Robin’s Birth Story
March 19, 2013 § 1 Comment
Robin is my fifth baby, and my third homebirth. Pregnancy has always been a time for me and my husband Sol to focus on healing old patterns that no longer serve, and to put our creative powers into action to create anew. Our focus for this birth was ‘ease and grace’, and as the time grew nearer I felt myself slipping into a lovely intuitive space and closer connection with my family and with the midwife, given that we had been together through two very different and sometimes challenging births previously.
As I went past 40 weeks, I was in no real hurry for the baby to come. I had lots of pre-labour sensations, but after four kids I knew it was just my body warming up. On the Saturday night strong contractions woke me from sleep all through the night, but I didn’t ring the midwife until Sunday evening, feeling this night would be the real thing. In hindsight I think I was already in the dreamy, detached, inward headspace of labour.
At 1am I woke with a strong contraction, and my waters had broken a little. I went to the loo only to realise that my perineum was completely swollen and I felt that the baby had dropped down a lot, even into the birth canal a bit. I didn’t have very strong or regular contractions, but I woke Sol and told him to get the pool filled. He just jumped up and got into it like an old hand. I decided not to call the friend I had organised as a support person – I knew I just wanted my husband and midwife as support this time.
At 3am Sol told me to ring the midwife again. I was reluctant as it was the middle of the night, but a suddenly stronger contraction gave me the sign I needed. She asked if I wanted her to come and I told her I didn’t know, as I still didn’t think I was in proper labour, but she said she would ‘pop’ over to have a look.
She arrived at 4am, and after listening to the baby and sitting with me for a while, told me it was probably still early in the labour, and that she was going to lie on the lounge. This incensed me and I thought to myself “it bloody well isn’t early!” She only got to lie down for about one minute as the intensity picked up and I began having overwhelming contractions that I had to go deeply inward to focus through. I had about 5 or 6, went to the toilet or walked around between each one with Sol and Robyn following me everywhere.
At 5am she suggested I get into the pool after hearing me start to push. I said that I did not want to, because I knew then that I would have to push the baby out and I didn’t want to go through with it anymore. In my previous birth I had felt some strong pain in my pelvis when the baby came through, and the memory of that difficult pain formed into a huge resistance this time around. I went to lie down and all of a sudden Robyn was there with me, rubbing my back and telling me it was alright. I said I was fed up with the contractions and scared about the pain. She said the baby would come anyway. Those few moments of tender words between just the two of us helped my resistance to melt away.
I announced that I would get into the pool. A couple of minutes in the water was enough to rejuvenate my spirits and help me focus, ready for the second stage. After the second pushy contraction there was a sudden popping sound…. the outside of the pool had split down a seam! I sat up, the midwife swore and Sol looked panicked. Time paused as we all looked at each other… wondering if this scenario was really going to happen! Sol got a patch for the pool but when I leant on it for the next contraction it split again – large enough to mean we would have to abandon the waterbirth. Sol held the pool together while the midwife held my hand for another contraction…. that didn’t arrive. I think we both knew the labour had suddenly stalled, though neither of us said anything. She went back to helping Sol but their nervous activity was beginning to affect me. I remember telling them that they were freaking me out and taking myself off to the loo for a while.
When I got back the midwife had placed a towel over the lounge and on to the floor so I went and knelt there. As soon as I did the contractions started up again and I felt the baby begin to move down. But no one was around- they were now madly bailing out the pool. I’d had the intuition the day before that this birth wouldn’t be a waterbirth, so I was not shocked or upset by the pool breaking, but I was upset that the focus was off me. Robyn, after hurriedly assuring me that she was still there for me, said we should wake up my Mum and some kids to help empty the pool. Sol came and sat with me while my son held the split shut and Robyn and my Mum bailed it out with buckets.
Within a few minutes I could feel the baby crowning. As that overwhelming urge to push came over me I said “I need Rrrrroobbyynnnnn…,” to which I heard her reply “I’m coming,” in a very shaky voice – the only time I have ever heard her sound less than totally composed. As the baby’s head emerged, I realised I didn’t have that pelvic pain that I had experienced before, and that not being in the pool meant I could get in a better and more comfortable position for my body. I’d given one loud push and then the midwife said to just breathe the baby out – I let go of the effort I was putting into pushing and was amazed to feel his head just keep coming on its own.
I knew that I didn’t want to pause between head and body emerging. I gave myself permission to just keep nudging him out without stopping at all and it felt like he slid out very easily, but quickly. I think I went into a bit of shock, began crying and shaking but also worrying that it had been too fast for me. As I turned around I heard Sol exclaim ‘Oh it’s a boy!’. Robyn told me to slow down in turning around due to a short cord. It felt like too long before I finally saw my beautiful baby and held him.
I was helped up to lie on the lounge – my mother and son were still bailing out the pool. My 12 y.o. son had been sitting two feet away from me as I gave birth but apparently his eyes were firmly fixed elsewhere! My mum hadn’t even realised the baby had come until I called her over to see him. He was born at 5:50am and the placenta came quickly at 6am. I ate a small piece raw… something I have done with every birth except one as a symbolic act of giving back to my body and for helping avoid excessive blood loss. There were some magical moments when, at 7am the other kids all drifted out, sleepy-eyed, to find that the baby was finally here. Sol began brekky and the day began as usual. My daughters began fighting over whose turn it was to touch the baby, and that was my cue to have a shower and retreat to the bedroom!
Despite the unexpected elements, it was a fantastic birth, easy on my body and full of lightheartedness. We knew straight away that the baby’s soft energy did not suit the name we had in mind. For three nights after he was born I dreamt his name was Robin. He has been a very special baby bringing much change into our lives, rich with challenges but also joy.