When my husband, Max, and I were ready to add to our family and give Quinn a sibling, we contacted our fertility clinic to commence the IVF process. We were very lucky to fall pregnant on our second round of IVF with our only viable embryo.
As this was my second pregnancy and birth, I came into it with a much better idea of what was important to me. Right from the get-go, I was really excited to experience birth again (you can read my first birth story here).
I knew I wanted to give birth outside of a hospital setting so applied for care through the Community Midwifery Program. This would give me the option to birth at home with no out of pocket costs. I was so thankful to be accepted into the Program but knew I wanted to meet with my allocated midwife first to discuss what my care would look like. There were questions I wanted to ask and discuss with her to make sure their service aligned with my values and vision for birth. I instantly felt at ease and knew my preferences would be supported.
My pregnancy progressed without any complications and there was so much trust from my Midwife that my body could grow and birth my baby which felt incredibly empowering.
The first stage of labour
The first sign of labour I experienced was my waters starting to trickle on a Friday evening. I went to the toilet straight away and put a maternity pad on and crossed all my fingers and toes that it was actually my waters and I didn’t just wee myself.
It happened right at dinner time but I was able to enjoy a decent meal with Max and Quinn while I waited to see what happened next. It wasn’t long before I knew it was definitely my waters that was leaking so I called my midwife and let her know. As I hadn’t experienced any other labour signs, I did feel a little concerned that I would have to transfer to hospital if I hadn’t given birth within 18 hours but my midwife eased my worries by saying it likely wouldn’t take that long.
I also called my birth photographer (Sara Bresser Birth Photography) to let her know that labour wouldn’t be far away so she could get herself ready to drive to my house when I gave the next call.
After we finished dinner, Max gave Quinn a bath while I packed up the kitchen and then we started setting up my birth space. It was all very calm and organised (I had written out lists of what to set up and organise when I went into labour so we could both just get on with setting up my space).
I recorded my first surge (contraction) almost an hour after my waters started to break. I was still pottering around setting up my birth space and getting Quinn ready for bed. As soon as we put her to bed at 7pm Max got the birth pool blown up.
Max was finishing setting up the birth space and was trying to get the hose hooked up to fill the pool. He had tested the system before I was in labour but was experiencing some technical difficulties, as was evident by the ‘for fuck sakes’ I heard being muttered from the bathroom.
I managed through my surges using the Hypnobirthing Australia breathing techniques and had affirmations playing as my soundtrack. I was sitting on a fit ball leaning forward onto a bar stool which is how I spent majority of my labour. By rocking, swaying and rotating my pelvis through each surge I was able to manage the increasing intensity.
Just over an hour after I had my first surge, I called my midwife again because I had an extremely intense surge. She asked if I wanted her to come now and my gut said YES! but my head and mouth said “I’ll just wait for my next surge and if it is as intense again, then I’ll get you to come”. My surges were still irregular in duration and intervals which threw me a bit. In hindsight I should have listened to my body and not worried about the numbers I was tracking.
Just over 10 minutes later I called my midwife back and said “please come now!”. When I look back at that moment, I was worried she wouldn’t make it in time. I wasn’t scared but I did want her calming presence around me as I managed the intensity of what I was experiencing.
Straight after that phone call to my midwife, I called my birth photographer and gave her the go ahead to make her way to our house. She said to me afterwards that I was so calm on the phone that she expected she’d be with us all night and into the early hours of the morning. Little did we know I’d give birth less than an hour later.
While I waited for my midwife and birth photographer to arrive, my labour progressed extremely quickly and intensely. I remember my body telling me I was in transition, I could pick up on all the signs. But my mind was in denial, telling me ‘It can’t be happening already, it’s too quick!!’
I got up off the fit ball but kept leaning forward on the bar stool. My body was rocking and swaying and I started making some really primal noises. I had no control over the way my body wanted to move and the noises my body wanted to make. It was extremely intense and I could tell my body and mind went into a completely primal state. I was still trying to track my surge length and intervals (*face palm* really should have given up on that by this stage) so I’d stop the timer when it was less intense but by this stage I didn’t really have any downtime.
My midwife still hadn’t arrived and I said to Max “I’m either pooing myself or this baby is coming!”. It was time for Midwife Max to step up and I still get the giggles when I think about this next series of events……..
I still had my underwear on so he pulled those down to my knees (I’m still standing, leaning forward) and was trying to get a look at what was going on down there. Just as he was assessing the situation we hear a *knock, knock* with a sweet ‘hellooooo’ from the front door and in my mind I think ‘Just come the fuck inside, why are you knocking?!’ and Max let out a ‘ahh, yep, come in!’ with desperation in his voice.
My bare ass is the first thing my wonderful midwife sees as she walks in the door right as I did, indeed, poo. Poor Max narrowly missed getting poo’d on. This was a bonding experience neither of us ever imagined we’d have together! But it is definitely something we laugh about now.
That was swiftly cleaned up and my midwife quickly got her equipment out. She suggested I kneel on the ground and lean forward onto the side of the birth pool.
The second stage of labour
So I moved into that position which is how I birthed my baby girl. She entered the world at 8.54pm, at the same time my birth photographer arrived. Max received our baby which he missed out on experiencing with our first birth so that was incredibly special. His hands were the first ones to touch our baby before she was handed to me.
I had never pictured giving birth anywhere but in the water. However, this little girl was making her own rules all throughout our pregnancy and I’ve had to surrender to that fact.
The third stage of labour
My midwife and Max helped me stand and walk to our couch to wait for the placenta to be birthed. I got to lay there snuggled in with my baby while my body continued to do it’s thing. After about 15 minutes my midwife suggested I stand to let gravity help with the process. With their support I managed to stand and the placenta was straight out. Our umbilical cord had finished pulsating and had gone white before Max made the cut.
I had decided to get my placenta encapsulated so Max called to advise them it was ready for collection. We used Pure Placentas and their service was incredible.
About an hour after I had given birth to Piper, we decided to get Quinn out of bed to meet her new baby sister. She was so confused when we bought her into the lounge room where we were still laying. Once she realised there was a new baby she couldn’t stop looking at her, rubbing her head and saying ‘baby’. It was so special and I wouldn’t have been able to have that experience so soon after birth if I had of been in a hospital.
After all my final checks and official midwife business, it was about 11pm. I can’t explain the level of comfort and contentment I experienced being at home with my family when our midwife finished up and left us as a new family of four. I will forever be grateful for having a pregnancy and birth that allowed me to experience a home birth.
The whole process from first sign of labour to finishing all final checks was just over 5 hours. I didn’t have to go anywhere and I didn’t have anyone popping in disturbing me with unnecessary checks. This definitely contributed to my labour progressing as quickly as it did.
This experience has only fueled my passion for teaching the Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth Program. I owe my preparation to the tools and techniques that the Program teaches. If you’d like to know more about how you can work with me to learn the same techniques I used, visit my Services page here. This program isn’t just for home births, it is for ALL births.
Since Max has now supported me through two hypnobirths, I sat him down and asked him what were his biggest tips and takeaways that he’d share with other birth partners. You can read that blog post here.
A big thank you to Sara Bresser Birth Photography for capturing this extremely special time for my family.