Wright Family Stories


Dylan’s Birth Story

I found out I was pregnant with Dylan while we were living in the UK on a working holiday – we were very excited as we’d planned to start trying and hopefully be pregnant by the time we returned home – we just didn’t expect it to happen straight away! We did a home test and that was positive, so I went to the local doctor who told me it was too early to be sure and anyway I had a one in three chance of miscarriage! I came home in tears and that was the last time I would see a doctor in pregnancy. I was 5mths pregnant by the time we returned home to New Zealand. We found a midwife and my whole pregnancy went very smoothly. A scan at 20 weeks confirmed we were having a boy (which was a surprise as somehow I’d assumed we’d have a girl first!). During my pregnancy I read just about every book ever written on birth and was very keen to have a natural intervention free birth and was very attracted to the idea of home birth however I let others doubts influence me and compromised by planning to birth at our small local rural birthing unit.

At 38 weeks Dylan was still posterior and I was warned if he didn’t turn I could be in for a long labour and a transfer to a larger hospital (yuck!) so on my midwifes advice I borrowed a rocking birth stool from the birthing centre and rocked and rocked and rocked for the next two weeks to try and convince him to turn! Two days before my due date I was watching TV at around 9pm when I felt a sticky feeling and went to the toilet to discover quite a bit of blood and a show. I was a bit worried about this as I had only been expecting spotting, so I rang my midwife who said not to worry unless it didn’t stop within half an hour which it did. After a bout of diarrhoea (and a good dose of nerves!) we decided we’d better get some sleep as we knew it could be awhile before anything else happened.

At 11pm I realised I was getting very mild contractions but they weren’t very painful and I was still able to sleep until about 1am, when I would get out of bed and rock through each one and then go back to bed. At 3.30am I sat up and whoosh my waters broke with a huge gush and the contractions became more intense. I took a shower and got changed and then decided we’d better ring the midwife although we really didn’t want to bother her so early in the morning as we figured we probably still had hours and hours to go. She asked us how close together they were, and it was only then we realised they were only 3 minutes apart. We still weren’t too concerned as I felt I was coping OK and told her not to hurry but luckily she did as within half an hour they had got much longer and stronger and then suddenly it took all my effort to keep in control. I was on my hands and knees rocking through each contraction and they were coming one after other and I was thinking ‘oh my god I still have hours and hours more to go’!! David thinking it might be awhile before he could eat again decided to heat up some leftovers to keep him going for this ‘long’ labour – well I took one whiff and promptly threw up – lovely! Then suddenly I had an overwhelming urge to push which completely shocked me and threw David into a tailspin!

When only a few minutes later I had another pushing urge we decided we were not too keen on handling this alone, so we rang the midwife on her mobile phone and arranged to meet her at the birth centre. In between the contractions David was rushing around trying to get us organised to go and would have to rush back to me every few minutes when another contraction hit as I really needed him with me. Then came the worst trip of my life – kneeling in the back seat of the car trying not to push as we drove the 15min journey at high speed – very scary! We arrived just after 6am and the walk up the corridor to the birthing room was the longest of my life! I climbed up on the bed on my hands and knees and remember asking the midwife how far dilated I was – she said ‘it’s too late for that just push when you feel the urge’ – I still didn’t believe her until David told me he could see his head! So I pushed and at 6.20am Dylan quite literally dropped out onto the bed (I’d been squatting and the midwife took her hand from his head for just a second!) and he let out a huge roar. Both David & I just looked at him in astonishment until the midwife said ‘pick him up’ so we did and of course he was just beautiful! My memorable first words to him were ‘ooh you smell funny’ (amniotic fluid).

After a few cuddles Dylan was weighed and checked while I was stitched up – this was definitely the worst part for me but because of his too quick exit I had quite a big tear. Afterwards I asked the midwife how many stitches I’d had and she said ‘don’t ask’ but I’ve since found out it was very close to being a third degree tear and I was very lucky!

After Dylan’s birth I stayed at the birth centre for 5 days and while it was OK I was bored – I was almost the only person in the centre most of that week and I felt very alone with this new baby plus the bed was lumpy! I missed David dreadfully and he says he didn’t feel like a ‘real’ father until we came home. I started to realise that my birth had been so straightforward that I could have just as easily stayed at home and saved all the stress of that mad dash! 18mths later I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and an overnight stay in hospital made me realise I did not want to go down the hospital road again! I was delighted to fall pregnant again just a few weeks later and this time I was determined to have a home birth.

Shaun’s Birth Story

Once again, I had a very normal pregnancy and were delighted to discover at the 18 week scan that Dylan was to get a brother. On the morning of my due date I woke knowing something was happening so after my fast experience last time we got organised! I phoned the midwife to let her know and called my younger sister who was to join us as well. But by 9am nothing more was happening, so I sent my husband off to work with his pager and spent the morning with my sister feeling like a fraud! By lunchtime I was getting impatient for something to start happening (especially with David phoning every ½ hr to see if he should come home!) so off we went for a walk around the block. This seemed to work and by 3pm the contractions were still mild but 10 min apart.

