03 Jul Evalie Maia’s Birth story
Are you looking for a home birth story? A real, raw one? Today is my third and last baby’s first birth day! What an incredible whirlwind of emotions it has been. To celebrate, here is her birth story 🙂
Evalie’s home birth story is below! Her birth was my second Homebirth After Caesarean, my first having been with Hamish, born 2.5 years earlier! You can read a little about his birth here. In between birthing Hamish and Evalie I had trained to become a breastfeeding counsellor and doula, you can read more about that here!
Evalie’s Home Birth Story (a Homebirth After Caesarean)
At 40+3, at 3am on the 3rd of July, the night/morning of the new moon, I woke to contractions 10 minutes apart. Speaking to my baby, I let her know that I was excited to meet her soon, asking that she go gently, that we work together to ensure she was born beautifully and gently, at home.
Going to the bathroom, I took my last ever belly-selfie and listened to my hypnobirthing soundtrack. Back in bed I shifted through the discomfort and built a pillow fort to allow me to lean forward. Calm, but unable to rest, I got up to drink and wee several times. Every time I walked by the clock it showed repeated numbers – 3:33, 4:44, 5:55 – just as I’d seen throughout this pregnancy. I decided to get up and sat in my birth space, rocking back and forth with my forehead on the cold window. The space was beautifully prepared, both physically and spiritually – I could feel my tribe of women holding me in this space.
“Call Jo!” (otherwise known as, ‘call the midwife!’)
I messaged my midwife (Jo), photographer (Jerusha – Ru), and childhood friend/doula (Jacquie), to let them know I was in labour. By 8am I was moaning through 5 minutely contractions but easily able to chat between them. In order to ‘get on with the day’, like I so often suggest to the women I support, I went to the chiropractic appointment I had booked for 9:15am. The car trip was hellish – how women labour in cars beats me! After adjustment the contractions were suddenly closer together; two to three minutely, lasting 45 seconds. We went for a brief walk then travelled home with lots of stopping and me rocking and moaning on the side of the road. Juz was shaking his head asking, “Wasn’t the point of a home birth being at home? Why are we here!?!”
Back at home, at last!
By 10am I felt nauseous; I was working during contractions, but still fine in between! Juz was telling me to stop doula-ing myself! I asked him to set up the pool, maybe that would help me zone in? Jo rang and we chatted through a couple of contractions; we decided she should come and check on us, and we messaged Jacquie and Ru too. Jo and Tash (student midwife) arrived at 11:11am and Jo confirmed that bub was engaged and happy. Jacquie and Jacqui arrived soon after, both bailed up by our dog, Obi. Then Ru arrived. Everyone was here! But I was sure it was too early!
I sat on the fit ball, Jo holding a heat pack on my back, Juz holding my hands/heat pack on the front. I felt so supported and loved! But I felt that this wasn’t doing anything! I sat and cried; big fat tears dripping onto my bare belly. “I just want to meet my baby!” Obi licked me, sitting by my side. I asked Jo why it wasn’t progressing; she suggested I get out of my head. I asked her with bitterness, “And how exactly do you propose I do that?” I don’t remember her response, the question was rhetorical.
In the pool – ahhhhh
I got in the pool and everything intensified further. I gripped Justin’s hands, Jo’s, Jerusha’s, whoever was there. Jacquie and my kids were so beautifully present, the kids wonderfully unphased – it was just another day. I could feel myself becoming transitional and decided I would doula myself through it. After what felt like an hour of this I started voicing my doubts. Frustratingly, my birth team had answers for everything, but they weren’t what I wanted!
“How much longer?” “As long as it takes.”
“I’m done!” “One at a time.”
“I need an epidural.” “No, you don’t.”
Each contraction felt worse than the one before! I needed a time limit, answers, SOMETHING! It was relentless. Willow (5.5yo), Hamish (2.5yo) and Juz were providing me water and massages. I was screaming, “Owwww, nooooo, noooo!” until Ru held my hand, massaged me and helped turn it into a “Yesssss-aaaa-owwwww!”
I was getting grunty at the end of contractions – ‘Good, we’re getting somewhere!’, but the grunty urges never got longer or stronger. “Jo, can I just start pushing? I need this baby out!” Jo suggested I see if I could feel baby’s head. I reached into my vagina and couldn’t feel anything noteworthy; just a squishy mess. “Where is this bloody baby!?!” I cried.
and some more transition…
I was so tired. Jo and Ru guided me to totally relax between contractions and I started ‘falling asleep’ over the pool side. Ru fed me a bliss ball and some honey and lemon tea, but I still had no energy. Jo got some Clary Sage on a tissue which I asked her to take away. A few contractions later I smelt it again, “Get it out of here!” I yelled. ‘I know what you’re trying to do, Jo!!’ Willow showed me a card she’d made for baby – it was so sweet, but I couldn’t acknowledge her.
and more, just for good measure!
I was done; I asked Jo what we should do. I’d been in transition for what felt like days! Jo mentioned she could check where we were at. “Yes, let’s check!” As I stood, some bloody show came out – ‘Excellent! That happened when fully dilated with Hamish, this’ll be the same!’ I waddled into the bedroom believing I’d be 9‑10 cm. But I was 7 cm (Jo added I was stretching to 9 cm, apparently I blocked that out!). I despaired – this was too much! Jo reassured me it could go quickly from here, “Let’s just keep going.”
