Victoria's Home birth experience
Victoria gave birth to baby Brooke Erin on 26th of April at home in a birthing pool.
Previous birth experiences
My first birth was a very long hospital labour due to the beast from the east! Unfortunately it didn't progress as my contractions stopped and I ended up with oxytocin drop and assisted birth with forceps.
My pregnancy was the similar to my first as I had heartburn through the roof and morning sickness until 20 weeks. But in terms of coronavirus it was awful, I had just had my home birth signed off at 33 weeks and then home births were put on hold. We then had to consider various options and even considered the possibility of free birthing! I was very lucky that when my due date week arrived home births were back on! I was so relieved.
Birth of baby Brooke
On the morning of Saturday the 25th April my lovely home birth midwife Adriana came to see me, I was 40 weeks and 4 days. We discussed how the home birth would work, she told me the days she was on call and that Saturday as in tonight was one of them…no pressure!
So we went for a walk to one of our favourite places and played hide and seek and chase with our son in the woods.
The evening came and we put our son to bed. Normally this is a two hour battle of going in to tell him to lie down or give him this and that, but not this time. He took his two toy dinosaurs to bed, played for an hour and fell to sleep.
I had a bath and my contractions began! It was 9.30pm and I was contracting 50 seconds every three minutes. My husband suggested we start to fill up the pool at 10pm just in case. Everything was good until I sat down. My contractions stopped and there was an 8 or 10 min gap! But then the next time I stood up I had the biggest surge!
At around midnight we decided to try and sleep, and if it was the real deal then surely the contractions would continue.
I managed about 45 minutes of rest and in that time I had three strong and painful contractions. With the last one I decided to get up and I checked the pool to see it was full.
I had previously been to hypnoborthing classes and I used hypnobirthing and the Freya app to guide me with my breathing. At 2.40am I rang the labour ward to ask for advice as even though the contractions were strong they were irregular and spaced out, plus if I sat down they disappeared. I rang triage to explain what was happening and they rang my midwife who was on call. I really didn't want to bother her as I wasn't sure if this was it. At 3am my midwife rang and said she would come out. She arrived at 3.30am and just sat and observed and as my labour progressed a second midwife arrived at about 5am.
I breathed through my surges with the help of my husband rubbing and applying pressure to the bottom of my back. I was classed as in established labour at 5.15am when I asked for the tens machine putting on. I lasted for 30mins with tens machine before deciding at 5.45am to get into the pool.
I went to the toilet one last time before deciding to get into the pool and I said I wanted to know how far dilated I was but I also didn't want to know either. My midwife was perfect, she explained that she didn't feel it was necessary, the plan wasn't going to change and if I wasn't established and we felt the water was having a slowing effect then I could just get out. This made complete sense and I got in...wow the relief! I had a contraction that felt so much better in the water, it made me regret not getting in sooner but then no more than a minute later another came.
Something clicked and baby had dropped right into my pelvis, I transitioned and I remember saying that I said I couldn't do it and I knew straight away what was happening. I then had gas and air which was heaven.
I then had the most amazing experience, I felt everything, and felt my baby in the space of 1 to 2 contractions move through my birth canal, I have to admit, I did say after this movement "that better be her head out!" it was a painful sensation that felt like my whole body was opening up, however the pain was an amazing feeling, it was indescribable. The midwife replied to say she could in fact see the head, the next surge my body pushed the head out, which was a massive relief. My waters also went and the next minute I felt my baby turn, I felt every bit.
The next minute at 6.30am our little baby girl Brooke Erin entered the world! It was so perfect. I pulled her up from the water and placed her on my chest and she screamed but it was so magical. It was like she was saying "I am here! I made it". The cord felt short and I felt I couldn't lift her up enough to see what gender she was so we just rested. Eventually I gained the courage to reposition her little body and revealed she was in fact a girl! Not knowing if she was a boy or girl was so special, when I realised she was a girl it just took my breath away.
Our amazing midwife captured the moment too…I can't watch it without crying!
I really wanted a physiological 3rd stage in the water but with the short cord I felt I was best out of the water. I moved to the sofa and after nearly 40 minutes my husband cut the cord. I asked for an injection for the placenta delivery as I was worried that my son would wake and if he was to come down the environment wasn't as I would have liked. The placenta was delivered and I was then checked, this was the first time I had been examined through the whole thing so it took me by surprise but I understand it was necessary. There was a small graze and a 2nd degree tear. These were stitched whilst my husband tied her cord tie and we had a 20 minute feed. All was cleaned up and put away, and I got in my Pyjamas just in time for my son to come down. Never in his life has he slept past 7.30am. He got up at 8.30am and didn't come down until 9am to meet his baby sister! It was as if he knew. This was the most amazing experience in my life!
Adriana was my midwife, she was amazing, she shared my passion for home births and understood my want for a ‘hands off’ birth. I would thank Adriana for staying hands of throughout my birth and trusting my body more than I did!
Victoria sends a message to women who are due to give birth during the Covid-19 pandemic and says:
My advice is that your birth plan is your birth plan, made by you to show the things you want, just because we are in challenging times doesn't mean your choices should change. It's your body and your baby and it can still be a positive birth no matter where or how your baby arrives.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us and huge congratulations to Victoria and her family from all of us at the Trust.