I planned a home birth. I felt very strongly about my birth being on my terms & in my space. This is where i felt my most relaxed, my most safe. I awoke in the early morning around 3:30am with what felt like heavy period pains, i got up went to pee & got back into bed thinking this is not it, its not happening. It took me a while to get comfortable but i managed to fall back asleep. I awoke again around 5:30am, same heavy period pains but a little bit more intense, i felt nauceous, i rushed to the bathroom & vommited a few times. As i sat up i desperately needed the toilet, my body was getting rid of everything & when i say everything i mean everything! I sat for a few mins trying to get my bearings, everyone in the house still fast asleep. I wipped myself & looked down at the tissue, i could see bloody mucous. Shit i thought! This is my "show"..this is it..
I went back upstairs to wake up my partner. Things had kicked up a gear. The waves had intensified. I found myself pacing back & fourth & needing to stay focused to ride them out. I asked my partner to run me a bath. The house was still with the quietness of night. We were living with my mom, a family friend & had my grandma, my sister & my niece visiting. This baby wanted an audience! 😆
The feeling of the warm water was instantly soothing. I found myself instinctively moving back & fourth, this made little waves in the bath & it felt so good as they gently caressed my bump & my lower back 😊 The waves of contractions were definitely getting closer & i needed to close my eyes & breathe deeply to get through them but inbetween i could still nervously & excitedly giggle & chatter with my partner. About 30mins later, 6:30am it occurred to us that maybe we should time them... they were about 2mins 15secs apart & consistant. We decided to call our midwives & wake up my mom.
We left a msg with the labour ward desk who said they would get the home birth team to give us a call back shortly. My mom came into the bathroom to check on me & then gave us some space. 30mins later & no one had called us back. The contractions were getting more intense & were now 1min 30secs apart. I was still in the bath but had moved onto all fours, occassionally resting my head at the end of bath. With each wave i needed my partner to apply firm counter pressure to my lower back, this helped immensely. I felt hungry but i didn't want to eat so i asked my mom to go to the shop to get me some kind of energy drink. We called the Midwives again, no answer. We called the labour ward again, there had been a shift change & our message had not been passed on. They gave us the direct number to the Home Birth Team lead. We spoke with her & even though she wasn't on shift she said she would be with us shortly.
By this time, 8am ish everyone in the house was up & busy setting up the birth pool i had hired in the living room. It was just me & my partner in the bathroom.
The waves of contractions started to feel like they were merging into one another. The edges & colours in the room were starting to look distorted & trippy & for a moment i started to feel a little overwhelmed & panicky. Up until this point i had been quite silent but now i found myself making soft "ooooooooo" sounds with every contraction. This feeling was hardcore, this was intense. I started to fear that these waves were much bigger than me... if i had to face another 9hrs of this i couldn't do it.... i had to get back in my zone.
I focused hard on getting my birth zen back. I went over everything i knew in my heart to be true. My body & my baby are healthy & strong, My body & my baby know exactly what to do, My contractions are not stronger than me THEY ARE ME, I am ready to meet my baby, i can do this... i am a fucking badass!
It was still just me & my partner alone in the bathroom. My mom was still at the shop & the midwives still hadn't arrived. I suddenly had this overwhelming urge to get out of the bath. I stood with my arms around my partners neck, swaying from side to side. The waves felt so close, maybe a 30sec pause between them. I started feeling like i wanted to push. My whole body felt like it was turning in on itself & bearing down, it was impossible to fight the urge. My partner called my mom she instructed him to check me internally, he told her he could feel something hard (babies head), she told him to get me to breathe & pant everytime i got the urge to push, to let my body do the work & breathe my baby down.
We stood swaying side to side, me holding on tight when the waves hit, resting my head on his chest inbetween. My partner was my rock, he didn't panic, he didn't let any fear show, he kept me grounded & he even managed to make me laugh at one point. I could feel the burning "ring of fire" as my skin & muscles stretched slowly. Baby was beginning to crown.
My mom arrived & stood in the corner, a silent pillar of strength. I was still not actively pushing & letting my body do the work. A few mins later the midwives casually came into the bathroom, took one look at me, saw baby crowning, their faces changed dramatically, they put out a sterile sheet. The rest of the household gathered by the bathroom door. I had moved into a squat with my partner supporting me from behind. My waters still hadn't gone & the midwife said "oh im just gonna break your waters" & pinched the sac (in retrospect i wish she hadn't there was no need), then she told me i could push. I pushed once, babies head was fully out, she told me to stop.. i didn't listen, i continued pushing & baby came straight out. I just felt so relieved, like i had crossed the finish line. I was hit with a wave of euphoria & i looked at my baby with awe & shock. She was so calm & peaceful & everyone was there to welcome her.
A final thought from Sadie (Thankyou so much for sharing your story!).
I have very few pictures from the birth of my daughter. This saddens me greatly. I long to relive the positive & empowering experience. To have some clarity of the blurry moments, to piece together the tiny details. I want to know was my face serene & calm or intense or afraid, did my partner look at me with love & admiration, what was my expression the moment i held my daughter in my arms?
This is why i am studying the art of birthphotography & training to become a doula.
I have dreamt of documenting other women's birth stories for a long time. To freeze a life changing moment in time, to make an other worldy experience into something tangible, to allow them the opportunity to visualise their sacredness, their beauty & power. To put the pieces of their birth story together.
You can see more of Sadie’s journey here.