I got back in the pool, hating the world, angry at my body, screaming I’d done this before and could do it again! “Come ON baby, go gently!!!” I kept glaring at everyone through weak, cruddy contractions. My mum rang but couldn’t get through, so dropped by. I’d debated whether to have her there, now I was being given the chance to decide. I knew this was too intense for her, it felt too intense for me! I let her be sent home.
Come ON baby!!!
I needed to wee but couldn’t. Jo suggested I try visualising my waters breaking on the toilet. I sat backwards on the toilet, bashing my head on the tiles, visualising an explosion of waters…nothing. A pop?…nothing. A trickle? Come on!! I did a tiny wee; STILL no waters. I sat in the shower on the fit ball until the water felt cold, still no waters. I got back into the pool, deflated. I’d told myself, “I’ll be holding my baby tonight,” but it suddenly got dark (the rain settled in) and I questioned this!
I was convinced my full bladder was holding everything up and asked for a catheter; Jo agreed. I HATE catheters, but luckily my midwives are super-human and I couldn’t feel it once in! It did nothing. After a few contractions, feeling like I was dying without the pool, I asked Jo to break my waters; something needed to shift bloody soon! I screamed through brutal contractions on my back as Jo broke them; immediately everything shifted gear. I was FINALLY dropping into my body now, though I had an anterior cervical lip. I got on my knees with my bum in the air while Hamish sat next to me eating peanuts! “Geez mum!! You sore?” he asked. Willow announced, “There’s blood EVERYWHERE out there!!”
Please come out now!
I was asked to try 20-30 minutes of contractions without pushing; cue horse‑lips, screaming, tantruming and kicking and punching the lounge! I calculated (still in my head, then) that 20 minutes would around 5 contractions; I did 4. Constant words of encouragement were everywhere now! I asked for the catheter to be removed. “Jo, can you check again?” Surely this was almost over!
The lip was still there. “I can’t DO this anymore!” I wanted the pool! More screaming, horse-lips, bum-in-the-air contractions and I started involuntarily grunting at the end. The next contraction, despite doing horse‑lips, my body pushed! “I NEED THE POOL!!” I hopped in, collapsing to my knees. Relief! Then the next contraction came and so did babe’s head – whoa!! I heard Jo ask, “Is that bub’s head?” “Yep.” “Ru, get in here!”
The first hello
I tore birthing Hamish, so had asked around about how I could avoid it. As a friend suggested, I felt bub’s head descend while rubbing my perineum – That squishy scalp felt incredible! In just one contraction I breathed my baby out. “Ha-ha-ha,” down, down, down…pop! Bub did some acrobatics and with a tiny tightening she wriggled and slid into my hands (a tiny tear!). I turned over and slowly brought our baby into the air – Just as I’d hoped. The kids were looking on excitedly. Suddenly, everyone that needed to be here was.
Jo and I untangled bub from her cord, and then she did the ‘Sing‑baby‑thing’ and went floppy. It took some rubbing, suctioning and bagged air, but she let out a cry. I felt the cord pulse – our connection, it was amazing!! Willow asked Juz, “Is it a girl!?” “Yes!” She was SO excited! As soon as bub was breathing she pooped and latched on for a feed!
Home birth! An extraordinarily ordinary day 🙂
I wanted to birth the placenta in the pool, but had to get out for the bleeding. I waddled to the lounge. Hamish watched closely (“Whoa, mum!”) as I birthed the placenta with some gentle help from Jo. I ate toast and honey tea as I soaked in the beautiful bub I’d just birthed, surrounded by the love and support of my incredible birth team.
Jo measured Evalie and tied the cord, Willow cut the cord, Hamish cut our mother’s blessing bands and then we ate birth‑day cake that Jacquie made with the kids while I laboured. We dressed Evalie and I showered (no pain!) and got into bed. Everyone said their goodbyes while Jacquie brought dinner. The kids were so overtired and excited! We chatted through how I felt and I couldn’t stop beaming – I was so proud, happy, and in awe of our perfectly complete family!
I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to birth a little girl with such power into such love. I’ve never felt so held, loved and supported! I am so grateful to have been surrounded by such a delicious group of people; the J‑team (Jo, Jacqui, Jacquie, Jerusha and Juz), Tash and my kids. Thank you to all of you! Thanks especially to Jo and Jacquie, who have supported us through all of our family’s 6 pregnancies and 3 births, who introduced me to home birth, creating what I’m sure will remain a lifelong passion, and who have both sacrificed countless hours with their own families to support us. We are eternally grateful.
Thanks for reading if you managed to get this far! If you have questions or comments, let me know below 😉 If you’d like to hear me tell this story I speak about it and my previous two births on the VBAC Homebirth stories podcast and the VBAC birth stories podcast! I also speak about my first two births on the circle of birth podcast! You can also read about Willow’s birth story here and Hamish’s Homebirth After Caesarean here.
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Hello, I’m Aimee! I support women and their families through pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. I am a qualified and experienced Doula and breastfeeding counsellor, providing support in the Blue Mountains and surrounds. I’d love to meet you for an obligation free catch up! Contact me here.