While in my late pregnancy, a group of friends and I were discussing where we were having our babies. Someone piped up and suggested that of course I would be having my baby in a private hospital and popping a bottle of Moet moments after the birth. Well, only the latter is close to the truth… see although I am a corporate girl to the world and a far cry from a perceived armpit hair growing, peace loving mung bean, I had a beautiful, all natural water birth – at home.
I had never intended on having a home birth, in fact, like the majority of women, once I found out I was pregnant I registered with the local hospital and went for my first check-up with the midwife and obstetrician. I remember feeling a little down when the obstetrician labelled me a ‘geriatric’ mother (I am 39 not 99) and also was a bit concerned when he suggested that I would be induced should I go a minute over 40 weeks. But, again, like the majority of women, I accepted the information as I guessed they were the ‘professionals’.
It wasn’t until I was contacted by a local midwife that I realised that in fact, there was an alternative to going under the care of a hospital – hiring your own midwife. After just one hour meeting with the midwife I was convinced that this was the right way for me – not only could I expect a calm – even pleasant – birth, but her course would allow me to take control of my own experiences. And for a self-confessed control freak, that was Heaven to my ears.
So I embarked on months of support, learning and self-awareness with my group of midwives and fellow mothers-to-be. I used self-hypnosis practise and positive thinking through Hynobirthing and found I had a completely stress-free, healthy pregnancy. So when it came time to decide on where to birth, I made no hard and fast decisions, but my husband and I decided to ‘see how things went’.
So, at 40 weeks, my body started to show signs of pre labour (and thankfully with no hint of being induced by any of my caregivers) and we knew within a couple of days, our little one would arrive. We prepared a blow-up birthing pool in the dining room for ‘just-in case’ and took the time to relax completely and allow nature to take its course.
After a lovely day of pre-labour contractions, things finally got moving around 9.30pm that night. My husband called the midwife that afternoon who immediately got me into an active labour phase (I had been having a lovely time reclining in bed reading and having cups of tea all day!) with a fit ball. Someone had set up candles throughout the house and we popped on some chill out music to keep the mood relaxed and upbeat. I have to say that although my contractions were intense, I greeted each with a sense of joy and purpose. I made sure that each and every contraction was used to its full through breathing and movement (in fact the midwives watching ‘in the wings’ all commented that I birthed like a dancing goddess … quite funny to think about now but at the time apparently it was quite glorious to watch!).
My husband was there with me through each and every contraction, helping me breath and relax – I at no time needed, nor even contemplated any form of pain relief. It just didn’t seem to be required as I knew I just had to let my body do what it needed to do. As it neared midnight, the midwife suggested I hop into the birthing pool. At that stage I had no idea how far along I was – there was no internal examinations or talk or dilation – my midwife, whom I had worked with for the past few months, knew from my behaviour that it was time to get to the pointy end of the process.
So in I slipped into the birthing pool, which I have to say was absolutely divine (“yummy” is the term I think I used at the time). The next couple of hours were what I explain as, intense, fun, adventurous and amazing – yes, I can use the word ‘fun’ in my birthing story. At no time did I even consider going to hospital, nor look for pain relief. I just listened to my body and moved with it.
After several extremely intense contractions where my body completely took over, my beautiful baby boy slipped gently into the birthing pool and was caught by my husband. He was placed on my chest while the midwives, my mum and our dog all looked on – there was laughter, tears, hugs and kisses, and although I vowed to crack the Moet as soon as he was born, I settled for mud cake and a cup of tea. My husband, our newborn baby and I were then tucked up in bed by our midwife, who gave us a kiss, turned out the lights and locked the front door behind her. We could not have asked for a more beautiful, calm, positive and empowering birth.
Genine is a magazine publisher, author, radio personality, public speaker and self-confessed control freak