A midwife birth at home

I was 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant. We had been out to lunch and were taking a Sunday afternoon nap. I was getting surges that were about 4-5 minutes apart. I actually needed to concentrate and breathe through them.

I woke my partner The Geek, who asked if I was sure this was it. I think when he noticed that during surges I would stand and hold onto something and not answer him he knew it was the real deal. I smsed my friend Catherine our photographer and official birth Tweeter, the midwife Marcha and The Geek's mom to come watch the kids.

I wanted to lie down where I could totally relax and go limp during the surges. Hypnobirthing teaches a technique called Surge Breathing. You breathe in to a fast count of 20 while concentrating on making your stomach expand with the inhalation. It helps to work with the uterine muscles that are pulling the cervix up and out of the way. You then exhale for a fast count of 20 and repeat for as long as the surge lasts. I found that I had to have my hand on my tummy so that I could feel it expand as I took the breath in. It was quite easy to breathe through them. I was listening to my birth affirmation track on my phone and Tweeting and smsing family and friends during surges.

The midwife arrives

The midwife Marcha arrived while I was lying down and we chatted. She listened to the baby’s heartbeat during a surge and he was coping fine with the birthing time. The Geek came to lie with me. He was calm helping me breathe and stay relaxed. He was so loving and kind.

The surges never got much closer than 3-4 minutes, so I had time between them to relax or talk to people as they popped in and out offering support. I decided to do a few surges on the birth ball to let gravity aid the process and maybe shorten the time a bit. The Geek often stood behind me and held me through the surges. These were very special close moments. When The Geek was not with me Marcha would come and sit quietly in the room.

The intensity was increasing and I found I wanted to be upright but more able to relax totally, you can’t be limp when needing to balance on a birth ball. The Geek built me a nest of pillows on the bed that I could be upright but lie on them and totally relax. I was coping fine and did a few surges like this.

Into the birthing pool

I thought that the water might be nice but was worried that I was not far enough along as the breaks between surges were still up to 5 minutes. I didn't want to get into the birthing pool too soon and get tired, as the warm water can drain you. The Geek and I talked about it and decided to ask Marcha to check, I was a bit nervous as I was worried I would still be a long way off and disappointed, but I really wanted to use the pool. Marcha checked and I was 7cm with bulging membranes. Real progress and the warm relaxing pool would probably make the last part go quite fast.

Between surges I walked down to the pool in the living area and soon after getting into the water I had a surge. The Geek then got into the pool with me. He fed me jelly babies and we had a whole long conversation about a packet of jelly babies being the same energy as a loaf of bread. We were laughing and relaxed.

I had to concentrate hard to be relaxed during surges. While I will not say it was without any discomfort, I was coping and at no point thought it was unbearable or agony. At the same stage with my previous 2 births I was moaning and much more noisy.

At one point I decided to lean kneeling against the side of pool, The Geek was behind me stroking my back. I had one very, very long intense surge where I could feel the sensation change from the opening stage to the more expulsion type surge. I could feel the baby moving down the birth canal. I won’t lie and say this part was comfortable but I was still able to breathe through and only a few soft moans escaped now and again.

We started to prepare for the birth stage, I checked that someone had called my daughter as she wanted to be there. Marcha checked the baby’s heart to make sure he was still coping well with birth. He was fine and it was good to hear the sound of his heart.

Breathing the baby down

In hypnobirthing, you breathe the baby down and do not actively push hard as it makes you more tense. I breathed and panted trying not to push or hold my breath but there were a few moment when I did push rather involuntarily. The Geek was amazing, he encouraged and help me to be focused.

One big surge - and yes the dreaded ring of fire - and the head was out (both previous births I was very loud during the head being born, this time I made a small moan, it was sore but totally manageable. I never felt out of control).

Marcha helped the Geek check for the cord around the neck and moved it out the way. Even at the birth stage there was quite a long break between the surge when the head came out and the next one where the shoulders and body was born. Marcha told The Geek to let the whole body be born under the water and then to lift him out onto my chest.

On Sunday 27 February 2011 at 11:45pm, Titus was born into his dad’s hands and straight into our hearts. The whole birthing time was so full of love and support it was the most incredible experience. The bond between The Geek and I and his willingness to let go of any male aloofness and just totally be what I needed in the moment, have given us the gift of the perfect birth.

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