Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Eden Rose Strickland is born!

Our beautiful little baby girl has arrived!
She was born at home on Monday 30th November 2009, at 5:52am.

My contractions started at 11pm on Sunday night. Prior to this, I'd had severe backache all day Saturday, then no other signs that Eden was on her way until the contractions started Sunday night, so it caught me abit by surprise when it all started.

We'd settled into bed Sunday evening at 10pm, then just before 11pm, I felt a 'pop', got up to go to the loo and my waters had broken. The contractions were coming regularly every 10 minutes from the first one. At first, I was in denial that labour had started, so we left it an hour before caling the hospital to let them know what had happened and that I had a planned homebirth. The midwife asked me to call back in an hour (1am) to let her know how everything was progressing.

After getting off the phone to her, Luke pottered around downstairs, tidying up and getting the living room ready. I'd made a list in advance of things we needed to get ready. We put Friends on in the background to pass the time, and I just sat and practised my breathing, timing contractions. About half an hour later, contractions were coming every 2-5 minutes and were getting more intense, so Luke called the hospital back and they said they'd send a midwife round straight away, although she'd be driving over from the other side of town so may take a little while.

I continued to breathe through contractions and Luke helped me put the TENs machine on. I could only cope with it on a really low setting, higher settings were much too tingly and uncomfortable, so I didnt find the TENS all that helpful for pain relief, but kept it on anyway. Luke started preparing the birth pool. The midewife, Anne, arrived about 45 minutes later (1:15am?). I was getting to the point where I was really having to focus on my breathing to see me through each contraction. She did all her initial checks and then examined me - I was 3cm. I was in quite alot of pain, but it was too early to use gas and air, and the pool wasnt filled yet. Luke did a fantastic job filling up the birth pool - using the boiler, kettle and pans on the hob! He had to keep this up pretty much constantly from this point onwards.

An hour later, I couldnt cope anymore with the pain. I couldnt get comfortable, my contractions were pretty much constant, giving me very little time to rest and relax between each one. I'd estimate they were coming every 1-2 minutes, as Anne couldnt always finish her check on the baby's heartbeat, which takes 1 minute. I started pleading to be taken up to the hospital and given an epidural and/or caesarian - anything to make the pain stop! Anne didn't quite know what to do, as only an hour ago I'd only been 3cm, so she thought another examination might help in the decision. Surprisingly, I'd gone from 3cm to 7cm in an hour (usually it's 1cm an hour). The birthpool was ready (just about) so I got in. The relief!! It was amazing.

I was able to relax in the pool. I had my own space. The comfiest position was on my knees, with my body draped over the side of the pool, and my head resting on the top. I kept my eyes closed for most of the time, and was able to just focus and almost drift into semi-consciousness this way. My contractions slowed a little, which gave me time to relax inbetween. I started to become quite vocal through each contraction, but found focussing on the noise helped ease the pain abit.

About an hour and a half later, I asked for gas and air, I was starting to feel really uncomfortable and was finding it really hard to resist pushing. Anne suggested another examination, and I was found to be 10cm and could start pushing! I got back in the pool and again stayed on my knees leaning over the side. Being able to push gave me a boost in itself that I was nearly there, and able to focus my energies on something positive - getting the baby out! The second midwife, Alison arrived. I could feel the head coming down, but then it would slide back up again. Then I started to feel stinging, and knew I was nearly there. I just kept listening to my body, having confidence that it knew what to do. I asked again for gas and air, but Anne said it was too late really, and better to just see it through and focus all my concentration on pushing. The head eventually stopped sliding back up, and Anne used a mirror and torch to show Luke the head crowning. Their exclamations spurred me on. With the next couple of contractions and pushes, the head was out, and I had a weird sensation of the baby turning. My eyes were still closed and I was abit disorientated, and started shouting for help, as it all felt so strange and I felt out of control. Within seconds though, Anne had turned me over onto my back and with the next push the baby's body slid out from under me. I reached down, and with Anne's help we lifted her head out of the water. I checked and exclaimed 'It's a girl!' to Luke, who had been watching from the other side of the pool. I was so happy I went into smiley 'chuckly' mode, and the baby and I had a lovely cuddle in the pool. Luke said 'Hello Eden' and Alison took some family photographs for us.

After afew minutes, Eden was wrapped in a towel and handed to Luke, and Anne and Alison helped me out of the pool. I had a small second degree tear, that they thought was best to stitch up. While Anne sorted out the equipment for this, Alison helped me put Eden to the breast and she fed straight away for 10 minutes or so. While Anne stitched up, Alison wrote up the notes and cleaned and dressed Eden. She weighed 8lb 8 1/2 oz's! We were all surprised how big she was!

Then Alison left, and Luke helped me have a bath, and I had some porridge. Anne saw us up to bed and made sure we were well before leaving.

From start to finish, labour was jut under 7 hours. Both midwives said it was a surprisingly smooth and quick labour for a first birth, and were impressed with how well I coped with the pain - managing without any drugs or gas and air. For me, I had confidence in my body and am so pleased I gave the birth at home a go, it's an amazing feeling to know I did it!

Our beautiful little girl is here, and we are both overjoyed! We spent the rest of yesterday relaxing in bed. It was so lovely to all be in our own home from the start. This is only the beginning of a fantastic new adventure into parenthood for us!


sal48andahalf said...

well done lovely to read your account, must be lovely to have the experience at home and not go into hospital at all

Kate Strickland said...

Thanks Sally, it was amazing and I can't believe I did it! x