Babies, they can give you the happiest and the saddest moments of your life. This is a little long but please persevere.
Katie was pregnant earlier in the year (1999) and we were both thrilled. We started making plans and thinking of names. We thought nothing of it when she started bleeding early during the pregnancy (about 7weeks I think) as Rhian our first daughter had caused Katie to bleed slightly throughout her pregnancy. Its hard to describe the devastation we both felt when we were informed that Katie has miscarried. I personally hit an all-time low in April 1999.
I was cautiously over the moon when I got a phone call from Katie while I was at the British Grand Prix Qualifying in July saying that she was pregnant again. I couldn't wait to get home.
When Katie originally said she fancied a home birth I was very sceptical about the whole thing, I had all the normal scary visions and thoughts. I was present when Katie had her first appointment with Jacquie, her midwife, and she told Jacquie about wanting the home birth.
I must say that after that meeting, most, (not all) of my fears went. Jacquie explained exactly what would happen and when and that we could still get to hospital very quickly if needs be. She explained about the large box of supplies that would be dropped off by the midwife a few weeks before due date.
All along I told Katie that if she was happy, I was too. So we waited .
It must have been hard for Katie as I was scared sh*tless that something would happen to the baby again. I didn't want to make any plans at all. Katie would try to discuss names and I really didn't want to tempt fate. You can probably imagine how scared we both became when she started bleeding again at about the same time. We made our hospital appointment for the Monday morning both fearing the worst.
I was convinced it had happened again, we went into the scanning room and I can't describe the feeling I had when the scan started and there in the screen was a tiny form with a flickering heartbeat. We were both so relieved. Everything's OK we were told.
I was still a little scared though.
By the 7th month I was happy everything was going well. We'd discussed names, we'd started decorating the nursery. My Grandad died on January 15th, the day after his 80th birthday.
As we got to the 8th month of Katie's pregnancy, Katie was getting very worried about a number of minor complications, her iron was very low and the baby was posterior (back to back) presentation. I could tell she was very worried about a painful birth and we both could see very clearly that she was carrying a very big baby.
I tried as best as I could to re-assure her that she shouldn't feel she had to have the home birth if she was scared.
After numerous messages on newsgroups about scrubbing floors and staying on all fours and big doses of iron tablets, everything was back to normal and we were on course for the homebirth again.
Rhian was 3 weeks early and we were both convinced that this baby would be early as well. Rhian was 9 lb 1 oz and we both thought that there's no way she could be that weight AND 3 weeks early, they must have the dates wrong.
We got to 3 weeks left and were both hoping for imminent activites. Then 2 weeks Then 1 week and both Katie and I were getting a bit fed up.
On Saturday afternoon (4th March), Katie was getting a little uncomfortable, she was getting a few pains in her abdomen. Its nothing she told me (hmmm, OK). Sunday afternoon, the pains were there again, I knew something was happening. Katie said no, I'm fine, its nothing.
She went off to bed early and I had a hunch it was going to be tonight. I too went to bed early (on the futon in the dining room where I'd been for 6 weeks!). I made sure my clothes were easily accessible, I had the numbers of the midwives handy, the number of Katie's parents as they were to look after Rhian. My mobile phone was put on the charger and I mentally made a note of what to do if we needed to go to hospital. I was genuinely looking forward to a home birth.
I'd heard Katie upstairs a couple of times and was wide awake at every movement, I knew something was up but decided to play it cool (yeah right!). My pulse was racing.
At 12.30am Katie came downstairs very gingerly, "I'm bleeding again", she said shaking. Bang, this sense of dread immediately came over me again. This was the last thing I was expecting!
I told her to call the Delivery Suite at the hospital while trying not to sound as scared as I was. "They've told me to go in straight away" she said. She called her parents, they were going to come over and stay with Rhian. I helped Katie pack her hospital bag. I'm sure that she was told to prepare a bag for hospital just in case, obviously not as the only thing packed was some disposable knickers and a nightie. A quick look at her crib sheet and we soon got everything she needed packed.
I felt sick at this point. I was convinced something was terribly wrong. Katie was just very quiet. She was in no obvious pain. I started loading the car at about 12:50am. In went her bag. I went back in the house and looked at the video camera bag, the baby carrier and the camera, convinced I wouldn't need them. I packed them anyway and scolded myself for being stupid. Whatever happened I had to show a strong positive front for Katie's sake. If she was stressed, so was the baby and I knew that was bad.
Katie's parents arrived at about 1am and Katie and I went and said goodbye to Rhian and explained that Granny and Grampy would be downstairs when she woke up.
Left the house at 1.05am. Broke every speed limit possible and got to the hospital at 1.15am. We slowly meandered up to the delivery suite and were met by a very cheery midwife and escorted into room K.
It's at this point that I felt totally useless. Katie was strapped to a monitor to check the heartbeat. As her bump was so big and round they had a lot of trouble finding it but it was there and very strong. I think my sigh of relief was clearly audible. Katie was on the monitor for about 10 minutes when the midwife looked at the trace again and announced that there are some contractions there, nothing regular though. Katie was apparently still not feeling them (or not recognising them).
There was nothing obviously wrong. They would do a quick internal, and if everything was OK, she could go home. We had only just told them that we were booked for a home birth.
