I had the pleasure of working with Naomi and Joel (and Naomi’s lovely mum!) for a Hypnobirthing course at the beginning of the year. Naomi read the book that I provide as part of the course, listened to the hypnobirthing scripts, used positive affirmations and visualizations and became more and more comfortable with trusting her instincts, her body and her baby. I am honoured to be able to share the birth story of their first child Jonty Jeremy Harris-Sparks born at 42+1 weeks at home in water……..
Saturday 20th February had been a normal Saturday. We had however (not for the first time) gone for a quad bike ride anything to help things along! I spent the afternoon bouncing on my ball and drinking raspberry leaf tea with a naughty McDonald’s in between. We popped to my mums in the evening for some fish and chips – some more stodge food! I was booked in for an induction on the Sunday morning and I was extremely nervous about this and on edge as it just wasn’t something I felt I needed to happen. So after a few tears rather than leaving it until the morning I rang the labour ward and informed them I would not be in for induction. I had had a stretch and sweep the day before and I was 2/3 cm dilated and my cervix was soft and only 1cm in length. I knew my body was doing something so I was willing to give it and my baby the chance to choose naturally when to kick start labour. We came back home and got into bed after a normal clary sage infused bath! I felt so much more relaxed after cancelling the induction!
I had started to have some mild contractions which were noticeable but not overly painful and I timed some and tried to get some sleep. It was like I could relax after making the choice not to be induced even after being told ‘it was best’. I did a lot of research and used a home birth site on Facebook which was amazing and full of positive birth stories of after 42 weeks. Who knows how old baby actually is!!! After an hour of timing they were happening every 4 mins or so lasting 30-40 seconds but when I stood and walked around apart from tightening’s nothing much else was happening. We decided to pack our bits up and head to mums just in case as that’s where the home birth was planned for. We woke mum up and all felt rather excited/ nervous as it was my first baby how would I know what to expect … The only way I can describe them was uncomfortable but not majorly painful. Planning for any occasion we lit the fire and Joel filled up the pool in the kitchen by the Aga much to my Labradors confusion. Contractions carried on throughout the night and I simply listened to my hypnobirthing track and paced around the house. They continued regularly but didn’t get any stronger. The same happened on Sunday so I called the labour ward and explained what was happening and I got the usual questions of ‘ how long apart’ and have you lost any waters. Well I had a pink wet/show and that’s when it was first advised to go into hospital for monitoring ‘just in case’. I refused and asked for a midwife to be sent out to see me. The midwife then came she was ok but not particularly helpful or interested. She took my blood pressure but would not examine me just in case it was my waters that had gone… So she left leaving me feeling completely unsure of what was going on or how I was doing. She simply told me if my baby was not born by 12am I would be classed as high risk and it would be against medical advice to give birth at home. I cried a lot!!! I regained control lay on my bed and listened to my hypnobirthing track and told myself this is my baby my body and I trust that is it is doing all it needs to do. Following my instincts along with amazing continual support from my mum and my husband’s insistence to carry on with our home birth I felt in control.
Contractions carried on slightly stronger but again stopping when I walked … Odd I thought but something must be going on so I lay down and relaxed most of the day just taking a stroll round the field with Joel a few times. By 7pm I was at a loss – I had no energy left and I didn’t know how I was doing or what was going on!! I rang the hospital and they got ‘Jodie’ the on call midwife to give me a ring. She did and she was absolutely amazing from the beginning reassuring making me feel like I wasn’t wasting her time at all. Jodie arrived shortly after and it turns out she went to school with my husband! Small world! She examined me and I was the same as I had been at the stretch and sweep on Friday.. I was absolutely distraught. I felt like I was failing and I literally thought I just want to get this baby out I may as well give up and go to be induced. Jodie was a god send at this point she said anything can happen I should take some paracetamol and get some sleep who knows she may be back in a few hours. Obviously I didn’t think anything would happen. I simply cried my heart out to my mum and Joel – they reassured but nothing helped me at this point. I curled up in bed with Joel and cried to sleep. I had two contractions when in bed I remember thinking ‘ouch’ but told myself to not be silly they are nothing. I then felt a little trickle which made me get up and go into the bathroom this is when my waters went all over the floor and they were clear – ‘phew’! I walked back to the bedroom and informed Joel that I ‘think’ my waters went, they then kept on flooding and straight away intense contractions started. Joel timed them every one minute lasting 30 seconds. Jodie had said to me that when labour properly kicks in ‘ I would know’ and that is exactly what happened. I was boosting my tens like no tomorrow and simply had to bend over