Alexis’ Birth Story
On the 2/2/22 I woke up still pregnant at 40 weeks and 4 days. I was feeling super uncomfortable that morning and very eager to welcome Bub into the world. It was my little boy Atticus’ preschool day so I dropped him off to school and felt very emotional, for some reason I just didn’t want to be apart from him that day. My partner Dom went to work and so I went home on my own. I decided to do some prenatal yoga and stretches to help things move along. I was about 30minutes into the yoga video when I felt my waters start to slowly trickle. This started happening at around 10:20am so I called my midwife at Belmont Midwifery Practice to let her know. My midwife told me to get myself comfortable and to update her through the day as things progressed. I called Dom at work to let him know what was happening and he came straight home.
I wanted to stay at home for as long as I was comfortable to do so, as I remember with my first birth that as soon as we went to hospital things slowed down. With my first birth it took 24 hours to welcome Atticus into the world, I had an epidural at 5-6cms, episiotomy and vacuum delivery. This time around I had a very clear picture of what I wanted my birthing experience to be. Calm, quiet, supportive, natural and empowering. I was trusting in my body that it knew exactly what it was doing and would bring my little boy or girl into the world safely.
I put some Valor and Lavender into my diffuser, made the room nice and dark and carried on with my yoga. About 30 minutes after my waters first started trickling it started to get heavier and heavier and that was when my first surges began. They started out light and manageable, then slowly the intensity started to build. I breathed through them and used the surge of the sea technique in my mind as well as visualising myself in my bubble of comfort. I sat down on a towel on the yoga mat and we put on a funny movie in the background as a bit of a distraction in between surges. Dom sat behind me and used light touch massage and anchor points to support me. I felt completely calm, safe and supported with Dom at home. Every time I had a surge I would flop my body, breathe and slowly move the top half of my body around in circles. In my head I would also talk to myself positively using affirmations such as “each surge brings my baby closer to me,” and “my body was built to birth.”
My surges were all over the place there was no consistency in regards to timing or how long they lasted which was the same as my first birth. I decided to hop in the shower and use the water on my back to make me feel nice and calm. I hopped in and out of the shower 3 times over the course of about 4 hours. Dom would either hop in with me and gently rub my back with my lavender body wash or if I sat on the floor he would gently and slowly pour water over me.
On the third time I was in the shower it was clear that the surges were becoming particularly intense as I breathed through them. Throughout all of this I never once felt scared, out of control or as though I couldn’t deal with it. The whole labouring experience thus far was intense yet still very manageable. Dom could sense that things were building and let me know he was going to call the midwife to tell her we were coming to the midwifery practice shortly (it was about a 50 minute drive depending on traffic). I stayed in the shower for a bit longer and then hopped out. Once I stood up I felt a huge pressure fall down deep and felt the sudden urge to make a low guttural sound. It was at this moment (the only time throughout my labour so far) that in my head I thought maybe I couldn’t do this and that I might have needed pain relief. I never said it out loud to Dom but I remember thinking in my head maybe I’m not strong enough. Looking back now I was clearly in the transition phase and questioning myself.
Dom came back into the room ready to get us to the midwifery clinic but I had a strong desire to lay on my side on the bed. I told Dom that I don’t think I can move and that everything is starting to feel very different. I was very quickly feeling the urge to bear down and push, I felt a strong pressure on my tailbone. I lifted my leg up and asked Dom if he could see anything but he couldn’t, so I started internally questioning my instincts. In my head I was thinking “Maybe I’m only 3cms or something and just not managing the surges anymore.”
At about 2:50pm I asked Dom to call the midwife back so that I could speak to her. I explained to the midwife what was happening and how I was feeling, she told me to gently put a finger inside to see what I could feel. I barely put the tip of my finger inside and told her I could feel something hard. Judy explained that it was the baby’s head and that there wouldn’t be enough time to make it to the midwife clinic. Judy told Dom we would need to call the paramedics and that she would be there as soon as she could.
Dom reassured me that everything would be okay and he called 000. He never showed that he was scared, he kept everything calm for me telling me that I was doing an amazing job and that each surge baby was getting closer and closer to meeting us. The paramedic arrived shortly after, assessed the situation and explained we would be having a home birth. I slightly panicked as this wasn’t part of the plan but then quickly went back to focus on my bubble of comfort as I knew my body could do this and that I had the right support.
I stayed laying on my side for a little while, holding Dom’s hand and at one point I bit his fist during a strong phase of bearing down. Dom smiled and said that it was all fine. I then got onto all fours and instinctively started pushing, we had my midwife on loud speaker while she was driving to our house. There were three paramedics in our bedroom at this point but I blocked everything out expect for the voice of Dom and my midwife. At one point I switched from labour mode and asked what the time was. The paramedic and Dom looked at me strangely as to why I needed to know the time. I told them that Atticus would be home from preschool with my mum shortly (we had told her to do so as we were expecting to be at the midwife clinic for quite some time). I told Dom to call mum and tell her not to come here as I didn’t want Atticus to come home and see me like that. I then quickly switched back to birthing mode to bear down again. It’s crazy to think that we as mothers can multitask even while giving birth! My midwife told me to have a break from pushing and to breathe to allow baby to slowly move down and reduce tearing. I used the breathing techniques and after about 4 more pushes at 3:37pm baby was out and Dom told me that we had a beautiful little boy who we later named Lennon Vance.
The paramedics helped me to turn over and lay down on my back with baby skin to skin on my chest. Dom and I cried once I held him and I kept saying “I can’t believe I just gave birth to our baby on the bed.” I felt so incredible, empowered and proud of myself. It was an emotional and amazing feeling knowing that even though I didn’t make it to the midwife clinic as planned I still had the birth I always wanted: natural, calm and positive right here on our bed at home. It wasn’t a planned home birth but it was the way Bub wanted to enter the world. From start to finish my entire labour lasted for 5 hours and 17 minutes.
The midwives arrived shortly after and took over my care from the paramedics. The placenta then came out, we did delayed cord clamping until it was completely drained and then put the placenta on ice to keep for encapsulation. I never even had to go to hospital once! I had a slight 2nd degree tear but the midwives were able to stitch me up
at home and they came regularly for home visits to check on myself and our little Lennon. This was such a relief given the covid restrictions in hospitals at the time which meant I had Dom and Atticus with me at home 24/7 for love and support.
I don’t think I would have been able to have such a positive birthing experience without the hypnobirthing tools that both Dom and I used. Dom and I worked as a loving, supportive and calm team to bring our baby safely into the world and it was the best feeling in the whole world to know we did it together in our home. I feel so strong and empowered after this birthing experience and I will never forget that special date 2/2/22, what a magical day!