Thursday, January 26, 2017

James' Homebirth Story

Where to begin?  After being encouraged by our lovely midwife to share the details of James' home-birth, I have sat down this evening to do so, but first a little background is needed...

When I was expecting Abigail (now almost 3), I tried hard to avail of a home-birth through the Irish health service.  Even though my pregnancies are usually considered "low-risk", I was refused the home-birth on account of my tendency to have large babies (and my blood sugar is just fine, thank you!)  **The previous three births being as follows: 8lb 9oz, and the next two both 10lb 5oz**  Abigail was therefore delivered naturally at a local hospital - my smallest baby yet at 8lb 5oz.  However, my elation on having my first natural birth (previously having had 3 epidurals), was short lived.  The following 24 hours were emotional and hugely stressful, we felt that my health/life was put at serious risk and we were treated poorly on account of our life choices.  This experience made us more sure than ever, that if the Lord were to bless us with another child, we would seek after a home-birth more fervently...

After finding out that we were expecting again, I contacted Private Midwives Ireland (previously Neighbourhood Midwives).  To my delight, after my medical notes were reviewed, I was added to the books!  We were very happy and hugely relieved as not to have to endure a birth in a hospital setting!  We opted for the mini home-birth package, which was the least expensive for us, with my care being taken up by our midwives at 36 weeks.  Up until this time, I alternated being cared for by my GP and a local, female obstetrician.  I did have a booking appointment though, with both Joyce and Madelaine before 36 weeks.

Eventually, we arrived at 36 weeks gestation and began to see Joyce weekly, for my pre-natal checks.  The visits were lovely and all our other kids were excited to be a part of my care.  It meant so much to us that I was treated as an individual and our choices were actually respected!  What a breath of fresh air!


At five days overdue, around 5am, I was pretty sure that labour had started.  I had, had annoying false labour for weeks, but I felt that this was different, as I was having a lot of back pain (which is typical for me).  I stayed in bed for as long as I could, and then proceeded to potter up and down in our darkened bedroom.  My husband was still sound asleep.  Contractions were regular (about every 4 minutes), but were not very strong.  I woke Brian and told him that I thought Baby was on the way.  I think we had a cup of tea and rested/walked until the children woke up.  At this point I was certain that this was the "real deal" and encouraged that we would soon welcome our fifth child into the world!  Exciting! 

I had arranged for my mom to come and take the children.  So we got up, had breakfast, and we got them ready for her to collect.  At this point the contractions were still about every 4 minutes, the pain was increasing, but still very manageable.  11am, and just as I was waving goodbye to the kiddos, my water broke.  I continued waving and smiling, but boy-oh-boy did the pain come quickly! 

We had been in touch with Madelaine since 5am and so once my water broke we asked her to start her journey.  In my first three medicated deliveries, my births had averaged around 13/14 hours, not so with my unmedicated ones!

Shortly after this, Brian and I ventured upstairs and he began to fill the birth pool.  I was excited to try it.  However, after all the upping and downing with pots and pans of water, I never got in it at all!  Poor guy!  Once my water broke and the pain got intense, I just never felt inclined to. 

Once Madelaine arrived, we were busy just dealing with the pain and my husband applying much needed counter-pressure. Oh that husband of mine is an indispensable labour partner!  He was pleasantly surprised at the hands-off approach of the midwives, which was very different compared to a hospital setting.  The atmosphere was very relaxed and calm.  Just the two of us labouring together and him caring for me, as only a loving husband knows how.  Madelaine checked my temperature, blood pressure and baby's heart rate frequently, but discreetly.  My mother and Amy (our eldest daughter) stopped by for a minute or two, to see how we were getting on, and my husband asked for Amy to stay and help the midwives by making teas and warming towels...etc, which she was glad to do. After kneeling on the floor for quite a while, I opted to move to the bed.  It was not long before I knew that Baby was going to make his appearance very soon.

Second midwife Liz had arrived by this stage and was quietly watching and taking notes.  This delivery was definitely my most intense and physically challenging, the reason of which, became known to us later.  I began to feel that I was not fully in control and was incapable of bringing forth this baby, even though the delivery itself was very short.  Madelaine stepped in and completely motivated and encouraged me.  She told me afterward that she got a little worried when she saw the size of our baby boy's head!  She told me we needed to get this baby moving!  As baby was arriving, I was physically supported on either side by my husband and Madelaine.  Just a few more pushes and he was born!  Liz and Madelaine quickly acted when there was some assistance needed, as our little chap had passed some meconium at the last minute, but praise God everything was fine!

What a relief, he was here at last!  Sweet baby boy!

Six hours later...
I was settled down for a cuddle with James, whilst we awaited the third stage of labour to complete, which was very quick.  I went for a shower, whilst Daddy looked after James, and Amy and Liz cleared up.  Very soon, I was tucked into a fresh bed, with my sweet-smelling babe!  James looked like a pretty chunky baby to be sure, and we all began to guess what weight he was.  We all guessed him to be in or around 10lb.  Madelaine then popped him in her weighing sling and we simply couldn't believe it -- 11lb 7oz!!!  I guess that explains the intense delivery.  Though hey, labour and delivery is intense anyway, right?  James latched on like a pro, and we have been a great nursing team ever since. :) 

One of the most amazing things is that, even though James was such a chunky-monkey, I did not need one single stitch!  Praise God!  Because baby James was so large, Madelaine spent the rest of the day and night with us, just to check for any signs of hypoglycaemia.  She was amazing!  My kiddos were delighted; they enjoyed her company and the fact that she played board games with them in the evening!  You just don't get that kind of care anywhere else!  That evening and through the night, Madelaine discreetly checked on baby James and I every couple of hours and quietly tiptoed out of the house in the early morning. 

So that's it right there -
the story of how James Justice O'Neill arrived into this world! 


Diana said...

Congratulations! And thanks for sharing your beautiful story! You are really amazing. We're coming up on our fifth homebirth next month, and I find the prospect intimidating every time. Thanks for an encouraging story!


Sally O. said...

Yay! I haven't commented in a LONG time but I still follow you. :) So happy you had a wonderful home birth. I have a csection in my past so I am not a good candidate for home birthing but if I was, I am sure I would love it! Currently, I am 3 weeks out from my 5th baby's due date and getting excited to meet my newest little one. Your story makes me just that much more excited. :) Thanks for sharing and God bless you and all of your babies!!!

Sarah in Ireland said...

Thanks Diana! Congratulations, I am excited for you! Every blessing to you, as you bring your newest little one into the world. :)

Congratulations Sally! How exciting. I hope your labour and delivery goes well for you and baby!

Nikki said...

I LOVE reading birth stories. Thanks for sharing your story with us. :) Two of our babies were 10 lbs and whenever I commented to our midwife that I thought I was having a HUGE baby she reminded me that fat squishes. Those chunky babies are sometimes easier to birth than the skinny ones. :)

Sister in the Mid-west said...

What a big boy! Congratulations and bravo! I love birth stories and tour's is no exception. :) May be some day I will write mine and share it. My son is going on two so I better get with it. :)

Gracefull Joys said...

What a wonderful story!

Anonymous said...

Warmest congratulations ! S