Birth sto­ries

Meet Becky, whose fourth baby made a speedy ar­rival

Mother & Baby (UK) - - CONTENTS -

‘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

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