (I was still lying in the bottom of the pool), she then noticed that the heart-rate had dropped dramatically (due to insufficient break between contractions) and asked me to get out of the pool to birth. I felt very strongly that I needed to stay were I was, so I flipped over onto hands and knees and was instructed to push with my body rather than simply breathing with it. Soon the head was out and I finally got the little break that I needed.
For three minutes all was still and peaceful, then my body contracted again and pushed out my baby, the midwife guided him up to my hands, I then lifted him out to greet him. I was helped out of the pool straight away so as he could have some oxygen. It was at this point that I noticed that he was a boy (I was certain that I was having a girl) and that it was only 6am, I had only been awake for two hours! The second midwife arrived in time to help me up onto the bed where I snuggled up with my baby for about a week.
My mum arrived and was obviously shocked and disappointed to have missed the whole thing. Mitchell then woke up, he had missed it too. In fact, I felt as if I had even missed it! It was that quick and not at all the birth that I had been visualizing. I was so happy to have birthed at home and with wonderful women surrounding me.
It took me a while to get the placenta out as I just did not have an ounce of strength left in me. I was told that my body had pushed and pushed for 20 minutes with barely a break. I was examined and found to have quite a bit of tearing and so a more experienced midwife was brought in to stitch all that up – this took longer and was much more challenging to get through than the birth. I almost wanted an epidural for that!
My midwives and doula did a fantastic job at helping me to breath through each stitch – and there were a lot. We did not have a name for this little one (not a boys name, anyway!), we left his cord uncut and wrapped the placenta up with him. Our midwife cared for it the first day, washing it gently in warm water and salting it the next evening, after that, my mum cared for it by brushing off the old salt and re-salting and wrapping it daily. We wrapped it in a soft nappy with a few sprigs of lavender from the garden and placed it in a placenta bag that my mum had made from bamboo velour.
He was such a content and lovely baby. The cord dried quickly and remained nice and clean (unlike a cut cord stump), it separated in just under 5 days leaving a beautiful belly button and at this point we named him Lachlan Heath. We did not leave the house for 3 weeks and avoided visitors as much as we could. He really was such a lovely and content, peaceful little baby. He is now a very active and excitable 6 month old who spends a lot of the day in a backpack joining in with whatever I am doing. He is the most smiley child I have ever seen. Mitchell is a fantastic and caring brother to him. (Don’t get me wrong, it is not as rosey as it sounds, I am finding being the mother of two is incredibly hard work!)
We planted his placenta under a golden delicious tree at my parents home, near Mitchell’s mandarin tree. He has really taught me that you can’t predict one birth by another, he weighed 8pound 2 ounces (smaller than my first) and the labour could not have been more different!
(Mitchell’s birth story is in another post – “a long long long labour“) He is also a completely different baby to what Mitchell was. I am just so pleased to have been able to birth at home and to give my precious son a lotus birth, it was truly a lovely experience and one I hope to have again.
Lachlan 4 days old