Brodie shares how her accidental homebirth was an unexpectedly empowering experience, and she's so glad she hired a Labour TENS!
To prepare for labour & birth, my husband and I did a hypnobirthing course which was extremely informative. As a first time mum, I found it so interesting learning about the physiology of birth, and the importance of labouring in a comfortable environment to get the oxytocin flowing. I also found it really helpful to learn the pros and cons of different interventions. With this knowledge on board, we decided to aim for as little intervention as possible, and hired a tens machine hoping that this would do the trick when it came to pain relief.
I also focussed on reading plenty of positive birth stories, and did regular meditations - usually in the bath with relaxation music and a candle burning. I didn't listen to the hypnobirth tracks much as I prefer to meditate without voices, which I felt a bit guilty about as I wasn't exactly doing the recommended 'homework'. In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I drank a whole lot of raspberry leaf tea, ate about a thousand dates, and cleaned every square centimetre of our house.
I went into labour around 10pm a couple of days before my due date which started out as very intense braxton hicks contractions, which turned into period-like cramps, these were bearable but I couldn't sleep so stayed awake all night...and baked a lasagne, as you do. In the morning my contractions started becoming more intense and I started using the tens machine which was a life saver. It was great being able to use it to time contractions as well. By 2pm my waters broke but my contractions still weren't very regular, and our midwife advised us not to come to hospital until I was having four contractions every 10 minutes. I tried to keep active and upright so we went for a walk around the block, with my tens machine still on, so that would have been an interesting sight to passers by. By the early evening I was completely exhausted and we rang the midwife for some advice on how to get things moving. She suggested having a bath but said it may slow things down but at least that might let me get some rest. She seemed to think (based on how I sounded during contractions) that I was way off giving birth, and told me I was probably still in pre-labour...not what I wanted to hear! Anyway, we lit a candle and I got in the bath with plenty of clary sage oil and felt very relaxed. Within about 15 minutes...all of a sudden I was getting the urge to push! It was the most intense sensation. I was worried that it was too early to push but I couldn't control it. I felt so much pressure down below, and decided to do an internal check, and could feel what I thought was my baby's head! The midwife told us to get in the car right away and meet her at the hospital, but there was no way I was doing that as I was certain it would end with a roadside delivery. Then she heard one of my contractions, which were very vocal by now (to say the least), and I felt inside again and the head was definitely lower...so she told us to call an ambulance. The paramedics arrived quickly and they were amazing. Somehow they got me into the ambulance and the plan was to drive to hospital...but after the next contraction our baby was crowning! Less than 20 minutes later our beautiful little girl was born, in the ambulance parked outside our house! She cried straight away and we were all so relieved, I think the paramedics were just as excited as we were about her very unexpectedly quick arrival. We drove to hospital, got checked out and were able to go home four hours later which was amazing.
Some people have assumed this experience might not have been a positive one but I honestly think it was the best experience of my life, and I'm so proud of what my body could achieve. Next time I would love to have a water birth...maybe at home again!