Home birth Baby Gwenllian (best moment of my life)

Dear Katherine,

I finally got around to writing my birth story…. Gwenllian Mae was born on 19th January weighing 4.2kg, home, water and hypnobirth. Hope you enjoy it and thanks again for everything.

After a week or so of “false” labour contractions I was getting used to the idea that my second baby was going to be a late one and was kindly waiting for my Mum to arrive from Wales to help out at the birth, however that wasn’t the case!

I woke up at 5am on the morning baby was due with what I thought was just a usual urge to go to the toilet but as I got out of bed there was a distinctive “pop” sound followed by a small release of amniotic fluid… my waters had broken! Already this birth was going to be different to my 4-year-old daughter Anwen’s hypnobirth. With her, my waters broke only moments before she was born, after much arguing with hospital staff to allow me to be unstrapped from monitors and allowed off the bed to go to the toilet. How I was looking forward to a homebirth this time!

When no contractions accompanied my broken waters I began to worry… just how long did I have to give birth before I would have to be admitted to hospital? I decided to try to speed things up and took my dog for a brisk walk around the park. I had a few sporadic contractions that made me stop and practise my hypnobirthing breathing techniques. They were enough for me to ring my Mum and break the news to her that I didn’t think she’d get here on time and to tell my wonderful independent midwife Jacqui, not to come for our planned morning appointment as she’d probably be needed a bit later on.

A couple of hours later, Jacqui called me back to check how I was doing. Things had pretty much stopped again even though Anwen kept asking if I could have the baby now please! I asked Jacqui what I could do to help speed things up and she told me there was no need for that, I should go back to bed and grab some rest. Wise advice from her at that moment, as throughout my pregnancy!

I went back to bed and dozed for a while until I woke again at midday with a now familiar “urge” and a real gush of amniotic fluid. I began pacing the house, stopping with each contraction breathing deep “balloon” breaths while my husband Andy, rubbed my back. The feeling this time was all in my back, something Jacqui had warned me about, as baby had been posterior at the last check up. The timings of the contractions were still not regular and although I thought it best not to get into the birth pool until labour was really established, I couldn’t stand the feeling of losing amniotic fluid with every contraction and decided to get in.

The warm water felt wonderful, I was able to fully relax and the contractions started to come more regularly. Andy and I discussed when we should call Jacqui as we knew she had an hour’s drive to get to us. Although I was still calm enough to talk to Jacqui on the phone and couldn’t quite decide if it was time or not, she decided to come anyway as Andy admitted he was a bit nervous about being on his own for the birth.

When Jacqui arrived, I was so much in the hypno-birthing “zone” that I didn’t even notice she was there for a while. She unobtrusively checked the baby’s heartbeat and applied pressure to points on my back with each contraction. Soon after, Jacqui said the baby was almost ready to be born as she could see baby descending past my sacrum. Anwen came in and asked if she could get dressed into her princess ballerina costume, reappearing moments later fully dressed up with bright blue eye make-up announcing that she could see the baby’s head only to be told no, that was poor Mum’s haemorrhoids!

Luckily she didn’t have to wait too much longer. My breathing changed and Jacqui told me to go with the urge of pushing, if it felt right. Oh did it feel right! My primal moans were the only sound in the house. There was no yelling at me, no counting out the push, no making me push lying down against gravity, just the occasional gentle encouragement and advice to relax and wait as I stretched to gently ease baby’s head out. Baby waited with eyes just peeping, checking out the world for three contractions before being born into water and floated with a gentle push from Jacqui into my waiting arms. The second stage had taken just ten minutes.

I remember that Anwen was the first to say, “It’s a girl!” Her dream of a baby sister had come true. Gwenllian (named after my great grandmother) Mae had arrived safe and sound in the tranquillity of home just after 4pm weighing 4.2kg. She was held lovingly until her cord stopped pulsing and was cut by her already doting father. Anwen got to hold her wrapped in a warm towel while I birthed the placenta. When Andy asked me if there anything he could do for me, my answer was immediate…. A cup of tea! So there I lay in the birth pool, warm in the knowledge that I had let my body do what it instinctively knew to do, in familiar, calm surroundings surrounded by the people I loved and a big mug of tea…bliss.

People often talk about the body being able to “forget” what it was like to give birth so you are willing to go through it again. I enjoyed my home birth, hypnobirth experience so much that I honestly wanted to go and shout to everyone that they should all give it a try! It has been eye opening seeing people’s reactions when I tell them that Gwen was born at home. Most people think I am so brave and wonderful and I try to explain to them that it was not brave at all, just natural and far easier that way. It really was the best moment of my life, made possible by the support of my wonderful family and an amazing midwife. May the government see sense and realise that all women should be entitled to choose this wonderful way of birthing if that is what they want. Homebirthing should be promoted not witch hunted!

This home birth story also appeared in the Birthings Magazine

(January 2010)


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