and not talk through them. My mum came in and instantly said yes that’s labour. I had a flurry of emotions then and there excitement, nerves but most of all relief that my baby was actually coming after two tense weeks of ‘waiting and worrying’. We called the midwife and as soon as Jodie heard my feral tones in the background she said I am on my way. Now I won’t say the contractions weren’t uncomfortable because they were but I found them to be the most natural thing ever. I kept reminding myself of affirmations ‘every contraction leads you closer to your baby’ by this point I was holding Joel’s hands, boosting my tens and my mum was pushing my hips to get me through. The noise I was making was like something off of a David Attenborough documentary but they helped immensely. I remembered Yvonne saying on our hypnobirthing course to make horse lip noises and my mum kept reminding me of this. Jodie arrived at 10.30pm she calmly came and did all the usual checks on me and baby and all was ok. Phew I was now 4-5 cm dilated I remember thinking then and there how amazing women are and what a miracle it is that your body just goes to work to release your baby. We ‘slowly’ made our way downstairs. Mum had stayed with me and Joel had rushed off to check pool temp. This is when I needed some gas and air as letting go of my tens machine scared me I needed something to concentrate on along with the contractions. I kept thinking it’s just my muscles contracting and I can do this. Getting in the pool was bliss the relief you feel is just un-describable it’s like all the weight and pressure off your bones opening is relieved. And after no alcohol for 9/10 months the gas and air was a nice tipsy feeling relief. The bliss between contractions is amazing and gives you time to refocus on what you’re doing and let go of the previous pain. I continued with the animal noises finding being on all fours being the most comfy position. After a few hours (didn’t seem that long) Jodie suggested I get out as my contractions had slowed slightly I knew I had started pushing slightly but my body was taking a minute to rest and I enjoyed this. However I knew getting up and out and going for a wee would help. The feeling of standing up takes your breath away suddenly all this pressure comes straight back, it took a hell of a lot of willpower and determination to get up and out. This was my ‘ I can’t do it stage’ but everyone reminded me that I ‘was doing it’. Joel held my hand throughout all contractions as I needed him close physically and my mum was in my vision she gave me a sense of calmness and familiarity, I knew no harm would come to me with her there. I was so utterly lucky to have these two amazing people there for me and this again spurred me on through. I kept reminding myself all this was so worth it to meet our baby.
I managed to waddle to the toilet but no matter what I tried I could not go for a wee. This was when my body took over and really started to push. Jodie decided now was time to examine me. I was 3 1/2 hours in by now. The examination was horrible lying on my back was so unnatural at that moment but I did it with lots of gas and air to distract me. I was 10 cm!!! Everyone seemed really excited and I remember thinking right now I need to grab whatever energy I can find the end is in sight. I got back into the pool – ‘amazing’. I remember the need for all lights to be off as I needed to be in my cocoon of the water and not be inspected and lights off gave me that privacy. Pushing is such a relief your body takes all the pressure and gives it a purpose I can honestly say I gave my all at this point bearing down one leg kneeling one spread out and I pushed 3 times each contraction. I could feel my baby moving down down down. Amazing! When I was nearly crowning I lay with my back against the pool Joel held my arms and my legs up and again I gave all I could to the surges bearing down and pushing. I needed no gas and air through this. Crowning is an experience all you want to do is push push push but I tried to breath baby out allowing my body to take its time to open. I used the word ouch a few times at this point. The second midwife Heather arrived just as baby was crowning. As soon as the head popped out the rest of his body spun out literally … 3.30am on Monday 22nd February I gave birth to the most perfect baby boy. I remember feeling panicky trying to find baby to pick up but as soon as I did that feeling is just euphoric ‘I did it’ and wow look at that beautiful little person. I was obsessed with this thick head of black hair and dark eyes staring up at me Joel quickly looked and said ‘ it’s a boy’. I was gobsmacked and totally in love instantly. I just could not believe the journey I had just been through in those few hours. His cord was beautiful the perfect corkscrew and so thick!! We had delayed cord clamping until it stopped pulsating and then Joel cut the cord. Jodie gently coaxed me to push out the placenta this was pain free just felt slightly odd but who cares I had my gorgeous boy in my arms!!! The placenta was intact and huge!! A 9lb1oz baby born with no more than a little graze how lucky am I!! All those perineum massages must have helped! I could not believe it 6 hours and our gorgeous boy was born happy and healthy at home with the perfect people around. We snuggled on the sofa and he latched on for an hour straight away. I was proud as punch. So this is what undying love is!!! I am incredibly blessed and I will never take for granted the miracle that is childbirth and being a mum. Instincts are amazing things we should all be allowed to follow them more often!