An inspiring story about a couples journey to prepare for their awesome homebirth.
I get sent lots of wonderful birth stories and I love reading all of them! it is always nice to read stories where women have overcome fears and challenges to have a positive birth experience. Abi and Ajay share their story on the challenges they faced and determination to have an awesome homebirth.
“2015 – The year I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in January, and then welcomed our healthy, beautiful baby girl into our lives in December. What a rollercoaster life this is proving to be.
After being thrilled and excited to find out we were pregnant in April, the research into the birth we wanted went full steam ahead. My MS diagnosis made me doubt myself, my body – it’s a failure, it can’t do anything. The more I started to read and discover that my body is capable, it’s made to give birth, I soon put my worries about my MS to one side.
Telling our family and close friends news of our pregnancy was both wonderful and challenging. Excited about the forthcoming homebirth ideas, it was all I wanted to talk about in the beginning, getting their opinions on the idea. Wrong thing to do! I was massively disappointed by the negativity and over-worrying from them. It felt like having a constant battle every time we got together and I’d go to bed furious and upset. We were made to feel like we were doing something stupid/dangerous – we thought going anywhere near a hospital when in labour was just that! It’s sad to say that their reactions made us dislike being pregnant which is such a shame but ironically, gave us the determination and strength to successfully birth our baby at home. The best affirmation in our babies birthing room at home (Ajay’s office! J) sums up how we used this negativity: “She said she could so she did”.
I’d thought about a homebirth for years, probably coming from my sister planning one in 2006. My best friend, Amy, had an awesome homebirth in New Zealand in January 2013 and has been my most recent inspiration. I knew that I wanted, and needed to carry out my own research so that I had all the up-to-date information about birthing our baby, at home or otherwise. The reading, watching videos, attending home birth groups and constantly discussing everything with my husband Ajay, began.
Ajay always researches everything so thoroughly so that he can reach the best possible decision. I was researching everything I could and knew that Ajay was doing the same, if not more. The first homebirth meeting we went to took place on an evening in the week when Ajay was working away but he drove 250 miles to come back home for the meeting then drove a further 100 miles after the meeting at 10pm to go on to a different hotel for a different meeting the following day! Listening to homebirthers face to face was all we both needed. We asked questions and got answers we were happy with. It was particularly reassuring to meet people who were ‘normal’ like us! Not a room full of ‘hippies’ like the homebirth stereotype sometimes implies. I went to bed happy that night knowing that Ajay had benefited from attending the meeting and that we were both definitely on our way with our homebirth plans.
We stopped mentioning our homebirth plans. It became our big secret. As negative comments kept coming, we smiled politely and stayed quiet and kept our plans to ourselves. We were confident and comfortable with our decision and made sure we were as prepared as possible for our baby’s birth journey.
I came across Natal Hypnotherapy and started learning more about it, taking part in webinars to find out about the benefits of hypno-birthing our baby out. We bought the book and downloads (see how you can get a free one at the end) and started listening to them every couple of days. I found them extremely relaxing, often falling asleep. I received details of a local practitioner in Manchester, Natalie Querishi, who could come to our house and carry out two days training with myself and Ajay to help us prepare for the birth. The training included general hypno-birthing techniques, breathing techniques, affirmation planning plus lots more. By the end of the training, we both felt like we could birth our baby safely at home, so started writing up notes for a ‘birth plan’. Refusing to call it a ‘plan’ as we felt that plans often go wrong and are too rigid, so instead came up with our birth wishes. Our wishes for what would happen when I was in labour. Although they now seem relatively strict – not deliberate, but we wanted to be clear on what we did or didn’t want, all being well.
Our awesome homebirth story
I don’t remember being nervous about labour. I’d done my research, I wanted it to happen, I was almost excited?! I wanted us to meet our baby!
