Birth story by Nicola Parkinson. Photography by Capturing Life Birth Photography.
Looking back, I now realise that both my birth stories began before the births. Each time I felt a huge sense of needing to have a child. The way I explained it to my husband Ben, was as if there was a small voice outside of me wanting to be here and join us in our lives, nudging us to begin our family. It was surreal and intense and eventually something I wasn’t able to ignore.
We started our journey as parents after welcoming our first child Juniper into the world with a planned home birth, which ended up in hospital after meconium being present in my waters at 37 hours. Only to birth her completely naturally and without any intervention in hospital at 40 hours! It was long and took me to emotional and physical depths I never knew I was capable of reaching; it was not only her birth but also mine as a mother.
As soon as I began feeling that familiar desire to accept another child into our lives again, I found I needed to accept and let go of a lot of things, even months before we were able to conceive. As soon as I let go and trusted, and I mean truly trusted this baby, I must have been pregnant within days! From that point I knew I had to work on continuing to trust and be humbled in the strength of two souls working together to get the home birthing experience we wanted.
Soon after it was confirmed that I was in fact carrying our next child, I called my midwife that I had with my previous birth, but she was now working alongside someone that I didn’t know. Honestly, I was nervous to allow this person into my birthing space that hadn’t experienced how I birthed before. But eventually I remembered that trusting in the baby was what brought this baby to us, and so again I chose to let the baby only allow who they wanted present at their arrival earth-side. It took a lot of pressure off of me, recognising the power that a small soul in your body can have on the birth outcome by just trusting in them.
I let this pregnancy come with as much ease as I could and tried not to over-plan as much, apart from being certain that I would have this baby at home with my family and trusting that they would come to me with ease.
It was October the 7th and I had spent the last 24 hours feeling really nauseous. I put it down to overdoing it with spirulina the last few days. I mean I was a week away from my “due” date so I didn’t think things were going to happen and if they did, I thought I would have time to get things in order. I decided that in the evening I wouldn’t do the housework and went to bed with Ben and Juniper in our shared bed.
At 11.40am I woke to the soothing sound of heavy rain on the roof, thankful for our warm cosy bed. I then noticed Juniper being strange and getting herself into funny positions – I realise now she was feeling the shift of things around her that I was still blissfully unaware of. I tried waking Ben to sort her out but he was in too much of a deep sleep. I decided to try and go back to sleep myself and ignore it but then I noticed I was starting to feel tightenings in my tummy. I decided I definitely needed to get some rest; my first thought was – this could be days away! But then of course all the emotions started flooding in and I got a little teary for the thought of my last sleep with just the three of us and all those unpredictable changes that were on the way.
At around 1am I decided I really needed to wake Ben for emotional support. He was totally oblivious that things had started for me – I had always planned on not verbalising it until it was obvious, that just felt like the right way to do it this time. He thought I was just crying and hormonal and didn’t think much of it, until he was hugging me and felt my stomach tightening himself and asked if things had begun, I just quietly nodded. It was about now that I felt the next tightening all in my back. I remembered how baby had spent most of the third trimester in a posterior position but I had chosen to believe baby knew how to be birthed and not to worry. I quickly had a little talk to baby and explained exactly the best way to be positioned. I told baby to trust me, we were going to do this together. I never felt another tightening in my back after this!
Not long after, Ben agreed that we needed to try and sleep but it wasn’t long until I felt I really needed to empty my bladder. As soon as I stood, things began to intensify. I was standing in the doorway to our bedroom, holding the door frame and starting to make deep moaning noises, both Ben and I thought ‘Gees, that is way too early to be making those noises!’, but I needed to make them so I continued. At that point I was very thankful for the heavy rain masking my noise and not waking Juniper. I checked myself in the mirror and realised I was as white as a ghost and shaking. I asked Ben to get up with me and try to lie on the couch while I rested. It was 3am by this point and we thought we were nowhere near the finish line. I couldn’t understand why my body wanted me to get up and not be lying down. Eventually I said “I need to get this baby down.” Ben agreed, he helped me up and gave me a banana as well as some pre-birth arnica and some home-made labour aid to boost my energy.
It was a relief to stand but it also made things intensify again. At this point I was needing Ben to press on the acupressure points on my lower back and the pain relief was instant! I had also tried the bath but I couldn’t handle the lower pressure and was making the tightenings very close together. I still had no thought that this baby was going to arrive any time soon, I was thinking it was going to be another day or two away!
At about 6am I felt I needed to change up my positions so was using the couch, hanging off Ben and using a comb in my hand for acupressure points, but I was starting to feel like I wasn’t going to cope and I told Ben I thought we needed to call people. But Ben held me and reassured me that I had asked not to introduce people until we really needed them here. I told him that I really needed them but he disagreed and told me how well I was doing, all I could think about was how much longer I must have!
See next pages for the rest of the story and more beautiful photos…