This is a birth story from a lovely homebirth I attended in April last year as written by the lovely, happy, darling mummy Hannah.
One year is how long it’s been since you joined our family! We are so thankful to have you. I have started this birth story over and over again and it’s sat here for almost a year. Sometimes I don’t feel like sharing it because it’s so special and I want to keep it to myself, and other times I want everyone to know because it’s so awesome.
Your dad and I were discussing certain events of the day we met you and a couple of times he told me things about your birth that were different to how I remembered them. I always think it’s funny how in all of my births certain things will come to me later like little flashbacks. Most of them are pleasant and I love remembering those little extra details of a funny joke or something silly I said or did while in labour.
Because I was tired and sore, I was hoping you would make an appearance early just like your two older brothers did. I was also scared I wasn’t ready or prepared to meet you at the same time since the last few months had been so busy with studying and moving. I talked a lot about these things with my amazing midwives. They kept encouraging me and telling me I could do it! The week that I was 37 weeks pregnant, Lisa, one of our midwives, came up to stay with us from interstate, which was so much fun. We had a mother blessing with some friends and ate lots of food, listened to music and just chatted. Everyone decorated my belly with henna and I was given hand massages while I soaked my feet. It was bliss and I felt so pampered! Mummy’s best friend, Aunty Amy, also came to stay with us for a few days. We watched episodes of Offspring on DVD during the day and ate ice cream. The day before you were born I started to have a few signs that we would meet you soon. Belinda, our other midwife, had to go away for a couple of days with work and I hoped she would make it back in time to be there to meet you. I knew it would be alright either way since Lisa was staying with us.
In the early hours of the morning, on Friday the 15th, I started to have a few niggles that felt a little different than what I had already been experiencing for a few weeks. They were only 10-15 minutes apart so I didn’t concentrate too hard on them, but wandered around in the lounge room, hoping you were coming to meet us soon. I didn’t know if Belinda would make it back in time since her flight didn’t arrive until that afternoon. Lisa was still asleep as I was getting ready to take your big brothers and sister to school, and I didn’t want to wake her yet. Amy was up and I let her know I was feeling a little more niggly and that it would be nice if she would come with me to take the kids to school since I didn’t feel up to driving by myself. I let Eve and Miles’ teacher know that we might be picking them up a little early depending on how the day went. We dropped your big brother and sister off and then felt like a treat, so sat in McDonalds car park while we ate a hash brown!
On our way back home Daddy rang to let me know he was coming home to work for the day. He needed a lift back from the army base where he worked. I had a pain while he was on the phone, and got a little snappy with him, telling him to hurry up. I’m pretty sure that’s when we realised we would definitely meet you that day.
When we got home I saw Lisa was up and in the kitchen getting breakfast. She said she could tell from the moment she saw me that today was the day. I messaged Georgia to let her know I thought I was in early labour and she offered to come at any time. I didn’t want everyone to just be waiting around for me so didn’t ask her to come at that point. I rang Belinda and told her as well, but also let her know I thought it was only early stages and that I was sure she would arrive back home before the baby was born. Belinda had been at Miles’ birth five years prior and I had only been in labour with him for one hour, so I’m sure she thought she wouldn’t. Lisa offered to give me a lovely back massage and I felt so relaxed during it, I didn’t feel any pains at all!
I told her I thought it was time to get up and walk around. I wanted to get on with it. She ended up messaging Georgia and telling her to come over. It was lovely having so many women surrounding me. The house was quiet and the atmosphere was calm. I just wandered around leaning on walls and enjoying the quiet. Joel and Lisa rolled out the birth pool and for a moment when I started seeing the birthing room take shape, I felt a little scared of what I was about to go through. I was tired from lots of sleepless, uncomfortable nights and was scared I wouldn’t have the energy to give birth that day! Then I just decided to concentrate on where I was, not get ahead of myself, and take things one step at a time. I noticed I started to need someone to put pressure on my hips during every contraction and thought they must be getting stronger. I enjoyed leaning up against walls during the contractions for support and also to feel the coolness against my cheek when I felt hot and flustered.
