Evelyn's Birth Story
So you guys asked for it! Here it is! I have copy and pasted it directly from my notes so it is raw, unedited and as close to the real events as I could get. For those who don't know me. Evie is my fourth baby, first girl and first home birth. We changed models of care (and care providers) very late term during the covid pandemic. She is now 5 months old. This experience has literally changed my life. Here goes....
(There is a gallery of some of our birth photos attached if you would like to view them).
"I can’t believe it’s already Saturday; Evie is three days old now. It’s going by way to fast, everything is like a massive blur. I haven’t had a chance to catch up yet!
We waited for her for so long, and went over due further than we thought so none of this even feels real. It’s like it’s a huge dream.
Evie’s Birth Story- Long Read
03/06/20 - 3:35 am 41+1
4860grams- 10 pound 11
38cm head circumference
4th Baby- 1st Girl
Photographer: First Glance Photography
Midwives- Deb & Rangimarie
*Some things to know before hand - traumatic first birth, followed by two medicated inductions. Countless “medical conditions”, we went through 4 different midwives before we found our perfect fit, declined multiple tests/scans/“requirements”. Left the MGP hospital care at 35 weeks pregnant during covid pandemic, took up care with a private midwife for a planned home water birth despite said “conditions”. We did a hypno birthing course this time around, had a birth photographer/videographer and spent a long time preparing for this experience.
On Tuesday morning (2/6/20) I woke up feeling sore, achey and moody. Same as I had been every other day for the past week. I felt “different” but this was the second or third day in a row I felt that way so I didn’t think anything of it. I had been having Braxton hicks for months, and prodromal labour for a good 5/6 days by this point. Every day I was keeping an eye on her position to make sure she was staying head down (the boys had unstable lies that resulted in inductions, I was determined for that not to happen this time). Things were going well, I was so proud to be 41 weeks pregnant, the furtherest I had ever made it with my other pregnancies before induction was 39+1. Physically I felt pretty crap, it hurt to walk, it hurt to move, I had incredible SPD pain, everything was uncomfortable and I couldn’t be on my feet for more than a few minutes at a time. Mentally (for the most part) I dealt great. I was calm, patient, excited. We felt so prepared and relaxed waiting for labour to start. I did have my moments where I thought it would never happen or that something would happen and we would need to go to hospital but Darcy was amazing at reminding me that was just my head playing tricks on me and that everything would be ok regardless of what happened and she would come when she was ready. It really helped reminding myself of that, that she wasn’t here yet because she wasn’t ready. Even tho we were SHE wasn’t.
I kind of “gave up” that day. Just lazed around the house, playing with the kids , watching tv, trying my best to forget we were still pregnant. Around lunch time I started getting some slight contractions, they felt like my normal prodromal ones but usually those started late afternoon/early night time so I thought it was a little odd but didn’t really think to much of it. The kids went down for a nap and Darcy and I went into our bedroom to watch Netflix and eat lunch. After we ate I felt really tired out of no where, really drained and weak. I laid down and fell asleep pretty quickly. I didn’t end up waking up untill about 4/4:30 pm. By that point all the kids were awake and were up playing with Darcy in the loungeroom. I went out there and they all ran up and gave me cuddles. I told darcy I didn’t feel to great, he sat me down on the couch and started doing the night time routine for the kids (getting dinner ready, cleaning up, organising bed time etc). I sat there and played and talked with the kids untill dinner. I was ok just still super tired for some reason. I was still contracting but they had dropped down to every 15-20 mins by this point so I figured they’d die off soon. They did feel different tho. Lower in my pelvis and lower back instead of up near my naval, they had more “pressure” to them as well.
