In the early hours of the morning I started to have some waves of period pain discomfort in the lower part of my belly. Unlike Charlie who was a bit posterior, Cooper was in a lovely position so I managed to dodge the back and bowel pains I had experienced with her when I was in early labour.. because of this I was able to stay in bed and go back to sleep between waves. Jesse wasn’t feeling the best the night before he let his boss know he wouldn’t be coming in to work that day. Charlie was having her Sunday night sleepover at my parents place and he must have known this was the best time to make his way earth-side!
Knowing that sometimes early labour could fizzle out in the morning I waited to see if there was still some contractions and messaged my midwife Chantel to let her know how I was moving along. Everything about having a homebirth with a private midwife aligned with me for this birth. The only fear I have had the whole time with home birth is not being able to have my midwife Chantel with me on the day as she is quite a commute away depending on where she is and the time of day. I wanted to give her as much notice as possible to increase the chance that she will be with me as we have formed such a wonderful bond throughout the continuity of care model. That morning we talked about early labour, conserving energy and that he will come when he was ready.
Jesse and I had breakfast, he set up the pool and the house while I had a shower, I did some antenatal expressing, I put some music on and had a little dance around as I was excited and knew this was the tail end of my pregnancy. Jesse and I watched a show together while I was lying on the floor in the sun cuddling our dog Dax. Things were still steady and I figured if they did slow down- they will come back that night! Just before 11am I lost my mucous plug and let Chantel know how I was progressing.
My mum and Charlie visited us at lunch time and dropped over some food, I was getting emotional seeing Charlie knowing that things were going to change for her soon. I was having stronger contractions and was starting to feel things getting stronger and closer.
I was in different positions on my knees with my head resting on the couch, standing and leaning on the peanut ball in our room but couldn’t lie down for any contractions any longer. I hugged Charlie and said that I’d see her very soon and her little brother was going to be here very soon. By this point I messaged Chantel to say that things were getting more intense. She asked if I was ready for her to come over. I didn’t want her to come too early as I’d feel guilty if she had to had to wait for too long but then had another contraction and that answered the question- it was time for her to make her way over.
1:40pm comes and I am in established labour, Chantel and Christina a student midwife that had come to some of our appointments arrive and we check his heartbeat. From where his healthy heartbeat was, she could tell that he was still on his way down. I told Chantel that I’ve been avoiding sitting on the toilet as the intensity has been getting much stronger when I do. I think I knew it was going to progress things and I was fighting it until she was here. She recommended I give the toilet a go and ride the waves. We then decided to use the tens machine- I had been holding off because I didn’t want to use all my pain relief methods too early and then run out of techniques!
The tens machine took the intensity out and I was able to go with it. I felt the urge to bear down but was trying not to as I didn’t want to damage my perineum. Chantel reassured me that it’s fine and that it’s only going to be an issue when his head starts to come out. With that green light of reassurance I let go. Jesse was giving me firm pressure while I was using the boost function of the tens machine, the birth comb and bearing down.
I ask Chantel if she thinks it’s going to happen today and she says “yes- a sunset baby I think!” I then ask Jesse what time sunset will be so I can prepare myself for what is ahead. Just before 3pm I was getting close to making my way to the pool. I wanted to try and empty my bowels before getting into the pool but nothing was coming- Chantel reminds me if it isn’t poo that’s coming out, it’s going to be the babies head. I tell Jesse we will have one more contraction on the toilet so then we have the time between to make it to the pool. The contraction passes and we make our way down the corridor to the pool- taking off the tens machine as we go.
3:05pm- I get into the water and it’s instantly calming. I had a wave and could feel the difference being able to get onto my side on an angle without gravity on my knees and body. Jesse is giving me acupressure on my hand and Chantel is rubbing my back- both feel amazing and much needed.
3:23pm-The second wave comes and I feel my membranes burst. I had never felt this before with Charlie.
3:26pm-The third wave comes and the top of his head is here. At this stage I’m guided not to push to protect my perineum. I focussed on the calm guidance and breathing instructions.
The beauty with this model of care was that Chantel knew exactly the type of communication style I preferred, she knew I wanted narration of what is happening and her guidance. She encourages me to place my hands down and feel his head. I couldn’t believe we were at this stage already. She tells me the hard bit is done now and just to pant him out. We are now at his eyes and to do a small push for his eyes, followed by nose and mouth. One more small push for his chin. At this point I say “I can do this, it’s ok” and which I hear a reassuring reply “You can! With the next wave you are going to do a push and you are going to catch your baby!” She asks Jesse if he wants to see the baby’s face under the water with a mirror so he has a look before the final wave. The final wave comes and I was able to catch my baby all on my own- I look at his face under the water and see my son for the first time, so calm and beautiful. I needed some guidance with bringing him out of the water as you generally can be worried about the cord being short (turns out his cord was super long!) but his cord was sitting on his shoulders like a pair of suspenders! He takes his first breath and cries on his own after 30 seconds out of the water and on my chest.
Born at 3:27pm, I couldn’t believe he was here already. This birth was incredibly different to what I had with Charlie. She and my parents come over shortly after, seeing my daughter meet her brother for the first time in our home was something I’ll also never forget. She runs to her room and grabs a book that she wants to read to him- “You’re a big sister” is the book and it was perfect.
3:42pm- I start to get some dull back aches as the placenta starts to get ready, Chantel helps me birth the placenta. Shortly after I’m given a tincture to help with reducing blood loss.
3:50pm-Jesse has skin on skin with Cooper and with the help of Mel and Christina they get me out of the pool and help dry me and get me on the couch.
4pm- He had his first feed after giving him time for the breast crawl reflex.
4:15pm- He has cuddles with Charlie and my parents. I have everything checked. I only had a shallow tear and from the placement, decided that I don’t need stitches. Charlie and Jesse cut the cord together. Chantel asked Mum and Dad if they’d like to see the placenta and they get to learn and look at what has helped grow Cooper. I had a shower and shortly after we take all of his measurements.
We keep up with skin contact to get his body temperature up and Chantel tells me she will see me tomorrow after running through things to watch out for and to make sure we don’t have any questions or needs before she goes 🥰