danielle's birth story
*TW Photo of my placenta*
Time has flown by since I birthed a little human being into the world! Here’s a little flashback to that day……
29th April, just another day in the life of a heavily pregnant woman in lockdown; eat, walk in the local park, eat, nap, eat, try to get comfortable, Netflix, eat, chill. Half past midnight, now the 30th April, happily chilling on the sofa and like the sudden flick of a switch, I feel what I remember as like a little ‘pop’ accompanied by an urge to use the toilet. My waters hadn’t broke but I knew what I was feeling meant that baby decided its time to make way into the world. A few toilet trips later (with strong urges to completely empty my bowels) I had strong contractions coming on quick. My husband filled the pool (that he had blown up a few weeks prior!) whilst I stood and breathed through each contraction. I just took whatever position felt natural and comfortable and remembered my Hypnobirthing breathing techniques. I also had affirmations that I’d wrote on a board so that I could read whenever I needed to. Once the pool was ready I was straight in and it felt soooo nice to get into the warm water!
Not long after contractions had started and they were already coming every 2-4minutes and lasting at least 40seconds. None of this “contractions may come and go e.g every hour or so and be irregular to start with” info that I usually tell women I see at work to expect! Ohhh no, of course, straight into the hard core stuff for me! I’m actually glad of this though because labour wasn’t that long and it wasn’t tiring from losing sleep with irregular contractions etc. So yay for baby wanting to meet us fairly quick!
So a couple of hours after it started, finding the soothing effects of the warm water amazingly helpful, accompanied by mild lighting from the flickering candles and an essential 80s playlist….. we woke the midwife on call and she arrived in no time. Her quiet presence was lovely. I decided to opt for an examination as I was curious, with having such intense contractions. I was 3- 4cm….I didn’t voice it but I’d actually thought and hoped I was further along! Anyway I couldn’t complain as that was great considering only two hours I’d been in labour and I also didn’t want to think any negative thoughts so I quickly just accepted it and got back into the pool. My midwife then just left me to it considering that I was 3-4cm. She just sat quietly and patiently. All I needed was the warmth of the water and the pressure of my husbands hand on the lower part of my back whenever a contraction came. Sips of water and juice every now and again were also welcomed! I didn’t have any urge to eat.
The last push
Flash forward, many strong contractions later, 6am(ish), the morning light beaming through the windows, I had started to feel that uncontrollable push. My midwife could hear the difference in me and asked if she could check if I was fully dilated…. managing to examine me whilst in the pool… I was 8cm… to be honest the measurement of my cervix didn’t matter to me at this point because I knew if my body is pushing then baby will be coming soon! It was mainly to alert the labour ward for a second midwife to come, knowing that birth was imminent. Not long later another lovely midwife arrived and I managed to say hello in between intense contractions haha. Many strong pushes later, I moved from leaning forward to leaning back against the side of the pool and with immense relieve I slowly (very slowly!) birthed baby into the water at 7:23am. I remember being very aware and conscious of breathing baby’s head out and stretching the perineum as carefully as I could….I even had my hand there supporting the perineum as if I was my own midwife! As I took baby to my chest, my husband happily revealed the gender of our baby, a boy! He was quite alert straight away and began to breath in his new environment.
I was happy to get out of the pool to birth my placenta and so got onto my sofa (well covered of course!), still skin to skin with baby and everyone happy to calmly wait for the cord to stop pulsating . Placenta birthed naturally 17minutes later, baby still receiving all the goodness from the placenta that had been feeding him for the past 9 months. After some thought I’d also decided to have some of my placenta in a smoothie, so my husband blended that up soon after! More on placentophagy in another post!
During pregnancy I had decided to use a cotton cord tie instead of the plastic ones they usually use (as it looked like it would be comfier for baby) and the midwives were happy to use it and so tied it onto the cord and the cord was then cut by dad. After having at least that ‘golden hour’ with baby, whereby skin to skin and breastfeeding is established, the midwives then weighed him awhile after and did all his checks, all was well.
The midwives also had to do my checks of course, they did so whilst I still had baby skin to skin. Thankfully I had an intact perineum! All that perineal massage perhaps?! Such minimal blood loss that the midwife officially documented 90mls . None at the birth. The only blood loss was from a vaginal wall laceration which needed a couple of stitches to stop the bleeding. It really is amazing how your body works and how much difference that environment and an element of calm and trust can make to a birth experience.
A shower and rest on our sofa marked the end of our day and the start of this new chapter with our son.
All in all it was a great experience of birth for all of us and I would recommend a homebirth to anyone considering it. I will end with this photo of my placenta that one of our midwives took. Baby’s amazing life force.
Read more about Danielle on her blog:
*birth story and photos kindly shared with consent*