Home Water Birth in Western Australia

by Birth Without Fear on November 22, 2011

The Birth Story Of Ava Lilly
Born 22nd March 2011 at 8:02 a.m.
Weighing 10lbs 5oz

Before I even found out I was pregnant with Ava Lilly I decided I wanted to have a home water birth. My previous birthing experience with my first born, Haylee, was traumatic, painful, and not what I wanted or expected. It was a birth full of interventions, and I had unsupportive birth professionals.

It was 1st July 2010, and I went to a doctor’s appointment to get a script for the pill. On this particular day, they did a pregnancy test. When the Doctor came out and said “Sorry, but we cannot give you the pill because you’re pregnant”, I was shocked. Something I was not expecting. My Daughter was only 11 and a half months old and was not “planning” another baby this soon. Although shocked, I was happy with the news.

I rang my partner, Des, and told him the news, and he was also really shocked. I told him straight away, “I want to have a home waterbirth”. Although he was sceptical of my decision, he supported it.

Within days of discovering I was expecting, I googled “homebirth WA” and a few links later I found a PDF with a contact number of a lady by the name of Catherine. She runs a group called “birth circle”, so I thought it would be a good place to start. I phoned her and we spoke for about an hour on the phone. She gave me the number of an independent midwife by the name of Sam. I rang Sam and told her I was considering a homebirth and would love some information on it. We exchangedemails, and kept in contact regularly.

As we knew when babe was conceived, we had a reliable due date of the 11th of March 2011, but an early ultrasound put my dates at 22nd March 2011, which is the one that the midwife decided would be best to go with, as it would give me extra time to avoid induction.

At a 16-week appointment with my OB, I told him I had been thinking about a homebirth. He was horrified to say the least and told me that it would be in my and baby’s best interests to have a c-section due the nature of my last delivery. (I had a forceps delivery due to fetal stress and an OP babe). He said because of a previous episiotomy I would tear significantly. He said my babies didn’t cope well with quick labours and fetal stress would most likely be a reoccurrence. The verbal diarrhoea that flowed from his mouth and him storming out of the office after,of course, putting my two cents worth in, disgusted me.

My decision was made; I was having a homebirth. I didn’t believe one bit what the Ob told me, and didn’t realise doctors could see into the future!

I didn’t go back to that OB again, and met my midwife, Sam, for the first time on the 27.10.2010. She referred me to a doctor that worked with her, and he was happy to support my decision to homebirth. I only saw him twice. I had a smooth, enjoyable pregnancy, and the sex was a complete surprise. I was excited to meet our baby.

The 11th of March came and went, but I was still very comfortable. I knew the baby was going to come soon, because I felt unusually weird and started to nest A LOT! My bump grew and grew, and on the 21st March, went and visited a homeopath by the name of Margaret who gave me some homeopathics to help prepare my body for labour. I was ready to meet my baby.

At 1:26am on the 22nd of March, I woke up cramping. I knew this was it. I took a shower for 45 minutess, and got back into bed, but I couldn’t sleep! I was excited. Although my contractions were 4 minutes apart, I wasn’t in much pain, just uncomfortable. I woke my hubby and he got up and got everything organised while I did my own thing. I walked around, tidied up a bit, facebooked and packed my daughters things ready to go to her Nana’s.

At 3:39am I sent a message to my midwife and told her I was in labour and contractions were 4 mins apart, and I felt in control.

At about 4:20am, I decided to hop into the shower again. Right after I slipped into the steamy world of my diminutive shower, my uterus kicked it up a notch. The contractions started coming closer together, with each and every one hitting hard. Before, I’d get a hard one and then three easy ones. Or two hard ones in a row, with a string of easy ones after that. When I say easy, I mean so easy that at times I couldn’t tell I was having them. But once I was in that shower, they were all pretty serious. I leaned against the back wall, resting my arms on the shelf, and let the water just hit my lower back.

I started my mantra once again. Contract. Dilate. Open. Out. Contract. Dilate. Open. Out.

It was nice to be there, in the shower…alone. Labouring, just me and my baby. I wrapped my arms around my belly, as I had so many showers before, and whispered to the baby, ‘Now is the time’. I told her (we didn’t know the sex, but I don’t like calling the baby “it”), “Now is the time. We’re going to do this together”. We were co-conspirators in this gig. I knew that the baby must be in pain with the contractions bearing down on her wee body, compressing her fragile head. And scared, too. The entire world, literally, opening up to her had to be unnerving. Thrusting her out of the only home she knew: the safe warm haven of my womb. I patted what I thought was her bum as I built up to another contraction.

By 5:31am I started to shake, something I was familiar with my first before the pushing began. I called out to Des to help me into the lounge and I took one look at the half filled pool at 5:40am and got in it, and it was BLISS! It felt like my own little sanctuary, a haven I could relax in and communicate with my body in. I told Des the water felt so good, and could he please hurry up and fill it up. I felt completely in control and entrusted my body, knowing it knew what it was doing, and everything I felt was normal.

At 5:45am Sam walked through the door, and I was relieved somewhat. I told her I was in transition and that my labour had been so easy so far. Up until this point, I wasn’t in unmanageable pain. For those of you reading this that have never been in labour, you probably hear the word “pain” and think unbearable, hideous, screaming banshee pain. But this time it wasn’t anything like this for me, it had almost been enjoyable. Exciting.

