A Slow But Calm Home Water Birth
On the 2nd of June at 40+6 weeks pregnant, I woke from having contractions. Straight away, I started timing the contractions which were coming at least 10 minutes apart and not very powerful. I decided not to pay too much attention to it yet and go back to sleep to get some rest. Earlier that evening, I had already lost some blood, so I thought labour would begin quickly after, as I knew that the first 5-6 cm dilation takes a long time. I’m trying to sleep, but each time a contraction starts, I would wake up and look at the time.
At around 4am, the contractions started to get stronger although they were irregular. I decided to wake my husband up anyway to start preparing everything downstairs. I really wanted to give birth at home, so he set up little decoration lights in the living room, moved the coffee table aside, and popped the mattress on the lounge. However, we hadn’t set the inflatable bathtub up yet.
After a cup of lady’s mantle tea, I noticed the contractions were getting a bit weaker so I decided to try and get some more sleep. Throughout the night they weren’t getting any stronger. In the morning, I felt really tired because of the broken sleep, but I helped my kids get ready for the day. My husband took our daughter to school and our son to play at my sister’s house. After school, my daughter went to my sister’s house as well, so I could have some time to rest and get prepared.
The contractions are now occurring 2-3 times every hour, sometimes more often but I was still able to do some things. At 2.30pm, I went to the Midwife for an ultrasound. The baby was doing okay, although when the midwife tried to find my dilatation, she couldn’t feel it as it was too far back. She could tell that it was soft and I will start giving birth soon though. I went home, watched some football and sat on my yoga ball. My contractions were coming more often but still not very frequently, going from 3 minutes between each up to 15 minutes between contractions.
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That night, I went to bed with my hypnobirthing affirmations and tried to rest. I was woken up at 1am and decided to take a shower, walk around for a bit, drink some raspberry leaf tea and sit on my yoga ball. An hour later, I woke up my husband, who started timing my contractions again. Once they became more regular, he set up the bath. We called the Midwife and I was very happy with the midwife on shift, she was definitely one of my favourite Midwives. She checked my dilation, and to my surprise I was already 3 to 4 centimeters dilated. I was so relieved the contractions were working.
My mom came over and helped with the kids and took them to school. The kids were really sweet and understanding. I cuddled them and Yulan was pushing my husband’s back, copying how he was pushing mine. Once the kids had left for school, we started to fill the birth pool. As my cats had jumped into the pool, unfortunately it was a bit leaky and we had to keep inflating it.
Being in the bath felt amazing, it was so relaxing that my contractions went away. I had to get out of the bath, and once I stood up the contractions were back and really strong. I could handle them the best when I stood or sat up straight, so I was sitting on my yoga ball and holding onto the box (a normal thing in the Netherlands where baby’s are safe to sleep/play in). My husband was really sweet, supported me a lot and put pressure on my back.
The time was ticking away very slowly and my contractions were becoming very intense. In the meantime, the Midwife had swapped shifts and a new Midwife came, luckily she was also one of my favourites. The maternity care helper came as well and checked my dilation again, I expected I'd only be 4 centimeters dilated. The midwife couldn’t feel my cervix properly but she felt that it was soft and the baby is doing great.
As time went on and my contractions stayed frequent, although sometimes they got a bit weaker. I didn’t remember this happening during my other two births, but I trusted my body and the baby. It reached 2pm that afternoon and the midwife wanted to know the progress as it was taking a while. She couldn’t feel the dilation so another midwife came to our home and tried it. I was finally at 5cms! She offered to break my water, but something in me said no. I wanted my body to do it itself and also give my baby the time without interventions. I was tired and in pain, but it was all temporary.
Two hours later, we decided to check again and re-consider breaking my waters. At that moment I started feeling a kind of pressure. When they measured me I was crying from the pain, because I couldn't handle the contractions on my back and I hated being checked. After that, I felt really sad so the midwife gave me some space for a bit and I went to shower with my husband. He helped me push through my contractions that were in my back. I cried and screamed in the shower, I was so tired and so done with it. I felt mad and misunderstood, because I felt the midwives put pressure on me. Even though everything was going fine. I noticed that because of my anger and crying the contractions were getting stronger. All I wanted to do was go downstairs to sit on my yoga ball and hold on to the box. I couldn’t breathe normally through each contraction anymore, I also felt more pressure coming. There was a very mean and long contraction and I screamed. As that happened, I felt my water breaking. My water was very clear, beautiful and clean.
I stayed in my feminine power, and I knew it wouldn’t take much longer for the baby to arrive. We set up the birth pool again and when the water was warm enough, I jumped in. I had 2 more contractions and then I felt the urge to push. I felt the baby going through my pelvis. His head was already out, the midwife said I could grab him but I didn’t know how so she helped me. I grabbed him and he opened his eyes underwater and I lifted him slowly out of the water. Finally I could hold him and cuddle him. He cried a little bit, but not enough. He stayed a bit purple so the midwife pinched him softly but still no louder cry. I asked if I should step out of the bath and that helped. She wanted to cut the cord, but I really wanted a lotus birth, and my cord was very long and I wanted to have him next to me while he got treatment (on the lounge) so he was still connected to me. He got an extra 30 seconds of oxygen and his breathing and crying improved, although the midwife wanted to support him for a little bit longer. Eventually his skin turned a beautiful pink tone and he could lay on me. He latched onto my boob but he didn’t drink right away, he probably still felt nauseous from being delivered within 4 minutes.
My placenta was delivered 40 minutes later. I wasn't bleeding, so it was ok to take the time for the placenta to arrive with no pitocin injection. When checking the placenta, they found that there was a vein growing through the amniotic sac. Luckily the amniotic sac didn’t break or tear on the vein, otherwise things would have ended differently. After that my husband cut the umbilical cord in all the peace and quietness.
My son, Niyen, was born at 5.03pm on the 3rd of June, weighing 3.7kg. My pregnancy was 41 weeks and he was born at home in the bath, like I had wished for. I trusted my baby and my body completely throughout the entire process.
It was an intense experience for me, but also very beautiful. I’m happy and thankful I followed my own guts, even though I have no doubts about the professionalism of my midwife. Everybody is very different when giving birth, with all my 3 kids it was a slow start but once I'm past that stage, it goes really fast, especially when I start pushing. I’m also very thankful that I didn’t tear this time.
When I visited my midwife a few weeks after the birth, she told me how my labour taught her to stay patient and let the mama do her thing during labour. She also told me that she was worried as it was a long labour for a third baby, but was happy it ended safely and that I was right to follow my instincts.
Thanks to the beautiful mama @mommy.keet for sharing her story.
To read another beautiful birth blog, click here.