Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Written by Alyssa Booth
It all started on the weekend. I was experiencing sporadic contractions, and knew all too well that I would be meeting my bub soon - but I kept reminding myself that these contractions could go on for days.
It got to Monday, and my husband Ben decided to work from home (I have never been so grateful for that flexibility!) The contractions had settled, there was no pain or twinges, so I decided to soak up as much time with my daughter Millie as possible.
The sun was shining, so this felt like the perfect way to spend our last few days together before bubba number two arrived. However, Millie didn’t seem herself. She was clingy and wanting me to rock her to sleep, something that I hadn’t done since she was a small baby. Despite her different mood, I was still enjoying it, but in hindsight, I realise she probably knew what was about to happen and that our lives were about to change forever.
Later that night, I experienced a crazy, painful, sharp stabbing feeling in my cervix. Again, I tried to put my worries aside, I’m a doula, so I understand the process of labour. Instead, I focused on getting the house ready for my home birth.
It was Tuesday, 5:48am. I woke up feeling very uncomfortable. Unsure if it was a full bladder or pre-labour, I went to the toilet and soon realised that today was the day. I woke Ben up (after some long shaking and loud talking) and said that I was heading into the shower and wanted his support in case anything happened.
At some point, Millie woke up and came into the lounge room to see what all the fuss was about. Again, she was up so much earlier than usual, she definitely knew something was up. While we made her breakfast and got her ready for the day, I messaged my midwife and birth photographers. All three text messages read “today’s the day".
I was messaging my Midwife Lou back and forth, chatting about my contractions, whether or not she needed to come yet - you know, all that birth chat. I hadn’t pre-downloaded an app or anything to help me time the contractions, so I just quickly downloaded one before I popped in the shower.
Natalie, my birth photographer, was first to arrive, and she was terrific! Her camera was straight out, taking photos and capturing the day. She even lent a hand to help us out with Millie and keep her occupied.
It got to 6:50am, and I finally messaged my midwife and asked for her to come over. I remember thinking, it’s probably too early, but I really wanted to have my pool set up and filled, as I intended to have a water birth. Lou, my midwife, arrived just after 7am, and together with Ben than began setting up the pool while I blissfully laboured outside.
I decided to labour outside on the back deck. The weather had been beautiful, and it felt so peaceful being outside in the cool morning air, listening to the birds starting their day. Despite the lovely scenery, I was struggling to find a rhythm or a comfortable position to help ease the contractions. During my first labour, I stomped and walked, this time I just swayed and rocked. I tried squatting and instantly regretted it - it was immensely painful. My bub was descending so quickly that I wasn’t feeling that relief between contractions.
Millie was great throughout it all, my Mum was around to look after her, but she was very inquisitive about everything going on. She was super helpful - she got my drink bottle and other things I needed, she even insisted that our dog be quiet. By then I was feeling a ridiculous amount of pressure and headed inside the toilet, it would have been around 7:20am at this point, and Millie had finally had enough. She wasn’t enjoying watching me moan and feel pushy on the toilet.
My midwife Lou came in and asked if my waters had broken yet, as I was replying no, a contraction came pushing my body and pop went my waters. And it wasn’t subtle, it was such an audible and obvious pop - Lou laughed and said: “well, there they go.” Nat and Lou continued to run buckets of cold water to try and cool the pool down because I really wanted to be in there. I’ll tell you one thing, there is nothing easy about waddling from a toilet into a pool when you are about to crown.
I remember feeling so hot and being unable to communicate. I managed to whisper to Ben that I needed cold washers on my face and neck - they felt amazing. Through each push, I groaned and told myself to redirect my energy to concentrate on my breathing. I didn’t want to rush the process, I wanted to let my body do its thing and try to prevent any tearing.
At 7:44am, our bub came into this world. I picked him up, unwrapped the cord from around this neck and snuggled him onto my chest. At this stage, I still didn’t know he was a he, so Ben went upstairs and got Millie, from my parent, ’s so we could all find out together. We all sat together, had a chat and then after a few minutes we had looked to see if it was he or she - and that’s when I said “Happy Birthday Judah”. I was elevated with joy, but Millie was a bit crushed that she was greeted by her baby brother and not a baby sister, as she was adamant it was a girl. She assured me it was okay though because the next baby was going to be a girl.
How she has fallen in love with him since.
I sat in the pool cuddling, feeding and breathing through the contractions that were attempting to deliver my placenta. After a while, I stood and let gravity do its thing and finally the birthing process was over. The girls wrapped us both in a bunch of towels, and we moved over to the lounge. We all chilled on the couch, while Ben headed down to the local cafe to get a round of coffees for everyone (what a man!). Nat and Jen took some beautiful photos of us clamping the cord, cutting the cord and of my placenta. We bought Millie a bracelet that matched Judah’s cord tie, which Ben tied on her wrist later that morning.
The entire experience was so relaxing. Being able to experience these first precious moments in the comfort of our home with our family and friends was everything. I felt so supported and safe. We were all together, learning about our newest additions.
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