By about 6:30 everything was done and I sat on the couch while Darcy put the little ones to bed. I was there for about an hour and a half (Teddy wasn’t having a bar of bedtime). They became a bit more noticeable, so I decided to start timing them on my phone to kill some time before Darcy came back. I alternated between timing and playing games/instagramming that hour and a half! Some were 4 minutes apart, some were 8-9 mins apart, I was starting to get excited untill I had one that was 23 mins apart. I gave up timing them because they were so inconsistent I “knew” this wasn’t the real deal. Darcy eventually came out and I told him what was happening and he got excited, I told him I didn’t think this was it but he wouldn’t drop it. I said I was tired and just wanted to go to bed so we went into our room. I bounced on one of the gym balls for a while and we ate maxibons and watched Netflix. After about half an hour I kept saying I was uncomfortable. I timed a few more contractions and they were still all over the place so we got in the shower for a bit. It was lovely, the house was quiet, Darcy helped wash me, we talked and cuddled and forgot about everything else. While I was in the shower I remember having quite a few more contractions, I had to stop talking when I had them. I had to visualise the balloon and breathe. I think this is when Darcy really started believing this was it. I wasn’t convinced. To me they weren’t “painful” enough. Once we got out of the shower (around 9pm) he convinced me to start timing them again. They were roughly every 5-6 mins lasting a minuet - a minuet and a half. Still not convinced 😂
He put the diffuser on for me with clarysage and lavender, filled the room with candles and made our bed all pretty. I sat back on the gym ball and we kept watching our shows. By 9:30 they were every 3-4 mins. Still not convinced. My birth photographer ended up texting to let me know her phone wasn’t working properly so I gave her a heads up that this could be it but I was going to try and sleep and they’ll probably die off 😂
By 10:30 they were every 2-3 mins. I couldn’t sit anymore I had to keep walking around the bedroom. Darcy was trying to convince me to call our midwife and photographer but I kept saying it was fine. I didn’t want to call everyone to early or if this wasn’t real and was going to die off. I thought once I went to bed they would stop like they had done all week. I felt super calm the entire time though , I wasn’t nervous or scared. I felt in control and at ease with everything. The contractions didn’t feel painful, they felt more like a pressure or a power flowing through me? I think that’s why it took me so long to accept/acknowledge I was In labour because In all my other experiences I felt intense, continuous pain? This was sooo so different. Darcy suggested I try using the tens machine because my back was starting to ache. I had never used one before , we were going to practice before labour and completely forgot. He helped me attach it all and showed me how it worked. At first I didn’t like it, it was such an odd sensation but after about 15 minuets it was amazing. I didn’t have to concentrate as much through each surge, I just focused on the feeling of the tens machine in burst mode while I breathed through them. I kept moving around the room, slowly walking, moving my hips, leaning against walls, against Darcy. I just couldn’t sit. It took almost the entire hour for him to convince me to let him call everyone. I had a really powerful surge while leaning against our bathroom door where I physically felt Evie’s head drop a little into my pelvis. Darcy said I was quite vocal. I agreed for them to come.
We called them all around 11pm and they all came straight away . From this point onwards (for the rest of the labour and birth) contractions were every 1 1/2- 2 1/2 minuets apart lasting 1 minuet +. While on the phone our midwife told Darcy to start setting up the birth pool and the rest of our birth space. I still thought this was way to early and we didn’t need to do any of that yet but he went and did it anyway. By 12 our midwife had arrived along with our second midwife and birth photographer. Everyone stayed out in the loungeroom and helped Darcy set up/prepare for baby. I was pretty particular and had a huge box full of all of our homebirth items ready to go for weeks (a lot of which we never ended up using because I felt I didn’t need a lot of the “tools”). Our photographer stayed close to me, I stayed in our bedroom which was strange because I had always planned on labouring and birthing in the loungeroom. I felt safer, more comfortable and less observed in the bedroom. I stayed mainly in the corner of the room next to my side of the bed and bedside table which in hind site was the best spot as it’s where I had set up my affirmations, diffuser and slept for months. I paced back and forth for ages, changing from standing to kneeling to leaning over the walls, bed and people. Darcy periodically came in to check on me, he had a lot of troubleshooting issues with the set up of our space 😂😂 once he was done he was back by my side for everything. I couldn’t really have him rubbing my back because of the tens machine, it felt weird, almost irritating for him to touch my back while it was on. But he helped me sway, dance, change positions, brang me water, told me how well I was doing and how much he loved me every time I had a contraction. He kept reminding me to breathe which was sooo helpful because I kept trying to hold my breathe for some reason but I felt 100 x better when I did my surge breathing. Our midwife was amazing, she checked my temp, pulse and bloodpressure on arrival (and when she left) and didn’t try and touch me or invade my space for anything else the entire labour. She did check bubs heart rate every now and then but that was mainly in the pool and I barely remember it. Every now and then she would come into the bedroom to check on us. We were having a great time (in the weirdest way) Darcy, me and our photographer were just chatting away in between contractions, laughing at jokes, talking about our kids, they were both trying to convince me I was in labour still but I felt great and didn’t 100% believe it yet. This went on for a few hours. My midwife came in to see how we were going and I kept asking if this was normal, to sit at contractions every 2 mins lasting a min for this long. I laughed and said this isn’t it, it’s all going to die soon. She reassured me I was definitely in labour and this was all normal and I’d meet my baby soon. She left the room and I felt another surge coming, Darcy helped me get down on my knees so I could lean over the bed and rock my hips. He sat next to me holding my hand as I breathed my way through slowly swaying when out no where a huge gush of water flooded the bedroom floor, I was vocal again as I felt her head dropping more, pressure and weird sensations all through my belly! This was it, I was in labour it was real we were all laughing once the surge ended, they all told me we told you so , I had the biggest smile on my face. I had my waters broken for my the last two pregnancies so I was so proud and excited that everything was happening naturally this time (this was probaby about 2:50/3:00 am?) I remember Darcy calling out to the midwife to come and for someone to grab a towel and me just sitting there laughing and smiling and saying this was it ; in my head. The midwife came in and just smirked at me. She knew all along. I heard the water start running in the loungeroom again, Darcy and the midwife helped me up and started helping me out to the loungeroom, I was confused as to why we were leaving the bedroom, you need to hop in the pool if you want your water birth they were trying to explain to me. But In my head I was like no... people only get in the pool when they are ready to have their babies?? I was no where near ready right? I’m barely in any pain and my waters only just broke?
