Violet was born at 4.50am on the 15th June 2020 in our bathroom after a natural and unassisted labour. Amazing experience with my husband, son and doula, Tricia Murray, supporting me.
This was such an amazing experience and I'm so grateful to my husband and Tricia for helping me to have such a positive birth.
PLANNING A HOME BIRTH DURING COVID-19
After having planned a home birth from my booking appointment I was devastated when NHS Lothian cancelled the home birth service. After writing several emails campaigning for reinstatement of the service I resigned myself to birthing at the hospital, hopefully in the birth centre. This was particularly upsetting as my previous hospital birth wasn't an experience I wanted to repeat.
Around 11.30pm on Sunday 14th June contractions started, just before bed that evening I had my bloody show and an achy stomach so thought things might be starting. Until around 1.30am I stayed in bed listening to hypnobirthing tracks and vaguely timing the contractions. I used breathing and a heat pack on my stomach and felt I was coping with the contractions, therefore I probably had a while to go before labour progressed. Contractions were between 5 and 10 minutes apart, but there was no pattern. While visiting the toilet just before 2am the contraction intensity ramped up noticeably so I woke my husband and let him know things were starting. I also got incredibly hot at this point. Shortly afterwards I called my doula and asked her to come over, I was hoping I still had time in the house for her to support me before my husband and I had to leave to go to the hospital. At this point I definitely went through transition, I lost my breathing rhythm and cried "I can't do this" to my husband. Because I was so hot I had gone to the bathroom thinking about having a cold shower however all I managed was to hang off the sink with the cold tap running over my wrists and a cold flannel on my back. Within a couple of contractions I had recovered my breathing but these contractions felt very different, very powerful and pushy. My waters burst with one of these around 3am and soon after my doula arrived. I think I realised around this time that I really didn't want to move off the bathroom floor and couldn't imagine getting in a car to the hospital. My husband asked a neighbour to come and watch our 4 year old son and he called triage to let them know I was feeling pushy and ask if a midwife could come to the house. He was advised to get me to the hospital or to call an ambulance. My husband tried to talk to me about getting in the car but I was totally focussed on my labour and unable to move. My doula said that she didn't think I could move and we might run the risk of a car or car park birth. My husband and I decided to stay home and that we would call an ambulance if needed.
I think my son woke up around this time and thankfully was very happy and excited to sit in the living room chatting to my doula and our neighbour about birth, babies and his toys. Between contractions I found this really lovely to listen to. My husband stayed with me replacing cold cloths on my neck and back and reminding me of my birth affirmations.
During this time I had moved from squatting by the sink to by the bath but I remember thinking the pushing sensations were too strong so I changed to kneeling on the floor. Not sure if this helped but I think it felt better for me, except my knees and wrists got pretty sore. Between 3.30am-ish and 4.50am I pushed with these powerful contractions and made as many low rumbling noises as I could with my exhales, hoping that what I had learned about vocal cords helping your pelvic floor to relax would actually work. I definitely knew when the head had started to descend and I think it bobbed in and out a good few times before she actually crowned, which was a very strange and stingy sensation. My husband got behind me so he saw her being born and was on hand to help catch her, such an amazing moment. After her head was out her body followed on the next contraction and we managed to pass her between my legs and up to my stomach. The cord felt very short so I was wary of lifting her onto my chest, but when I looked I saw it was tied around her ankle. Once this was detangled it was easier to lift her. Her colour was really good and she cried straight away.
After a few moments my doula asked if I'd like my son to come meet his sister and I was suddenly so happy that I had birthed at home and my son could be part of it. It was lovely to introduce them.
We all moved through to the bedroom and baby latched on for her first feed almost immediately. We stayed there for about an hour, with my son watching the iPad next to me. It was lovely. We decided to tie and cut the cord so I could try to deliver the placenta. My husband and son cut the cord together. I then spent around 1 hour 45 mins sitting on the toilet and going back and forth to the bedroom waiting for the placenta to detach. Eventually it delivered itself into a dish we placed in the toilet.
Sadly because the home birth service wasn't in operation my community midwife wasn't allowed to come to the house to check us over so baby and I had to go into hospital in the afternoon. This seemed to be a very annoying and bureaucratic requirement basically just to enter her birth onto the NHS system. Thankfully all our checks were fine, I just had 2 grazes, and we came home 2-3 hours later.
MEET BABY VIOLET