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The Dawn of Aquarius – a Homebirth Story

Ishwari Mai Wilson’s Birth Story

Born 5.25am 14th Feb 2009

Valentine’s Day and the Dawn of Aquarius

As I sit here, thinking of how to start writing this, I am still amazed at the fact that I am a mother and the little baby girl lying next to me is my daughter. She is so amazingly beautiful and is fully befitting of the meaning of her name Ishwari, which means Goddess. It is true that once you have entered Motherhood, nothing is ever the same again. My life is now intrinsically tied to another being; whom I will forever care for and nurture, worry about and want the best for. I write this mainly for her, so that one day she can know how she came into being and truly appreciate the decisions we made about how she was born and why.

I had been feeling ‘niggly’ for about a week and baby’s head was right in my pelvis, making it difficult to walk and sit comfortably – and was very ready to get things going! I started lighting Lavender and Clary Sage oil every night and getting Joss to massage it into my back, as well as having plenty of sex! However Lisa, my Midwife, said it didn’t matter what I did really, as this baby was going to come when it was ready to anyway! Lisa had dropped the birthing pool over, but we hadn’t blown it up or anything, just looked at it wondering when it was all going to happen.

On Friday night, 13th Feb, we had dinner at Emlen and Simone’s house and were talking about wouldn’t it be funny if I gave birth tomorrow, as Simone also went into labour with Ella on a Friday the 13th, but gave birth on the 14th. When we got home I was feeling a little different, like something could actually happen, so I had a bath with Lavender and Clary Sage again and lit candles, making it very relaxing. We had done a bit of a spring clean of the house too, like we were preparing for an occasion. At around 11pm we went to bed, but I didn’t get much sleep however, because at midnight I got up to go to the toilet and just had a feeling that when I got out of bed my waters would break… and I was right. Well, I got to the toilet and had an extra trickle that I was pretty sure wasn’t wee, but not definite. I got back to the bedroom, but then needed to go again, so turned around and this time when the water started leaking I knew it was for real. I reached the toilet and left a puddle on the floor before getting to sit down! It was a pretty surreal moment (as many moments to come were!) as you know that something big is about to happen, but having never experienced it before – don’t really know what to expect! When I got back to the bedroom, I nudged Joss awake telling him that my waters had broken and that it was happening – a moment I had played in my head and imagined doing. He was very cool about it, and when he woke properly we sat there smiling at each other thinking ‘okay, so now what?!’ We got out my ‘Well Adjusted Babies’ book and opened to the labour section and it said that contractions could start soon, so we should relax and try and get some sleep, or even bake a birthday cake for the baby in between contractions! Ha, well we didn’t really have time for any of that. Contractions started at about 10mins apart, and felt like strong period pain at the start.

We messaged Lisa and she quickly rang back saying we should call her again when they started getting more regular and we felt like we needed her. The contractions quickly escalated though, we stayed in the bedroom timing them… 8 mins….5 mins…So we called Lisa again and she said she was on her way down. I couldn’t stay in bed any longer as they were getting more painful, so we moved out into the family room and I lit some candles and Joss put on some relaxing Yoga music. It was so nice to be in our own environment and was very peaceful, being the middle of the night. I took up a kneeling position on the futon and found it very helpful to have Joss pushing on my back during a contraction, and applying quite a bit of pressure! In between contractions Joss tried blowing up the pool, but I quickly called him back when another started as the pressure on my spine helped so much. From the futon I moved onto the couch, again kneeling and having my arms up on the back. I had stripped all my clothes off already, as I just felt like I needed to; clothes were restrictive and I didn’t care anyway! Joss joked that finally Lisa was going to see me naked and I said she had seen plenty before me!

When Lisa arrived around 2.30am the contractions were pretty much a few minutes apart and quite painful. She took over setting up the pool so that Joss could concentrate on me.
img_0044I remember thinking at different stages, ‘Is this when people ask for drugs?’ as I was evaluating the level of pain and how I was dealing with it. I tried to concentrate on breathing through the contractions and not tensing up, and was amazed at how relaxed I felt in between. After a particularly painful one I asked Lisa where I was up to – as in “How much longer have I got to go?!” I wanted to know if this was going to go on for two hours or ten! She said I was definitely not 10cm dilated, but more than 5 – to give me a rough idea. Looking back on it now, that was the transition part and it was good timing that the pool was ready then for me to hop in. The warm water was such a relief on my back and it was quite relaxing in between contractions. Joss never got a break as I took to squeezing his hands now as I knelt over the edge of the pool. At one stage he asked if he could go to the toilet to which the answer was “NO!” Haha, I needed him with me, he was so good. He was there breathing with me and encouraging me, reminding me that it was ‘just pain’ and that I was doing a great job. He even started getting emotional at one stage.

I did try a different position on my back to see if it alleviated some of the lower back pain, but found that I was too floaty and not grounded enough. I needed my knees pushing into the floor, especially when it came to the actual pushing stage. I felt like I wanted to push, but thought it was too early as I had only been in the pool for a short time (I think it was around 4.30am by this stage, not really sure!) Lisa just said calmly, “do whatever feels right”, so I started pushing and it felt right. I could feel the head pushing down and moving with every contraction, and Joss was telling me that soon we would be meeting our baby. I was getting quite vocal by this stage, grunting and groaning and when I started to get more high pitched with the sounds turning into an “owwww” Lisa would remind me to keep it low and more controlled, which helped me stay grounded and not let myself get hysterical! I bit Joss’ finger at one stage, which even at the time I found quite funny! It was painful, especially when it started to sting and stretch like you never could have imagined! However, I just kept saying to myself, “it’s just pain and it will be over soon and you will have a baby!” Lisa had put a mirror on the bottom of the pool so that she could see what was going on and finally she told me that she could see the head crowning.

