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Mel’s Birth Story

I have had 5 children born at home and am currently expecting our 6th child.  Our 1st four children were born in Western Australia at, the only state that I know off that has a government funded home birth programme.  I found it a challenge to find out about home births in Tasmania.  Fortunately I was directed to the right people in the end.  One reason our family has chosen to have our babies at home was continuity of care that home births offered, the midwives I have had attending us have always given us the options of care & let us make a lot of decisions.  I have often had friends who have chosen other birthing options comment about how great it is that we get to make so many choices for ourselves.   As our family has grown it has been wonderful to be at home & have the other children be able to meet the new baby soon after its birth & for me to be comfortable in my own home to recover. 

My last birth was a very brief affair.  Lasting only 1 and a half hours.  I called my midwife & she was ready with all her gear & at our home a short time later. As we have had water births my main goal was to make it to the birthing pool in time, which my husband & midwife were quickly getting ready as this baby wasn’t going to wait!  I am sure being at home helps going into labour more relaxing & peaceful knowing that there is no pressure to hurry or different people coming & going checking on things.  I recall our last birth with good memories!  In fact I have wonderful stories to share with all of our children about their births.

Joey’s Birth Story

I remember very well the snow that we had the day that my waters broke when I was pregnant with my second baby.  It snowed down to sea level which is very unusual in Hobart.  It didn’t settle much but it was really cold.  That day I went to the toilet and heard a faint popping sound and a rush of water came out into the toilet which I thought had to be more than wee!  When I got up from the loo I needed a towel between my legs for the amount of water that was coming out. 

I had been very “big” this pregnancy, after spending the first one with all my friends and relatives telling me how small the baby was and that I only looked 3 months pregnant at term!  This time everyone asked me if I was having twins…  I felt big and not very comfortable in the last part of my pregnancy.  When my waters broke and such a lot of fluid came out, I felt sooo much better!  My belly reduced to what felt like half and I felt much more mobile and agile.  But no contractions ensued, except for the odd one.  That went on for quite a while and I remember my younger sister and mother came to visit and watched me touch my belly and breathe a bit harder and got concerned, saying “well! Are you going to call the midwife?”

My husband laughed at them and said if we had called the midwife when I had been like this she would have been here for the last few days!  They left and took our daughter over to play at their house round the corner for a while and slowly over the evening those odd few contractions seemed to be happening annoyingly frequently.  I kept thinking I wished these “false” ones would stop because they were making me pause in what I was doing so often, it was starting to get irritating!  I told my husband I really felt like roast beef for dinner, which was hilarious, because I was a vegetarian for years, and though I was eating meat at that time, I didn’t eat much and never would have normally wanted a really “meaty” dinner like that.  He had to check that I was serious, but he sweetly put on some roast beef to cook anyway, while I dealt with all these annoying “brackston hicks”.

Not long after, I was noticing these belly tightening more and more and they seemed stronger than before and I mentioned to Marc, who had the roast in the oven by then, that just maybe, this could be labour starting….  We didn’t want to get our hopes up so we just hung out in the lounge room while they kept coming and I thought, I really do think this might be the real thing!  We called our midwife and told her I was having contractions, but they might stop and go away again, because I’d been having them on and off for a while.  She said she would come and while she was on her way they got much much stronger and I really knew I was in labour.  By the time she arrived I was vocalising and crouching down with each contraction in the lounge room and feeling them as really strong and intense.

We thought we’d call and see if my mum could keep my daughter for the evening as I wasn’t sure if I could handle having her there, even though we had planned for her to be present at the birth.  While I was kneeling by the couch I began to have these sharp pains right above my pubic bone and my contractions were so strong I didn’t feel I knew what to do anymore.  My midwife pressed into my back and this relieved the pressure so much I asked her to keep doing it.  But it wasn’t long before I was in an absolute quandary, I felt my labour was so strong and painful, I just couldn’t manage any position.  I really wanted to get into the birth pool, but we had left it filling while we were awaiting our midwife and I hadn’t wanted Marc to leave me to go down to check it – so alas, it was cold as cold and not really redeemable. 

We all thought, maybe at least I could get in the shower, which was down one flight of stairs.  My contractions were so thick and fast and felt so debilitating, moving even a couple of steps was ridiculously slow.  I had at least two contractions on the staircase which lent heavily into my midwife and husband for.  I tried to crawl to see if that would get me to the shower quicker, but I just couldn’t move.  Finally, after the second or third contraction, I told myself to “MOVE” and managed to walk down the last few steps and across the bit of hallway that lead to the ensuite with the shower.  It felt like my body was not my own.
I had a painter’s kneeling board in the shower, because I remembered in my last labour getting rubbed raw in the knees from kneeling in the shower for hours and hours.  So I got down on my hands and knees in the shower and got the hot spray right on my lower back.  The difference was unbelievable!  I really felt I could manage these contractions now – ahh the relief!  Unfortunately, it was only a few contractions before my midwife noticed that our baby was going to be there very very soon, and there was no way for her to get into the shower with me!  So I got out onto our bed kneeling over a beanbag. 

Even though my midwife knew our baby was about to be born, I really never had an urge to push, I just felt awful strong contractions and wanted to get back in the shower.  But it was only a short time and I finally felt something between my legs, but alas, when the contraction ended I felt it go back in a bit.  I was heart-broken I had to have another contraction to get this baby out, but also finally felt an urge to push and with the next contraction I managed to push her all the way out.  I was worried our neighbours were going to call the domestic violence police with all the screaming!!!  I found out later they weren’t home that weekend!

One day old

When our baby was born I took her in my arms, but she wouldn’t quite reach as the cord was short.  I immediately forgot all the tumultuous pains and feeling like I “why did I do this again” – this little person was amazing!  We called my mother who brought my daughter over straight away.  It was her job to tell us the sex of the baby and I’ll never forget those shining eyes when she looked at her sister and said, “its a girl!!”.

Our daughters, two months later

We all had the roast beef for dinner (we had the oven timer on!) which was a quite nice really considering it had been in the oven for a couple of hours!  Getting up the stairs after was amazingly easier than it had been going down!  That night we all wanted to sleep together in our room and it was so peaceful not to have to go anywhere and to have everyone at home.  My older daughter was a bit razzed up and took a while to go to sleep, but it was such a nice way to begin our life as a family of four.