Over the last 9 months we have been sharing Alice’s pregnancy diary with you and we were super excited that as the final instalment went live we were able to tell you that baby Franklin had arrived safely. You may know from reading her posts that Alice was hoping for a home birth using hypnobirthing to manage the pain. We are well aware that many labours do not go to plan but for once it did and Alice had the most wonderful experience exactly as she had hoped. I’ll hand over to Alice to tell you all about it.
So after my last installment we mentioned that Franklin had arrived at exactly 39 weeks, and he’s now six weeks old and a bonny 10llbs 5oz of big baby boy!
A lot of people asked whether I achieved my home birth…so here you are; my positive birth story.
Matt and I had been to a party on Friday 26th August with all our friends where we had joked about me having the baby soon but all agreed I didn’t look anywhere close and besides, he wasn’t due for another week yet. Apart from knowing his head was engaged I didn’t feel close to giving birth, I was comfortable, mobile and had even worn my heels out to the party in town and walked there too, so really had no indication a baby was imminent.
We got home about 11pm and went straight to bed. However, a few hours later at about 2.40am I awoke to a trickle of warm liquid between my legs…knowing exactly what it was I woke my husband and told him I was leaking and to get the towels! Once I stood up it became much more than just a trickle and my waters pretty much gushed out of me. I waited 30 minutes maybe 40 to see if my contractions would start but as I wasn’t getting any at that point I rang the midwife led unit at my hospital to tell them my waters had gone spontaneously with no contractions. Even though I explained I was booked for a home birth they still asked me to come in to have it confirmed. So sitting on every towel and incontinence sheet I could find we drove in. (In my opinion this was a complete waste of our time as all they did were basic obs and then sent me home) but they explained that if I didn’t start to labour in 24 hours I’d have to come back to be induced. (Something I most definitely did not want if I could help it.) Luckily for me once home and back in my own bed now at about 4am the contractions kicked in.
I spent the early stages of labour in bed sleeping in between contractions keeping my eyes closed and focusing on breathing through. I vaguely remember my husband going downstairs to potter about with the dog and I was grateful when he brought me up tea and toast around 8.30am. My contractions were regular and frequent the entire time but only lasting around 40 – 50 seconds at this point. I called the community midwives to explain what was happening and they assessed me over the phone, told me I was doing a great job and to carry on as I was and call again when things got more intense.
I continued to labour alone upstairs in my bedroom with husband popping up every now and then to check on me, hold my hand and tell me how well I was doing. The time passed pretty quickly, I remember having a shower and blow drying my hair at some point in the morning?! No idea why but I guess it must have been a comfort or distraction technique I used on myself. After the shower I put on my TENS machine and used the boost button every time a contraction came.
Around 11ish things were getting a lot more intense I would say I felt uncomfortable but I wasn’t it any pain at all. I was calm, focused and with the TENS I found the contractions perfectly manageable. In fact I had got myself through the first stage to fully dilated alone in my bedroom without even realizing it.
Because of this I left it way to late to call the midwife. I kept thinking ‘I’m not in pain so I can’t be anywhere close yet’ but then things changed pretty quickly as I was transitioning. We called the midwife at 11.47am (I know because I checked my phone) and immediately after I knew I had to get out of bed and into a different position. I got on all fours and that’s when I had an uncontrollable urge to push. My mum arrived just after 12pm to find me on my bedroom floor and pushing…not exactly what she was expecting! But my mum works in healthcare and I instantly felt safe with her close. I continued pushing and remember saying to my mum ‘where’s the f***** midwife?!’ and my mum answering that any longer she’d be delivering the baby herself! Thankfully at 12.25pm midwife arrived to find me leaning over my birth ball actively pushing. I did panic a bit at this point as the midwife was completely caught of guard, she frantically had to call a second midwife to hurry and arrive and we had to discuss how to get me downstairs and into the pool while pushing. Once the second midwife arrived it took both of them, my husband and mum to carry / support me as I crawled, walked and pushed my way downstairs. We managed to do it during three separate contraction / pushes and as soon as I sat in my birth pool I immediately relaxed. In my head I was just thinking thank god I’m not going to give birth on my bedroom floor because I didn’t want to ruin the carpet! Also it was very lucky that Matt had literally just finished filling the pool in time! From here on I was able to concentrate and really focus on birthing my baby and just 30 minutes later he was born into the water.
Rather embarrassingly for me I failed to ‘catch’ my baby – I think I was so stunned he was actually born I forgot I needed to scoop him up out of the water! Thankfully midwife jumped in, grabbed him and handed him up to me, but other water birthers be warned – grab your babies and learn from my silliness.
My entire labour and delivery experience took about 9 hours from waters breaking in the early hours to my baby boy being born at 13.15 in the afternoon of Saturday 27th August. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life and certainly my greatest achievement.
I used no gas and air or any drugs / pain relief of any kind so our baby came into the world completely naturally and exactly as I wanted. I would highly recommend a TENS to help with contractions (I bought mine second hand on ebay) and a pool for the pushing stage, as these were the only ‘pain relief’ methods I used. I also had three sessions of hypno birthing which allowed me to visualize the birth experience and stay calm and confident.
Most importantly I trusted my body to do what it was designed to do, I had no fear what so ever and actually enjoyed the process! I am a huge homebirth advocate now and want to share my positive birth story with others to show that not all births are painful and traumatic.
I used the mantra ‘I will feel pressure and movement but no pain’ to help and a bit of stubborn determination and I feel very proud to have had my first baby at home, drug free. I really do believe other mama’s can do it too, just don’t let fear make you think you can’t.