Well they always say your birth will never go the way it’s planned and mine certainly lived up to that.
We decided we wanted a home birth very early on in this pregnancy. I had my first daughter in a birthing centre and everything went perfectly, not just with the birth but with my entire pregnancy, so it made sense to have a home birth this time around. We had such great support from all our family and friends and my husband; although a little nervous to begin with, was great and was entirely onboard with the decision.
From the moment I decided on a home birth I became a little bit obsessive. I started reading stories early on and continued throughout, I was somewhat addicted to reading others’ experiences and wondered how mine would differ. From word go I planned every tiny detail; I hired the birthing pool, bought tonnes upon tonnes of candles, created my perfect playlist and wrote hundreds of lists for my husband of how I wanted things to go.
During my third trimester I lay awake for hours each night imagining how it would be, how special, how exciting (more than anything I was excited, so so excited) and scary, overwhelming, wonderful, and it was all of those things, it was perfect. But it was nothing like how I imagined and the complete opposite of what I had planned.
I was almost 16 hours active labour with my first little one and throughout this pregnancy people kept saying your second will be much quicker and I thought great! 5 or 6 hours sounds reasonable and I would have been completely happy with that. I also believed I would get some kind of sign before going into labour. I did not. Little bambi was a week past her due date and Hubby and I were going out of our minds! He kept saying it could happen anytime and I was much more skeptical ‘but I’ve had nothing! No signs! No Braxton hicks, nothing!’ I was convinced she was in there for the long haul and was getting increasingly anxious I would have to be induced and wouldn’t get the home birth I so desperately wanted.
On the night of Monday 6th April, I headed to bed around 11pm (no signs, nothing). As I lay in bed doing my usual routine of social media before I went to sleep I felt a heavy Pop! in my lower abdomen. Now my waters never broke with my first until 10 minutes prior to delivery so I had no idea what was happening to me. I stood up and sure enough water gushed down. Even then, although now seemingly obvious I still wasn’t sure my waters had broke, I remember sitting at the top of the stairs telling my husband and us both giggling that I wasn’t sure if I’d wet myself or not! With no other signs I decided going back to bed was the best course of action and hubby went back to watching his film downstairs. Little did we know things were about to get CRAYzay very very quickly and in a little under an hour and a half (YES 1 Hour and a HALF) our perfect little baby girl would be here.
After returning to bed I decided I should call my Mum, more to get some advise on what to do more than anything. She advised me to call the midwife and said she was on her way over. Whilst on the phone it hit me. Like a BRICK WALL. Bam. There was the first contraction, a minute later, another one. 5 minutes earlier nothing and now I was on the floor trying to breath through the excruciating pain as my Mum urged me to put the phone down and call the midwife. I had another 3 on the phone to the midwife, who was ignorantly calm about the situation, she told me to get in the bath and try to relax a little and she was on her way. By this stage I knew a bath was out of the question. This was happening, right now and there was no stopping it, no slowing it down and I had no time whatsoever to prepare myself in any way. My husband by this stage was in a complete state of panic, he was trying to get the pool set up and the house ready but couldn’t recall where anything was! (I’d only gone over the plan with him a hundred times!) I just about made it down the stairs but could not speak apart from to tell my husband I felt like I needed to push already, which sent him completely overboard, the pool wasn’t nearly ready, my mum was still on her way and the midwife (who he had called as soon as I hit him with this bombshell) had told him to put me on my side, tell me to try to keep the pushing at bay for now and if this failed to call her back and she would talk him through delivering the baby! He was, as you can imagine freaking the hell out!
I remember overwhelming relief when I heard my Mother walk through the door. My first labour it was just my husband and I and it was everything I could have wished for, he was amazing! There when I needed him and quiet when I needed peace. With my labour being so long I felt like I was eased into the pain; the contractions started extremely mild and spacious and by the time they were coming thick and fast I’d managed to submerge myself into a hypnotic state. I withdrew from everything and I couldn’t tell you anything about the hours that passed in that delivery suite. I was compltely disconnected. This was the complete oposit, I went from 0 to 60 in a crazy short amount of time so there was no easing me in, no preparation for the pain to come, it was just there, suddenly and I had no choice but to deal. And I lost it early on, the pain was excruciating, so excruciating it was making me vomit, over and over and I couldn’t get a grip on it. The length of time between contractions was too short to try to calm myself and I went from trying to breath through to ‘I can’t do this, I simply cannot do it, it’s too much” the pain was too much. But my Mum got me through, she was there, talking me through it, telling me it was almost over and letting me rip her arm to absolute shreds. Once I started to push the relief came, yes it still hurt like hell but I had somewhere for the pain to go and I concentrated alll my efforts on that, on birthing the baby I was so desperate to meet, who I’d carried for so long.
My sister arrived shortly after my Mum and promptly told my husband to stop attempting to fill the pool; that was, evidently, not happening now. (At this stage I was on our living room floor using the settee for support with Mum talking me through pushing through my contractions.) Soon after that the midwife finally arrived and I just remember looking up and seeing the look of shock on her face, she put her bag down and within about 5 minutes had everything set up and was practically shouting commands at my sister to put some gloves on and to hand her the equipment she needed (needless to say the second midwife never arrived in time). She was great, a complete natural and she loved every minute. The midwife was great too of course and very matter of fact; she was in a slight state of panic at not having help and at how far along everything had progressed but she was straight into it and talked me through the last stage perfectly. She tried to find little bambinos heart beat and couldn’t, which she assured us was no cause for concern, baby was simply too far down to pick it up. From then I think it was a little over 10 minutes of pushing before she arrived and this time I was aware of everything, I knew exactly what everyone was saying and I could feel every tiny thing! I was so awake, which was so different from my previous birth. I now, at last, felt in control and with every strong contraction I pushed, with every last bit of strength I had in me and as I felt her move down a little further with each effort I knew it was only moments before we got to meet her. It was so close and I was so scared, so exhausted and so incredibly excited.
When she was finally out and on my chest in a flurry of madness it was there. Pure joy. Overwhelming happiness. For that one precious moment it is all worth it. Anything is worth it. Because they are there, finally in your arms and she was just perfect. It was all just perfect.
I heard my husband (who had tears pouring down, hell, everyone did!) exclaim it was another girl and I just looked at her and thought of course it is. Of course you are. the answer that we had been waiting for for 9 months was now so seemingly obvious to me. My girl, my beautiful beautiful baby girl. She lay on my chest and nursed for the first time, she was a natural just like her sister had been. It hit me then and I realised how much I had missed this, this incredible bond between the two of us. I already knew her so well and yet she was completely new to me.
The aftermath of the birth was wonderful, the second midwife finally arrived and my husband made tea for everyone whilst the rest of us just sat staring, in absolute awe at this perfect tiny little human that I had grown and that nurtured for the past 9 months of my life.
Around 2 my husband woke our 3 year old daughter and she came to meet her little sister that she had so desperately been hoping for. She was a little overwhelmed and could not stop staring at the little being in Mummy’s arms and ever since she has had nothing but love for little Andee Rae.
We were all tucked up in bed for 4 and it was impossible to believe just a few hours previously we had been sat watching television with no indication whatsoever our lives were about to change, so very quickly.
So I never got the birth I had dreamed of or the birth I planned. I didn’t get to have Andee in the water nor did I get any of the other things I had so painstakingly prepared. But instead I got the birth I was meant to have, the birth Andee wanted, and it was perfect. I wouldn’t change one thing even if I could. I want to remember that moment forever, and all of the moments to come, with my two beautiful babies by my side.