First time home birth


I never pictured myself being in a position where I would be heavily advocating home births, breastfeeding and natural parenting. I never ever thought I would have such passion for something until I had my first child. At the age of 18 when I first fell pregnant, understandably I was completely oblivious to any topic of birth, pregnancy, kids & parenting. I was never someone that even pictured myself as having children. So, naturally I was quite misinformed on the typical topics, which I will now sit here and just endlessly read in awe, over and over again. I had my first birth at the local hospital and maternity centre in Ashburton.

I still think that because of my age at the time and among all the ignorance I did fairly well during my son’s labour. I used methods of hip swinging, breathing, I declined pain relief and even hopped in the birth pool there for most of my labour but when it came to the actual getting him out part I was quite panicky. I feel now, this was because I didn’t have the right support around me, I was not trusting my body and that led to me having a bit of difficulty getting him into the world. 6 hours of labour and 2 hours of pushing I was absolutely exhausted but my son Austin was born at 3pm on the 23rd of May 2012. I unfortunately suffered a PPH due to his size (9lb 11oz) and the hard time getting him out but otherwise we were good. From this birth I remember being very sore for 6 weeks afterwards and quite bluish and down, not that I wasn’t happy and over the moon about my beautiful son’s arrival, but for me that birth was definitely partly a traumatic experience even under wonderful midwifery care.

Throughout his life, now coming up 3 this May I pursued my curiosity of birth and all things surrounding it and started to educate myself on hundreds of topics that would prepare me if I was to ever have a child again, I was in the state of mind where I was not prepared to go through what I went through with my son again birth wise and wanted to rectify where things could have gone better for me and him for a better outcome healing wise both mentally and physically. So, I now sit here with a brain packed full of wonderful, amazing things I have learned over the past 3 years since having my son, ready and waiting to be pursued if I was to ever have another baby.

This is where my Home Birth story begins. On Sunday the 17th of May 2015 I did have another baby, and she was born safely and happily at home. Contemplating birth options this time round I was leaning towards another hospital birth just for my own peace of mind about my previous PPH as I myself was not really aware of much basis round home births during my second pregnancy. I knew I did not want to go to a secondary hospital, but Ashburton Maternity was fine for me this time round again. This all changed when I unfortunately was admitted to Christchurch hospital for a kidney infection at around 28 weeks pregnant, two very long days of being in hospital and just feeling utterly miserable in the environment I started to get a bit weary of having another hospital birth, even though this hospital was drastically different from the one back home, I was still not feeling “right” about it.

In the next few weeks my Partner and I watched the documentary the business of being born and a few natural home births vs hospital births.  Safe to say that the business of being born, even though it is set in America changed my mind extensively on my choices of another hospital birth. It seemed to us that by giving birth at home we were more at peace with the process, we were in our own zone and could relax as much as possible.

When it came to do birth plans at 32 weeks with my midwife (I also had her for when I was pregnant with my son), she asked what I would like to do, heavily advocating home births herself she was over the moon to hear that I was contemplating a home birth this time.  I, of course had questions, the main one being, what happens if I have another severe loss of blood like my previous birth? Listening to her explain that I was no safer at Ashburton hospital than at home was the deal breaker for me. The way she explained home births to me and my partner, resonated with us and we just felt it was so right for us. So it was goodbye hospital planned birth and hello home prepared birth! I was so excited during the weeks leading up to our daughter’s arrival, I did not have a nervous bone in my body, I was fully on board with the daily statement I would say to myself, “I trust my body to birth my baby” I would say this to myself often 10+ times a day.

Having that mindset of fully declaring yourself and your body to the power we as women achieve when birthing is something I firmly believe helped me.  To birth successfully without fear, you must be fearless. You must embrace the pain, you must declare your entire self to letting your body do what it was designed to do.  And boy did I ever do that.

At 1.30am on the 17th of May 2015 I started having niggles, after having quite a bit of “false” labour. I was used to this, but it was different this time. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t sleep I just needed to be moving around, so that’s what I did. I think I paced around my kitchen for a good hour before waking up my partner to say I think this is it. I rang my midwife Anna at around 2.30am, just to inform her that I was doing fine but my contractions were regular and to be on standby.

