The HBAC waterbirth of Archer- guest post, Anonymous
My son was born into a birthing pool in the middle of the afternoon at the end of March. It was mostly silent; I could hear the sounds of the school kids walking past, the sound of my dogs barking at them as usual. Life was going on around us outside and here I was, about to give birth normally for the first time. My first birth was an emergency caesarean, I hadn’t experienced a normal vaginal birth before. I never wanted to feel a baby taken out of my stomach ever again and now here I was, a total opposite experience for my second birth. No hospitals, no doctors, no interventions, no hospital rules, no limitations. Just myself, my partner, my doula and the midwives.
My daughter's first moments after she was born via cesarean.
Here is the story of my labour and birth…
10.30am, after an unusually decent night sleep (you know how it is when you are in those final days!) I grabbed some breakfast and sat down on the couch and jumped online. I had a funny feeling like a cramp and I went to the toilet. I sent my partner Scott a text message telling him to stay close to the phone, I think something might happen today. After a few minutes I needed to go to the toilet again and I had a bloody show. I rang Scott and told him to come home. I have a contraction. Ouch ouch OUCH. I ring my Midwife Emma to let her know that something’s happening. The pain is so bad I drop the phone mid-conversation. I have this incredible urge to push. Emma tells me she is still on the other end of town but is on her way. I was scared she wouldn’t make it in time! I ring my doula Jodee and tell her what’s happening. I describe my contractions to her and she tells me she will get to me within 30 minutes.
11:50am - Scott gets home, quickly comes into our room to check on me and says he is just going to start filling up the pool.
12pm - Jodee arrives. She puts soothing oils in the oil burner as soon as she arrives. She calms me down and starts helping me cope better with the pain. I feel more focused. I try to breathe through each contraction as they intensify. After 30 mins Jodee suggests I try the shower, so we move to the bathroom and I spend some time in there with the hot water on my back, leaning into Scott during each contraction.
12:38pm – Emma (Midwife) arrives and starts setting up. Someone suggests that I move back into the bedroom as we need use the hot water to fill up the rest of the pool (the joys of low water pressure). While the shower was helping, the urge to get into the birth pool is greater so we go back to the bedroom and I kneel over the bed for the next hour. Every 10 minutes or so Emma checks fetal heart rate with the Doppler- perfectly normal.
1340 - After labouring away in my bedroom (and after a mishap where the hose filling the pool flies out and sprays water all over our TV) the pool is announced full! I make my way down there and climb in and it feels wonderful. I decide it’s most comfortable to keep kneeling and to lean over the side of the pool, holding onto Scott or Jodee’s hands. Each contraction seems to be getting more intense and longer. I am getting longer breaks between them where I am able to breathe slowly and recoup. I find the flickering lights of the electrical equipment around the TV as something I can focus on. I ask out loud if this is real labour (I get a few laughs..) The labour seems to be settling down into a groove. I wonder what’s going on. Everyone is telling me I am doing really well. I requested no internals so I had no idea what my body is doing. I had been trying not to push, I asked if I could push now, I get told I can go with it. Looking back through my labour notes I find that I was having a contraction once every 2 to 3 minutes lasting 60 seconds long. It sure felt intense!
14:30pm - I start to feel a little bit of stinging at the end of each contraction. WOW I thought calmly to myself...My baby is going to be arriving soon! So this is where I get back to the start of this story. I remember thinking my hair was all over the place. That I was glad it wasn’t too hot as my air conditioner doesn’t work that well when it’s hot and humid. I even wanted my dogs to stop barking. I never once thought about that scar on my uterus!
14:56pm - I keep getting longer feelings of stinging. Then I feel a pop and a stretching sensation and his head is out. Wow I remember feeling, that means the rest of him will follow! I can feel his head begin to rotate. It is the most awful feeling. Not painful, but it felt like someone was behind me pulling him around, and I ask if someone was pushing down on him, but no, the midwives tell me, that’s him turning all by himself. I am too scared to move and holding on I wait for the next contraction.
(Archer, head out- who is already looking at the world!)
15:03pm - I feel one last push and whoosh he slides out. Emma is behind me and tells me to get my hands down and she pushes him under my legs. I reach down and pull him up and out of the water. Oh my gosh, I stare down into his eyes, he stares up into my face and we gaze at each other. He is covered lightly in vernix, the rest floats around in the pool. He looks a little grey straight away but slowly starts changing colour. I think, yep, just birthed my baby, as you do. I thought straight away that yes, it hurt, but it felt...easy and normal. I sit down finally after 4.5 hours and hold him to my chest. I start to process what I have just done. I chat away with the Emma, Jodee and Scott while we wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating and the placenta to come away. I offer the breast to Archer but he’s not really interested!
16:00pm - I am experiencing mild cramps but no contractions. The backup midwife has a quick check and tells me the next time I have a contraction to push through it like I did during labour. When it finally happens I push, and then- whoosh- the placenta comes out intact. By now the cord has stopped pulsating so we clamp the cord and I ask Scott to cut it, which he does.
I am cradling my baby on my chest and I start to call my family. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone know until after the birth, so it was wonderful to be able to call them up and say “Hey mum, dad, I had my baby not long ago!” I move back up to the bedroom and get comfortable in bed. We weigh and measure Archer. 3.3kgs, born at 3:03pm and 54cms long.
At 18:30 both Emma and Jodee have left. Scott’s parents bring our daughter back home to meet Archer. She sits on the bed next to us and reaches over to tickle his head and laughs. He fits seamlessly into our lives.