We managed to get out there ok, I had another surge and then they tried to help me into the pool. I wasn’t to impressed when I realised it meant I had to take the tens machine off, it along with my breathing were my main focal points at the time. They took it off and I climbed in, Darcy quickly went into the bathroom to put on some boardies so he could get in the pool with us. The second I was in the pool everything and every sensation changed and it took me a little while to process. My body felt more relaxed, the water was nice and warm, relaxing but it also made me feel weightless and took a lot of pressure off my tummy, hips and back. But on the other hand the sensations and surges felt soo much more intense sooo quickly. Which In hindsight was probaby more to do with my water breaking than the water/pool. I think this is when I started going through transition. I was shaking a lot but was still quite calm (mentally) and started becoming more vocal, making groaning noises through my surges , this actually made me feel better in a weird way. I was so glad those were the only reactions I had to transition. I usually became very nauseous, inconsolable, panicked but I wasn’t any of those things this time! It was so strange. Darcy came back and got in the pool with me, I was on all fours in the middle of the pool (which was strange because I HATE that position because of my experience from birth #1). The poor guy had no room to sit. We originally wanted him sitting on the little seat, me leaning back against him so he could see, rub my back, hold my hands etc but my body was telling me to stay in this position so I did. He squeezed his way around me. I remember snapping at him for “moving the water to much” , it felt like a wave pool and it was breaking my concentration. I needed him and wanted him close to me but each time he touched me I didn’t want to be touched so we mainly held hands and he whispered things to me and told me it was going to be ok and I was doing amazing. After only a few surges (and urges to bear/breathe down) the midwives and Darcy kept telling me they could see her head coming then going back. They encouraged me to feel for myself. I reached down hoping to feel a head but because I’d wait till the end of the surge her head was already back in. This was the only time the whole labour I felt annoyed/irritated. The next surge and time they said they could see her head I snapped at them that they were lying and she wasn’t coming out. They assured me she was, it just wasn’t time yet. This time darcy Darcy moved around to the front of me and sat on the chair, I leant over his lap and he started patting my head, holding my hands and offering me support. The “pain” was getting worse every second that went by, I started to believe this was it. Each surge I stated to feel more and more pressure and the urge to “push”. I tried not to, I kept trying to breathe and let my body do the work. After a little while it just didn’t feel right, so I decided to let go a bit more, I let myself be more vocal, I went with the pressure/pushing sensation and gently pushed a little bit each surge, still doing my , “breathing down” breathes. That one felt better, more powerful, like it had actually made a difference. I kept doing that for another one or two surges, still feeling down for babies head. It had worked a little, she was lower but still not as much as I thought. Something didn’t feel right. I got off my hands and knees and leant back against the side of the pool, holding on to the sides , letting my tummy and legs float slightly. I felt another contraction coming and went with it again. This time feeling down for her head during the contraction instead of waiting untill it had passed, I could feel it this time, her coming further and further down, she started to crown and our midwife gently reminded me to go slowly. It helped a lot but also startled me a little, I backed away from it, I thought maybe I was going to fast. I could feel her slide back in. This next one is it I thought to myself. I tried to breathe the best I could, moaning as the contraction built weirdly helped me stay calm/deal with the pain. I felt down again and went with it, this time not backing away when she began to crown, I pushed a little more, and a little more, determined not to let her slip back, it felt this was what my body wanted to though as the urge to push stayed for a very long time and the contraction didn’t pass untill I had gotten her head out. I remember feeling her head and thinking it’s almost out it’s almost out but it seemed to go forever! (turns out she has a giant 38 cm head 😂) Darcy blurted out that she had hair, no one thought I would care my this point but I felt around and felt hair, “She has hair” I smiled. The feelings were intense and the pressure I felt was out of this world but her head was finally out. I kept my eyes shut, I couldn’t open them or I would loose concentration. I tried my best to breathe