The homebirth of Alice, during a level 4 lockdown
By Lucie Kinzett
Photos by Lucie’s support midwife
It was a Friday in April 2020, 3 weeks into a level four country wide lockdown when I felt the first stirrings. I was snuggled up on the couch with my two older children watching a movie, very subtle, barely noticeable. That evening after we put the older children to bed, my husband set up the pool- just in case. Then we went to bed. As the night went on, I did not get much sleep. Excitement, thoughts, wondering kept me awake. The gentle nudges becoming more noticeable and frequent. At 4am I woke my husband and voiced that maybe we should fill the pool. He began to fill it with some cold water to start and that’s where things just seemed to stop. My nudges backed off, so we went back to bed. The rest of the night and most of the following day my contractions were very sporadic, barely noticeable, sometimes going an hour between them. I just tried to relax, reminding myself to trust the process. Believing that my body and my baby knew what to do. Around 2pm I decided to rest and of course, started to feel a change in the sensations, the contractions started up again. We phoned my mum who was entering our bubble as my second support person and asked her to come over. She arrived at 3.30pm just as things were really starting.
Each surge was becoming stronger and longer. At this point I was having to start really focussing my mind and body to relax through each wave. My husband was getting to work filling the pool using up all the hot water from our cylinder and boiling four kettles and a pot on the stove to keep it warm, whilst also cooking dinner for the kids, super dad. My contractions were intensifying, my amazing mum who is also a trained yoga teacher was there coaching me through each one just as she had done with both of my previous births. “Relax the shoulders, loosen the jaw, unclench your hands” she knew just where to apply pressure through each contraction as I rocked, leaning over a swiss ball. I could feel baby moving down with each contraction and a heaviness descending into my pelvis. I was curious to see if I could feel the baby yet inside and to my surprise, I was sure I could feel its head! We rang our midwife for a chat (it was about 4pm). I told her about what was happening and that I thought I could feel the head but that contractions were still irregular. She said to give it another hour and then call her.
It was about 4.15 and I knew needed to be in the water, I longed for the weightless relief that I knew the warm water would provide. I got in and immediately went into the space I needed to be in to bring baby earthside. My husband phoned our midwife back and told her she should make her way over. We knew she was about a 45-50 minute drive away. I was sure my baby would arrive before our midwife did. My two older children were checking in every so often but were happy watching a movie. The midwives arrived at 5.30pm. They came in and sat down and we talked. They sat on the couch and just watched me through a few contractions whilst chatting away with my mum and children.
I knew this, riding the waves as they came, breathing through and then resting. Resting my mind and body, I knew baby would be here very soon. 6.20pm, I was on my knees leaning forward, holding the side of the pool when I had a contraction and I felt baby push right down. I could feel baby right there. My husband and my mum were there with us ‘Relax your shoulders” said my mum and she ran her hands over them, “loosen your jaw” as she gently touched my cheek “unclench your hands” and she slowly opened them “to tense is to tighten and hold in. To relax is to open and let out.” At this point my son came over to check in. I remember being a bit short with him saying that I just needed the space as the baby was about to be born, the midwife was so lovely and took him to play.
With each surge I just breathed, I could feel my body tighten, baby pushing and my body stretching and opening. I was in a squatting position and started to lose feeling in my feet. My midwife suggested I change position to leaning back with my husband behind me supporting me. That change was everything I needed. The next surge and babies head appeared; their body followed straight away. 6.32pm. Our baby was still wrapped up safe inside its membranes, another en caul birth just like my first. As I caught our baby and lifted them up their wrapping broke away. I lifted my baby to my chest. The umbilical cord was around their neck and our midwife carefully yet effortlessly lifted it off. Our babe let out a brief little cry and I snuggled them close into me. With my family, all there to meet baby together. “It’s a boy” my son said. And that is when we checked. Not a boy, a wonderful wee girl. “She doesn’t have any hair” said my son as he stroked your head. “I knew it was going to be a girl!” said my daughter. We announced her name, Alice Helena Grace Kinzett. Named for three amazing women. Alice after my best friend. Helena after our wonderful midwife who was there for each one of my pregnancies and births. Grace for a great grandma. As she started to nuzzle into me, I offered my breast and she latched right away. Our midwife showed my older the children Alice’s cord, they felt it pulsing and there we sat for a while. Time stood still.
A while after Alice’s cord had stopped pulsing, her dad and siblings cut the cord together. Her physical connection to me severed. Soon I started to feel cramping which signalled to me that the placenta was ready to be born. I passed our little girl to my husband for skin to skin. My placenta was born easily. The children were very curious about it and our wonderful midwife took time to show and teach us all about it. Showing us the sac that Alice safely grew in for nine months, she explained how the cord and the placenta nourished her. Then she gave me a quick check in the pool which revealed second degree tearing from a speedy birth into the world. I went upstairs with both of the midwifes for some stitches, (by far the most painful part of everything) and then enjoyed a nice hot shower. When I came downstairs there was a hot plate of dinner and a cold small glass of wine waiting for me. That first post birth meal is always the most delicious. Alice was measured and weighed, 3.26kgs and 51cm tall. Our midwife dressed Alice, wrapped her up, and passed her for a quick cuddle with her siblings and nana before coming back to me and onto my breast. It was time for the midwives to go. You were here. We were a family of five. This birth was everything I dreamed of and more. Being at home in my own space with my comfort items around me. Especially in a time when the world was in turmoil in the middle of this pandemic. Home was my safe place.