Aoife's Birthstory

By Lonnie

Lonnie's fourth baby, Aoife, was born at home, witnessed by her two older sisters and her 21-month-old brother. Lonnie's first baby, Phoebe, was born in hospital, her second, Eloisa at home, and her third, Conrad, in hospital after transferring from home.

This was my 4th pregnancy and the 3rd time I planned on a homebirth. Last time things had gone very pear-shaped with a transfer and a hideous experience in hospital so I spent a large amount of this pregnancy researching different issues and this resulted in a very hands-off-me birthplan. This in return caused jittery midwife (interestingly never my own community midwife) and a very late visit from Supervisor of Midwives from local hospital to "discuss issues" where I ended up getting AIMS involved, Beverly Beech being a wonderful help. Result however was midwife being fully aware that I was not about to go completely with the strict "rules" of my local hospital - community midwife actually told dh (dear husband) they had been told to do everything they could to ensure I stayed at home..

Having only made it to 41 weeks once before and was in labour then. I must admit I was very surprised to wake up on the day I was 41 weeks with not a twinge of labour pains. I think I mentally had in my head that I would have baby by/on this date. But made it to 40+10 before this one arrived. Contractions started in bouts on the day I was 40 + 7 though and I spent the next few days wondering back and forth if "this was it".

Woke up Sunday 9th at 5 am and spent 1 hour with contractions every 10 mins thought ok thats it next contraction we put TENS on when they stopped. Same thing happened at 8 am and the rest of the day was spent getting contractions regular then stopping then starting again. At 4 pm we decided to go to a fireworks display at dd1's (oldest daughter's) school (at 5 pm) and walked up to school, had a lovely 2 hours there saw a lovely fireworks display ate toasted cheese sandwiches and hotdogs drank mulled wine and then said to headteacher as I left "I am going home to have a baby now."

We walked home and on way home I had 2 contractions (it's roughly 15 mins walk) put kids to bed (7 30 pm now) sat down in lounge to watch Chicago on DVD and contractions started again every 7 mins first then every 5 mins. Kept in contact with my friend Lynne (whom I know from Babyworld.co.uk) on msn messenger and also spoke to 2 other friends on there who both after told me they had not realised I was in labour. Lynne had agreed on the Thursday to step in as birthing partner when my friend who was meant to come along was unable as her son was down with a bug. (I had in last labour learned that having a friend present is a great help and support and dh was completely fine with this) Should perhaps just mention here that even though Lynne and I had known each other for 4 years, this was the first time we were to meet in real life.. <g>..

Anyway by 10 30 pm Lynne and I between us decided it was time for her to come down as she had a 1.5 hour drive to get to my house.. Was a little worried she would go for no reason but when she arrived at half past midnight I was still contracting regularly. (and cleaning house having decided midwife might not like all the glitter everywhere – Hazard of having 2 girleys who likes glue and glitter lol gets everywhere) We sat down had coffee and a laugh :o) lol then I went back to sorting things whilst Lynne checked out my birthing bag so she knew where everything was as we needed it..

In past 3 labours I have always had back pain labour. This time, however, it was all in front of bump, a lot less painful but made me very unsure of where I was in labour. It didn't feel as familiar as I remebered last labours and I was unsure as to if this really was the real thing. However by 2 20 am we started talking about when to phone midwife and I was actually fairly surprised to hear from dh and Lynne that I was contracting every 2ish minutes.

We decided to phone for midwife and I spoke with labour ward, explained I was in labour contracting every few minutes, they seemed to think I was to calm for being in labour and kept me hanging on phone (am certain because they felt that I was not really in labour) but once my 2 mins was up I gave dh phone whilst I coped with contraction, by the time my contraction was over so was conversation with midwife. Dh had been told a midwife would phone us shortly.

About 5 mins later phone rang and I would estimate within 20 mins of us having phoned Chris the midwife was at our door. DH later told me that the first thing she had said was "am I too late?" (this is interesting because shows how completely certain all the midwives were that I intended to give birth unassisted even though I never expressed any wish to do this, only commented I was more afraid of giving birth in local hospital than I was of doing it unassisted). She was told no and came in introduced herself sat down and read through my notes and birthing plan. Then proceeded to follow birthing plan to the letter. I cannot fault anything she did thoughout the entire labour; she was a lovely midwife to have around. I went into waterpool shortly after she arrived; 2-3 contractions after.

Midwife rang the hospital and asked for a waterproof Sonicaid to be brought up. We had a bit of a laugh over the idea of dh going back to the local 24 hour petrol station for condoms (to put over the one she had with her that was not waterproof) when she was told they where unsure if it was there at the moment. When 2nd midwife Liz arrived, however, she had it along. Liz was also very sweet and also followed birth plan so it was a very relaxed labour and we laughed a fair amount.

Lynne and Nick put up with lots of hand squeezing as I felt once in pool I needed to hold someone's hand with each contraction ( up until this had found it best to stand leaning up against a wall with each contraction) Also willing suppliers of water, homeopatic remedies (mainly Lynne's domain) and chocolate biscuit (singular sadly lol) and LOTS of encouragement and nice words.

