It was an unexpected but happy surprise for us to find out that we fell pregnant again- with number 5!
I was very keen to have another homebirth. My first 3 children were born in a local public hospital and in particular during the birth of my third child I felt that I was not placed in the center of care, my personal wishes were not respected and I wasn’t listened to.
As a consequence, my fourth child was born at home with an independent midwife. This was a very empowering experience for me and has given me a new confidence in life.
At 6 weeks pregnant I contacted my local public hospital to secure a place in their publicly funded homebirth program. I was waiting a few weeks to hear back from the hospital but unfortunately when I did, was not accepted into their program. The reason being my history of birthing big babies- my second child weight 4.52kg, my third 4.78 kg and my fourth 4.9kg. The fact that I have never had any problems or complications with any of my births was not taken into consideration at all.
I was very displeased with that outcome. In particular, since I had also contacted the same publicly funded homebirth program during my fourth pregnancy and was already not accepted back then due to a different reason- my body mass index. I had lost 20kgs since the birth of my fourth child and felt confident that this time round I would be accepted without any problems as back then there was no mention that having had big babies was a potential problem for not being accepted.
I started searching for an independent midwife that was able to support my desire for another homebirth and found Martina.
Bub turned breech at 33 weeks
I had regular pregnancy visits with my midwife and all was going well until 33 weeks, when bub decided to turn breech!
I tried acupuncture but bub was still breech at 36 weeks. My midwife had already referred me to the public hospital in my catchment area for a homebirth back-up booking. At 36weeks I had my appointment with the obstetrician, who was very encouraging for attempting a vaginal breech birth if my baby were to stay breech.
An appointment was made for the following week to get her turned. The turning procedure was painful and I had bruises on my tummy but it was successful- she turned back head down.
At 39 weeks I had an appointment with Ravi, the obstetrician who works together with my midwife. He was supportive and understanding of my choice to homebirth and assured me that everything was on track for a smooth birth.
40 weeks came and went but I wasn’t phased. School holidays had just begun and I doubted that I would go into labour until it quietened down again at home. My last midwife appointment showed that everything was well and Martina optimistically informed me that we won’t need to book a 41 week appointment.
On Monday I took my 3 little ones to a friends place to have some professional photos taken. My friend was also planning to be present during my birth as a birth photographer. Before I left, we were joking with each other about which days would suit her best to attend my birth.
Monday night I cooked a big batch of honey mustard chicken and began having my nightly tightenings. It wasn’t until I was settling the kids into bed that I noticed they had been going for a couple of hours and were getting more uncomfortable. I decided to time them for a while and noticed that although they were coming every couple of minutes they were only short.
I made the decision to send my girls to my mums but kept my son home with me as he is still breastfed during the night and I didn’t think that my mum would be able to settle him. In hindsight, I should have sent him away to my mums together with my girls. He was very unsettled throughout the night and wanted to nurse often, which distracted me from properly establishing labour. I was not able to fully switch off and give into labour.
At 22.30 my friend had arrived who was present for birth support and I decided to also ask my midwife to attend as the contractions were getting uncomfortable enough. My hubby was keeping busy cleaning the house and I wandered around the house drinking glass after glass of water.
My birth photographer and midwife arrived around 11pm and soon after I decided to have a bath. The water was lovely and relaxing however the contractions quickly came to a halt. They returned whenever I walked around but I was quickly running out of steam.
At 3am my son woke up and my hubby had trouble settling him. I lay down next to him and fed him to sleep. The contractions were still intense but dropped back to 10 minutes apart.
By 5am I was exhausted and we decided to send everyone home for a rest. My friend and the birth photographer decided to stay but busied themselves with frequent walks and outings so I wouldn’t feel watched.
I fell into an exhausted sleep only to be awoken by intense contractions every 30mins. By 7.30am I had enough and just wanted to have this baby. I got up bleary eyed and organised my son to go to nannies.
I spent the morning pottering around the house and going for walks in the garden. By lunchtime the contractions were more intense but I wasn’t keen on calling my midwife back for fear of calling her back too early.
I hopped in the bath again but this time the contractions were coming in strong waves. My hubby decided to call my midwife to find out how far away she is in case we need her quickly. She was half an hour away and offered to come but I told her that I will call back in half an hour to let her know how I was doing. As I moaned and rolled in the water my hubby secretly called my midwife back within 5 minutes to tell her that she should come now.
I decided to get out of the bath as I couldn’t get comfortable. I sat on the edge of the bath as the contractions forcefully came over me. I was finally sure we were having this baby today.
I roared through these final surges with such force that my throat was sore the next day. I decided I needed to move to the mattress in the bedroom and lean over the fit ball. My hubby was rubbing my lower back.
10 minutes later I felt the familiar urge to push! Rather than pushing I quietened myself and tried to relax. I remember saying to my hubby “my body is pushing now, I can’t stop it”. My midwife hadn’t arrived yet and his reply was “I wish you wouldn’t”.
I calmly put my hand over my opening and breathed deeply as I felt my baby easing her way down. It wasn’t long before I felt the crinkly velvet of her moulded head about to crown. I gently pushed and calmly guided her head to be born just as my midwife entered the room telling me to “just breathe” as she could see I was starting to have a small tear.
At 13.54, with the next push my baby’s body was born up to the belly button and my midwife asked me to reach for my baby and lift her onto my chest. I couldn’t quite work out the logistics of where she was before she was born into the bed. I picked her up, sat back and lifted her onto my chest, while saying “we did it, we had a baby today!!! I don’t know why your crying bubba, mummy did all the work!!!”
My support team helped me into a reclined position so I could relax and soak in my newest perfect creation while I waited for the urge to birth the placenta, which was born 20 minutes later. For the first time I got to cut my baby’s cord and layed back while getting her attached for her first breastfeed. Poppy weight 4550gr.
Again, I couldn’t have asked for a more empowering birthing experience for my last baby’s arrival, definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was extremely grateful to share it with some very special people, and to finally have photographs to document such an amazing event.