Roan's Birth Story
I woke up at 8 o’clock on the 25th of November to very slight twinges. I didn't want to get too excited so just lay and enjoyed the morning sun coming through the window, a few minutes later another very slight twinge came again. Luka came in to say good morning and I knew that this would be the last morning that he would come into us as the baby of the house so took it all in. The little twinges would come every few minutes or so but I was still trying to just let them come and go, maybe they were just Braxton Hicks as I was still a week early.
Dan woke at around 9 o’clock and as the little twinges were still coming I told him that it might be the start of things. I could see how excited he was but was trying to stay chilled and went downstairs and stared cleaning. I went downstairs to get some food and Dan went to the shop to get all of the bits that we might want throughout the day, whatever the day had in store for us. He later told me that he was so excited in the shops that he just wanted to tell anyone in the shop that his wife was going to have a baby and that he was getting all of the bits for her labour.
The boys were happy having their breakfast so I went upstairs as the twinges were getting a bit stronger now and I was starting to believe that this was actually it. I took a photo of myself and the bump in the mirror for the last time, it was 10 o’clock.
My surges began to get a bit more intense now so I went into the bathroom and felt to see how my cervix felt. It felt the same as it usually did which made me think that things were still early on. I sat on a stool, in front of the sink and started breathing up (in) for 4 and out for 6. I couldn't believe that this was it. I felt so excited and emotional, I was going to met my baby, all of my dreaming and hoping for this home birth were here, I felt so ready and grateful for what was to come. The surges were fairly intense and still coming every few minutes or so. I took each one as it came and concentrated on my breathing.
I needed a wee so sat onto the toilet beside me and with this change in position I felt the baba move right down, it scared me a little because when I felt my cervix it felt very hard, I could feel the babies head right there on the other side of my cervix. After this the surges got to a place where I had to really concentrate to get through one. I felt my fear coming up a little, things were happening very fast now. Dan came up and massaged my back through a surge and him being there really helped but to birth in the water was my dream and he still needed to go downstairs to fill the pool and get the birthing space ready.
I tried to get into the shower as being pregnant I imagined how lovely it would feel to have the warm water flowing over my back as the surges moved from my hips up my back. The shower was a no. It felt claustrophobic and too hot so I got out and sat back on the stool half wet and held onto the sink and felt the cold of the ceramic of the sink on my arms and calmed myself down into this space. I felt as if the surges were starting to get on top of me a little so talked to myself out loud “you are a doula, this is what you do, come on now!”.
To describe my thought process around working with my body and my surges, I would use my breath as the energy that I would need to get me to the end of the surge. I would breath in until I felt I got to the peak of the surge and then use the out breath to slowly and calmly breath till the surge was over. Some times I would do really well and the surge would feel completely manageable and other times I wouldn't and my body would begin to shake with the intensity of the surge and on the out breath I would loose “control” of the surge and feel the urge to bear down. Moaning or “mooing" on my out breaths helped to keep me from bearing down.
I was feeling like I was loosing “control” more than I was doing well so burnt some palo santo and allowed the smell to calm me down completely. I turned on my birth playlist, to an affirmation track that said “all of your ancestors are around you now, they are all with you as you go thought this magical space.” It felt so powerful to me at that point. With the smell of the palo santo and the image of my ancestors watching me, proud of me as I am going through my initiation again I felt held and safe and powerful. With the shift in my mind I began to get “control” of the surges again.
It was about 11 o’clock at this point and Nuria, my midwife had just arrived, she came up to the bathroom and asked me how I was feeling and I caught her up on where I was at. She said that it might still be early days and that we wouldn't want to get into the pool too early. I said okay and went back to my space and my breathing. At this point my mammy had arrived to take care of the boys. They had the iPad downstairs so were happy out and as Dan was downstairs still filling the pool (with boiling water from the kettle at this point thanks to out tiny boiler) mammy stayed with me.
In between surges I tried to explain to my mammy what I was doing with my breath so she could be with me in my process and as the next surge came she got behind me, onto her knees behind the stool and hugged me. Her arms were over mine, on my chest and she held me as the surge rushed through my body. I felt no pain, all I could feel was her warm body behind me. I could feel her strength with me and the strength of her mother who birthed 9 babies at home. It was the most spiritual and sacred moment of my life and something that makes me cry every time I think of it, even now, 7 months later as I write this story. I could feel the pressure of the surge but not the pain. This really lifted my oxytocin levels and blew any fear I had away.
As this was happening Nuria was talking to Dan saying that she thought it might be some more time but Dan told her that he knew by the sound of me that it was closer than she though. So, Nuria came up and checked me and sure enough I was fully dilated, she could see the babies head. I was totally shocked at this point as I was well ready for another 6 hours of labour and was happy to do it. To think that it was done and that all I had to do was get baba out was an absolute shock to me. I could feel the wave of hormones rushing around my body. I was no longer in control in the best way possible, my body and my hormones were taking over and the Kate part of it all just had to try and comprehend what was happening.
I walked down the stairs to the pool something that Nuria later told my mam that she couldn't believe I actually managed to do with the baby so ready to go.
Walking into the living room was a very spacial moment for me and will stick out as one of the most beautiful gifts that my husband has ever given me. My birth space that I had dreamed up and talked about he fully materialised. It was warm from the fire, it smelt of lavender and lemon essential oil, my playlist was on and “My Sweet Baby" by The Beautiful Chorus was playing. It was dark and the birth pool was full. Dan had even put fairy lights in between the birth pool and the pool liner so that the only lights that were on were those. The space was so safe and comforting that my oxytocin levels could safely stay at the level they were at. I got into the pool and the warmth covered my back and belly. I knelt down and faced my mam and straight away could feel babas head coming.
This part I wasn't so confident on. I really didn't want to push baba out, I wanted to experience my bodies natural birthing reflux (fetal ejection reflux). I hadn't been patient enough or given the chance in the hospital to do it with the boys.
I felt Roans head coming and thought "how do I do this" but before I had to even think any further she just came. I didn't push, there was no reflux, she just came, all in one smooth movement like she knew she was going to do that all along.
I felt into the water and picked her up under her arms and lifted her gently out of the water and into my arms.
I couldn’t believe it was that easy. I felt as if I had skipped the labour and birth and got to the end part of having my baby in my arms. There she was, my dark haired little girl, born in the water like a little seal (hence her name). She was with me from the beginning of this birth, just as much as I was in this experience she was in it with me too.
I sat back in the pool and Dan hugged me and the boys came in at this point as they could hear Roans first cry.
The placenta came around 20 mins after and Roan had her first feed on the couch and I had a my placenta smoothie. I was still in disbelief that it was all over. It was more beautiful, more powerful and more healing than I ever could have imagined and hope for.
My wish is for every mother to get to experience what I did bringing life into this world and to have the support throughout her pregnancy to manifest and create a safe space to do it in X.
Click here for my birth playlist.