Week 40 & Birth Story
~ Meet Lilliah Capri
During week 40 of my pregnancy, I thought I would never go into labour. The wait seemed like forever and with each new day, new expectations and high hopes were clouded over by disappointment. At 40 weeks and 5 days, I met with my midwife. It was a Wednesday. She advised me that if I hadn't gone into labour by the next Monday, then I would need to go to the hospital and be placed on monitors to make sure everything was fine with baby and it would be likely that I could be induced. An induction wasn't part of my plan as it meant that our planned homebirth wouldn't be possible. I wasn't ready for a hospital birth and didn't intend having one either. My midwife suggested that a stretch and sweep might get things moving, so she gave me one right there and then.
Later that afternoon, I had a couple of mild contractions or rather an uncomfortable feeling in my lower tummy and back. Nothing became regular, but at about 8pm that evening, mild contractions started and were about 10 minutes apart. I decided at 9pm to head to bed and hoped to sleep through them. I lay there but couldn't sleep. The contractions were becoming heavier and more intense and impossible to sleep through. At midnight, I got up and decided to run a bath. It was quite soothing labouring in the warmth of the water and it helped to create a relaxed environment. After a couple more hours, I sent my husband off to bed as I didn't feel anything was going to happen too soon. I started to have to breathe through the contractions. I visualised the baby dropping down with each breath and I lay out baby's clothes on the change table. It gave me something to focus on.
Hadley had previously set up the room with the gear we needed for the homebirth. A mattress was on the lounge floor with a plastic drop cloth and all the sheets and towels we required. I had three boxes of gear ready on the table. One was labelled 'labour' another 'baby gear' and the other 'my gear'. It meant that other people could find what I required without having to ask where things were. I looked over the gear and double checked everything was there. By now the contractions were getting stronger. I would generally have one long contraction and then a shorter one. I preferred to sit on the couch with a towel underneath me in case my waters broke in a hurry.
By 4:45, I decided that I needed to wake Hadley and call the midwife and the rest of the family. Our midwife only lived a block away from our house, so we knew she would arrive shortly after calling her. By 5:15, the midwife had turned up and the family too. My niece set about baking a chocolate cake. I really wanted to be able to eat cake and celebrate after baby was born. It was her birth day after all.
I really liked that our midwife and I had agreed to have a hands off labour and birth. She sat on the couch with the rest of the family and normal things happened around me. I spent five minutes pushing baby out. She came out with her fist on her cheek. Surprisingly, I had no tearing. My husband was there to catch the baby and he gave her straight to me. Baby and I had cuddles and I was able to breastfeed her within the first half an hour. My mother-in-law clamped and cut the cord after it had finished pulsating and an hour later, our midwife took the baby to be weighed and measured. Lilliah weighed 8 pounds 14 ouches - a whole pound heavier than my other children were. Hadley dressed Lilliah while I showered and then afterwards, we examined the placenta and did placenta prints as a keepsake memory.
Our homebirth was an amazing experience for everyone. It turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. I was relaxed, things happened in my own time, and I made my own decisions about how and where. I am so grateful to have been able to have this experience in my own home with my loving family around me. Before the birth, I was slightly apprehensive about having four children there, but it was the greatest experience and they were so positive about it too. I wanted them to learn that labour and birth can be a natural experience and not something taboo and secretive as I had grown up believing it to be.
By 9am, baby was well fed and asleep, we had eaten a cooked breakfast and everyone was back at work and the kids were at school. Life carried on as usual around us. Lilliah has settled really well into our family even at only two weeks old.
Lilliah Capri Amaru
Born 14th April 2011 at 5:38am
Weighing 8 lbs 14 oz.