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She told me to reach down and feel it and asked if it was a head, but it was so soft and squishy, I was like “I don’t know! I’ve never felt a baby’s head come out of my fanny before!” I would push when a contraction came, but it took quite a few to crown the head as I seemed to run out of contraction just before it crowned and the head would slide back up again, which was frustrating. It was all consuming and stung like crazy, and I thought to myself “how much longer can you do this for?” but answered “what is the choice?… Give up now and go to hospital?… I don’t think so!!” So I just kept on pushing and focused all my energy on getting this head out. I had read so many stories about this part and know that you are meant to stop pushing after the head is out to give yourself (meaning the perineum) a break before the next contraction and the body – but I was in no mood to stop. After a particularly big push the head came out followed very swiftly by the rest of the body, however I didn’t really realise what had happened until Lisa was telling me to hold my baby, as she had caught her and was passing her through my legs and to my front. I was just so shocked that it was all over and it took me a while to ‘come to’ and see my baby held in front of me. I put my arms around her and tried to pull her up close to me, however not enough umbilical cord was out and so I had to hold her against my tummy. She was all pink and white vernix covered her body and filled the little folds in her skin. Her hair was dark and her cheeks were chubby, and her eyes were big and looked out at her new world. She made a cry and I cried along with her, so joyous at what I had just achieved and so proud to now be her mother.

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I looked at Joss and we gazed at each other and back to our baby in awe. We didn’t even know if she was a boy or a girl until a few moments later when we realised we should check! We had been so sure that she was going to be a boy, that it was quite a shock to realise we had a little girl – and didn’t even have a name decided yet. I think I kept saying “We have a girl!” and laughing. Its true what they say, straight after giving birth you forget about the pain – I can’t remember feeling any pain at that moment – just joy and relief that everything went so well and we had a healthy baby girl. And she was a big girl! I was expecting to see a tiny, fragile little thing in my arms, but there were rolls of skin everywhere and the chubbiest cheeks. Lisa said she was definitely over 8 pounds and gave her an apgar of 9-10, pretty perfect!

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With help, I got out of the pool and onto the futon, which Lisa had covered with cloths to protect it. Lisa asked Joss for some sort of container in which we could ‘catch’ the placenta and then told me to push gently again. It felt so weird after having given birth to a solid baby, to then have to push out a very floppy placenta; I didn’t really feel like I was pushing on anything, however it came out quite easily. We decided to leave the placenta attached for a couple of hours to ensure all the goodness had come out and then I cut the cord and Lisa tied it with some woolen string. We kept the placenta to use as ‘baby blues’ solution and also to plant at a later date.

Our baby girl was looking around at everything with the widest of eyes, like she was doing a check of her new surroundings, she was so alert. I put her to my breast and she knew straight away what to do. At first it felt really strange to have something sucking on your nipple, but we both got used to it very quickly. It felt like I fed her for ages, over an hour. We just lay there together, skin-to-skin, staring at each other and soaking each other in, with all the beautiful hormones rushing around both our bodies and feeling absolutely elated.

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After this good feed, I handed her to Joss to have a cuddle whilst Lisa checked me. I had torn a little and chose to have stitches, as I didn’t really fancy not being able to walk properly and having to keep my legs together for over a week! After the pain of giving birth I was a woos-bag when Lisa got the local anesthetic ready and administered it before doing the stitches – I was thinking the pain was over already! Joss and our baby girl had an awesome cuddle together, she was totally gazing up at him and they really connected. Joss was now a Daddy!

One of the most beautiful things about having a home birth was that all three of us could snuggle in bed together for the first time as a family. As we lay there together we thought about what we would name our beautiful girl, as we had decided on a boy’s name for sure, but not a girls! I got out some of the name lists that I had made on occasions throughout my pregnancy and we saw a few names in a much different light now that we actually had a face to put the name to. We had decided that we wanted a Hindi name as it would reflect our love for India and also when we finally live there, our child will feel more at home with the other children. We didn’t want a name that was too hard for ‘Westerners’ to pronounce though, or be something our girl would be teased over. Meaning was also very important to me, as I didn’t want a name that meant ‘bleak rock’ or something like that! SO, there on one of my lists was Ishwari and it means Goddess, which we thought was very appropriate. We tried it out a few times, calling her Ishwari and seeing how it felt – it sounded very pretty and we were both happy with our choice. Her middle name was always going to be Mai, this was decided already. It means Dancer in Japanese, and is also named after my Nana May. We also found out that it means Water Goddess in Vietnamese and Chinese, which is very fitting as she was born in water and is an Aquarius, the water bearer sign.

I am so proud of myself for having a water birth and for making the decisions that we did. The whole event was just perfect, we couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better! The whole time we both felt completely in control of our choices and the situation and we did it our way. It was in our own comfortable environment, with no other interruptions that a hospital would have; no crying babies, beeping noises, pushy nurses or nosey doctors. Lisa was such a fabulous support and was pretty much ‘hands off’ throughout the whole labour, leaving my body to do its thing and Joss and I to be in the zone together. I can’t imagine giving birth any other way and never want to get complacent about my achievement as a woman and now a mother. We are so happy about the way we welcomed our Ishwari into the world and feel it has given her the most beautiful, natural start to life that we could have ever wished for.

3 responses to “The Dawn of Aquarius – a Homebirth Story”

  1. Kathryn

    That is a beautiful story and makes me so excited about giving birth to my baby when he/she decides to come into the world this year! Thank you for sharing it… warm fuzzies Kathryn xxoo

  2. Anonymous

    What a beautiful, normal story. Sounds absolutely fantastic!

  3. Anne

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have about 12 weeks to go until our first baby is born at home, and I'm getting the jitters. I need stories like yours. Thank you.