Birthing Scout

On the 23rd of November 2019 at 8:55am we welcomed our beautiful little boy Scout into the world. He was born at home in our lounge room and this is the story of his birth.

My first three children were born in hospitals but I have always been interested in home births. When I first raised the idea with Richie it was a hard no… then he did some research and changed his mind after he came across a home birth trial being run by Canberra Hospital.

I rang them as I neared the end of my first trimester and fortunately they had a space available in the trial and I met all of the criteria. Mainly that it wasn’t my first pregnancy, my others had been uncomplicated and we lived close to the hospital.

All of my visits except one were with my lovely midwife in the comfort of my own home and anyone with a toddler will appreciate how amazing it is not to have to chase after them in a waiting room (even if one visit Fox did flood the entrance of our house with the garden hose).

At 36 weeks we met with the OB in hospital so she could confirm the conditions of the trial and we picked up the three big cases of supplies to cover emergency scenarios. We had oxygen dropped off at our house shortly afterward, my midwife bought over meds, I hired a birth pool and then we waited.

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Kidding – there wasn’t any waiting around aimlessly, instead I was busy packing boxes to move into our new home, working, running around after Fox or feeling sick and sorry for myself.

We moved house on the 20th of November thinking we had plenty of time to spare (being due the 27th/28th) but Scout surprised us by coming early, surrounded by absolute chaos with boxes and their contents spilling onto all available surfaces.

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The night before his birth was one of the rare occasions this year that I cooked dinner. As we sat down to eat, the niggling pains that I had been having in the previous days intensified. I got through the meal then decided to hop into a nice warm bath with Fox and take some paracetamol in hopes that it was a false alarm.

The pains continued but weren’t that close together and still irregular. While Richie pumped up the birth pool in our living area, I called my midwife. She told me to worry less about the timing and more about the intensity. I had never been told this before but really found it helped as timing is tricky even with an app.

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It was getting quite late and I was still able to get through each contraction okay so we decided to try get some rest. Four-ish hours later I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I lie in bed timing the contractions and wondering if I had time (and the energy) to do my hair. After about 45 minutes I rolled out of bed to go to the toilet and on my way back to bed I had to brace myself against the wall during a contraction.

Richie had woken in the mean time and asked if I was ok. The pain was definitely getting worse but I still hoped that it was just a practice run. Eventually we headed downstairs and began working out how best to fill up the birth pool. It turned out our laundry tap didn’t work so after adding cold water Richie began the task of boiling water on the stove and in the kettle.

Each contraction became more intense until I decided I needed to strap on the tens machine. Richie had asked a few times already if I should give the midwife a call and I finally caved at 5:34am when he told me he didn’t think these contractions were going away today.

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I was still able to semi speak through them so I called my midwife and she agreed that it sounded like baby was coming. We decided that she would come over and check how dilated I was. If not far along she could head home again and if I was close then the second midwife would also head over.

She arrived at our front door not long afterward and I was only 3cm. Oh My Gosh, only 3cm after all that dang pain? Ha. My cervix was super far back and it was pretty uncomfortable bringing it forward so she did a stretch and sweep for me at the same time which took me to 5cm.

Our second midwife was called and once she arrived I called my back up birth photographer as there was no way my beautiful friend Kari from @compassandaperture was going to make it up from Melbourne in time.

Fox woke up, had a splash in the birth pool and then headed upstairs to watch a movie with his grandparents while I continued to labor in our lounge room. I felt like I needed to vomit but only bile came up, yuck. My midwife got me to put one leg up on a stool through a few of the contractions to help our little baby make his way down.

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I managed to get through the contractions with a combination of the TENS machine, breathing and swaying from side to side until about 7:45am when I decided to get into the birth pool. The TENS machine was great but it was only really distracting me from my back pain and I needed some relief from my abdomen pain.

We had only just moved into our new house so had no blinds, just a combination of sheets and boxes propped to protect my modesty (thanks Richie). Of course, as I took my undies off I saw someone walk up to my inlaws front door through a gap in the boxes, ahh yep, if they did happen to glance over our back yard…what a funny scene to see.

 

After a little laugh at the timing I got into the bath and it was amazing. The warm water gave me some relief but the contractions had really ramped up so I wasn’t getting much of a break. I felt like I needed to poop but of course after awkwardly getting out of the bath and dried off nothing happened.

I got back in the bath then realised I hadn’t brushed my teeth and of course couldn’t meet my new baby with stinky breath. I can’t even remember who grabbed me my toothbrush but with the help of a glass of water and a spew bag, I brushed and rinsed in between contractions.

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Richie comforted me in between heating water and adding it to the birth pool, with me in awkward positions to avoid being scalded. It was all quite comical really. I swayed on all fours and focused on breathing through each contraction until I felt the pop of my waters breaking. Soon afterward I had the urge to bear down through the contractions.

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My midwife used a mirror to check my progress as I clutched onto Richie and the side of the birth pool. She then asked me to stand in the water before my next contraction which I did and after two final pushes (with some guided panting through each one) our son was born.

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He was passed to me through my legs, his cord was moved from around his little neck and hand then I sat with him on the little seat in the birth pool and took him in.

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Fox had heard his little brothers cry from upstairs and rushed down to meet him. He was a little hesitant at first but was admiring him and demanding cuddles in no time.

After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing it was clamped and our lovely crocheted cord tie was attached before Richie cut it. I birthed (is that even the right word?) the placenta and then was able to get out of the birth pool and relax on my couch cuddling my new baby.

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It was such a beautiful empowering experience being in our own home and we are absolutely in love with Scout.

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Have you ever had a home birth or thought about having one?

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Photographed by the lovely Brianne from Our Memory Lane/Brianne May Photography and edited using presets from Kari Nicol (aka Compass and Aperture).

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