In the quiet of our bathroom, before sunrise, on Monday 20.4.20 we welcomed our #3 baby girl into our family and home! Birthing her at home and the time prior to her arrival was truly special. The weeks leading up to her birth we had been enjoying slow time at home during (Covid) Level 4.
This time felt like a pre birth ‘Golden Month’ providing generous time to rest and enjoy the end of pregnancy with all our family about the home (husband working from home, my 6 year old home from school and enjoying days playing with our 3 year old and my parents had moved their caravan to our driveway, so all were on site to create our family bubble and support leading up to birth). Acknowledging this time was challenging for many, this time also seemed to be a great pause and time of awakening in the world – an amazing still time to reflect, create and welcome new life.
Our baby’s due time came and passed, she was born on what was said to be 42 weeks. As our usual supports like osteo, chiro and acupuncture were all deemed non-essential services due to level 4, I was unable to continue my ongoing pregnancy care with same. In usual circumstances would have really relied on these for post date support.
Despite this, I let this have me feel empowered using my own knowledge of what I have learned from contact with same to lead us, with faith, calmly into birth and comfortable with whenever the time was to be. Through pregnancy I had had regular acupuncture and osteopathic care. Leading up to birth I had used birthing herbs, homeopathic remedies, magnesium cream and pregnancy tea.
From week 39 I was feeling a constant spreading back pain on and off through the day and nights that had shown me in the past my birthing process was soon to begin. This though went on until nearing week 42 when I had a show, then later that evening started gentle surges which lasted all night until the following morning when my girls woke.
My midwife came to visit late that morning, I retreated to my room for the day, which felt like my birth sanctuary, to welcome the surges to return. After a long walk in nature, by dinner time sensations were getting stronger. I carried on the evening as normal lying with my girls to sleep but aware of the changing sensations in my body.
Around midnight I heard my younger girl giggle in her sleep which my older one had done the night I was in labour with my 2nd baby – I took that as a sign this must be the night, my little one knew something! Just after 2am I woke hubby as felt I now needed him to use acupressure on me to keep comfortable.
At 3am we had my mum to sleep in the room with my girls - my 3 year old had woken just before 2am and I had managed to lay comfortably through a surge to get her back to sleep. Around 3.30am we called our midwife and then it was all on!
I moved between my bedroom and bathroom, mainly finding comfort in standing and leaning forward or rocking on hands and knees on yoga mat I had prepared out in our bathroom. I was a lot more active in my movement than in other births and loved that I had the house to wander in, in the still of the night. Our bathroom was beautifully set up with messages I had written as affirmations on the wall (with the kid's bath crayons), candles and flowers. Setting up this space in the time leading up was an important part of arriving into birth.
The 3 nights prior I had gone to bed after a clary sage bath, enjoying the atmosphere of our bathroom, talking with baby and listening to a playlist I had created for birth. In this time I was visualising how our birth would unfold during the night in that space – that time embodying the visualisation really helped our dream birth come alive and I feel for me that has always been a key component of all our birthing outcomes.
Our midwife soon arrived and I felt such a relief at her presence. I felt our baby was going to fly in before sunrise and was telling her this via song that came to me in the nights leading up to birth.
I was reliant on hubby using acupressure from when we called our midwife and didn’t want him to leave my side – totally missed the acupressure when he went to the door to let in our midwife!
Before 4am I think my waters broke (there wasn’t much water release in this birth as with my others, perhaps due to my fluid reading being low 2 days prior with a post date scan but that I had no night sweats or itchy dry skin, signs I have learned from my TCM studies that are red flags so I had faith we were in 'OK' time) in a squat which seemed to invite baby down further, in my mind I was willing baby to come, time was going fast and around 5.15am I had the urge to push, I was still standing using the towel rail as support with hubby using acupressure on my hips…the bath water was running, hubby and my midwife urged me into the water which I initially resisted as I felt somewhat content standing and overwhelmed with powerful surges!…once I was in the bath though, I wondered why I didn’t take myself there earlier!
The water felt so good and there, leaning forward in a squat I birthed our beautiful baby girl! Our younger daughter was right, all along she had talked about her "little baby sister living in Mummy."
Although I wasn’t in the bath for much of the actual birth, I felt really connected to the sensation of being there in other parts of my birth journey, sensation that stayed on from the nights prior where I had spent time in the water visualising and connecting with baby.
I was beyond elated, full of excitement and couldn’t actually stop talking once she came out! The placenta soon followed in a sitting position outside of the bath with my daughters present as Dad cut the cord. Then we all hopped into our bed for cuddles with our other girls, which was the most magic moment!
My mum brought me eggs, veges and a cup of healing broth and we enjoyed talking through the experience. Our back up midwife arrived as we were birthing the placenta - things did happen fast, after we realised I was further along than we thought when my midwife came.
Birthing at home was incredibly grounding. I felt so safe, comfortable, free and supported.
The Auckland Hypnobirthing course my husband and I took together during our 2nd trimester helped us connect to this birth process, clear any fears and visualise our hoped for outcome. My midwife was incredible seeing us through post date and standing by us, despite some intense medical opinion that came our way due to date and scan readings, I felt so strongly I knew baby was safe, was to choose date and to have faith in our process together.
I am grateful for the simplicity and great pause in usual time that the level 4 gave us as a family during this time. I have since being resting in Golden Month and each time I walk into our bathroom I feel a charge of excitement from birth all over again!