The midwife did the internal and dropped the bombshell that Katie was 6 cms dilated! She was amazed that Katie had apparently still not felt any contractions. Well this changed things dramatically. She phoned Katie's midwife and the midwife said she would come into the hospital. I think Katie was relieved at this as we both just wanted the baby to come quickly now. We didn't care where. Katie was settled in for the night now.
I had now lost track of time. Katie had her TENS machine fitted by the midwife. It didn't occur to either of us to fit the one the midwife had left in Katie's homebirth kit at home! Jacquie arrived about 20 minutes later.
Katie decided a walk might help start things off. "Where?" I asked. "Just round the hospital" she said. Hmm OK. Off we go. Basically the walk would be in a square with each side probably 70 - 80 metres.
At the end of the first side, I noticed Katie starting to press the TENS button and turn the setting up a little. Her grip on my hand also started tightening. Walking for 5 minutes now (or so it seemed).
End of the second side and we started having to stop regularly. Katie was having regular contractions now and they were becoming painful for her.
By the end of the third side of the square the contractions were coming thick and fast. I really didn't think she was going to make it back to the room on her own. I was prepared to pick her up and run back yelling for gas and air.
She did make it back though. The walk must have taken at least 40 minutes, but again, it's all a blur. Immediately she asked for gas and air and started glugging it down.
Katie was sitting on the edge of the bed and the contractions started doubling her up in pain. I sat on a chair in front of her and again felt totally useless. I would give anything in the world to be able to take that pain away from her. Her TENS machine button is on all the time now.
I glanced at the clock on the wall. Oh My God, we've been here 3 hours now. I really don't know what to do. Nothing I can say or do helps Katie's pain. Jacquie stands there watching me and when the next contraction comes she starts rubbing Katie's lower back. This seems to help. I start doing this.
Now sitting on the edge of the bed is obviously not a good birthing position. Katie doesn't want to move. She just doesn't know what to do, nor do I. Jacquie starts to talk control. She gently persuades Katie onto the bed onto all fours.
Katie is starting to hyperventilate, again Jacquie's soothing tone slows down Katie's breathing. I'm standing there like a spare part. My arms round Katie's shoulder, the other is being alternately grasped by Katie and holding the gas and air mouthpiece for her.
I'm totally helpless and Katie lets out an earpiercing scream. "I'VE GOT TO PUSH" she yells. Jacquie calmly says "Go for it!"
All I can do is put my head close to Katie's and try to talk calmly to her, all the time rubbing her shoulders and back and gripping her hand.
Another yell/push combination and there's an audible bang followed by running water. No mistaking what's just happened. Jacquie is suddenly propelled into action. A small trolley with various implements is brought over and Jacquie pushes the assistance required button. A few minutes later another midwife comes in. The only bit of the conversation that I catch is "There's meconium in the water". OK, that's not good I think.
The 2nd midwife disappears and comes back with a trolley with a heater on top, lots of pipes on the side and generally looks quite serious. All the time I try to remain calm and not worry Katie.
The midwife announces that the baby has lots of hair and this settles me a little more. Another push and Jacquie announces that the head's out, she reaches for one of the attachments on the big trolley and there is a watery suction sound. Katie pushes again ..
And the baby's out. Jacquie immediately passes the baby between Katie's legs and onto the bed underneath her. It takes us a good 30 seconds to get things organised in such a way that we can tell she's given birth to a another girl.
Katie picks up the baby and is carefully helped to turn round and sit on the bed. I just stand there bemused, silent. The baby's cord is cut and Jacquie wraps her and gives her to me to hold while she helps Katie deliver the placenta.
From what I was told, the placenta took longer to deliver than the baby. I couldn't tell you, I was on a different planet. I just stood there look at this little bundle, close to tears.
After about 15 minutes, I had to sit down, my legs started shaking and my arms became tired. For the first time I noticed that she was quite heavy. Jacquie left us for a few moments and I started to cry. At the same time I was over the moon but I was also a little sad. I thought of Katie's earlier miscarriage last year and of my Grandad's death.
I handed the baby back to Katie a few minutes later. "What shall we call her?", I asked. Kira was one of the names we had. Rhian mentioned it to us a few weeks earlier and we both like it. Erin was the other girls name we had. After a bit of discussion we both decided she was definitely a Kira. The middle name, we had already discussed this, Charley, after my Grandad.
Katie was told she'd need to stay in for about six hours but could go home after that. I told Katie I wanted to be home when Rhian woke up to tell her. Katie understood and I think was a little relieved to be left alone with Kira for a few hours.
I drove home in a daze and walked into the house and went straight upstairs. Katie's parents had fallen asleep on the futon asked if everything's OK. Yeah I said quickly running upstairs. I gently woke Rhian telling her I had 3 kisses for her. 1 from mummy, one from daddy and one from her new baby sister. She awoke immediately and flung her arms around me in a big hug.
She went charging downstairs to tell Granny and Grampy. I then noticed it was 6.30 and I had woken Rhian early.. but who cares.
So there you have it, Kira Charley Davis, 10 lb 7 0z (where does that size come from, nothing to do with me being 6' 7" ?), born 04:49 on March 6th 2000. Katie's managing great, Kira's doing well, she's put on ½ lb in 2 weeks. Rhian is thrilled to be a big sister.
Me, I'm the luckiest man alive! Oh, and dead chuffed.
21st March 2000
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