By 3am I was feeling rather different, I had obviously transitioned quite quickly and was starting to feel very pushy and wanted to be on my hands and knees, taking my bodies lead I did exactly what I was told.  My midwife checked me, and I was already 8 cm dilated. The real thing was definitely on its way! Between contractions I was happy standing around talking and having a good chat and laugh with my 3 year old son, my partner Jeremy and my midwife.  As soon as those contractions kicked in though I was back leaning over the couch grunting and roaring like a lioness. That was my biggest comfort , I was able to make noise to settle the pain, and it worked so well. Getting out a good long deep groan every now and then definitely helped me breath right and stay focused.

During the transition from 8cm to 10cm things got quite heated, my noises became louder, my swaying became deeper and my mind became clearer and my focus completely shifted into push mode. This baby was on her way. Starting to push, I bared down with all my might; big, long, and strong pushes.  My midwives, Partner and Mother giving me the positive encouragement I needed to hear every now and then.  Though I was making progress I was still struggling the tiniest bit to get her past my pelvis as the membranes were tightly placed round her wee head.  My midwife, gave me the options of, going for a walk, or getting up on the couch to have them lightly broken to just help things move along a bit.  I decided to just jump as quickly as I could onto the couch to have the membranes broken to allow her head to descend easier past the pelvis. The quick move obviously worked because they pretty much broke all by themselves.

My midwife asked me if I would like to resume my positioning on the floor, as I had told her I didn’t want to birth on my back again. That’s just how things went in the end. I was laying ever so peacefully into my Partners body and would you believe it if I told you? Smiling, happily smiling and ever so at peace with what was happening. With each push I did I didn’t make a peep, I just bared down hard into my bottom and hugged my Partner tightly with my  arms around his neck whilst he helped me use my strength to my full potential to bring our daughter into the world. It was definitely not just me doing all the work, having him behind me and being so supportive was the most amazing and spiritual experience of my life. We connected on a whole different level throughout that time.

Baby’s head was starting to emerge itself, at this point my midwife asked me if I wanted to reach down and touch her and once her shoulders were out pull her up and out myself. I hesitated for a moment as I had never had this experience with my first so it was all a bit new but I’m so glad I did. At that moment I touched my daughters head, it really clicked that I was here, at home peacefully bringing her into the world and I literally said “Oh my god, oh my god! That’s my baby, I want her!” A couple of last pants and a big push I reached for her and pulled her right onto my chest.

She was here, we had done it.  At 6.14am Sunday the 17th of May, I, Emily Dodge, had given birth to my first daughter, Eevee Elizabeth Perriton, weighing a good, decent healthy size of 8lb 8oz.  No grazes, no tearing, no huge blood loss, no complications just a straightforward wonderful and amazing birth.  The time spent after her birth was just wonderful, so cruisy and so laid back.  I just remember sitting there feeling so chilled out, so at peace and so happy with what I had accomplished.

My midwife left a couple of hours later after a few checks which all ticked the right boxes and we were left to it. Left to relax and enjoy our new little family member in our own home without disturbance or worry. After this experience I would never plan to have any future babies of mine in a hospital environment. This experience for me has been the most uplifting and powerful I have ever had in my life. I am so grateful to my two amazing midwives Anna and Sandy, for Sandy it was her first home birth experience and I feel so honoured to be able to give that to her.

I am also so grateful to my Partner whom without the most amazing support and love I don’t think I could have felt fully comfortable pursuing this wonderful dream come true. It really makes all the difference to the Mother when there is real, good, and genuine support. 4 days later I am happily sitting here enjoying my ever so placid baby girl by the fire writing my testimony to reach out to others who may not be aware just how normal and wonderful the experience of a home birth can be. I feel fresh, I feel happy and most of all I do not feel stress.

I hope my experience can help others and enlighten them that home births aren’t a new age trending topic or a dangerous thing of the past but that they are so wonderful for not only Mother and baby but for those who are involved too.