During my third pregnancy my husband and I wanted to try a home birth, and my maternity carer agreed that with my history it was a great idea. In keeping with my previous births 10 days past my due date I saw my carer for a morning membrane sweep, and by the evening was experiencing regular tightening sensations. Hoping this was the onset of labour I informed my maternity carer and went to bed listening to the harnessing relaxation for birth audio’s. I slept for a few hours and when I woke the sensations had stopped. For the next few days I became increasingly hypersensitive tuning into every little tightening of my abdomen anticipating labour, which was happening often as my body warmed up for birth. Although every sensation was intermittent and only occasionally rhythmic, and mild enough that I could still move around and hold conversations.

My homebirth midwife suggested I try acupuncture to help initiate labour, so at both 11 and 13 days overdue I had treatment. The morning after my second session, 14 days past due date, I was experiencing increasingly more intense sensations but still managed the school/kindergarten run with ease, and went to see my carer for a second membrane sweep. As she felt my cervix she informed me I was already 3cm dilated, she removed her fingers with my bloody mucus plug and said today would likely be the day. I was wary that resting at this point may stall labour again, so I walked around until it was too uncomfortable to move during sensations and then returned home. I asked my husband to come home, called my mum to collect the kids, informed my midwife and carer, and prepared our bedroom. By 2pm my sensations were close (approximately 5 minutes apart) and getting stronger so I went to bed and snoozed as I listened to an audio. By 3pm I asked my husband to call the midwife as I felt like I needed her close. Approximately 15 minutes later she arrived, asked how I felt and suggested I try walk around a bit. I made my way a few meters to the bathroom and instantly felt like sitting on the toilet to experience the increasingly intense sensations.

Shortly my lead maternity carer arrived, and another midwife, so I had three dedicated women supporting me, along with my husband in our compact bathroom. Then my body took over and I started bearing down with every sensation, still sitting on the toilet (which was great for keeping any secretions contained). But after approximately 30 minutes of bearing down I let my carers know that I didn’t feel like I was making any progress – the baby just didn’t seem to be moving. So I had an internal inspection to check that my cervix had fully dilated, which it had. I then tried a bunch of different positions to see if I could get the baby engaged and moving. After a few positions I found sitting on my bottom on the floor of the bathroom, with my back against the bath and legs bent finally got the baby moving down with each surge. However the floor was uncomfortable so with support from my husband I started moving to the bedroom.

On the way my homebirth midwife suggested she sway my hips from side to side as I stood and during sensations I squatted down leaning on my husband. After a period of this I felt I needed to rest and reclined on my bed, propped up against pillows with my legs bent against my carers. At last I felt my baby slowly moving closer to emergence. It took a good 30 minutes of intense bearing down to bring baby to crowning. My carers told me baby was facing upwards in a posterior position which explained why it took longer for her to navigate around my pubic bone. At this point I desperately wanted her out and expressed my wishes, so through my next surge and even beyond it I panted continuously and my carer slowly guided her out. Overwhelming relief engulfed me as baby Cleo was placed in my arms, and with my husband’s arms around us both we lay on our own bed, and I felt euphoric and powerful.

Birthing at home was such an amazing experience, even though it was by far my most challenging birth given Cleo’s position, having the dedicated support of three knowledgeable carers in my own environment made it so special. The best part was when everyone left and it was just the three of us in our bubble of love. If you are considering a homebirth I recommend you find the right maternity carers and give it a go.