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Happy Home Birth-day!

February 7, 2012

In celebration of Sienna-Raine’s first birthday I thought I’d re-post her birth story; my second home birth, so because we all love a good birth story, here goes…

I guess with her being my fourth baby I just imagined a few contractions, a gentle push out ‘pop’ out she’s come into my arms! Not so I tell you! Sienna-Raine Hope; my fourth baby came into the world on Monday February 7th after my longest and hardest labour.

I felt this little one would be appearing slightly early; the pressure was getting pretty intense and I was starting to get slight ‘niggles’ now and again. On the evening of Saturday 5th Feb I woke up to go to the bathroom to find I’d had the beginnings of a ‘show’; now in previous labours after a show baby had arrived at least 12 hours later; this was not the case with Sienna.

Throughout the night I started to have mild contractions, they were irregular and gentle and but got me out of bed; I slept when I could. We woke up Sunday morning after not much happening and decided that this must be the day, so we contacted friends to say we wouldn’t be at church and let Grandma know that she needed to pick up the kiddies.

The day was pretty uneventful but Dave and I made the most of our time together between the mild contractions; walking, eating, talking, snuggling and various other ‘tips’ I’d recently read about in Ina May Gaskins ‘guide to natural childbirth’! We felt slightly guilty that we’d palmed the kids off to Grandma when I wasn’t really in labour. The children stayed the night at Grandmas and we enjoyed a well-earned take-away dinner and an unofficial ‘date night’ at home!

Sunday soon turned into Monday and things were still sporadic ; I started the day with a big bowl of porridge to keep up my energy levels; and I needed it! I was missing the children so we decided to have them back for the day before the ‘real’ event kicked off! I’d contacted my midwife; the community team knew I was ‘brewing’ (their term not mine!!) so she paid me a visit at home after her surgery appointments. Katy, my fab midwife, did an internal examination so see what was going on, she confirmed that the cervix was very soft but I was still only about 2 centimetres dilated. She also confirmed that Sienna-Raine (‘the baby’) had turned back to back which was my suspicion, which also explained the pains in my lower back. Katy offered to do a ‘sweep’ which I gladly accepted; hoping it would get me on my way. The sweep was done around 5pm on Monday 7th February.

No sooner had the midwife left the door step the contractions came on fast and furious, Dave quickly ran me a bath and I ritually soaked between contractions, with each building contraction I had to stand up in the bath and rock…a good sign!

With the children happily tucked up at Grandmas things really started kicking off and I knew this was really labour; our little princess was nearing her arrival. We phoned the community midwife team and they were soon on their way. Between contractions Dave and I set up the room, cleared space for the midwife to use, lit some candles, put on my birthing music (a mixture of ‘soaking’ and worship music) and made a pot of raspberry leaf tea (great for my hard-working uterus!). The midwife arrived, took my vitals, got her ‘stuff’ out and left me to it!

I felt so connected to Dave, we communicated well and I used his strength to get me through every contraction…and if he wasn’t helping me he was creatively updating our Facebook status with links to songs that reflected what stage of labour we were in (that’s Dave!)!! The ‘rushes’ (see Ina May’s books) were strong and powerful and I thanked God for each one, helping me bring to birth our precious blessing. Dave held a hot water bottle on my lower back, and I held a cold flannel with lavender essential oil on my forehead; it was perfect team work!

I could feel she was big, I could feel she was working hard with me to come down the birth canal; the labour was strong, but controlled.

I prayed, we prayed
I paced, I rocked, I squatted, I groaned, I breathed, I blew raspberry’s (great tip for relaxing the uterus is to relax the mouth), I knelt on a chair

I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I hugged, I kissed (another great way of relaxing in labour)

I controlled, I wasn’t afraid, I listened (to God, to my body, to my husband)

I endured

The midwife intermittently checked for the baby’s heart beat and checked my pulse – we were both consistently strong, my daughter and I were working hard, standing the course; almost there!

As things started to progress our midwife called for back up as baby was nearing her arrival, soon after midwife no.2 arrived I went into transition; couldn’t speak, couldn’t touch, couldn’t hear; just moved with what my body (and my baby) needed. I could hear my sounds of release, I felt undone but free to birth; in the arms of my husband and the comfort of our own home.

Then came that feeling of no return; that amazing strong feeling to P-U-S-H; we piled high cushions at the edge of our corner sofa, I squatted, my head was gently resting on the tower which swallowed my hard-working sweat and the deep groans of labour. With cheers of encouragement and the sting of that final stretch out came into the world Sienna-Raine Hope; 9lb 3oz.

Grace and answered prayed overwhelmed me again as we passed the finish line with no tearing, no cord round the neck and a perfectly pink screaming baby girl. God is so kind.

I turned slowly and embraced my bloody, messy, yelling newborn princess, wrapped tight I held her low beside my body until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing. Dave (now a pro at this!), cut the cord of his fourth child and I lifted her higher and to my chest, her face next to mine and I fell in love again.

Despite my ‘plan’ to allow the placenta to come away naturally my exhausted body held on to it beyond my strength, I was uncomfortable and my body ached from the 7 hour workout I had just endured so that ‘magic shot’ helped it on its way and out it slid; the final part of my 40 week journey leaving my body. I sat on my living room floor; hot and happy and put my daughter to the breast; she happily nursed for some time, I felt so content.

Then there’s the checking, the clearing, the cleaning up, the phoning, the texting, the bathing…and finally, after laying hands on our baby, thanking God for His amazing grace and precious gift to us once again, we slept; tucked up quietly in our own bed, perfect peace.

And we are 6.

The beautiful birthday girl, pic taken this morning!

Pain; a price paid for perfection.

Thanks for reading my treasured memories; pop by again!


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