My EDD was 30 December but felt that our baby would make her way to us sooner so ensured that we were as prepared as possible. Practical items were bought – food and energy drinks waiting in the fridge. The birth pool was bought and the “office” prepared for the forthcoming birth. My husband, Ajay, tested it all out so that he felt comfortable with what he needed to do on the day so no panic, mid-contraction! My affirmations that I’d been preparing since finding out I was pregnant, were written up on to large pieces of card and pinned up in the office.
After a bit of stress getting hold of the gas man, he finally delivered two canisters of Entonox, for if we felt like I needed them when in labour. The relief I felt when seeing them sat near the birth pool was immense!
I think my mucus plug broke around the 23 December but can’t be too sure?! I kept thinking maybe it was just bloody discharge?
Christmas Day arrived and I woke up feeling uncomfortable and miserable – what a great Christmas Day this was turning out to be! We had breakfast in bed, trying to be in a good mood but not really getting anywhere, so decided to get up and go downstairs to watch Christmas tv and open some presents. As soon as I got up I felt a small trickle, I checked and nothing to see other than a bit of wetness in my knickers. That’s strange, it was hardly anything? Can’t have been my waters, maybe it was a tiny bit of urine?! I tried to forget about it but noticed it kept happening throughout the day as I walked about. I told Ajay what was happening so both decided to get on google! We found out that it could be my waters breaking, I could be in labour?! We read about the fact that if my waters had gone, the medical world would want me be to be in labour within 24/48 hours (depends on where you live!) Both me and Ajay felt that unfortunately, we’d better go to Hospital to get checked over, we didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.
It was a very quiet journey to the Hospital as we both knew that the dreaded induction would probably be mentioned. At the Hospital, we were quickly seen by a midwife who said yes, your waters have started to go, ‘partial membrane rupture’. She left us in the room alone and I could have cried hysterically. Here we were, somewhere we never wanted to be, about to be faced with a hard decision, and on Christmas Day! Ajay and I stayed strong though and talked briefly about what we do if we were encouraged to book in for induction. We knew we could decline it but wanted to know what we could do to make sure our baby was safe. A second midwife came in to check the baby’s heartbeat. All fine. Phew. The woman, seeing the worrying look on my face, started talking about induction – we’d need to go back to the Hospital at 10am on boxing day to book in for my induction if I’d not already gone into labour. At this point, Ajay started calmly asking all the questions we’d talked about, if we ended up in this situation. The midwife replied very fairly and there was no pressure from her about ‘having to be induced’. I could have screamed with delight when she said “it’s important to have a happy Mum, you know the natural ways to get induced, go home and enjoy Christmas Day!” So off we went and got the spiciest curry we could get and went home for a bit of sex! 😉
My waters finally gushed out at 3am on Christmas Day night, both me and Ajay had big smiles on our faces…things were finally starting! We were ready for the exciting challenge.
I think I started feeling mild contractions (or maybe just Braxton hicks, who knows!) so myself and Ajay dashed about preparing what we felt needed to get done – a hilarious moment came when we both dashed to separate bathrooms and both started spraying on the deodorant!! Like that mattered?! But it did, we were excited and knew we wanted to be presentable for when the midwife would arrive at home.
I quickly tried to stick on the TENS machine and switched it on. I pulled it straight off! Not for me at all. So down I went to start re-reading my affirmations – this was much more soothing!
Ajay started timing my contractions as they began to pick up. They felt exactly as expected – strong period pains, manageable though. I was enjoying this…
My hypno music had been put on and I was walking from room to room listening to it. I think I was starting to get in the ‘zone’. The ‘zone’ Ajay said I was in throughout all of my labour.
Ajay phoned the midwife to let her know that I was in labour and she asked him to call back if we wanted them to come to our house. I said she didn’t need to come yet. What if I wasn’t actually in labour?! But the contractions suddenly started to pick up so we called back and I spoke to the midwife (muttering a few quiet words…). At 4am our amazing midwife, Susanah arrived at our house. We all had a quick chat, Ajay showed Susanah our birth wishes (which she totally respected throughout the labour) and she politely asked me if I wanted to be examined to see how far dilated I was. I quickly said yes I would like to be examined but didn’t want to know how far I was (or not), so Susannah said she would tell Ajay and not me. Exactly what I’d wanted but hadn’t said! Examination done, Susannah told Ajay I was 4cm dilated which I didn’t hear, but did hear her say “Think it’s time to fill the pool up”. At this point I was quickly walking up and down a flight of our stairs to help baby and to distract myself, now with a smile on my face knowing I’d soon be getting in the pool. The contractions had picked up now and were getting increasingly painful.
