Early on in my pregnancy, after looking into our model of care options, my husband and I chose to have a planned home birth, as we felt we would be most supported by private midwives with the best outcome in both labour & postnatal care for our baby & I. As a woman, I’m in awe of how amazing our bodies are at being able to create life, there’s no doubt about it, however I wanted to ensure I had the best scaffolding, both physically and emotionally, in place to create the best opportunity of an incredibly positive first birth experience. I considered this pregnancy preparation “work” as my “training” for labour/birth – I would never run a marathon without training for it, so my thought pattern was similar for birth.
Physically I supported my body keeping up with regular movement, Chinese acupuncture, Clinical Pilates, Spinning Babies exercises and Chiropractic care. Whilst emotionally our birth preparation was primarily through completing the Hypnobirthing course. These sessions were jam packed with vital information that provided both my husband and I with invaluable strategies during labour.
During pregnancy the continuity of care we received by our private midwives was second to none. The substantial appointment time spent with them for check ups and any concerns that came up between appointments were discussed with such ease allowing for a strong, dependable & trusting relationship to be created.
When my waters broke in the evening at 39wks 4days, it took me by surprise as I truly thought I would be waiting until 41+ weeks to meet our baby. I spoke with my primary midwife describing my pre-labour contractions that had begun and agreed on keeping her updated overnight with a visit by her first thing in the morning if no change. Pre-labour contractions continued all night and fizzled out by the time she arrived next morning to check on us. Baby and I were fine. Understanding our options, my husband and I chose to trust my body knew what it needed to do and wait for active labour to begin spontaneously. Sure enough, a walk down to our local cafe at lunch time that day kicked off my active labour.
I returned home to continue labouring, using many of the Hypnobirthing strategies I’d learnt and listening to the Hypnobirthing Rainbow meditation track on repeat with the positive affirmations I was familiar with to help guide me through each contraction. My husband helped finish setting up our birth space, with essential oil diffusers, salt lamps, re-stocking up on firewood inside the house to keeping the fireplace running all night, minimal lights/curtains drawn, making it feel very private, safe and secure. Intuitively feeling I still had some time before baby would arrive earthside and understanding the importance of my pelvis being well aligned for baby to travel through during birth, I felt it worthwhile for my chiropractor to check me over for alignment. Following my chiropractic adjustment, my contractions reduced to 3 minutes apart, with our baby well on his way now!
I continued to labour at home on my birth ball and in the shower, whilst my husband filled the birth pool and primary midwife on her way. Upon arrival my midwife checked me to confirm baby was engaged and ready, I got into the birth pool which was now ready too. Birthing in the pool was amazing and offered so much additional relief. The support by my birth team during this time was exactly what I needed. Shortly after our son was born – I will never forget that moment of holding him for the first time, followed by delayed cord clamping, skin to skin for an hour on me then on my husband, and then natural delivery of my placenta.
This birth experience was absolutely amazing and I truly felt being well informed in our options, doing all the preparation “work” during pregnancy and having a beautiful birthing team support was vital to enjoying such an incredible home birth.
- Kate Greenaway