I never thought I would write anything half so personal; let alone share it with whomever wants to read it. I’m not a ‘mum blog’ fan and definitely not a pro-home-birth hippy type! But home-birth for me was right and special in every way, so I guess I’m doing the ‘mum blog’ thing anyway and telling you my experience here on Chalk Kids. I’ll try not to be cringy, preachy and make you want to vomit your own ovaries.
My story starts with the birth of my first son in 2009, I was 24 years old and delighted to be expecting our first baby. I didn’t do the whole NCT thing, it sounded far too middle class and for older mum’s. Besides that I was to be a year out of university when I gave birth, I hadn’t set up a job (at least not one I wanted to keep) or business for myself, we were living close to the knuckle in our first flat and doing a loft conversion – I didn’t have money spare for things like NCT classes.
Instead I read a few books about giving birth, nothing biased, to help educate myself. I was pretty fit/had a good diet and experienced no pregnancy problems. I didn’t write a birthing plan, I suppose I didn’t know what to expect or how it would go first time around. I knew I wanted a water birth and for it to be drug free if possible. I liked the idea of a home- birth but couldn’t pick that as an option as we were staying with our friends (I didn’t really want to leave them with blood stained walls!) When I went into labour 2 weeks early it was a relief to get to the hospital and be somewhere more private.
My husband was excellent and knew to be quiet in order to allow me to go with the flow and speak when I needed too. I think this pin points my attitude towards labour and birth, I go with the flow, this is the best way. No panic, no expectation, good breathing, knowing that pain is an inevitable part of birth and it will end. I have recently heard of HypnoBirthing and from reading about it, it sounds very much the way I approach birth. Also my faith in God helped me in the same way, trusting and giving what I don’t have control of over to him.
I only spent 6 hours at the hospital before I held my boy, Caspian in my arms, after a bit of gas and air and a water birth. I had been blessed to have such a good experience but it still felt so clinical, sterile and impersonal. I was abandoned by the midwives who were obviously very busy because I made no fuss and managed the pain on my own. I realised I had been ready to push for a long time before they came to check me, they of course were great, but I hated the way the cord was cut before it stopped pulsating (I guess this was a time and beds issue for the hospital) and how they stitched me up so tight (when I only had second degree tears) that it made sex seriously uncomfortable for over a year.
Unfortunately, my after birth experience was awful in hospital. I didn’t like being disturbed every half hour or so for tests, bounty pack sh*t, this that and the other. All I wanted was to sleep and bond with my little family. Also at the hospital you can’t carry your baby around and have to wheel them in their bed and my first cried, a lot. In addition, they expected me to get my food from the canteen 3 hours after giving birth with incredibly painful stitches. It was all ridiculousness to me. I felt angry, and knew from that point if I was blessed to have another child it would be at home.
Fast forward 3 years later in our second home, Caspian was shipped off to nanna’s and the bathroom was plastered with tarpaulin’s, lavender essential oil filled the room and classic fm was on low (ha ha I don’t ever listen to it, but it seemed fitting). I had thought about how to be comfortable in the bath and had bought some foam to lay on (I’d gotten bruises from giving birth in the hospital birthing pool). When the midwife Gina came round, the same lady I had seen at all of my appointments, I was already 6cm dilated. It wouldn’t be long, we knew this was going to be quick!
Gina is jolly and Irish, and so relaxed she is horizontal, “uch no, you don’t need to hire a birthing pool, you’re small enough to fit in the bath”. Throughout my labour, Gina and the second midwife made their notes, they didn’t leave me. Scott my husband was the same as before; quiet and kind but he felt useful, heating the bath and making tea.
When the babes’ head was born the cord was wrapped around his neck, but my midwives were brilliant, they told me to keep my pelvis below the water until I had pushed the body and with one decisive push out he came and they expertly unraveled him. He didn’t cry and I found this very strange… a tremor rose within me, ‘why isn’t he crying?’
“He doesn’t know he’s been born,” Gina answered.
The realisation dawned on me, it had been so peaceful, why would he? I cradled him against my flesh feeling at one with everything, blessed and happy. I lay there until the cord stopped pulsating and Scott cut it. As I stepped out the bath the placenta came too and it was then we realised I had lost quite a lot of blood so Gina jabbed me with the ‘stop-the-blood-injection’ and all was ok.
I lay down and breastfed while they checked my blood pressure. I had second degree tears this time and lots of scar tissue from where I had so many stitches the last time, Gina thought it was excessive and we decided on this occasion to let nature take its course and see if I would heal naturally, which I did.
They helped me to my bed and weighed little Levi and then Scott dressed him. It was about 11 o’clock at night. I didn’t have any doctors or midwives visit until a couple of days later, it was the perfect time to rest and not feel bombarded.
Two years on, I’m expecting our third child. We have just bought a new house which is needing completely gutting (we are doing this ourselves) and so we are staying with my parents. It’s chaotic and crazy, but I think life for us always is. It keeps us on our toes, that’s for sure. I’m preparing for another home-birth, this time in my mums’ bath, and knowing me it’ll probably be on Christmas Day!
Thank you so much Seonid for sharing your beautiful home birth story with us. You can follow Seonid and her family on Instagram here.