David was called home and by 5pm the contractions were getting stronger and closer. Around this time my midwife phoned to see what was happening and to ask if we needed her or if she could go to her university night class. I said I didn’t think that was a good idea and within 10 minutes was back on the phone telling her maybe she should come over as the contractions were definitely getting stronger but not to rush as my waters hadn’t gone yet. She said sometimes they don’t go till the end and that she would come straight away. By the time she arrived at 5.30 I was in transition and by the time she had set up I was ready to push. I had been walking around the house and rocking and swaying through the contractions but moved to the bedroom when I started to feel I wanted to push. We had decided on a hands and knees position to try and avoid another tear and I breathed my way through the contractions giving only a few very gentle pushes (I’d read it was 80% contraction 20% mothers effort anyway!). David and the midwife were laughing and joking and telling me how well I was doing, and I was thinking this is just way too normal!

My waters started to leak with each contraction and at 6.20pm Shaun was born on our bedroom floor and was greeted by two delighted parents, my very happy emotional sister (who’d had to stand in for the second midwife who hadn’t arrived in time!!) and very soon after a very excited older brother who’d been at McDonalds for dinner with his Uncle!

As soon as the placenta was birthed, I climbed into our bed and gave Shaun his first breastfeed. Everything felt so normal and it was great to be in my own environment and be able to do what I wanted. Soon after, the rest of our family arrived to meet the new baby and after I had a shower and a change of clothes we ordered takeaways for tea (fish and chips) which really tasted great after all the hard work! A few hours later all our families went home, and we all went to bed! With no tear (yippee!) I was up and about in no time. It was great to be surrounded by my family and friends from day one but best of all was sleeping in my very own comfy bed!

Celina’s Birth Story

My pregnancy and labour with Celina was definitely my most challenging though as with most things looking back it doesn’t seem so bad and she was certainly worth the wait! We had just been starting to think about another baby and had stopped being quite so careful and were thrilled to discover I was pregnant again. From the beginning the whole pregnancy was quite different to my previous two and I felt very nauseous in the first few weeks. A scan at 18 weeks showed ‘probably’ a girl so we were very excited. One concern was that the placenta was low and partially ‘previa’, but we were assured the chances of it not moving were less than 3%. We decided to have another scan at 32 weeks to be certain especially with my history of fast labours. The next scan showed the placenta had moved up enough and once again showed a girl – this time we got really excited and we started thinking of ‘her’.

It sure seemed to be a long pregnancy – I guess by the time you get to #3 the novelty has worn off a bit! By 37 weeks I was starting to show signs of being ‘ready’ and even my midwife felt maybe this baby would be early so we got organised! At 39 weeks I woke in the middle of the night about 3am with light cramps. Though mild they were 5 – 10min apart so given my history I decided I had better let everyone know. I was especially concerned about my husband David getting home in time as he worked night shift as a fitter in an underground coal mine and would take 1½ hours minimum to get out of the tunnel, showered and home. I was able to get a message to him and also phoned my sister who was only ½ hr drive away. The contractions continued steady but still very mild and I pottered around getting the birth pool filled, towels out etc. By early morning, the contractions had almost petered out then after a few hours break they were suddenly back and this time they had some more kick.

Remembering Shaun’s birth, I set off walking to try and help things along. The contractions continued for about 2 hours and just when we thought some action was about to begin, they suddenly stopped completely! I just could not work out what was going on! My midwife called in that afternoon and we decided to do an internal (my first ever in pregnancy & labour!) and found I was 3cm dilated so that was at least some progress so everyone went home assuring me they’d be back in the night! Well they were not and for another week we waited – everyone had a theory on when it would happen but day by day the dates went past and suddenly I was past my due date for the first time ever! At two days past my due date I had a non-stress test done (another first! – 20minutes on a fetal heart monitor) and of course she was fine – I could have told them it was me that was stressed not her! I also had another quick 2 minute scan to definitely rule out the low placenta as the cause of the head not dropping right down and labour stalling but this time we could see it had moved up even higher so that was a relief! Another internal showed I was now 5cm and my cervix more thinned so at least some progress was being made! My midwife did a stretch and sweep on my cervix and again we hoped that would start something but still nothing happened!

I began to feel really stressed – the waiting, constant phone calls and enquires if I’d ‘had the baby yet’ had me in tears more than a few times and I was letting the answer machine do a lot of ‘screening’!! Another worry was that we knew that when it did happen it was likely to be quite fast so I couldn’t go far and I felt very ‘housebound’ While I knew it was normal to go to 42 or even 43 weeks that had never happened to me before with both boys being either early or on-time and this had all been made worse by the pre-labour and expectation that I would be early.

