Ben's birth story, by Kirsten Millinson

Kirsten's first baby was born in hospital, and her second, third and fourth were born at home. Her first three birth stories are on a separate page.

Late in October a gypsy came to the house, she told me about family and friends and events that would come to pass. She looked into my eyes and told me I would have another child.

At this time Sam was seven, Naomi was six and Joe not yet four. We had not decided whether we as a family were ready to have another child, but may be another child was ready to come to us.

I had had erratic periods for some time so the likelihood of becoming pregnant was slight. We got on with life and the gap since my last period became longer until, in February, I decided to do a pregnancy test as I felt that I was pregnant. I was.

With my history of ectopic pregnancy the first few weeks of pregnancy are painful and scary. I experienced the same pain as I had done in previous pregnancies, so I decided that I should have a scan to ensure the pregnancy was in utero.

We set off on the family day out to the scanning room and talked to the children about how there may be another child waiting to be born and when we saw the scan there was.
Tiny and feeding from an egg sac the little life pulsed away within me. It was a time of great excitement and tiredness.

Knowing that pregnancies don't always go as we planned we kept quiet for as long as we could. I was sick for the first 14 weeks - that made the pregnancy difficult to hide. My bones and muscles ached and I knew I needed the help of our independent midwife and friend Paulette. In this way we felt we would be able to again enjoy the experience of birth at home.

We tried local NHS midwives. They were willing to attend a home water birth but had neither the resources, time or expertise that would ensure the birth would take place how we would like.

The distance from Paulette's home to our home was a practical problem but in reality there was no alternative for us so we took the risk that the baby may arrive before Paulette could reach us.

My body was tired and painful. Paulette used her skills in Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST) to alleviate many emotional and physical pains. These times alone with our child and Paulette were very special. I describe it as being surrounded by prayer, with soothing hands pouring relaxation and relief into me. Our child also seemed to feel comfort and cuddled into Paulette's hands. It seemed to enable him to find a more comfortable position cradled within me. This was welcome because as he grew he became very active and the movements were painful and restricted my mobility, something not easy to cope with whilst also looking after three children.

We managed to keep going though, and took a short holiday by the coast. The time watching the waves was a great lesson in life and healing. Life goes on no matter, and the waves won't stop even if you want them to.

I felt as if all my energies were being transferred to our growing child and spent much time doing as my body told me so I frequently rested. I was concerned that would not have the strength to go through birth again or through the rigours of nappies and breastfeeding. I did not want to pass these feelings on to our child and tried hard to relax and meditate feelings of love and acceptance of the situation.

We decided to go ahead with an ultrasound scan at about 20 weeks. I was against putting our unborn child through a scan and the implications of the ultrasound. Our past history dictated that if this child had a problem we needed time to adjust and work with our other children to explain its implications(During our last pregnancy there had been concerns that Joe would be born with Down syndrome.)

The scan showed that our child seemed healthy and was due to be born on Sam's birthday, September 30th. I continued with the cranio sacral therapy. Homeopathy helped with less specific problems and anxieties. I felt old and tired.

The pregnancy spiralled along with the seasons and in this time I wrote about the calendar of life and how pregnancy and birth mirrors images of nature, going from the seed growing in the ground to the fullness of the harvest. Whether those thoughts were Ben's, mine or both, I don't know.

This pregnancy was the hardest of the four term pregnancies I have experienced. Blood disorders left me tired and lethargic although they were helped with herbal remedies and kelp.

The Cranio-Sacral Therapy continued to relax and sooth me and help me to sleep deeply. It was a great learning experience.

The time of the birth grew near. I was both frightened and grateful. Frightened because I knew I must go through more pain to birth our child and grateful as I felt I could not go on with the pain that the pregnancy was causing me.

I did not need to be worried.

Several days of labour starting and easing off passed. I feel this was Ben getting into the correct position for him to be born. It was a feeling I had experienced before the birth of our other children.

Paulette examined my cervix and said she felt the baby would not be born before the weekend (this was about Wednesday). The next day we went out, just the two of us. We ate fish and chips and relaxed. It was a lovely bright sunny day and was just what the midwife ordered.

Of course labour started again that night but this time progressed on and off and we called the midwives at about 4am. They both arrived and after a short chat they left us and went to bed so we could be alone with our thoughts and waves of birth. Relaxing music and soft light filled our home. We managed to alternately rest and walk, and by morning things had gone a little quiet again.

After breakfast and seeing the children off to school I was able to relax into the work ahead, Paulette and Sally went into the village for a walk and visited the local church. The local farmer had chosen this lovely sunny morning to set wheat for the following year in the field behind our home. The birth pool was filled with warm relaxing water and I walked around and leaned on my grandmother's chair as rushes of birth washed over me.

I sat when I could and the rushes eased but were much stronger now. I called the midwives back and of course the rushes eased again so we prepared lunch. As every one else ate I gently moved and kept the birthing going. After the meal Paulette said she might go for another walk, I thought not!

I asked her to feel my cervix and see how I was doing; the pool was ready and very inviting. Up to this point I had used the TENS machine which had done its job well. I felt ready and confident in my ability to birth our child.

My cervix was 8 cms dilated so off came the TENS and I slipped into the pool. I felt enveloped in the water. The soothing healing warmth relaxed my aches and pains.

From this point labour was really established. I worked at birthing our child.

Before long I had the deep urge to push like a tide breaking on the shore. The waves broke and reached the high tide; I felt Ben moving down to be birthed after a great crescendo of waves. He was born into the water, peaceful and alert, and I held him gently in my arms. The circle of life continued. After the cord had pulsed the blood of life into him (and cord samples were taken because I am O Rh negative) Mark cut the cord. Ben was fully born out of his world and into ours.

Benjamin Charles Owen Millinson

Born October 4th 2001 weighing 8lb 8oz after an established labour of one hour and eleven minutes.

Kirsten Millinson

Update: Kirsten was accredited as a La Leche League Leader on 23 September 2000.

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