Baby Boy Your Right On Time - Aubrey's Home Birth Story
I am yet to finish my last bump date detailing my final two weeks of pregnancy. But let's just say in the days leading up to the birth I was exhausted and really uncomfortable. Having Dan home was great as it meant I could have the odd afternoon nap, a real novelty for me as I’ve never really been able to sleep during the day. It must have been all the hormones and my body telling me I need to rest in preparation for baby's arrival.
I was 40 weeks pregnant to the day and New Zealand was having a heat wave. Ok, it was like mid 20’s but that’s warm for NZ in December. We headed down to the beach for a swim mid-afternoon. It's best to swim at our beach at high tide but Dan managed to read the tide maps wrong - it was dead low tide. I had to wade a few hundred metres just to get in up to my waist and because it was such hard work, I was constantly having Braxton Hicks. The water was bliss though! My stomach felt weightless in the cool salty water. On the way home I remember mentioning to Dan ”today was the day” as I was feeling similar to how I felt just before giving birth to Beth.
We got back home and were all pretty exhausted. While Beth was having quiet time reading some stories in the lounge, Dan and I had some “quiet time” of our own. We were determined to get things moving! I must admit sex was a little awkward, not only because of the size of my stomach but because we still didn’t have blinds in our bedroom. With a good dose of Oxytocin and prostaglandin in my system, small, irregular contractions began at about 5 pm. At this stage, I wasn’t actually sure if it was labour or no as I had quite an intense “fake labour” experience with Beth. Dan spent the next hour tidying up the house, blowing up the birthing pool and getting some of the camera gear ready just in case. We tried to create a calm birthing environment by putting on our Doterra essential oil diffuser with 4 drops of balance essential oil blend and 1 drop of wild orange essential oil, setting up two salt lamps and putting on some music. At about 6.30pm I sat down on my swiss ball and we did a bit of a Vlog update.
To satisfy the last of my last pregnancy cravings, Dan quickly popped out to the supermarket. He returned with vegan dumplings and ingredients to make burgers. By the time Dan had finished cooking dinner contractions were intense and regular. I had my head down and had to breathe through each contraction. If you watch the birth vlog you will see I still managed to eat my food. At 8.30pm I called my midwife Courtney (Dan’s Cousin and my oldest friend). Beth could definitely sense something was up and was overly excitable - a wall of words and questions erupted from her mouth. Dan promised her that in the morning she would have a little baby brother and surprisingly, managed to get her to sleep in our bed without too much fuss. A few minutes after 9 pm, Courtney arrived. It took her 15 minutes to set up all her gear - I was surprised at just how much she had; a resuscitation set-up with oxygen-tank, boxes of supplies and various other instruments.
I sat on the swiss ball in the middle of the lounge, head down, breathing through contractions which seemed to get stronger with each passing one. My waters broke on queue; Dan freaked out and seemed to be more worried about ruining the wooden floors than anything else. We sacrificed a towel or two and soon had things cleaned up. I moved to the bathroom and laboured for about an hour on my haunches against the bath. One thing I remember vividly was how thirsty I was. Between contractions, Dan gave me ice water and put a cold flannel on my neck. After reading Orgasmic birth (which I still highly recommend) I planned on having a sensual childbirth experience with lots of touching and cuddling. In the moment though, I didn’t feel like anyone touching my back or anywhere else on my body. Dan just held my hands and put his head against mine; having his support and just knowing he was there helped a lot. While labouring against it, we attempted to fill the Bath. It was just as well we scrapped the idea of the birthing pool as our super low hot water pressure meant the bath didn’t even fill up in time. Lots of moaning, breathing through contractions and screaming into a towel. It somehow felt good to release it. Really not sure how Beth didn’t wake up as there is currently no door at the entrance to our room. My midwife then checked me and I was already 10cm dilated. Courtney decided it was time for a change of position so I stood up and climbed into the shower. Literally, within two to three eye-watering pushes I had a baby in my arms at 10.29pm. While standing up I could feel his head coming down the birth canal, and oh my!!! We were lucky to catch him as he shot right out as soon as his head came out my vagina. Surged on by a boost of hormones, I limped through into the lounge where I lay on a bed while the midwives (now three of them), cleaned me up. Dan cut the cord while baby lay naked on my chest. He didn’t wear any clothes for the first 32 hours which gave us plenty of time to bond through skin to skin. We have named him Aubrey Jacob Lemkus. He weighed in at 3.58kg (7.89lbs) and was 54cm long (21.26”).
The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I had a few minor stitches while the midwives cleaned me up. Then I had a shower while Dan had skin to skin. At 2 am Beth woke up for some water and Dan took her into the lounge to see Aubrey for the first time. She was half asleep and a little shy at first but warmed up to him quickly. She had this cute glow of happiness on her face. We all went to bed at about 3 am and managed a few hours sleep in between feeds.
All in all what an awesome home birth experience. According to our midwife, active labour began at about 8.30pm. Prior to this contractions were not really regular enough to be considered proper, active labour. Therefore it was essentially a 2-hour labour.
Big thanks to Dan for helping me write this post - I don’t think I would have managed to get this out so quickly with a 9-day old baby.
Looking forward to sharing more about his first few weeks and how I’ve been going postpartum.