Meet Becky, whose fourth baby made a speedy arrival
‘My fourth baby just couldn’t wait!’
My labours have all been incredibly quick, and increasingly so with every baby. My first, Dylan, was born in eight hours in hospital, then I had a two-hour labour in a midwifeled unit with Archie. Then, with Finn, it was just 16 minutes from being told I was 5cm dilated to holding him in my arms! Knowing I was capable of progressing so fast, I was worried I’d give birth to my fourth child en route to the hospital, so a home birth seemed a great option.
Getting prepared was so much more exciting than for a hospital birth. After chatting online to other mums who’d had home births, I bought a massive tarpaulin sheet, then gathered old duvets and towels and packed them into a big basket, along with
BECKY DICKERSON, 30, A BLOGGER, LIVES IN RAMSGATE WITH PARTNER ED, AND CHILDREN CORA, 18 MONTHS, FINN, TWO, ARCHIE, FOUR, AND DYLAN, SIX
baby clothes and nappies. Three days before my official due date, I woke up knowing 100 per cent I was going to give birth. ‘My labour’s going to start today,’ I told my partner Ed, confidently. I hadn’t felt a single contraction – it was just a feeling. Ed took Dylan to school while I took Archie to nursery and, sure enough, on my way home with Finn, a cramp rippled through my bump. I wasn’t surprised in the slightest – I could sense it was coming! Back home, I phoned my mum, who popped over at 10am to collect Finn. Ed put the kettle on as I paced up and down the stairs. I felt totally in tune with my body, and knew that keeping active was what I needed to get things moving. Sure enough, after a few minutes, the cramps returned. And while they weren’t overwhelming, I followed my midwife’s advice
to phone her as soon as I noticed the first labour signs. She didn’t want to take any chances either! It was 11.30am when she knocked at the door.
As the contractions got stronger, I sensed I wasn’t far off. But the midwife wasn’t so sure. She thought it was pre-labour, and said she’d come back later when I was more established. ‘Please stay, I think this is it,’ I replied as I paced up and down. I could sense she still wasn’t convinced, given I was able to walk and talk through my contractions. She examined me to check how dilated I was, and I could tell she was surprised to find I was 4cm and well on my way to giving birth! Reassured, I calmly breathed through each contraction, passing the time by chatting to Ed between each one. Bouncing on my birthing ball helped temporarily, but it was still walking up and down the stairs that eased the pressure best of all. Despite my discomfort, I felt positive and relaxed. Being in my own environment helped me to feel in control of my body and my entire birth experience.
As I climbed up and down, the contractions became increasingly strong. I overheard the midwife on the phone to her colleague: ‘She’s in established labour. You’ll need to come over, but there’s no rush.’ It felt like I was the only person who understood how close I was to giving birth! As the contractions ramped up, an urgent low-down pressure spread over my bump. And with the change of sensation, my relaxed state shattered. ‘I can’t do this!’ I told the midwife, as I went to fetch the gas and air she’d left out for me in the lounge. And when she saw my face, and realised how far along I was, she reassured me. To be fair, it had only been about 10 minutes since I was 4cm dilated! As I knelt over the sofa, with Ed rubbing my back and telling me how well I was doing, my calm was restored. By now the contractions were coming one on top of another. Everything became a bit blurry, but I remember Ed spreading out the waterproof sheet beneath me. My body began bearing down and pushing involuntarily, and I dropped the gas and air mouthpiece and let the urges take over. It felt great to listen, feel and allow my body to do what was natural. Ed carried on rubbing my back as I breathed slowly and steadily through each push. I’d practised hypnobirthing with my second pregnancy, and the techniques came flooding back. I imagined tidal waves on a beach carrying me through each contraction.
It was 12.30pm when the baby’s head started crowning. Our curtains were half-pulled, and the summer sun was flooding into the lounge. I couldn’t think of anywhere better to give birth. I hardly noticed my waters breaking, and then my body did all the work – I couldn’t have stopped if I’d wanted to! In one big contraction, I felt enormous pressure and, to my surprise, the baby’s head and body came out in one go. Ed caught our baby beneath me. Relief filled my body as I reached down and picked up baby Cora. Although we knew we were having a girl, I checked to make sure! Ed and the midwife helped me up from my knees and onto the sofa, where I held Cora against my skin. My emotions were indescribable – nothing in the world could beat them. I felt powerful, elated and connected to the generations of mums who’d had home births over the years. I was over the moon.
The second midwife arrived about 20 minutes later and, after I’d delivered the placenta, I gave baby Cora to Ed for a cuddle and went upstairs for a shower. The atmosphere was so relaxed. After tea and biscuits, the midwives left at 2.30pm and Ed went to pick Dylan, Archie and Finn up, leaving me home alone with baby Cora.
The boys’ faces when they bounded in were priceless. Seeing the love in their eyes was magical, and even Finn, who was still just a baby himself, seemed aware of what a special moment it was. In just a few short hours while they were at school, nursery and grandma’s, I’d had the most amazing experience, and changed their lives, too.
Feeding, at six weeks
Becky with Cora, seconds after the birth
Cora at two weeks, with big brother Finn