Another contraction would hit me and I instantly was transported into my own world — that crazy labour land where pain is the focus and thoughts the distraction. Where all that is going on around you is plainly visible, but easily unseen. Where your inner voice is sane and reasonable, but your spoken words are unintelligible and irrational. Labour land is really like no other. It is all fuzzy with crystals of clarity. It is forgettable while spiked with fleeting and often indifferent moments seared into memory. It is on a different plane entirely. I felt myself diving down, surfing toward, and settling into that plane more and more with every contraction.

6:07am I started to feel pushy, letting my body push ever so lightly. At this point I was in a sort of sitting position leaning back on the side of the pool, which felt comfortable for now. I kept telling myself how great I was doing, and that it wouldn’t be long before I met our beautiful baby.

6.15am my mum walked through the door and I told her that she was just in time as the baby was coming soon. She had been so excited that I phoned her to come to the birth. I felt like I needed my mum’s support.

The urge to push slowly got stronger and I told Sam my waters hadn’t broken, but less than a handful of contractions later at 6:20am my waters broke, Nice and clear and beautiful. A relief for me. Not just from the physical pressure I was feeling, but that the baby seemed to be handling labour well and was healthy.

Once my waters had broken, the urge became very strong, and involuntary by 6:35am. I breathed through the contractions to ease the baby out slowly, feeling completely in control and in harmony with my body. By 6:49am the urge to push was so strong, it started to hurt, I couldn’t really feel the baby moving down, and the position I was in was starting to hurt my back so I changed to a kneeling position leaning over the side of the pool. It felt much better, and as soon as I changed position, I could feel the babies’ head coming down.

7:14am I asked Sam to have a look and see if my baby had hair. She giggled and said she could see the baby’s head and it had lots of hair! I wanted a baby with lots of hair this time. Why? I have no idea. My baby was coping beautifully, as was I. As I was new to the pushing thing, I asked lots of questions, I couldn’t believe how much it hurt. I asked Des if he could “catch” his baby, and he gladly agreed, which made me so warm and fuzzy inside. Des was amazing, he seamed to enjoy the whole experience, he wasn’t nervous and helped at every opportunity he could.

At 7:37am the baby started to crown and I held my hand down there, rubbing the top of her head as she lingered between worlds – the born and the unborn. Still, yet a part of me, but partly her own person. Those moments, those scant few moments, when the baby is not quite born, but I can feel the head and touch the nose, those moments are pure magic. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that can compare. To reach down to such a private and personal part of my body and feel another, whole person emerging… it defies description. Words are worthless, really.

The baby’s head was lingering between worlds, as I waited for another contraction, which took 20 minutes. I begged for my body to contract so I could push her out. It hurt so much, but I relinquished the moment and enjoyed my last few moments of sharing my body with our beautiful baby. Part of me wanted the moment to last forever, but most of it wanted the baby out.

Finally, a contraction came and it was a big one. Sam, Des and my mum urged me to take one big push and birth my baby, so I did. I used everything I had and pushed with all my might. At 8:02am, Baby Ava Lilly was born.

Within a fraction of a second, Des passed her through my legs and perfection was in my arms. At first glimpse I knew she was a big baby. She was so soft, wet and warm, covered in rolls. Absolute pure perfection. We delayed cutting of the cord for 15 or so minutes, then Des cut the cord. My body had begun to contract again, and I felt ready to deliver the placenta. Shortly after my younger sister walked through the door so happy to have another niece. I passed Ava to her and went and had a shower and delivered the placenta. I came out and sat down on the lounge, and we all relaxed soaking in the afterbirth glow, while I gave Ava her first feed.

A few hours later, Sam left, and I enjoyed a soak with Ava in a steeped herbal afterbirth Bath that Des had poured me. As we bathed, Ava looked into my eyes with those wise, aged eyes that newborns posses. After we had phoned everyone, we climbed into bed to have a midday sleep, something that I was very much looking forward to. I lay in bed glancing across at our newest angel, slowly drifting off into the land of slumber, thinking about how excited Haylee would be to meet her new
baby sister.

And that is the short story of the birth of Ava Lilly; our peace and love baby.

Baby and midwife.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

rachel loth November 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

beautiful!

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Belle Kellan November 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I don’t like calling my unborn baby an “it” either, so I understand your aversion. Glad to hear there’s at least one other person that feels that way!

Ava Lily is such a beautiful name. I have a niece named Ava Leigh.

Your story is beautiful! So peaceful, harmonious, and gentle. I had an ‘accidentally’ natural birth with my second, a girl as well; it wasn’t anywhere near peaceful, lol! I’m so relieved to hear how you went with what felt right for you & your baby. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

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Nancy Evans November 23, 2011 at 10:25 am

What a wonderful story, and so beautifully written too. I had a similar birth experience with my second and I’m hoping to repeat it with my third in April, I can’t wait! I’m so excited to be able to do it again. x

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Kt November 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

What was in the afterbirth bath and what is its purpose? Sounds interesting… Beautiful birth, very inspirational

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y January 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

I am due in 2 weeks and God willing I will have a natural water birth. Your words are so vivid and clear and you have set my mind at ease. Thank you and God bless

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