Corban – First at home
I discovered I was pregnant at Christmas 2005. Being only 23, single and unsure what I was doing in life, a baby was a totally unexpected surprise. I am a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason and never contemplated having an abortion.
When I was 4 months, I moved into a new house in Birkdale with Dan, the father of the baby in a situation most would describe as unusual – needless to say we are no longer together, and probably shouldn’t have gotten together at all. I needed support and chose the worst person thinking he would give it.
But anyway… my pregnancy was great. No morning sickness, I was totally positive about the whole experience, and had a great midwife – Creaghan Mitchell from Albany Midwives Collective. I had not thought about the birth being anywhere in particular, I did not know anyone who had had a home birth, but when I started going to antenatal classes my views on everything changed. They were run by the North Shore Hospital and instead of it being a positive experience – which I instinctively thought childbirth was – it was angled so negatively that I lasted 2 classes and never went back. We were told outright no one having a first baby could have it at home, this was simply “too dangerous.” Birth was a painful experience in which too much could go wrong to “risk your baby” anywhere but hospital. We visited the maternity wards, which I found barren, sterile and a horrible place to bring someone into the world. Hospital is where you go when you are sick, and babies aren’t sick. The attitude of the other mothers shocked me as well, some already convincing themselves caesarean was the only option to avoid the horror, and to be pumped full of as many and much drugs as possible.
I went straight home and investigated the other options, coming across the HBA website and several books, such as ’Home Birth Bound’ by Maggie Banks. This convinced me what I was doing was natural, and to trust my body – not a horde of strange doctors placing a time limit on how long I should have to do something a man never even can. I spoke with Creaghan for the first time about home birth at 32 weeks. I had already made my mind up. I wrote a birth plan she described as a bit staunch, but there was no way I was going to hospital. I knew I didn’t need to.
I was due Tuesday the 22nd August and woke up that morning to what I thought might have been my show coming away. I wasn’t sure, and luckily had a midwife appointment that morning anyhow. Creaghan did an internal to see how things were, baby was descending well, and she told me he would be born by Friday at the latest depending on how things progressed. I was excited! I went shopping, went to my Grandmas house for lunch, and then headed home to rest in case things happened that night.
By 4pm I was sure something was happening. Beginning to get a weird feeling in my stomach like period pain was coming, but I didn’t want to get excited about it, so told myself it wasn’t happening. Called Emma, my labour partner at 5pm and she came over at 5.30 with Robbie (who is Dans other son.) Called Dan at about 5.45 who was still at work, but thinking as it was a first baby that things wouldn’t happen too fast, didn’t get him to race home. When he still wasn’t home by 6.30, told him perhaps to get here a bit quicker. The contractions were about 30 seconds long and coming every 7-10 minutes.
Had a bath at 8.30 which was nice, and from 9pm everything was pretty full on. We didn’t know when to call the midwife, had been in contact with her via text message but she was happy with how things were going to told us to wait to call her as late as possible. Emma said we would call her when my waters broke, but by 10pm I was feeling pressure on my back passage and told her to make the call. The contractions were coming so fast I don’t remember much about the next hour, it was about 10.30ish when we called Creaghan, but she too didn’t rush over, thinking first baby, hours to go.
Emma was awesome, I was just leaning on her on my knees, as she sat on the couch, and I was steadying my breathing by focusing on the curtain pattern. Dan was not much help and left the room to play computer games after I snapped at him that he was not helping. (What a catch…) Creaghan arrived at 11.30, when my body started wanting to desperately push. She told me to wait, as she set up her stuff and I moved onto my hands and knees. I had a massive contraction, pushed and as she began to examine me for the first time, could see the baby’s head – I was crowning, 10cm dilated and good to go. She said it was ok to push, so I did and out popped a head. Dan was called and walked into the lounge to see a baby’s head. On the next contraction, his body slithered out, with just enough time to put a drop-cloth underneath me. His birth sack was unbroken, so if Emma and I had waited for the waters to go before calling the midwife, she would not have made it at all!
I stared down at this little person on the floor and I think I said something along the lines of, Wow, is that my baby? He looks like an alien. And thus, Corban James was born, Tuesday 22nd August 2006 at 11.40pm. The placenta came away 2 minutes later, no tearing, no stitches. The second midwife arrived five minutes after he was born, declaring it the easiest birth she had been to.
Thinking back, it was so fast, I get excited all over again when I think about it. I wish we taped it! It could not have happened easier if we tried. I was so glad I had Corban at home, he turns one in a month, I can’t believe how fast time has gone. I am also 8 weeks pregnant with my second (to John, my fiancé, the man I adore and who respects me in ways Dan couldn’t imagine). I would not even contemplate having the new baby anywhere but home. John is a first time dad and very nervous, but having the great experience with Corban has given me the most resounding evidence that hospital births are not for me – I just wish other mums, doctors and midwives were as open to a more natural form of childbirth rather than believing all the scare tactics used upon society when it comes to having a baby.
Investigate all the options, trust yourself, your body and your baby and do not let anyone scare you into having a birth dictated by rules and regulations if that is not what you want. I suppose I am thankful at the end of the day for being positive, opinionated, and independent, I could not have done it without that!