I stopped at the top of the stairs and started trying to deal with the pains by slowly swaying from side to side. This seemed to be helping. Hypno music still playing…
I then decided to walk downstairs to see the pool filling up. It was nearly ready. I started to feel a strong urge to push so quietly told Susanah who said to me it was time to get in the pool. As soon as I got into the pool a big smile emerged on my face, the pain relief from the water was indescribable but I managed to mutter something like “it feels amazing”.
I moved around in the pool changing positions to what felt better for me and what Susanah very politely said would help baby’s position. I can’t remember how long I was in the pool for not pushing, but when I felt the need to starting fully pushing I began. I was lent over the pool holding Ajay’s hands, squeezing them so tight when the contractions were very painful. The amount of reassurance and support I felt from holding on to Ajay’s hands was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
I started pushing but felt uncomfortable. I felt like I was using all my energy to push a big poo out! In my mind this felt like a total waste of energy! I hadn’t fully made the connection that this was normal! Pushing a baby out does feel like having a poo! J I realised that the feeling was ‘normal’ so carried on with my pushing. I’ve been told that I was making low grunting noises but don’t remember this. I do remember keeping control of my breathing making sure I was doing deep and slow breaths, it felt like I was breathing our baby out. Once the pushing had picked up, our little lady started to play a game with me! I’d push her head out then she’d pull it back in! It felt like a big tussle with each other! It was so hard at this point when I started to feel like I wouldn’t get anywhere. I must have been in transition as I very quietly said “I can’t do this anymore” to which Susanah asked “what can’t you do?” I didn’t reply. I knew what I needed to do to get our baby out. The second midwife, Gemma, could see what was happening so asked me if I wanted to feel our baby’s head. I did. Wow. Baby was so close! Ajay excitedly moved to have a look and came back with a big grin on his face! “I can see the head and some black hair!” This was all I needed. I picked up the pushing once again, I wanted to meet our baby! I pushed and pushed and pushed and started to feel the baby move down the birth canal. Totally surreal. I felt like my body was breaking in two but didn’t care, we were so close. I didn’t feel like I was in the pool doing the pushing, my body was taking over! I caught a glimpse of my main affirmation once again “She said she could so she did”, and with my added strength I did a final push, heard a splash in the water, then was asked to pick up our baby water of the water. We did it, yeah! We had our awesome homebirth!
The midwife placed her on my chest and she straight away started feeding. Ajay came round to us and kissed me and our little girl. Heaven. Six hours worth of labour was worth every second.
I eventually got out of the pool (after first fainting! Combination of low blood pressure and six hours worth of labour!) and quite quickly delivered my placenta naturally!
Although I didn’t feel any tearing, Susanah checked me over and said I’d had a 2nd degree tear and would probably need some stitches, if I wanted them. I decided to have my stitches so had a local anaesthetic and got stitched up while Ajay had skin on skin with our daughter.
Our fantastic midwife Susanh stayed for 8 hours at our home to make sure that I was okay, baby was fine! By 8pm we were all upstairs in bed, ready for our first night as a family of three. No sleep as all we wanted to do was stare at our beautiful daughter. The best night of no-sleep EVER!”
What a wonderful story – thanks so much for sharing it with us. To find out more about Natal Hypnotherapy go to www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk
To get your free Pregnancy Relaxation hypnobirthing download click here
If you are pregnant and want to learn more about the 5 key steps to a Calm, positive birth get your free guide here
To find out more about Natalie Qureshi and how her class helped Abi have an awesome homebirth classes click here