Jane was 42 weeks gestation when she went into labour with her first baby and her membranes released with thick meconium. This followed a week of pre-labour. Jane’s dream of a waterbirth in the birth centre went out the window. Jane was strong, focused and determined to have a normal birth, and with doula and partner support she birthed beautifully in the delivery suite. For this 2nd birth she chose to birth at home, after much discussion with her ‘doctor’ husband, who was very supportive and committed.
None of us were expecting this labour at just under 38 weeks. She phoned at 10p.m. one Fri. night. She had been experiencing gentle surges most of the afternoon. The trainee doula and I met the homebirth midwife over at Jane’s. Their 3yr. old daughter was asleep. Jane was on a mat on the floor, leaning into a bean bag and using her slow breathing techniques that she had learned in HypnoBirthing®. The only lighting was lots of candles. It was quiet, apart from the sound of raindrops on the iron roof. Jane was pleased to see us. I asked Pete where the blow-up pool was? They had not had time to blow it up for a practice run and nor had he got the electric pump organised. “It’s just not going to work” said Pete.
I knew how much Jane wanted a waterbirth for this baby, so the midwife, trainee doula and myself dragged the pool out, and Pete’s bicycle pump! and away we went. Pumping and pumping, taking it in turns as it was very tiring while Jane quietly managed her surges in the corner of the room on the bean bag. At this stage she was not the focus – pumping was definitely the main agenda. Once we had started, we were determined to finish. I don’t think Pete had much faith in the bicycle pump, and it was a very slow process, but I knew that waterbirth was what Jane wanted. It took about 2hrs. of pumping and then about another hour to fill the bath. There was also no connection for the tap, so Pete had secured the hose to the tap with lots of electrical tape, which of course squirted everywhere!
Finally Jane was able to hop into the bath at about 4.30a.m. The 3 of us fell on the lounge, exhausted from pumping, and dozed intermittently. About an hour later, with the only sound of raindrops, Jane whispered that the baby’s head was born and as we moved gently towards the bath, the remainder of baby wriggled into the warm water. Pete was in the bath with her and received the baby, bringing him up into Jane’s arms. He was beautiful, alert and very calm. Even though I was very tired, this birth, like many others I have attended, re-energise me and show, once again, how magnificent women are, in the right environment and with the right support. Everyone present totally trusted birth. I was so pleased that a trainee doula had the opportunity to be a part of and witness the simplicity of birth. It is always such a privilege to be invited to share this amazing experience.