Ameli’s birth was the most amazing birth experience I could ever have dreamt of. As a first timer with no real experience and nothing but book knowledge, the 48-hour labour and peaceful birth was magical, and an experience that shaped my future, as every birth does.
So many of my friends and family are far away and won’t be able to share in this baby’s birth with us. I’m not sure how much I’ll update here today, or how much will need to be edited or spell checked later. I know when it gets to the thick of it, I’ll be focused inwards, and not sharing what’s going on… but in the meantime, writing is my therapy. It keeps me calm, and focused. Lucky you, eh? 😉
Last night – I went to an NCT committee meeting after my acupressure, and felt strengthening random contractions, but nothing worth writing home about. Arrived home, did some work, and wondered if Tuesday might be the day.
3:45 am – I got out of bed because I was moaning through contractions and starting to disturb Ameli’s sleep. I couldn’t sleep anymore, so went downstairs to do figure of 8’s on my birth ball. I got out the TENS machine and strapped myself up. I don’t remember the early contractions with Ameli being this intense.
5:20 something am – Fall asleep, contractions die down, waking about every half hour with a strong contraction.
8:30am – Ameli comes downstairs wanting milk. Breastfeeding stimulates contractions, definitely! We go about our morning, Ameli gets ready for nursery, I wash my hair – hanging upside down mid contraction is not fun. Thank heavens for the TENS machine.
9:30 am- My mother takes Ameli to nursery. I sit on the sofa getting some work done. Every time I stand up I have contractions. Have some things to finish before having a baby. Also need to put new Moses basket together. It arrived this morning. Good timing! These contractions are more like the second day of contractions with Ameli were. It’s definitely going faster.
10:15 am – Realise neither of my midwives are on call today. Need to contact someone else, but I’ve never met her.
10:51 am – Decide to publish this live on blog because I’m having to chat in too many groups and Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and what not. Will update here till I get in the pool. Then probably Twitter if anything.
11:20 am – Birthpool is up. Martin’s gone to fetch Ameli at nursery. Hypnobirthing CD on in background. Excitement currently coursing through my bones. Feeling so peaceful and happy.
12:52 – Updating to say there are no updates. Contractions have settled in at about 10 minutes apart for now. Ameli’s home from nursery and having a nap. My unofficial Doula is on standby. Midwife I’ve never spoken to knew who I am and was elated to hear I’m contracting, which was very sweet. No news for now is… well, no news!
15:00 – Contractions intense, but still about 10 minutes apart. Waiting for Ameli to wake so we can bake the birthday cake for the baby.
15:30 – Ameli awake, heading into the kitchen to do our cake in a jar for baby’s birthday. I have a contraction pretty much every time I stand up, so this should get things going. Have asked DH to start filling the pool. They’re all saying it’s too early. I’m not so sure it is.
Preparing for a homebirth is one thing, but preparing your older child for a homebirth has been a whole different adventure. I think how much you’re able to prepare them depends massively on the child’s age, and while I have no evidence of this, I suspect the younger they are, the more ‘easily’ they’ll just ‘go with it’.
We’ve been reading books and practicing mooing and making groany noises together so that Ameli knows what mama might do when the baby comes. With her birth there was no crying or screaming, it was actually very calm and gentle. I’m hoping for the same again this time.
As with any birth, our preparation will only take us so far, then it’s up to nature and a little bit of luck to take you the rest of the way. It’s no different with preparing a child for a birth, whether it’s a home birth or hospital birth. Having never been through it before, we have no idea how Ameli will react, whether she’ll be in any way interested, or will in fact even be awake!
But on the hope that she’ll be there and understand what’s going on, we’ve been watching birth videos together, for preparation.
Below are the best we’ve found. I’ve specifically chosen videos that aren’t overly graphic, and are relatively short – while the lead up and pregnancy pictures and all that make for a beautiful dedication, they don’t really captivate a two year old! I’ve also gone for gentle and calm births. There were some amazing ones with lots of screaming. She found them disconcerting, and I didn’t feel they were contributing to the positive preparation we were hoping for.
This is an unassisted birth at home in the bath. Mama doesn’t make a sound the whole way through!
Another in the bath at home. Another really quiet mama! Birth happens about a minute in.
Here the mother labours in a birthpool and it is probably closer to our setup. Mama rocks up and down in the pool while holding her belly through the contractions and there’s some heavy breathing. This is useful for explaining the way you’ll be breathing (i.e. golden thread breathing) and to ‘practice’ it together with your child/ren. (For the record, I don’t think her breathing would be ideal for me – it’s too panty, but it obviously worked for her.)
