By Angela Gervan Lough
In the quiet of our bathroom before sunrise on April 20th 2020, we welcomed our 3rd baby girl into our family!
In the weeks leading to her birth, we enjoyed slow time at home during the Alert Level 4 Lockdown. While this was an unexpected scenario, we found it a cherishable time to reflect, connect and welcome new life. To us this felt like a pre birth ‘Golden Month’, an unrushed time to enjoy the end of pregnancy with our immediate family at home full time. This created a close bubble of support, including my parents staying in their caravan on site. And an extended bubble of support: chalk messages on the pavement from friends excited about our home birth and waiting in anticipation for a window sign to announce baby’s arrival.
From around week 39, I was feeling back sensation on and off that had shown me in the past my birthing process was soon to begin. This went on until about week 42 when, following a show early in the day, gentle surges started that evening. These ceased though when my girls woke the next morning. My midwife visited and encouraged me to retreat to my room which helped welcome surges to return stronger by dinner time. I carried on the evening as normal lying with my girls to sleep, but aware of the changing sensations in my body.
At midnight, I heard my 3 year old giggle in her sleep, which my eldest daughter had done the night I was in labour with her! I took that as a sure sign this must be the night!
The night was beautiful, clear and stary.
Just after 2am, I woke my husband, sensations were getting more intense and I needed him to use acupressure to keep me comfortable. My husband had learnt some simple birth effective acupressure which gave us an empowering tool and was hugely comforting during our birthing process. Around 3am, we had my mum stay in the room with my girls – my 3 year old had woken soon before that and I had managed to lay comfortably through a surge to get her back to sleep, but then needed to transfer parenting duties to stay inward and progress.
In the sanctuary of our bathroom, I found comfort in movement, especially rocking on my hands and knees on a yoga mat.
I loved that I had the house to wander during the still of the night. Our bathroom was beautifully set up with affirmations on the wall (written with kid’s bath crayons!), candles and flowers. Setting up this space was an important part of arriving into birth. The three nights prior, I had gone to bed after a clary sage bath, enjoying the atmosphere of our bathroom, talking with baby and listening to a playlist I had created for birthing. In this time, I was visualising and feeling how our birth would unfold during the night in that space. I feel strongly that time embodying the visualisation through all senses really helped manifest our postive birth outcome.