• Kathryn Bell

She's here! Elise's accidental home birth story

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Beautiful little Sasha was born in the wee hours of Sunday morning and I was so excited to wake up to the below message, story and photos from her incredible mum Elise this morning!!

Elise and James did a Calmbirth course as preparation for their first birth, and decided to learn Hypnobirthing this time around. So, I luckily got to hang out with them for a couple of Sundays back in September for their Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth course with me. Fortunately, we cover what to do if it's a 'baby's choice birth' :-) I love how Elise says she was able to keep her "focus and breathe baby down." The fact that she shares about her need to vocalise through her surges is so great too, as I know this is something that she had been concerned about in her first labour. There are no rules - you can be silent and sleep-like (how some think you need to be to be hypnobirthing, so not right), or very vocal and active in your labour (most women do vocalise with their surges). What matters is that you feel good about finding your way to work with your body and the strong sensations of labour.

Congratulations to the gorgeous new family of 4! And, thanks so much for sharing your positive story - every positive birth story helps to reinforce the value of preparation for birth, and to instil trust in the amazing power of our birthing bodies.

Hi Kathryn, While doing the rounds of announcing the arrival of our ‘little’ girl. I wanted to share our birth story with you after all the wonderful advice and support you gave us during our Hypnobirthing classes.  Our little lady Sasha arrived this morning as an accidental home birth on our bathroom floor with James having the honor or catching her. Here is the full story ... 

I was diagnosed with GDM (gestational diabetes) at 31 weeks, which meant I was unable to have my birth centre birth at Ryde hospital like I had with my son, and I was to then birth at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) and have a 24hr minimum stay, though staying diet controlled would mean I kept my midwife care at Ryde, and this was very important to me. It was a rollercoaster of emotions as I navigated the early days of GDM but I was able to stay diet controlled and keep my wonderful midwife Anne. 

Saturday afternoon was spent at home. I started having regular Braxton Hicks tightenings every 5-10mins. I told James that I wish the BH’s were doing something instead of just annoying me. 

We went to bed at 9:30, still having BH tightenings. I was woken at midnight by a mildly crampy surge, but didn’t time it as I was half asleep and wasn’t really aware. A second one came about 10 mins later. I didn’t record it either, but now I knew for sure something was happening. I was laying down and had to do some surge breathing through the next surge but I was focused on the surge still wanting to pay attention and see if what I was feeling was ‘something’. I kept timing the next few and got up to go to the bathroom. It seemed more intense standing than laying down so I wen't back to bed debating if I wake James or not. The next few contractions were 5mins then 8mins then 4mins and were growing in intensity.

At 12:40 I woke James up and let him know we are having a baby today, his sleepy reply was “are we? When?” To which I replied “I’ll let you know when it arrives, go back to sleep.” I was joking, yet he suggested I try to get more sleep, which I knew wasn’t going to happen. 

I told him things were ramping up as I moaned through the next contraction.

I tried calling my midwife’s number which I knew was going to be diverted to whoever was on duty as she was on leave, but it just rang out and went to a voicemail. I then called my mum at 12:52 and told her it was all happening, fast, and to get to mine ASAP to look after our sleeping toddler. Thankfully she lives 5 minutes away. 

I tried calling the midwife again, then tried calling another midwife's number that I happened to have in my call log and got through to midwife Marty at 12:59am and told him it was all happening. I had concerns over the surges not being consistent times apart, but by this point they were getting closer together and I couldn’t talk through them and had to strongly vocalise and focus on my breath.

I asked Marty to call ahead to the birth unit at RNSH. I asked James put the TENS machine on me and I got dressed and headed downstairs very quickly as another contraction was coming. I unlocked the front door for my mum as James packed last minute things into the bags. The TENS machine helped me through the next few surges but I had to start on one of the highest settings instead of building up. 

With the next two surges that were now coming just 2 minutes apart, I started to feel a familiar pressure in my bum and said to James that I could feel the head coming. I could feel her head through bulging waters already on its way down.

He’s since told me he thought I was just being dramatic as I was obviously losing my calmness and starting to panic (I had just yelled at him to hurry up putting his shoes on). 

I then ran to the bathroom as mum came through the front door. I was moaning loudly and I yelled “baby’s coming, call an ambulance” I took my pants off in the bathroom and got down on my knees. Mum called an ambulance while I called Marty back (1:10am).

With the next surge I reached down to feel and her head was being born. I asked James if her face was out because she was obviously facing backwards and I couldn’t feel it haha. Marty was super calm and told me to just wait for the next contraction and for James to get some towels. I then felt her rotate (really cool) and told James to catch her as I felt I couldn’t get a good position to catch as I was holding onto the bath with one hand. She slid on out and James caught her and passed her through my legs to me. About 1:15am. No tearing, 17 contractions in total. What a rush!

Lots of fussing and a bit of a blur between talking to Marty and 000 people, the ambulance arrived not long after. And, it was all so surreal. 

They were worried about the placenta coming away in the ambulance and wanted to give me the Syntocinon shot which I declined. I stayed with her on the bathroom floor and after about 10mins James cut the cord. I now feel they clamped it too soon, but I wasn’t quite with it to protest. After a few more minutes they recommended the shot again, which I just said yes to because of the excess bleeding last time with my son. Then about 1:35 we were taken by ambulance to RNSH and James followed in the car behind. 

Jude, our 2yo, slept through it all. 

Placenta was delivered in the hospital without issues and she passed all her blood sugar tests.

We are all doing well and recovering from the unexpected quick arrival. 

Sasha Bonnie 8/12/19 - 39+6 1:15am 3.98kg, 56cm long, 35cm head circumference. So, for all my worry about birthing at RNSH, stress over talks of induction at 41 week due to GDM. I really didn’t have to worry at all. All my practice hynobirthing wasn’t wasted, I was able to use surge breathing techniques, and when the head was about to be born all I could think was “focus and breathe the baby down.” It was right there when I needed, to give me something to concentrate on and stay as calm as possible. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.

Elise x

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