While we’re not planning a land birth, there’s no harm in preparing Ameli for it too. Also, they’re a bit for explanatory of where the baby comes from, since they show a little more. These are still not very graphic.
Here mama labours on all fours and has gives birth around the 2 minute mark
Quite explicit and straight on, but I still thought this one was tastefully done in a way that was child friendly to watch too.
Older siblings at birth:
Here’s a mix of different births, but with older siblings present. I found these really useful for comparisons. “See how the boy stands next to the pool and doesn’t try to climb in? Ameli mustn’t climb in either when mama’s having the baby.” And so on.
This clip has the nine year old sister aiding in the delivery of the baby, along with the midwife. It’s good though as it shows the baby coming out without actually showing any gory bits.
There’s about a minute of pregnancy pictures here, then a few seconds of labour pictures – birth ball use and so on. This video is good as it involves a bit of groaning and ‘noise’ but nothing ‘violent’ or frightening. The boy gives his mama cuddles and kisses and generally ‘hangs around’. It’s a beautiful and gentle birth and Ameli copies the lady’s ‘ooh,ooh’s’.
A longer video that has the older brother in the tub with mama for much of the labour. This was a good clip for me to watch too, as I’ve been concerned about being able to focus in with Ameli around, but if this mama can do it, then it obviously can be done! Birth happens around 7 minutes with a realistic amount of panting and groaning and moaning.
And of course, no birth viewing session would be complete without the picture slideshow of Ameli’s own birth. This one has the lead up of labour, including the birth ball, gas and air for a while, and labouring in water. Birth occurs around 2:20.
A few days ago I heard about something I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of before: Rebirthing. @mamapeardesigns was asking questions about it on twitter, and I was immediately intrigued, so I started reading more about it. There isn’t a huge amount of information, sadly, and I’d love to know if anyone has experience of it, but I thought I’d share what I found anyway, in the hope that it might help someone. (Please note that Rebirthing is a name applied to a form of breathing yoga and also to the questionable practice of wrapping a person in a blanket to create a womb like experience and requiring them to fight their way out – otherwise known as Attachment Therapy. This is neither of those techniques)
Read more: Rebirthing: For Emotional Healing And Breastfeeding Reintroduction
Yesterday we heard about her first birth experience and how it led her to reading, researching and finding out more about natural childbirth. Please welcome Noble Savage again as we look at the concluding part of the journey that led to her decision to become a doula.
I knew as soon as I became pregnant with my second child that I wanted a doula at the birth and that I’d also like to become a doula myself. I asked a dear friend who was similarly self-informed and self-taught to be my second support person. She was fantastic, always checking in with me and asking how I was feeling throughout the pregnancy and how I was preparing myself physically and mentally. We talked through various scenarios and what things I might like her to do and what my wishes would be in those situations.
I’m really excited today to introduce you to Noble Savage. She is a woman I really admire for her viewpoints and passion. Noble Savage is starting out as a doula, and I was thrilled when she agreed to share with you what it was that led her to that decision.
I hope you’ll find her story as inspiring as I do.
I didn’t know what a doula was until my daughter was already several months old. I was researching slings online and stumbled across a parenting site where women were discussing home birth. I watched a few of the slide shows of these women’s births and found myself absolutely riveted. More than one had me in tears, of both joy (because they looked so lovely and peaceful) and of sadness (that I hadn’t had that kind of experience). They talked of birth pools and doulas and of feeling calm and powerful. I was envious, and curious too. What difference could a doula have made to my own birth?
As a species, women are quite hard to understand. There, I said it.
We fill the complete spectrum with our differences, yet at our basic core, we are not all that dissimilar. We all have basic needs of love, acceptance, belonging and so on.
Why, then, do we bash each other, berate each other’s viewpoints and pile on guilt where extra isn’t needed?
Pregnancy is a time of such huge change. Your emotions change, your body, your home. It all changes. And just as an athlete practices for an event, a dancer for a show, or a politician for a debate, so a woman needs to prepare for becoming a mother. She needs to prepare not only her mind, her heart and her soul, but her body too.
Continuing on from the first post on natural childbirth: Natural Childbirth in Layman’s Terms, I’m going to talk now about the difference between a natural birth at home and a natural birth in hospital. Why is there a difference and what difference can it make to your birth experience?
Many women go into labour aiming for some vague idea of a ‘natural’ childbirth. We write birth plans expressing our wishes, and go into hospital believing that we will have the birth we want, because either we’ve read a little about things like Vit K and Gas and Air, or we have nothing but trust that the Ob, doctor or midwife really has our best interest at heart. Why then do so many natural births go ‘wrong’, leading to intervention upon intervention and often, finally in a caesarean section, and what can you do to prevent it?