My 6th pregnancy
It was such a surprise (again) to fall pregnant (again) with my sixth child. I had 2 previous homebirth and naturally, was planning to give birth again to this baby at home.
I had routine ultrasound scans, which showed that my placenta was lying low. But luckily, when we checked again at 32 weeks it had moved up and away enough in order for me to have a vaginal birth at home.
I also did the pregnancy diabetes test as I have a history of birthing big babies. The first test came back slightly abnormal but I requested a repeat glucose test, which was normal.
Towards the end of the pregnancy I went to see the hospital for an appointment with their midwife and doctor to organise a homebirth back-up booking.
40 weeks came and went with baby number 6 but I didn’t think much of it. I was cranky, sore and huge but only one of my previous babes had come on 40w, the rest were closer to 41 so I knew I still had Atleast a week of being cranky. I went and had some relaxation accupunture which definately helped me be a bit more calm and easy to live with for me family!
Wednesday, 41 weeks
My 41 week appointment with my midwife rolled around on the Wednesday and my baby was happy, partly engaged and in a good position for birth. We discussed making space for our baby to come into the world and maybe getting someone to watch my other 5 kids for me for a night or 2. We discussed what would happen in the next couple of days/week if my baby still had not arrived and the type of monitoring that is required to make sure my baby is safe.
I went home feeling happy that my baby was engaged as most of my babies only did this during labour and I made an appointment to see the chiropractor the next day as my neck and upper back were sore.
Thursday, 41 weeks and 1 day
On Thursday I had the chiropractic adjustment in the afternoon and went home feeling good. In the evening after cooking dinner surges started that were a little more uncomfortable than the nightly braxton hicks I had been having so I busied myself cleaning my room while my husband put the kids to bed. I timed a few contractions at 8mins apart and lasting 30 seconds so I knew they could either fizzle out or continue to progress to active labour. Either way, they were doing something. I tried a shower and sleep but they were uncomfortable enough that I tossed and turned. At about 1am my daughter woke and came into my bed and everything stopped. I managed to get about 4hrs sleep but woke for the day feeling cranky and defeated.
Friday, 41 weeks and 2 days
The next day, Friday I decided to send my big girls to school and my 3 youngest to my mums house for a sleep over and tried to make the day a day just for me and my baby. I went for walks in the fresh winter air, ordered Indian take away and moved a mattress onto the lounge room floor so I could snuggle and watch a movie. My husband and I also used the time to reconnect and after some “cuddles” I decided to try and sleep around 8pm.
I remember tossing and turning for about 2 hours until I gave up and got up for the restroom. I had diarrhoea and when I got up had a mild contraction that lasted about 30seconds. I decided relax in the bath for a while and listened to music in the dark, floating in the warm water. Every 3 songs I noticed a contraction that would last for about 30 seconds. They were painful enough to stop me but easy to breath through.
After about an hour I decided to get out of the bath and try to sleep a bit more because the contractions were too short to be real labour and I was really exhausted. My husband warmed my heatpacks and rubbed my back until I fell asleep. Every 20 mins or so I was awoken by a painful contraction but I breathed through it and went back to sleep.
Saturday, 41 weeks and 3 days, labour 🙂
After about 3 hours of this I got up for the bathroom again. I had a contraction almost as soon as I stood and had to vocalise through it. My husband looked at me and said “time to call the midwife”. I laughed at him and went to the bathroom, another contraction as soon as I stood up again. I moaned through it.
“Call the midwife” my husband said. I refused again and told him the contractions were still 5 minutes apart and only lasting for 30 seconds. He was concerned that the noise I was making suggested it was labour so I gave him my phone and told him he could time some of the contractions if he wanted but that I would not call the midwife yet until there was an established pattern.
I went to my room and diffused some aromatherapy oils ( May Chang and Frankincense ) and set up the area with some towels, a bin, some disposable sheets and other things I might need after birth. My husband kept timing contractions. And at about 3.30am told me he really wanted me to call the midwife. I reluctantly called my midwife and told her I thought it was too early but that my husband wanted her nearby. My midwife agreed and informed me that she would be there around 4am.
I went back into my room and put on some music and set up my bed with old blankets and a drop sheet still expecting everything to slow down once the midwife arrived. I kept going back and fourth to the bathroom as I noticed with each contraction the pressure was so big that I was weeing a tiny bit. As it turns out, this was likely my waters that had broke but I was unsure as they didn’t really release in that classical big gush.
My midwife arrived for the birth
My midwife arrived, checked the baby’s heart rate and went to sit in the lounge room. We had discussed earlier that I laboured better on my own so she stayed away unless I called her or to perform the regular baby’s heart rate checks. She set up her equipment and I went and had a shower to manage my back pain.
At some stage the second midwife arrived and moved into the lounge room too but I was unaware she was there.
I experimented with ways to feel more comfortable as my legs were tired of standing but in the end I found standing leaning over a chair with a heat pack on my lower back was the best way for me to manage the pain.
Feeling the sensation to bear down
Some where over the next hour or so I began to feel a little pushy. I told my midwife who encouraged me to just go with what my body wanted to do. So I pushed a little with each contraction while standing but I did not feel the baby going anywhere. My husband came in and I cried. I told him that I could not do it and that nothing was happening. In my mind the contractions had really slowed down and it felt like I had not really been labouring for a while. I felt nauseous and exhausted so I asked my husband to bring me a banana which I ate between contractions.
Not long after I called my midwife in and asked her to break my waters. She laughed replying with a ‘no’ and explained that it is an intervention that can interfere with physiological labour an therefore, is recommended not be done at home. She asked me how I was feeling and what the problem was. I explained I felt like I wanted to push but I was unproductive and going nowhere. She asked if I wanted to push or if my body had to push. I said I did not know and went on to my bed to sulk, leaning over the fit ball on all fours.
My midwife sat quietly in the room. I breathed through the next few contractions while my husband applied counter pressure to my lower back. Suddenly that feeling of no holding back hit and my body began to silently push. It was really slow and painful but I could feel slow progress.
My midwife assured me that soon I’d be able to feel my baby. As his head got closer to crowning I went into the runners pose which definitely openup my pelvis up like I needed. Soon I could feel that familiar wrinkly velvet head which gave me the energy to push harder than I ever had before. My baby’s head crowned and my midwife told me to breath as she could see I was starting to have a very small tear. As I pushed she announced the parts of his face that were being born.
Once his head was born I was having trouble moving the rest of him down when my midwife announced she could see his hand coming out under his chin. My midwife touched his hand and my baby extended his arm out which allowed me to birth his shoulders, then the rest of his body.
The time of birth was was 6.38am
He slithered out between my legs and I grabbed him and tried to pick him up. He was slippery and yet to cry so my midwife rubbed him a little on his chest with a towel and I lifted him to my chest as he let out an almighty cry. I was so relieved.
I snuggled my perfect baby while I waited to birth the placenta. We marvelled at the length and thickness of his umbilical cord. We also joked about his weight as I have a history of having big babies and we mage made guesses. My midwife guessed 4.7kg, my guess was 4.9kg.
Baby Alexander weighed 5060gr!! :-0
The placenta came away and after some toast and some water daddy snuggled our baby Alexander while I had a shower. Once I was out of the shower we weighed and measured my baby: 40cm head circumference, 55cm length and wait for it, 5.06kg (11lb2oz ).
My midwife congratulated me on cracking the 5kg and birthing the biggest baby she has attended.
I got snuggled up on the couch with Alexander to feed and my husband Mick went to get me something yummy for breakfast.
Overall one of the most challenging yet empowering experiences of my life!!