Warren’s Birth Story
A beautiful and intense homebirth
The morning before Warren was born, I had an acupuncture session (I wanted the baby to come as he was 6 days over the eta). For the rest of that day I had lower back pain and cleaned the house, not quite realising the sensations were early signs that my baby was ready to join us. At about four in the morning the next day, I googled, “what do contractions feel like?” – It was clear it was happening.
I went back to sleep and from around eight in the morning I started timing contractions/surges. I got in touch with Sandra, our midwife and my friend, Ruth, who was going to travel down from Galway to be with us. They arrived a few hours later, and I was feeling good, settled and I was breathing through the contractions and chatting away. Its hard to recall exactly the feeling; a mix of optimism, trust, nervous excitedness and focus.
When Matt, my partner said he had just made lunch I was so surprised, I really thought only an hour had past. Time was moving totally differently for me. It was fun moving around in different positions, connecting with everyone who was there, Matt, Ruth, Sandra and Carmel, our second midwife. Everyone was just flowing around me, as if time had slowed down or we were underwater. Someone would flow in and massage my back, speak an affirmation to me, remind me to be present or relax, and then they would flow out again. Sometimes I just went out to sit on the toilet by myself, for what felt like a few minutes, but probably was more like an hour. I was feeling strong, intrigued, a bit nauseous at times.
At some point later in the day, the surges became more powerful, more intense and more painful. I became a bit weary and a bit weepy. Carmel came in the room and but a warm wash cloth on my face and neck, and her sweet words and loving touch made me weep, she said it would be over soon, though I just wanted to crumble. I lost touch with my practices and just started getting absorbed by the intensity. This was totally new, wild and I couldn’t have imagined before what it would be like and how the body just totally takes over and does its thing.
It was overwhelming and the next moment, it wasn’t, because Matt or Ruth or Sandra or Carmel would be there to reassure me, to ground me, to comfort me. And then I would come back to presence. And then another surge would come and I’d be gone, at some times fully roaring, retching and cursing! It was totally wacky, primal and raw. It was absolutely one of the most vulnerable things I’ve ever done.
And through it all, I felt totally safe, and fully supported by those around me. That element was so beautiful; all the care and the presence I was given that day. There were some moments where I almost felt embarrassed I was so vulnerable and needed so much help and then the next moment just overwhelming gratitude for it. It was such a beautiful experience of feeling fully supported and accepted.
Towards the end, I wanted to give up, I was done I couldn’t see away out, I was resisting the experience big time. I was retching alot, frustrated, confused. Then the surges were so close together there was almost no gap to think or collect myself; but everyone was there holding space and encouraging me ‘breathe your baby down, Jem’ rubbing my back, “your baby is coming to you, Jem’, ‘ breathe’, ‘relax’.
Then I moved down on to my side on the floor by the sofa, one hand was holding Ruth’s, one Matt’s. I was pushing, there was a peek of intensity; Sandra said: ‘Jem I want you to turn round and see your baby coming out’ – I resisted turning round for a moment, (I didn’t believe it was happening) and Sandra said again, ‘Jem-‘ I turned round and saw my baby as he emerged and I felt so a huge shift in my feeling; from intense pain, to intense love, joy, glory, gratitude, excitement. It was like the moment I saw him, I took this massive picture of him in my head, an imprint, and a flood of unconditional love flowed in.
I think I called out- ‘my baby, my baby, I love you, my baby’ and he was placed on my chest and I was so happy. Matt told me it was a boy and we weren’t surprised. We had had the intuition he was, though it was magic to finally know. I held him for a long time, Matt and I just witnessing him arriving, moving, making his first sounds. I guess it was all the adrenaline pumping through me, but I felt fantastic, so alive, refreshed, humorous.
It was so lovely to be able to go to sleep in our bed, and Ruth stayed the night too. It was also a huge support when Sandra came and checked up on us and our baby, every few days over the following weeks, this really helped us ease into parenthood.
I’m so grateful for this experience and in particular being able to give birth at home with the support of people I really trust. For me this meant me feeling so much more safe, at ease and empowered.
Written by: Jem