When I first thought of TTC our second, I knew I could go into a hospital and advocate for myself again although I'd go into it with independent support this time. However the more I thought not only in terms of what I didn't want but what I did want and what fit with the physiological and psychological process of birthing, the more apparent it was to that what I was thinking of when I pictured this birth was a home birth.
Having now had such a beautiful experience with my home birth, I honestly can't picture choosing to go back into a hospital system for future births unless there was a genuine need to do so. The possibility of the law making that impossible is a disturbing one. The difference in care and the whole experience was just night and day even though compared to many hospital births Laurent's was not particularly awful.
On the morning of the 8th, Nic asked me if I'd like to sleep in a bit more and I said yes as I'd slept very poorly. I dozed 10 minutes before I felt my waters go, jumped up out of bed and whooped excitedly to Nic to bring me breakfast because I was in labor! I popped online to post the good news, feeling giddy and cheering and rang the midwives to leave messages labor had started. In the meantime I had breakfast and by the time I finished maybe 10-15 minutes later contractions had progressed in strength and intensity to about every 3-5 minutes apart, maybe 30-40 seconds each and quickly ramping up. Nic was flustered having slept through Laurent's early labor until shortly before we left. I told him to relax but he wanted to ring around and since it gave him something to do I waved him off and simply focused on moving into the contractions. Finally he came back and told me he'd heard from Helen who was on her way, while Andrea, my primary midwife was just wrapping up at an earlier birth and would be over soon.
Helen arrived at 1 o'clock, announced by the girls. My contractions were hitting hard, fast and heavy and I moaned and breathed through them. In between one of the contractions she asked if it was alright to check bubs heart rate, offered me some water and brought almond oil for my lips but otherwise just letting me focus internally and occasionally quietly affirming I was doing well. I just nodded and said I knew. I was thinking to myself I had several hours of this to go despite the contractions being close together when she said she saw the head. I think it'd have been 20 minutes after when Andrea arrived and Helen stepped back to let her ask how I was going when I had a moment between contractions. I told her I wouldn't mind if there were at least few seconds between one contraction for a breather, still a bit disbelieving I could be so near to the end. Nic was in and out and La was in at a few points, giving me pats and a hug as she quietly chatted to him about his sister coming before he left again to go play.
Only minutes after I felt a shift in the sensation, a sort of tremendous pressure and stretching and began bearing down. I felt a bit surprised that this was it... everyone always talked about the ring of fire or how it was the most painful experience and while this hurt it was a hurt of intensity rather than agony. I hollered it out - loudly, which surprisingly did make it feel better! Meanwhile Nic and Laurent had gone out to the garden a bit previous, so Helen quickly went to fetch them. La had apparently already heard me as she was starting to crown though and told Nic I was ouchie and he needed to go help me. They had just enough time for Nic to start snapping photos while Helen held Laurent, as Andrea supported bubs head as it emerged.
With the next contraction after her head, she slipped out and Andrea brought her up and into my arms, with a towel wrapped around her. Having started with waters bursting at around 10:30, Lily had arrived by 12:42 though it seemed so much shorter to me! Time spent pushing was a mere 4 minutes. I dried her off for a moment and was asked if I'd like to move to the couch to rest while we waited for the placenta. The midwives got a bunch of the blankets to make me a cozy little nest and I sat down and asked if I could get some lemonade and a few biscuits.
The placenta took it's time to arrive, by that point the cord had stopped pulsing and I asked to have it cut, the placenta was irritating me by taking it's time and I wanted to be able to shift without having to manage the cord attached to bubs. The cord was clamped and Nic cut it. Our student midwife Sharron who'd been following my pregnancy had rushed from class to make it when Andrea had texted her and made it unfortunately literally minutes too late for the actual birth. La had 'In The Night Garden' on in the background, I was just relaxed listening to everyone chat over teas occasionally pipping up between baby gazing. I was a bit wobbly but eventually the placenta arrived after some lazy contractions, was in-tact and healthy so we were able to get cleaned up and dressed.
After everyone eventually left I posted some photos and news around 6pm to update everyone and after took a bit of a nap. So that was that and Lily was born. I really couldn't believe it was so quick and easy and felt like I could do that again. Pretty bad when straight after you're already clucky for more! LOL Lily has been the most cruisey, contented baby... totally not fussed by anything really. What more can you ask for really?