By 5 am I started to feel bearing down with a few contractions but they did not feel as strong as they had with my previous labours (where the urge to push had been overwhelming) however I went with them as they felt right to do. Midwife was happy for this to happen. Contractions had spaced out at this point though coming every 5-7 mins.

By 5 30 it was suggested that I have a internal so we could see what was happening (had said no internals in birth plan but this was more a thing from last labour for me where I had far too many – so this time had written NONE in big letters lol) I was in 2 minds about this. Logically I knew that there was no reason to have one but another part of me was curious about what was happening. Dh spoke with midwife and they where all reasuring me that just because I had 1 internal I would not be going into hospital, kept saying baby is doing REALLY well and we don't need to worry about transfer etc etc.. For me it was more a matter or principle that I had to let go of, but it was nice to know that they all felt there was no need to even worry about transfer.

About 5 50 I agreed to a VE and midwife did one (me in pool with dh supporting me in water) found me at about 5 cm but perhaps more. Found this really difficult to deal with but something also made more sense with the complete lack of pushing urge it was more a bearing down urge.. also in all my previous labours I had dilated very slowly to 5 then VERY fast to 10. Spent the next 20 mins talking to baby, willing baby to get out. Also tried to walk around in pool a little but found that very painful for my back.

My son (21 m old) woke at this point and ended up downstairs in lounge watching is current obsession Toy Story and charming the pants of the midwives (who both thought he was gorgeous).

Around 7 am the gas and air ran out and the next bottle was faulty. At this point they had phoned my community midwife Hilary to ensure she came straight to me not into office as Liz 2nd midwife had to go as she had kids to get to school. But with gas and air running out they had to phone hospital for more.. and at this point my contractions had speed up considerably and I was finding it VERY hard to get through contractions.

Lynne talked me through each one saying go up the hill up up up up now down down.. that's it, you are doing great. She must (in retrospect) have really tuned into my contractions as I was having trouble finding the stop and start and was getting close to hyperventilating.. Gas and air thankfully arrived and our daughters woke up. DH was trying to be 2 places at once - think this part must have been quite hard for him.

At this point midwife was getting worried I was dehydrated and kept trying to get me to drink more water. I was also getting a little hot in the water and after a while it was decided I was to come out for a little while to cool down and then could re-enter. In retrospect I knew I was fairly far on in labour as I was having trouble talking and balancing at this point. Dh virtually lifted me out of the water and Hilary community midwife arrived at this point. Liz left after about 5 mins.

I was laying on right side on the floor (having insisted I wanted to be on left side whilst in pool) They suggested I move to left side and I went NOOOO could feel baby moving sucked desperately on the gas and air mouth piece then shouted out for NICK as I could feel baby moving down and knew he was not in room. He came running in and next thing I felt baby move down and head came out then shoulders and body.

I opened my eyes and looked straight into the eyes of my 2 oldest daughters standing holding hands with stars in their eyes having just watched the birth of their sibling. I turned and they handed me baby without any of us knowing sex. I opened the towel again and told everyone it was a baby girl. The girls laughed and the entire atmosphere seemed to lighten and everyone was saying how lovely she looked (had to agree there).

Lynne gave me huge hug and Nick was saying over and over how well I had done.. Nick then said she waited for Hilary to arrive and I turned around and said "WHAT took you so long?" to her (having not said hello) She laughed and said "I got here as fast as I could". The girls just went back to watching tv.. our little boy just toddled around oblivious to the fact he had just witnessed his little sister being born. Felt really lovely and right.

Left cord to stop pulsating then dh cut it and I used gas and air to try to cope with the contractions to get out placenta. Quickly realised I would have to get up on knees or to stand to get placenta out. They felt it had separated but it was not coming out. So had to get up to standing before pushing the placenta out.. so got my natural 3rd stage as I had wished.. and placenta looked just fine.

Went next door to lounge to sit held our baby girl a little tried to get her to feed but she was not that interested though she had a few sucks. We decided to leave it a little and Lynne had a cuddle whilst I had some homemade bread toasted with butter and a cup of tea. (was SO hungry) kept falling asleep though as was just exhaustedly tired. Got our baby back and this time she latched on and had a short feed. Then she went off to be weighed whilst I went off to have a bath. Liz left and we were left just with Hilary around (whom I have had as community midwife for 4 pregnancies and with me in 3 labours) was lovely period Nick made bacon sandwiches I got put to bed with our brand new girl and life just carried on as normal.. felt just like birth was meant to be..

I am writing this on the 11th November in the evening. Our little girl was named later on the 10th Aoife and our oldest daughter later told dh that she was not scared when Aoife was born because it was just like the special book mummy had read her (Welcome with Love). She went to school at lunch time to tell everyone that she had a baby sister and she had seen her be born. It had not been our intention for the kids to be present during delivery; I had read the books about birth for them mainly as a back-up procedure, but in retrospect I am THRILLED the girls were there. They LOVED being part of Aoife arriving and are both besotted with her and I am certain it has to do with her not disturbing their everyday life. Looking down getting my baby daughter placed on my tummy and watching my 2 big girls' starry eyes at the joy of what they had just witnessed will stay with me for the rest of my life, I know. As one of those perfect moments in life..

Aoife

Born 2003

7 lb 5 oz.

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