Our little water baby was born 29th July at 3.01pm in the birth pool at home surrounded by fairy lights, beautiful music and her Mummy and Daddy.
Early Labour - Excitement Phase
Waters started to leak at 5.39am. Started timing contractions from 5.45am.
Contractions began at the same time and once I got up and walked to get some cereal, I sat back in bed and my waters leaked out more fully onto a towel.
Phoned the pregnancy assessment unit at 6.47am and had a lovely chat with the lady on the phone.
We cleaned the house and tried to have a wash etc before midwife arrived. Midwife came over at 8.30am to check me and perform antenatal checks. Contractions were 10-12 mins apart and lasting up to a minute so we thought we had a long way to go. I planned to go for a walk with the dog and do some yoga to relax before the midwives would return at 10am. I walked out into the hallway and had a VERY intense contraction hanging onto the banister and decided to go straight upstairs to prepare my birthing room and myself.
Before the midwife came, Anthony cleaned the kitchen and I told him I think we should put the pool up. We panicked because we realised we had no liner for the birth pool which we realised was actually okay as it hadn't been used before.
I sat downstairs on my birth ball while Angela was here and she did her checks. Anthony put the pool up and went to fill it before realising the boiler had broken down and had lost pressure! I went into full hypnobirthing mode and trusted that he would fix the problem and have the pool sorted in no time. I sat upstairs and worked through contractions on my birth ball until the midwives arrived at 10am and started setting up and checking in with me.
My contractions slowed down when Anthony left the house to go get supplies (coffee machine and pasties!) And quickly restarted when he came home and the midwives left me to my devices. I felt a bit watched when they were sat in my room so they offered to leave and go downstairs so I could progress.
Active Labour - Serious Phase
Then Anthony came upstairs and it was like the catalyst! My contractions became so strong that I was vocalising them and humming to get through. We swayed stood up and tried to change positions frequently before I decided I really needed to be in the pool for pain relief. The midwives wanted me to wait as long as possible before getting in the water, but once I got in it was like my body knew what to do and I went into the active stage of labour.
We had my woodwick candle burning, clary sage in the essential oil diffuser and I was using a piece of cut up towel doused in clary sage as my "gas mask" pain relief. I had my natal hypnotherapy playing in the background as well as some soothing music throughout. Everything starts to get hazy from here. I went into what felt like a trance even closing my eyes for what seemed like hours at a time. Every time I felt a contraction I tried my hardest to hum through the pressure and hang onto whatever was at hand which sometimes was a person, sometimes was the pool. The midwives found it hard to keep track of Ceces heartbeat which was very distracting and stressful for me to handle as they kept trying to move me to put the heart monitor on my tummy. I didn't want to move backwards because I felt good being on my knees. I stayed on my knees from 12pm til 3pm when she was born. I had one contraction where Anthony got in the pool and sat behind me which was lovely and comforting but I felt more pain in my back when laying on my back so opted to hang over the pool edge again which unfortunately upset the balance of the entire thing and meant the water was higher on one side meaning I had my face on the water surface during some of my contractions.
Transition - Self-Doubt
Eventually my contractions got closer together and so intense. My body started to convulse and push by itself which was powerful but scary at the same time. Each time my body pushed, I felt the need to roar or growl to help my body push down. I was using too much energy to growl though and instead decided to put all of my energy into pushing down with my body.
I have no idea at what point it happened, but the pain made me feel sick and tired and I felt like I had nothing left to give. I couldn't see Anthony anywhere but the midwife that I liked the most was leaning on the edge of the pool and holding my hand telling me I was amazing and that I was doing incredible. I said "I CANT DO IT! I CANT!" and Anthony said "remember the transition stage". I remember thinking, I can't be in transition it's too soon!
I could feel her head starting to crown and the ring of fire came into mind from what I had read before giving birth. The burning sensation was so intense, it was difficult to push past the feeling and keep pushing more. I felt her head coming down and sliding back up again a few times. It was immense pressure and I remember hearing Maggie Howell describe contractions as "pressure, power, warmth" which helped me redirect my pain perception. I heard her in the background on the track say "let your body go limp" and I tried to let my body take over from here. When I had initial convulsions and pushing I felt my waters jet out of me along with some poo!
Eventually after letting my body take over, a few contractions later and out she flew into the water where I lifted her up and stared into her gorgeous eyes. She didn't make a sound! We all waited for what seemed like eternity for her to take her first gasp and out it came with a little cough! I sang "Cecelia" to her and stared into her gorgeous eyes. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and Anthony cut it. We then tried to latch her on to encourage the placenta to detach but I ended up just squatting and letting it come naturally.
It was a wonderful experience and I'm so grateful for the way it all went! The midwives were brilliant and I couldn't have asked for a better birth partner. I hope that my video and story will help inspire another woman to have a home birth the same way other videos have done for me.
Laura, Anthony and baby Cecelia