I think it was about noon when Lisa asked if I wanted to get into the birth pool. I remember wondering to myself if we definitely knew I was in labour and if I should not, just in case I wasn’t. I have always been a little apprehensive to get into the birth pool since I know when I get out, that most likely it will be under different circumstances than when I got in. That thought is always so overwhelming. It was hard to know when it would be the right time to make that commitment. At the same time the warm water and the comfort I feel when I hop into a hot bath felt very luring. I managed to talk myself into it. I was committed to finishing out the labour and give birth! Somebody came and asked if I wanted the kids to be picked up from school at about one and I said yes. I remember being asked if I wanted Joel or Amy to go and I asked for Joel to go. It felt right being surrounded by just women for a little while. I was starting to feel a little emotional about meeting you and needed to have one more little cry and voice my fears. Lisa asked what it was that was bothering me and on my mind. I had a little cry and told her I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage looking after four kids and that I was scared. I knew that there was nothing to do but trust that God knew what he was doing by bringing you into our lives, and that you were always meant to be a part of our family. I didn’t want to become more exhausted than I already was by crying. I calmed down and decided it was time to get on with it.
I knew that things were getting more intense and closer to meeting you and found myself looking at the clock in the lounge room. I wondered when Belinda would arrive, and how long I had been in labour for. The next time I looked at the clock it was gone. I thanked Lisa for taking it away and chose to focus inward from that point. When the kids arrived home I heard someone ask if I wanted them to change out of their school uniforms and into their normal clothes. I was so glad I had women around me who were thinking practically. Of course I didn’t want the kids school uniforms in your birth video, Cole!
For the most part having your big brothers and sister there was wonderful. I loved sharing these moments as a family. I got upset at one point when Miles was whispering and asking a question. I realized that pat of the frustration came from the fact I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying and have a contraction at the same time. You don’t stop being a mum and wanting to meet your children’s needs even when you are in labour! I couldn’t just switch off. The kids took turns pouring water onto my tummy. Lisa floated around near me and I loved having her close, encouraging me. Amy came to let me know the hat I had knitted for you in case you were a girl was ready. She had finished knitting it for me. What an amazing friend! If you had been a girl I wanted you to have a purple hat. It was very reassuring and I was thankful she was there. Belinda arrived and I felt relieved that things were going to plan. When she came over to talk to me I noticed she had garlic breath (I’m always sensitive to garlic in pregnancy). Apparently I was really rude and gave her the hand, shoo-ing her away from me. Daddy had bought a big bag of Minties at the shops and so they directed her to where to find them. I laugh when I see her chewing on them in the video. Lisa also let her know that gargling with a mouthful of apple cider vinegar might help, and she did it, just for me!
I remember your dad being in the pool with me and being so thankful he was there to lean on when I started pushing. At one point he got a cramp in his leg and had to move. I yelled at him that he had made you slip back up inside me while I was trying to push you out! Somebody reminded me that you would descend again. After what seemed like only a few pushes, your beautiful head was crowning. I couldn’t believe it. I was so scared too, even though I knew I could do it. After your head was out, I felt I needed to be a bit more upright, and I moved. Your body didn’t come out with the next push, but I wasn’t concerned. I had felt you rotate and could picture in my head what was happening. I felt like you needed a little help, and when the next push started, I reached down and gently helped your body be born. It was in that moment that I knew you were always meant to be a part of our family and I felt so overjoyed to have the privilege of meeting you. I was so surprised you were a boy! Daddy threw his head back and laughed since we were so certain you would be a girl. The joke was on us!
We named you Coltrane Jack.
You were named after a famous jazz musician and saxophone player. Daddy loved the name for ages, but it took me a while to come around. Now I think it’s perfect. Your middle name is Jack after your grandfather. We stayed in the birth pool for an hour after you were born. The placenta slid out within ten minutes of you being born, and then we just snuggled and let everyone celebrate around us. It was so much fun. When I felt ready, we got out of the bath and your daddy had his first cuddle with you. I took you back as soon as I was settled on the couch and gave you more snuggles and milk. It was so bittersweet knowing I would probably never experience such an amazing thing again, but so thankful for the calm, peaceful and loving way we were able to welcome you into the world. Thank you Coltrane for choosing to be a part of our family. We are so blessed.
You can watch the birth video of Coltrane “here ” if you haven’t yet seen it.