while I had a “break” but I could feel her starting to rotate and it was unbearable. I started to slip so I let go of her head and grabbed onto the pool, Darcy took over, keeping his hands under the water waiting to catch her. The next contraction started to build and we gave it everything we could, by this point I was so excited to meet her and so eager for the pain to stop I didn’t care how much it hurt. I remember doing one loud scream (which I didn’t mean to do but it was obviously what I needed at the time) and she made her way out into her daddy’s hands. (Born at 3:35 am, roughly half an hour/45 Mins after my water broke) I still had my eyes closed trying to catch my breathe as he pulled her up and out of the water, he tried passing her to me but her cord was so short and wrapped around her that we had to unwrap it first, it took me a minuet or two to come back to it, I was so focused during my surges and in the pool/pushing that I barely heard/saw/remember anything other than what was going on with my body at the time. Darcy unwrapped her and I gently pulled her closer to me, she was so beautiful, so chubby, so purple I felt like I was just frozen staring at her. Then I could finally hear the midwife saying to me I needed to blow on her face because she hadn’t taken her first breathe yet (which was fine because she was still attached to the placenta). I kept staring at her and blowing, and she just kept staring back, not taking a breathe. It felt like an eternity we were there together in our own little world but also like it was over in a split second. It took about 4-5 minuets before she finally took a breathe. Our midwife was right there keeping an eye on everything and kept telling me she was ok, had good colouring, a good pulse etc so we just sat and waited. Darcy by my side patting my head , tears in his eyes, staring from me to her back to me etc. After she finally took a breathe I cradled her in my arms and started admiring all of her. She was so beautiful, I can’t describe the feeling. I couldn’t believe we had just done that, it all felt like a dream. A perfect dream. Me and Darcy sat and cuddled for a few more moments, admiring our beautiful girl. Crying and laughing and smiling and breathing it all in. It was incredible. I started becoming more and more aware of what was going on around us. I could hear the boys in their bedrooms crying, I nodded to the midwife that she could go get them and my mum and they could come see the baby. They all came out, crowded around the pool to admire and meet their baby sister. My eldest (6) had literal tears in his eyes and couldn’t believe she was here and that I didn’t have to go to the hospital, my middle son (3) was “annoyed that I woke him up” but wouldn’t take his eyes off the baby and our ex youngest (2- who we thought would be super jealous of the baby) kept trying to climb in with us, screeching “my baby my baby, hi baby girl”. I remember staring at each of them, taking in their excitement and their little faces as they stared at Evie. This was amazing, having them all here with me. I felt so loved and protected and happy.
After a few minuets the pool started to become quite red so the boys went back to play in their bedrooms with their nan, as I had to get out of the pool. Everyone helped me up and made sure I was ok, they supported Evie because her cord was so short I couldn’t hold her properly. Once out we moved to a Matress we had set up in the loungeroom and we laid down to have some skin to skin. I was feeling pressure and contractions again and I was bleeding a little more than my midwife had liked so she asked me to push and see if we could birth the placenta. It took a few minuets but it came on it’s own (I was so happy because we really wanted a psychological third stage , I never had one with any of the boys). It was enormously beautiful! She placed it in a bucket near us, we wanted to leave baby attached as long as possible. I started to bleed, more than what was “normal” , my midwife explained the situation (which we had talked at length about prior to birth) and asked my consent for the injection. I accepted, in hopes of reducing our chances of having to transfer. Fortunately it worked great and it all settled down. (This was the only little hiccup we had the whole labour and birth).
Once that was done they left Darcy and I to bond with Evie while they started taking down the birth pool/cleaning up. We laid there together staring at her , talking to her, taking it all in. The afterbirth pains kicked in not long after and they were insane! I ended up taking some painkillers to cope. A lot of this time is a blur, probably from the blood loss, pain etc etc but I remember my Mum coming out with the boys she was ready to take them back to her house and get them ready for school etc. they all came and gave me and Evie kisses and cuddles , before they left, a little upset because they didn’t want to leave us but still super happy about the baby.