On Wednesday I had a small show in the morning and then late in the afternoon a heavy one – yippee I though this is it – but still we waited and nothing! I was given the option of seeing a specialist who’d be able to authorise an induction (which would just mean breaking my waters as I was so well dilated already) but the big catch with this was it would have to be done at the local birth centre – not a bad place but not the wonderful home birth I’d planned – in fact I just couldn’t visualise labouring anywhere other than at home as I’d never done it before and I knew I wouldn’t be as relaxed and happy as I would be at home. We decided to give her a few more days but I was like a yoyo – one minute worrying and thinking I want this over and the next thinking I would wait it out! I decided to try and just take things one day at a time and keep as busy as possible – I was mowing lawns, digging gardens, anything to keep me busy! Early on Sunday morning I was woken by my son Shaun who was having a bad dream and stood up feeling quite funny and then felt a gush of waters and realised something was finally happening and I was so excited! Soon after some contractions started up, but they had no pattern and could be five minutes apart and then two hours!

I called my midwife in the morning and she arranged to come at 2pm if nothing happened before. We tried to carry on as normal, but it was hard to not be caught between excitement and fear that it would all stop again! By the time she arrived there was really no progress and I was feeling very teary and uptight. She said she would check me again and I was now at 7cm with my cervix totally thinned – pretty good for still not being in real labour!! She could still feel a bag of waters bulging and guessed that it was my hind waters that had broken. She said that the way things were she thought the rest of my waters would break very soon and then things would happen very fast. My worry though was David was due to go back to work that night and not only was I not keen on being left alone but also if nothing happened before then, he was almost sure to not make it home in time. So, I asked my midwife whether she could break the rest of my waters. We had a talk about this option and in the end she agreed she would if I asked her to. I quickly said yes please – we were more than ready for this baby! I said thank you to her and then joked that when labour started, I would probably not be thanking her! Then I called my Sister, Mum, Sister-in-law, and Mother-in-law to tell them it was time to head over.

After about ½ an hour the contractions started and within another ½ an hour they were 10 minutes apart and I was most comfortable standing. My midwife said she would go to do some shopping to give us some peace and would be back in around an hour. Just before she got back the contractions started to get really intense and I had to start working through them – she arrived back in the middle of a particularly big one and said well it looks like we are going to have a baby soon and called the student midwife to come. I found the contractions with this labour required quite a lot of mental effort to work through – unlike my other labour’s they were not all similar and would vary in strength and type from one to the next – sometimes I wanted David to rub my back etc and others I just wanted to be on my own. As the contractions became more pushy, I was sick – this is I think one of the most miserable experiences – retching at one end and cramping at the other!

Realising how close things were getting the discussion turned to where I wanted to be to birth. I had the birth pool all set up but with the weather being quite warm I was feeling the heat and it just didn’t look as inviting as it might have in cooler weather or at night. Also, she was still lying posterior and being upright felt comfier than lying back or squatting in the pool. I had made a birth mat so ended up standing on that holding onto the side of the pool. I found it very hard to relax into this labour – with Shaun’s homebirth I’d been totally in control and it all ‘flowed’ but this time with all the drama in the weeks before I think I was just waiting for something to go wrong again so was more tense and had to work really hard at not losing control. My legs started to shake from standing so I moved onto my hands and knees and rested my head on some pillows on the couch. Between contractions I didn’t want to move at all just stay totally still – it was like I had to conserve every ounce of energy! To me the pushing didn’t seem very productive and I found myself beginning to wonder how much longer. Then I had a really unusual contraction (which I now realise was her turning anterior) and with the next contraction I felt the head and a productive push. With the next contraction I felt the head crown and then suddenly in a gush she was here! I was so surprised as I had though we still had a way to go.

My midwife wrapped her in a towel and passed her to David – everyone was oohing and ahhing and I sat back feeling very stunned then said, ‘what is it, is it a girl’? David was all smiles and saying, ‘you beauty’ and I had to say again ‘is it a girl’ twice and the second time more loudly. After what seemed like hours but was probably seconds, he replied ‘yes’. He passed her to me, and we had our first cuddles. The midwife offered David the chance to cut the cord, but he was too engrossed in his new daughter and had done it twice before, so his sister ended up doing it. This was really nice as she had arrived feeling very apprehensive about the whole birth/pain thing and ended up totally in awe of the whole experience. She has since gone on to birth all her children at home. Dylan and Shaun had been around for most of the labour and most of the time I had been pushing, they had been just metres away eating their dinner without showing any amount of concern! At one stage Dylan had come in and had a good look and asked if the baby was coming yet but when he was told not yet ran back outside to play with Grandad who was keeping out of the way! They missed the actual birth but when they heard she was here they ran inside and the looks on their faces were magic!

Everyone else in the room was buzzing too and it felt so neat to have all that excitement surrounding you. The next few hours were just fabulous – the best part of the home birth experience in my opinion. It was like a big birthday party – my father-in-law arrived and then my brother-in-law who’d been scuba diving for the day and had got some crayfish and scallops so the men took over the kitchen and cooked them up and we washed them down with a glass of champagne. Celina was passed around and cuddled by everyone while I had a shower and made some phone calls and e-mails announcing her arrival!! It was amazing how good I felt – even within the first hour it was as if I’d hardly had a baby – no stitches was definitely the key to that! Later after everyone was gone (having cleaned up, tidied up and put the boys to bed for us!) David and I cuddled down in our own bed and lay talking about all that had happened and our plans for the future. For us there could be no other way – home birth is the best!