A beautiful birth story from Heather Francesca whose first birth featured on Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute
To say I was excited about the arrival of our second child was an understatement. We had been given a due date of the 17th October and as this day came and went I started to get frustrated, aargh, I thought to myself, she’s supposed to be on time, after all my first little girl was born on her due date, so I’ve never had to wait for a baby before! I started to think that my dates were wrong and as I flicked through my maternity notes I remembered I had originally been given a due date of the 23rd October, maybe the 17th was wrong after all? Relaxed and confident that she would come when she was ready, I found myself been chilled and calm about the whole affair.
I had been experiencing some very mild start/stop contractions for a few days leading up to my birth and on the 17th I was booked in to see my midwife, Liz. Once there, she suggested I have a sweep to see if she could help get things moving, whilst examining me, I was informed I was dilated by 2 cm. I went home and continued to have these mild contractions for the next 2 nights, each time waking up with butterflies thinking ‘this is it’ however 10 minutes later, I would fall back asleep and wake up still pregnant, another false alarm I thought.
Then on monday 21st at 6.30am, I woke up with a sense of urgency that today was the day, I woke Danny and told him that I was having what I thought were contractions, they were very mild and not painful, we quickly got the stop watch out and started timing, every 4 minutes they were happening and this continued for a couple of hours. We’d already decided on a home waterbirth and the pool was all set up at the foot of our bed ready to be filled with water. Danny leapt into action and grabbed his hose and attached it to the taps and started to fill the birth pool. Mum and Dad arrived at 8.30 to take our other daughter, Eivissa, leaving Danny and I alone.
With the pool half full, I noticed my contractions slowed down to 10 minutes apart and then down to 20 minutes apart, I was convinced that this was it, perhaps, I was too relaxed so we decided to head to the supermarket to see if a bit of activity might help. As soon as we got there at 12.15 pm I was hit by a big contraction that made me stop in my tracks. I knew something was happening and whilst Danny hurried round the shop I found myself on the crisp isle having contractions every few minutes, I’m not having my baby in between the quavers and watsits I thought so I grabbed Danny and off home we went. On the way home I called the midwife and told her what was going on but I could tell by the tone in her voice that she wasn’t convinced I was in labour, after all, who goes shopping whilst in labour? The protocol when you advise the midwife of your labour is that they come out to assess you to see where your at, I think she thought she would be leaving after checking me over as to look at me, you wouldn’t think I was about to give birth. After a very quick examination it was found I was dilated by 3cm, she decided to stick around for a couple of contractions.
It was my time now, I had been planning this birth for a long time and I knew I had to get into my zone, I had been preparing my mind and body to do what I believed it could do, my music was on, candles were lit and I felt very relaxed in both mind and body. After 3 contractions my waters broke, this was at 1.30pm, the midwife took her coat off and announced she was staying.
Danny got the pool to the correct temperature and I put my birthing outfit on I as soon as I got in I felt so comfy, the sun was shining in through the windows and Danny was holding me closely, I felt so in control, my surroundings were perfect and the sound of the gentle music and smell of the scented candles took me into an almost subconscious relaxed state. I didn’t know how long it would take to get to 10cm, all I knew is that the contractions were becoming more frequent and more intense as the minutes went by.
Even though the midwife was in the room, I felt completely alone with Danny, he was in tune with my wants and needs and everything that I wanted from this birth I knew he wanted for me too, if two people are pulling in the same direction then momentum will form and it becomes harder to penetrate. The midwife just sat back observing everything, her relaxed state gave me confidence everything was going well. After an hour or so I felt a huge amount of pressure in my bottom and I felt like I wanted to push, the midwife called for a second midwife as I think we all knew this baby was coming very soon.
Three strong contractions came and with one big push I felt her head come out, I maintained my focus and listened to what my body was telling me, with one more push, my beautiful little angel arrived into our world, guided out by our amazing midwife and at 2.50pm our little girl, Cataleya Lilliana Greig weighing 7lb 7oz was finally here. I couldn’t believe it, everything that we had hoped and prayed for was finally here.
I felt no pain at all as she came out, she went behind me so I couldn’t see her, the midwife guided her out, baby and I both got a bit tangled in the cord and I imagine it was quite a picture watching us untangle ourselves.
We had reached the ultimate climate of mankind and we were so overwhelmed by the love that this precious life had brought us that all we could do was cry tears of joy, there isn’t a word that’s been invented for the amount of love we had for our beautiful, beautiful baby girl.
The moments after were so special, I just sat there in the pool with Danny’s arms cradling baby and I, our little girl was just nestling on my chest taking in her new surroundings. I waited for the cord to finish pulsating then Danny cut the chord and I transferred myself to the bed to deliver the placenta. I opted to deliver the placenta naturally and with a few tightening feelings in my stomach, it was all out.
Straight away she started to feed off my milk and she latched on very easily which was a lovely feeling as I love breastfeeding.
The midwife then gave me a quick check and cleaned up the bed and I was all set, I didn’t need any stitches which was a welcome relief and we were just left alone to enjoy our new addition.
I remember sitting there, completely in awe of my body and thankful for my experience, I truly believe that all the preparation that Danny and I had done over the last few years, praying, believing and being in complete faith for this experience is testament that it can be. If you apply your mind to anything then it can be achieved, too many people try and scare you with the horror stories and I’m living proof that it doesn’t have to be that way, I’m not special, Nor am I better than anyone else, I don’t have the magic formula and I can’t say that if you follow what I did then you will have the same results, all I can say is, why not give it a shot, hey, who knows maybe we can change what the worlds view of childbirth has become.
If you are considering a home birth then I highly recommend it, I was sent the ‘pool in a box’ by a company called ‘my good birth’ and I found it to be better than expected, the kit comes with everything you need and helped make my birth a great experience.
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