It only took 10 months, but I am FINALLY getting round to blogging about our home birth with Lawson (better late than never, right?!) I did do a video about our birth story, but honestly, I filmed it like 2 weeks after giving birth and I wasn’t really able to put a sentence together at that point, let alone remember details of my labour, because I was an actual zombie. I’m still a zombie now, but I feel like I’ve become more accustomed to the zombie lifestyle.
So it all started on Saturday 24th September with an entire pineapple and a long walk. By that point, I was SO BIG, and SO UNCOMFORTABLE, that I probably would have done anything to induce labour. Aside from consuming more pineapple than usual, though, that day was pretty normal and I didn’t particularly feel anything different.
Sunday 25th September was a different story. I woke up with just a slight ache in my lower back and belly, nothing that I hadn’t had before, and nothing painful at all, just a dull ache. I remember we were supposed to go to a birthday party for our niece that afternoon, and even though I wasn’t in a lot of pain, and I certainly wasn’t convinced it was going anywhere, something told me we should cancel. Trust your gut, mamas!
When the pain started to get a little bit more noticeable, I rang the midwife and described my symptoms. She confirmed that it sounded like I was in fact in early labour. I remember having a moment by myself after that phone call, sitting on my bed crying as that news sunk in for a minute. I felt scared. Honestly though, that is the ONLY moment of fear I had through my entire labour. Hypnobirthing for the win!
I was totally still able to go about my day, I had spaghetti hoops on toast for lunch (ever the nutritional choice), and we settled down in the afternoon to watch The Secret Life of Pets. I now HATE that movie. I wasn’t having to breathe through the pains or anything, but at that time I remember definitely experiencing ‘on and off’ cramps in my hips. I had never heard of hip pain during labour before, I remember Googling ‘contraction pain in hips’ and literally nothing came up. So even though the pains were coming and going (and pretty regularly at this point, 7-10 minutes apart!), I still wasn’t convinced I was in labour, because it was NOTHING like I had imagined or read about.
By about 5pm, I think I had accepted that I was in labour. I had another little cry to the midwife on the phone, who told me to get in the bath. I don’t know whether it was the candles, the water, or the fact I was watching Zoella’s Vlogmas from 2015 (the best one), but it felt so much more manageable.
While I was in the water, the pains grew more intense, and I was having to breathe through them each time. Eventually I found that I was getting too hot in the bath, so we came down into the living room to have a walk around in there. Throughout labour I tried quite a few different positions to rest in; sitting down, kneeling and leaning on the sofa, lying down, but everything I did seemed to make it worse. So I just kept walking. For what must have been hours. With each contraction I would close my eyes, lean on whatever was closest to me, and breathe deep.
Pain relief wise, I had a bit of a ‘scaffolded’ plan, and it went like this: Hot water bottle, bath, paracetamol, tens machine, gas and air. Having a plan like this really helped me, actually. I didn’t know how bad the pain was going to get, so I kept putting off the next step, until it all escalated quickly and I didn’t have time for anything else!
The midwives were amazing and were checking me and Lawson every 15 minutes. I’ll skim quickly past the section where I had my show; because that was gross, but very unmistakeable! From that point I found that my body was starting to add what can only be described as a kind of urge on the end of my contractions. I remember being in the downstairs bathroom holding onto the radiator when it first happened. I told the midwives, who were having a cup of tea in the kitchen, what was happening and they didn’t seem phased at all. Their reaction really helped me to feel more at ease and relaxed through the whole thing.
Eventually, the midwives saw that my body was starting to take over, and they suggested that they examine me to see how far along I was. Up until this point, I had been refusing examinations (part of the benefits of home birthing), but they were pretty insistent by this point, so I agreed, but told them unless it was good news, I didn’t want to know the number. (FYI, the examination itself wasn’t that bad). And that confirmed it, I was 10cm!
Lawson’s heart rate was starting to dip during contractions at this point. My waters hadn’t broken yet and they said that sometimes this can put unnecessary pressure on the baby. So it was decided that they would break my waters, (again, it wasn’t that bad!) I remember mentally preparing myself for the pain to get way worse though, because that’s what I had heard.
As soon as I stood up again, I didn’t notice too much of a difference, but I did notice that my body seemed to push with a stronger force. I honestly didn’t have to do anything, my body was so powerful during contractions, it was AMAZING really. Mentally, I was feeling totally out of it by this point. I didn’t know whether I was going to throw up, shit myself, or have a baby (2 out of 3 isn’t all bad.)
I was using Dan as full body support. He was my rock throughout the whole labour. I remember gripping his jumper and twisting it, before promising him I would buy him a new one when all this was over. With each contraction, my knees would buckle, leaving it up to him to hold me up. It was only in the ambulance afterwards when the midwife said ‘your husband did well didn’t he?!’ that I realised the strength that took.
Crowning. Not gonna lie, this was the worst bit. But we were lucky, for me it only lasted 20 minutes and probably 4-5 pushes. Having no pain relief apart from a tens machine, I felt EVERYTHING. And honestly, it was the most amazing feeling I have ever had. Yes it was painful, but the knowledge that you are bringing a miracle into the world completely takes over and gives you such a feeling of empowerment. I did have to push (under the advice of the midwife) at this point, and I remember losing control of my breathing once in between contractions when I think Lawson was half born! After a few more goes, Lawson was finally here!
We heard his cry straight away, it was quite mucous-y but we were assured that was normal. Gotta be honest here, the rest is pretty hazy. I remember lying down, passing the placenta (which is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen) and holding Lawson in my arms. The rest is just a daze. There is no high like giving birth.
We filmed a few bits of our labour too, so you can watch that here.
I’m writing this because I when I was in my third trimester, I remember searching the internet for positive birth stories, and I didn’t find that many! Especially home births. So I wanted to put mine out there onto the World Wide Web to hopefully create a bit of positivity around the subject.
If you have a positive birth story, I would LOVE to hear about it in the comments!