Steph's second baby, Lilli, was born at home, welcomed by her 3 year-old sister. Steph took a Hypnobirthing course during her pregnancy, and used independent midwives. She also took great care to help her baby get into a good position, having had a posterior labour with her first baby.
Lilli was due on the 10th April and the day came and went without any sign of her! In fact another 10 days went by with no sign until the early morning of the 20th April.
Lilli is my second child, and Rosa, my first-born gorgeous 3 year old, had been born in New Zealand, where we had moved when I was 7 months pregnant as we had been dissatisfied with the level of care the NHS had offered here in London. In fact this move was prompted by my first visit to my GP when I went to tell them I was pregnant. The first question the young doctor asked me was 'Do you want to keep it'. I was shocked to say the least as this was the first official response to my very excited news of my first pregnancy.
The midwife care in NZ is excellent and they follow the KYM system, which is Know Your Midwife and you have two dedicated midwives for all pre and post natal care. Rosa was born 1.3.00, ten days late, at 8.40am in North Shore Hospital. She was posterior and I had a painful 12 hour labour, which resulted in an epidural, which was brilliant as it enabled me to birth rest during the painful contractions and give birth to her naturally once it wore off.
We returned to London November 01 and when I discovered I was pregnant with Lilli we searched for an alternative to travelling all the way back to NZ. Caroline Flint's birth centre was recommended by several sources, and despite what seemed like a big outlay, we signed up.
I was determined to do all I could to ensure that this birth be more manageable and that Liili was in the optimal foetal position so enrolled in a yoga course from 14 weeks. I also regularly kept up my cardio fitness at the gym until 7 months as I felt it important to be as fit as possible for the birth and my partner and I enrolled on a Hypnobirthing course as this would help teach relaxation techniques, something I was not good at! I always slept on my left side, and every evening instead of sitting on a sofa, I would use my birth ball to practise rocking my pelvis. I was very aware that my positioning would enable my baby to be in the best position to be born in.
I was determined this time to have enough skills to cope with what the birth could throw at me.
On the morning of the 20th April, I woke at 3 am with what felt like a lowering in my tummy and a dull feeling of slight period pain. Aha I thought, and went back to bed for a bit more sleep. I woke an hour later and had a slight show, and at 5.00 am had a bath as I felt very relaxed and calm. At 5.30 am I woke my partner to tell him our baby was coming that day and at 6.30 Rosa woke and I told her our baby was coming. Her response really blew me away. She said ' Thank you so much mummy for telling me our baby's coming, I cant wait to meet her'.
In the weeks leading up to the birth I had decided to keep my options open as to where I had her, either at home, at the Birth Centre, or if need be at hospital as I figured that birth is a very unpredictable thing, and I didn't want to wish for one thing and be disappointed, so I had kept an open mind.
Our ideal scenario was at home so Rosa could be involved as we didn't have family to call on to help look after her, I wanted everything to be as relaxed as possible for her and my partner.
My contractions had started and I moved between resting in-between in bed, to rocking my pelvis while resting against the birth ball.
My midwives were called at 6.43 to say the contractions had started and Rachel arrives at 7.45. I remember her sitting on the bed and I thought to myself I had called her to early as I had no pain, and I could guide myself through the contractions by rocking my pelvis and using the breathing techniques learnt at Yoga and Hypnobirthing.
'Well Rachel's here now' I thought to myself, and I remember clearly thinking to myself, this is it, I am going to give myself to my body to birth this baby, and let me mind take a step back.
My contractions (or surges we were taught to think of them at hypnobirthing) intensified and I needed no distraction. I was still using the birth ball and my breathing techniques and at 8.20am I started crying and I could not work out why, as the contractions were strong but not unbearable. It was transition!!
At 8.30 am, my waters broke with a pop, and I had to quickly take my knickers off! Billy was called up, who had been watching a video with Rosa downstairs and at 8.40 am Lilli is born and at 8.48 the placenta is pushed out.
I remember being a bit shaky as it happened so quickly but having Lilli at home in the room she was conceived in was a very special thing indeed and I feel blessed to have a birth like this. The big surprise was that she weighed 9lbs 1oz and we had all expected another 7lb baby like Rosa.
Rosa was delighted to come upstairs and meet her new sister when she was being born, and has been unbelievably loving and protective of her, and I am sure that is helped by the fact that Lilli was born in such a natural way, Rosa was calm throughout, even delighting in the way that only a 3 year old could, of the amount of blood I had produced! She took everything in her stride
I cannot give thanks enough to all who assisted me through out the pregnancy and birth, The Sivanda Partnership, for all their excellent prenantal yoga classes and birth preparation course, Annie McCue for her hypnobirthing course, the Birth Centre's midwives Becky and Rachel for their reassurance and complete acceptance of my choices for birth. And Billy and Rosa for all their support. Billy was over the moon as his role involved 5 minutes of holding my hands and instructing my to breath as Lilli was born!
We now have a calm, happy, confident daughter who was born with no image of pain or agony in my mind! Just a smooth, calm transition from womb to home.
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Using hypnosis for birth
Steph booked with Caroline Flint's birth centre (www.birthcentre.com), which is based in Tooting, South/SW London.
Big babies - what are the issues for a planned homebirth?
Practical preparation for homebirth - suggestions and links for birth classes, preparation, equipment etc.
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