Mum-of-two Helen carried with her the trauma of two miscarriages, difficult pregnancies, and hospital inductions. She knew when she became pregnant again she wanted a different experience.
Helen wanted a peaceful birth and a healing journey not just for herself and her husband Stephen, but their entire family.
“I have endometriosis, so we struggled to fall,” Helen told Mum’s Grapevine. “In late 2019 I conceived, but in January 2020 I, unfortunately, had an early miscarriage, my second one (the first was in between the older boys).
On top of extremely trying pregnancies, Helen also shouldered the heavy weight of each of her son’s births. “I carried a lot of trauma from those births, as a result of coercion and manipulation. So we hired a private midwife and aimed for a home birth. Incredibly we managed this pregnancy and the HG journey well. The baby was able to grow well, we had regular monitoring of his growth over the latter half of the pregnancy.”
With the tightenings continuing regularly, Helen called her mum to let her know things were progressing. So midwife Sonya started to get ready to head over.
“The tightenings suddenly really picked up in intensity to the point I couldn’t focus on anything at all but them. At 8.49 am I called my mum and asked her to come now. I hopped into the shower to try and ease the pain. At 9.10 am I called my midwife to tell her things had really ramped up, she said she was almost on her way.”
Just five minutes later, Steve arrived home and began setting up the birthing pool. Fresh out of the shower, Helen kneeled in the dining room, leaning on a birthing ball to navigate the surges.
“My mum arrived and started helping Steve, blow up the pool, fill the urns, and she tidied in my kitchen. About 10 am Sonya and my mother-in-law both arrived. Sonya directed the pool to begin being filled and checked baby’s heart rate. Everything going fantastic.
“From here time gets fuzzy for me as the intensity was all-consuming. My student midwife Yvette arrived soon after, followed by the secondary midwife, Letisha. I hopped into the pool once it was full and at temperature, it was amazing to be suspended in the water, it gave me wonderful break during the lulls between contractions.
“At 12.22 I felt a pop during a contraction, but no obvious signs of membrane rupture. Shortly after this, I began to have a bearing down urge, and that tell-tale feeling of ‘needing to poop’. At 12.50 I began to feel a bulge, my membranes bulging out to about the size of a tennis ball.
“The contractions keep coming, I could feel my baby descend, his head sat at the exit, stretching over several contractions. I supported his head and waited for the fetal ejection reflex.
“At 1.05 pm his head was born. Two surges later, he was born! Lots of happy and emotional tears and hugging.
“Bub’s temperature started to drop a bit, so we needed to get me out of the water. I had a cup of placenta release tincture, and about five minutes later quickly and easily passed the placenta. I got out of the pool, and onto the mattress we had beside the pool. He was struggling ever so slightly to breathe, so the midwives decided some suction and oxygen would be beneficial. That was the calmest most peaceful intervention I’ve ever had.