Here is the story from the incredible birth of our baby Raine Lee.
We ROCKED it, like we actually effing ROCKED the homebirth. Our baby girl was born healthy and naturally in our lounge room with only her parents, her aunty, her photographer friend, her midwives and her grandmother watching over us.
Tuesday 25th June I woke up with some strong pre-labour, was checked by Juliana and encouraged to wait and see...by nightfall all signs had ceased. This was one day past our estimated due date and I felt so down in the dumps about it...thinking I would be pregnant forever! Mentally I had prepared for an early baby and to be "late" was just not in my plan. So I treated myself to Bowen therapy and reflexology and then spent my time fighting off Rivers cold. I got sick and wasn't sure if I could breathe through labour or have the stamina to endure the long labour I was expecting.
Saturday 29th began with mild sporadic "tightening" that I was mostly able to ignore, I made no mention of them and a normal day progressed. After going to bed at 7.30pm, I was woken at 9.30 with full on contractions lasting 30-45seconds every 3minutes, they were so intense that River was woken and not being able to comfort him distressed us both. My sister Loz, was called to the rescue as was Juliana...things were chaos for a while until it was decided that Nick would pick River up which worked out really well. I don't remember the timing of things too clearly but Donna (our photographer) was called at some stage and stayed with us from about 12.30pm!
I remember being examined by Juliana and she was so kind and gentle and it was nothing like my experience at the hospital. It was one of only two vaginal exams performed, and I never knew how dilated I was during labour until afterwards.
On the couch I worked through contractions with music and holding my sisters hands, Eric was stroking my hair when my waters broke BY ITSELF during a contraction, I squealed and celebrated, what an amazing feeling of achievement, this was the first time I knew I could do it myself, that my body wasn't broken. Soon after we hopped in the birth pool, I think we all believed baby was very very close. This was good in a way as my team stayed really present with me the whole time. I panicked when I felt like I needed to poo. This turned out to be the biggest issue for me - I was literally a tight arse the whole labour!!
Nothing was happening so we rugged up and headed off for our first walk. Juliana and Eric held me as we marched up and down my hilly street in the dark of night, I even managed to walk through a contraction or two. Helen then arrived and while Jules and the others took turns resting we decided to kick it up a notch. I had spent most of my contractions on all fours or leaning on Loz or Eric, but Helen ordered skin to skin...even started tearing off Erics' jacket!!! We were smooching and cuddling though I was very vocal during contractions, and Helen was actually jiggling my butt to get me to relax my nether regions, it started to work!
When Juliana examined me again she found that my bladder was full, too full, and I couldn't pee. This happened during Rivers birth no no no!!!! A catheter was offered and sent me into despair...this was NOT going to be the same experience. Juliana calmed me down by explaining that they could put it in, relieve me and immediately take it out again. What a game changer. A short time was spent in discomfort and then we were back into it, though my urine showed ketosis, where liver glycogen stores are depleted. I had had nothing to eat during labour and was vomiting quite a lot but I adamantly refused an IV drip. In that case I had some serious work to do! "Sarah, we need to see some progress in the next two hours or we have to talk about transferring to the hospital" frick frick frick, what more could I do? I tried to eat and drink some and Eric suggested another walk. We left the house just after 8.30am, personal trainer Eric came on the scene to have me marching THROUGH contractions. Juliana was reminding me of all the physical feats my body has overcome while Helen force fed me cold vegemite toast. It was so hard.
Back at home Eric and I jumped in the shower, he ommed with me through contractions, shielded me from the cold water (filling the pool up again), and we knew it would not be too long. We got back in the tub despite the fact it was freezing cold, everyone was writing notes or filling the pool with hot water. Helen was telling me to poo on Eric, Loz was whispering encouragement holding my hands and Eric was trying once again to get me to relax my butt.I was getting grunty and could feel the intensity change. It was probably around this time that 'transition' occurred but I could not have told you if it did at all. I was reassured that we WERE in fact doing this. Nick and River popped in to get Rivs clothes and it refocused me. Noone would cut me open again, nonone would rob me of this. My baby would be born NORMALLY, I would ROAR my baby out of my VAGINA because I had WORKED for this.
Pushing took so long I was actually sleeping between contractions. It was really frustrating to feel her head coming down during contractions and then return in between them. Eric had moved in front of me and I was literally using him to get me through, pushing against him or relaxing on his shoulder. There was snot everywhere and yeah it hurt but I didn't care. I was listening to the loving voices around me, Jules talking me through the pushing, Helen smiling at me and feeding me gatorade, Loz telling me how strong I was and Eric riding it out with me. After about three hours her head came out in one push, her body came out in the next. "Reach down and grab your baby" said Juliana, as Eric and I both grabbed her to my chest.
We named her in the pool as we waited for the placenta, a beautiful name in honour of her grandmother.
The most emotional moment came when we were lying on the couch afterwards, feeding and snuggling, as I exclaimed "I can feel my legs!". I cried for what I had lost with Rivers birth, I cried because Nick had missed out on a beautiful birth for his son, I cried because we did it; an unplanned pregnancy after the trauma of her grandmother passing, after a sad divorce and a very new relationship. The hurdles we jumped to have a HBAC, the doubt I faced, the pressure I put on myself, the changes made mentally, spiritually and physically. We chose the BEST team to support us and we gave birth with LOVE around us.