Once they left and the midwives were finished tidying up they came to do our checks (this seems really early but it was over an hour and a half since Evie was born by this point- and I was ready to do what we needed to do, just wanted have a shower and to crawl into our bed with bubba.). We used a beautiful cord tie we had bought instead of a clamp to tie bubs cord and Darcy was the one to cut it. It was such a special moment! They then weighed Evie, everyone was putting their guesses in, they kept saying how huge she was but I didn’t see it yet because she was laying on me I really only saw her face and didn’t really get how “big” she really was untill they picked her up! It was such a shock then the scales showed she was 10 pounds, 11 ounces! (4860grams- 38 cm head circumference and 59cm long) No one could believe it, especially me! (I’m a tiny 5 foot 4, 58-60 kgs woman when not pregnant). Darcy had some skin to skin with Evie while I got checked down below, that’s when the next shocker came; I didn’t need stitches, tear or graze.. at all 😳😳😳. I for sure thought there’d be damage the second I she came out, it definitely “felt” like I’d need stitches. She was amazing, her chunckiness, how beautiful she was, how healthy. Absolutely nothing was wrong. Watching Darcy with her was awesome, he was so smitten, he still it. She’s going to be a daddy’s girl that’s for sure.
Our photographer was snapping pics and videos this entire time, when we were ready she got a photo of Evie side by side to her placenta , it still blows me away. When I was ready Darcy and my midwife helped me hop up and we made our way to our en-suite to have a shower. Darcy got in with me as I couldn’t stand properly, my midwife said I’d be iffy on my feel for a while because of the blood loss (which was true, I needed Darcy’s help with almost everything for the first day or two). Once I had showered they helped me crawl into bed and brought Evie to me. We had some more skin to skin and began breast feeding. Everything was absolutely beautiful. The midwives finished tidying up, then around 5:30/6 am everyone came into the bedroom to say goodbye to us. I was shocked at how quickly it was all happening and was a bit nervous to be left alone with the Evie so soon after birth (all our other births have resulted in 5-7 day stays in hospital with a lot of monitoring). But it was amazing!! It felt so natural and calm and just nice. Nice to be in our own bed, nice that no one was poking or prodding us, no one trying to take our baby etc . We thanked them all and off they went. Darcy and I sat in bed together with Evie just staring at her completely overwhelmed with how fast and how surreal everything felt. Darcy had to go do a few things for my Mum and the boys after that so Evie and I just sat in bed cuddling. That time on my own was something I’ll never forget. Trying to take in that I actually just did that, that she was here, how beautiful she was etc. I FaceTimed my dad to show him Evie before he started work. I loved that call.
The boys stayed at my parents house for a few days before they came home. That little bubble was amazing but went way to fast for my liking. It’s all a blur, a big amazing happy blur I wish I could remember more. But how we are a family of 6. I’m so lucky.
Looking back I’m absolutely stunned everything went how it did. It literally feels like a dream. My entire pregnancy I had done a lot of work and a lot of preparation. I remember “visualising” what I wanted our birth to look like and the moment we met our baby and it was literally exactly what happened. And now it just doesn’t feel real.
I never once felt paniced or scared during the birth like I did in my others. I wouldn’t even describe it as painful either. Though I did experience it towards the end. The whole thing was amazing, I felt in control, in tune with my body, everything felt natural, I felt safe and supported, powerful. It was actually enjoyable in a way. I was excited that my body was doing what it was supposed to do, happy each time I got a surge, proud and eccentric when’s waters broke on their own. I can’t even describe my mental state throughout the whole thing. I know I was vocal at points but I never felt like I wanted things to stop or that I couldn’t do it. Iv never in my entire life felt so calm or determined or sure of my self! It was incredible and I wish I could do it over and over again. It was the most amazing experience of my life. There’s honestly no more words I can use to describe it. It was magic. " - Rianna Xx
So there you have it guys! Congrats if you made it through the whole thing! I know it was a lot but when I wrote it I didn't want to miss a thing. It was honestly the best day of my life, I wish I could do it again and again! Was so empowering, magical and beautiful. It healed me in ways I never even knew I needed healing, and has changed my life forever. We were even able to breastfeed for the first time ever! Thank You for all your support and allowing me to be comfortable enough to share something so raw and personal with you all. I love this <3