Home Birth

Here is Zakari’s birth story, as shared by his mum Heather

As I sit here and look down at my now 4 day old son I can’t help but think about what a miracle him being here actually is.  For about a week before taking the pregnancy test I had a feeling that I could be pregnant but I kept pushing it out of my mind by saying I’m on the pill I can’t possibly be pregnant!

While sitting outside on a sunny morning watching our then 22month old daughter  running around and I said to my husband,  I think I’m pregnant. And the look on his face was a mix of shock and horrer and said “You can’t be, you are on the pill” I told him stranger things have happened. So he was like well go take a test to be sure. So I went and took a test and 2 lines showed up. I just stared at the test for a while with the thought going though my head, OMG 3 under 3 (6month old Joshua was napping), what the heck are we going to do.

I sent Margaret a text asking her if she was willing to be our midwife for a third attempt at a homebirth (with the first I ended up going into hospital for an epi after 23 hours of back labour and only being 4cm, second I was induced due to Cholestasis). She texted back sure.

Two days later on my 31st birthday I started bleeding and cramping, and thought everything was over, I was truely relieved to be honest, and Margart and I made plans to get an IUD in place when the bleeding had stopped. During the next week I kept thinking I was queasy and didn’t feel quite right, it got worse as the days went by. I texted Margaret yet again asking her if this was normal, and she had us get in touch with the Early Pregnancy Loss Clinic, so we went down there for blood tests to check HCG levels. They came back at 20,000. Two days later a repeat test, which came back at 28,000. Ok so something was there but not sure what. Now I had to get though the weekend being able to have a scan. Going to the scan was really hard and the most emotional I’ve been in a long time. As I lay on the table I closed my eyes as I didn’t want to see what was there. The first thing they said was “There’s your baby with a strong heartbeat”. Hearing that I burst into tears, they asked if I wanted a photo and I took it. I stared at that little thing that reminded me of a seahorse, which is what we named bub until we found out what it was. I was in shock!

For the rest of the pregnancy everything went by as normal apart from the fact that I mainly was in denial about having another baby, I didn’t want to have to think about what life was going to be like with 3 kids 2 1/2 and under! And I tried not to get my hopes up that we would actually end up with a homebirth this time.

Since I hadn’t made it to 40 weeks before I had thought I would go early like with the other 2. But nope I even had a 40 week appointment on the 3rd May at around 3pm which was my due date.   During that appointment I spilled protein for the first time and my blood pressure had gone up slightly, so blood tests were done and sent away with Margaret saying, if they are bad I will come tomorrow and do a stretch and sweep and send in a referal to the hospital, if they are fine we can do one next week.

Well later that day I started to get this urge to fill up the pool which had been sitting by our bed for the last week all set up and ready for water. Around 6pm I had finally talked Scott into filling it up. By this stage I was starting to have some mild contractions but didn’t think anything of them as I usually had them at some point during the day. Earlier that day my friend had come to pick up my 2 littles as she had been taking them every Monday for a few weeks just to give me a break as being heavily pregnant and running after a 2 1/2 year old and 14month old was exhausting! I was looking forward to an early night and getting some much needed sleep. I talked to my sister for over an hour and by the end of the conversation she was convinced that I was in early labour, so I sent my friend (who was going to be my doula for the birth) a text asking her what her plans were for the evening, and just let her know that I was starting to get the odd contraction but not to worry it will probably die out.

Around 11pm they got a little stronger but was easy to cope with, texted my sister and she said I should get the Doula over as a distraction. Sent her a text asking how long it would take her to get here and she was like 10mins, told her they were getting stronger was were still managable. She said she was on her way.
When she got here she asked if I had let Margaret know what was going on and I was like nah she needs her sleep and things will probably die off anyway! So for the next hour we just sat and chatted and I would go quiet during a contraction and then we would keep talking.

At about midnight Doula suggested we time them, they were like 10min, 6min, 4min and then back to 10min. Oh well its going to be a long night! I told her it would be her call when to contact Margaret. At 1pm they started coming every 4mins and at 1.30 we debated and then decided it was time to ring Margaret. As soon as we got off the phone to her, the contractions started getting a bit stronger and I had to start breathing and working though them. When Margaret arrived at around 2.15am I was kneeing on the floor with my head on the bed with Jami rubbing my lower back. After a contraction I would sit back and say “Another one down” and then keeping talking as if it was any other visit.

Not sure when (maybe 2.30?) it was but Margaret asked if she could check for that red line that shows how dilated you are. When she checked she couldn’t see one so figure it was going to be a long night! She asked if I was feeling like I wanted to get into the pool yet and I was like not really as I was wanted to wait till transition and the contractions were managable at the moment with Jami doing an awesome job of rubbing my back and reminding me to breath and to relax my shoulders. Margaret said it would be ok to get in now and if things slowed down we could always get out again. So after another bathroom stop at which point we had it down as I only had 2mins to get there and back before another contraction would start, this time I had one in the bathroom holding onto the towel rail.

Got back and was like ok might as well get in the pool before it cools down again. Think this was around 2.45am. As I was climbing into the pool I felt this pulling feeling on my cervix like it was being pulled open and I knew things had just gone up a beat. The pool was so nice! Had another couple of contractions and Jami would rub my shoulders to keep them relaxed and between them Scott would put an ice cold face cloth on my face as I rested with my head on the side of the pool as I was thinking its going to be a long night and wanted to conserve my energy. I think it must have been around 3am and Margaret again checked for the line and called Jami around to have a look, I heard Margaret say something like “look at that shes complete” Jami was like “your kidding” by this stage I started feeling this panic well up inside of me because I knew I was fully dilated.

The contractions suddenly changed to pushing ones but I started fighting them and told them I was scared and didn’t want to do this. I did try pushing but couldn’t feel any change, Margaret said this was because my waters were still intact.

At 3.17am suddenly my waters broke and he was coming! I freaked out and tried to hold my baby in with my hands, saying I didn’t want to do this part! Jami, Margaret and Scott were so awesome! Jami yelled at me at one point which was exactly what I needed and with the next contraction it was all go, I grabbed ahold of Jami and with all my strength pushed and Margaret was saying, there’s the eyebrows, and the nose (I felt the nose pop out) and the chin, just got to wait for the shoulders, I asked if they were turning cause I couldn’t stop pushing as the urge was still there, thankfully they were turning. Next thing Margaret was saying reach down and pick up your baby!

I think I went into a bit of shock as I don’t remember too clearly the first few minutes after I lifted Zakari out of the water, but I do remember him being given oxygen as he wasn’t doing too good. He never did cry when he was born, I think he was a bit stuned at the fast delivery. 24minutes later the plantaca arrived! All up 2 hours and 57minutes! It took me a couple of days to realise and let it sink in that it wasn’t a dream and that I did have my baby at home in our bedroom! Oh and the lovely Deb turned up just after the plantaca was delivered!

This birth was a truely healing experience!

I just want to thank the awesome people who helped make my dream birth finally take place! Margaret you are just so awesome with your positive, bubbly personality and thank you for sticking by us for the last 3 births and I promise you won’t get a text from me for at least a couple of years! Also to Deb for finally being called to come to my birth after being the back up midwife for the previous 2 but never getting the call! Jami you rock! I can’t put into words just what your presence at my homebirth meant to me! You have a gifting don’t give it up! And to my husband who has stood beside me when I needed him most! Without you our 3 precious children would not be here!

Introducing Zakari ~ 9lbs 1oz