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Jaspers Homebirth A Father’s Tale

I was expecting something amazing, I wasn’t dissapointed, but it was in every way different from what I had thought it might be. The morning started bright and sunny with no sign of the day to come until we drank our morning coffee in bed and Kel started to feel the first signs of “something different”, we had done a few false starts so we carried on to breakfast before she told me “this is it!”….. what a moment! an incredible sense of the present stripping away my mind and bringing me into focus, quickly followed by it’s reengagement with a list of “what to do next’s” as long as my arm, not being that wonderful at multitasking (yes I am after all only a man). I charged off on my single mission to get that birthing pool filled asap (Kel had previously had a 40 minute birth with her second baby, Lily). I had left it semi inflated for quick deployment and with the help of Lily and Maia soon had it up to pressure and filling from a hose off the washing machine tap. Kel was going into light 5 minute contractions which seemed steady and she looked supremely calm and focussed which gave me a lot of reassurance.

03052008182Our 2 doulas, Bruce and Rosie, had turned up by now and Lisa was relaxed and attentive with Kel. At this point I ran out of hot water from the tank ( we had a few showers that morning ) so it was pots, pans and kettles to the rescue to get the pool that last third filled and Kel into the soothing waters. Rosie, Bruce and I rotated with hot towels on her lower back ( very effective ) while she crouched kneeling supported with her arms on the pool wall. Kel looked so beautiful to me then, sun shining in the water and down her back, totally involved in that ultimate expression of womanhood, birthing.

The mood moved from soft relaxed laughter to intense focus and back as the waves of contraction came and went. The morning passed this way with no sudden changes as labour progressed into it’s full expression. At times l felt meaningless and insufficient, at others empowered and connected. To be there holding the woman I love as she was drawn into this incredible process was awe inspiring, I was totally disconnected from “reality” and yet this was the ultimate reality, one we all experience in some way, one that opens our eyes to the wonderful raw beauty of life. The woman I loved before was now the woman I worshipped, respected, admired for her humanity and fertility, her trust and her courage, her strength and focus.

p1080795As the birth approached it became more and more obvious that he was a very big boy and things were going to be tough, as his head crowned I began to relax, thinking that the “worst” was over, but there he stopped and there we all started. Kel had run out of contractions and could not push him out, Lisa climbed in the pool fully clothed and I knew we were in “emergency” mode, Bruce called the Ambos as Lisa ordered Kel out of the pool and onto the floor on her back (all with his little head between her legs ), and her years of experience as a midwife came into full use as she physically reached into Kel to free his stuck shoulders. As he came across the floor onto a towel it was obvious he was spent, coloured between mauve and cream, completely limp and not breathing. It was the moment I came closest to despair as Lisa gave him mouth to mouth and Rosie kept a steady 2 finger tap on his little chest, we waited and called to him, we encouraged him on, pleaded for him to make it, to breathe that first breath before his umbilical cord gave up its final bit of oxygenated blood. It seemed like hours but as 2 minutes passed he gave that first tiny gasp and groan, 20 seconds and another, 10 and another, he was here ! he was coming to stay ! our little boy had made it ! With much massaging and a few peeks from one eye he pinked up and almost looked the picture of health by the time the Ambos arrived just 7 minutes after our call. They were great, accepted we had things back in control and after a few minutes left us to, finally, enjoy the successful birth of Jasper William Gregory, 11 lbs 5 oz ( 5.5 kgs ).

jasperKel, amazingly, needed no stitches, we took prints from the placenta and buried it under the lemon tree, Jasper slept solid for the first week and is now a robust picture of health and alertness mixed with a healthy appetite and love of fun. Mother and child are now doing very well, Dad however has been transported to another realm that could be mistaken for madness ( he is my first baby ), I love nappy changing and pulling stupid faces while making idiot noises, use language l last used below the age of 5 and proudly feast on his beautifulness with my eyes and hands at every opportunity. I could fully expect Kel to be very jealous, except she is just as bad as I am.

5 responses to “Jaspers Homebirth A Father’s Tale”

  1. Rebekah Costello

    Wow! What a positive, well written, passionate story!! Congratulations to them and best wishes to that family! And well done, Mama to Mama’s.

  2. Rose

    what a beautifully written story! I had tears in my eyes. Women truely are amazing…..

  3. Jo

    OMG. More tears in my eyes this morning. If ever there was any doubt in my mind that my 2nd was ‘too big’ to be born naturally and at home, it has gone. And my ever so slight nervousness for my sister (also blessed with big babies) has just faded away… Congratulations everyone. And thanks for writing/sharing the story. I can never get enough of hearing others stories, even now 1.5yrs on.

  4. Sarah

    Awesome – I love hearing stories from a man’s point of view! My eyes welled up also…

  5. Anna Ewer

    Anna here. I didn’t stop crying from near the start to the end. I am expecting my second any day now with Lisa birthing and filling some little moments reading birth stories. Your poetic descriptions bring to life your story with vigour. We too had a big headed boy who was stuck in an awkward position, so it brought memories back… so thank you for your delicate and precious translation of events. Anna x