Charlotte's Birth Story
Our birth story – Charlotte + Jesse
Jesse is our first child, I delivered him on my bathroom floor with no one home but our two dogs.
It’s probably not the birth story you or I were expecting, nor the one I had planned, but I honestly wouldn’t wish for it to have happened any other way.
Home, our house in the Black Mountains, was and is my safe space. The journey to conceiving Jesse taught me this. I really enjoy running and keeping fit but this caused me to lose my period for many years and at the time, my hope of conceiving a child. Home became the environment that helped me to listen, learn from, trust and nourish my body. Home brought me back to fertility.
From early on in the pregnancy, I really hoped that I’d be able to have a home birth. My pregnancy was ‘low-risk’ and I knew this helped my chances. I’d kept fit throughout, I was seeing a prenatal personal trainer and doing pregnancy yoga. I was even out running with my husband and our dogs the days before labour began.
The reading, listening and antenatal classes I attended were so important in providing me with the confidence, tools and science I needed to feel strong and level-headed throughout our birth. At no point in our birth story did I feel fear. My body could do this, my mind could do this and little Jesse was my right hand man.
The story as I’ve written it to Jesse:
The day started at 5am, the usual drop off at Newport station. Off on the 6:30am train, your Dad went to London and I went home for my day at the ‘home’ office. After walking the dogs, I found myself in remote video workshops and calls for most of the day. The builder was downstairs laying our new kitchen floor. There was no time for a catch up nap today!
All seemed normal apart from our oldest dog escaping. The younger dog and I went out as a search party in ~2℃, squelching through the mud and scrambling over fences. After much hunting, we found the escape artist and headed back home. Your Dad was mad that I was spending so much time outdoors, walking the hills and woods in the dark. He wished I’d gone to stay with my Mum and Dad.
At 10:15pm I headed to bed, but as soon as my head hit the pillow the unexpected happened. I felt a sudden uncontrollable water and rushed to the bathroom, there was a lot of it and it was clear. Did this mean my waters had broken? At this point, I called your Dad. He didn’t pick up. Settled into his hotel room in East London he text back with ‘You better be going into labour!’. Our next move was to get him home as quickly as possible, he was just going to make the last train to Bristol Temple Meads as he’d missed the last one to Newport. I called the midwife. Often labour is long and she suggested I try to sleep and that she would be with me at 9am in the morning.
It was hard to get to sleep, I was excited. I wanted to know how your Dad was getting on and get things ready for your arrival. I was selective about what I was texting your Dad, I told him that I had to turn the heating back on and unlock the door but I failed to tell him how hard that was. The surges (contractions) were close together. I had thought the break between each would be long during the early stages of labour, but I didn’t question that it might all be happening faster than normal.
I was trying to challenge my mind against the powerfulness of the surges by using breathing techniques I’d picked up from the classes and books I’d engrossed myself in during pregnancy. I was preparing myself for at least 8 hours of dilation surges. It was intense! I remained upright, forward and open (UFO) whenever the surges happened to help the whole process. In some books they mentioned a ‘I can’t do this anymore’ phase before pushing (apparently this is when most people ask for an epidural but it’s too late). Those exact words appeared in my mind but I squashed them. There was no way I wasn’t meeting you!
I’d been moving between the upstairs bathroom and the adjacent bedroom which I kept dimly lit. It was now that I gravitated towards the bathroom floor, on all fours with my knees as far apart as they could be and pushing. That is when I phoned the midwife. I’d wanted to put this off until your Dad got home so we could have our romantic homebirth together but I knew I was getting very close to meeting you.
<< I said earlier I wouldn’t change anything about the birth but I do wish my husband could have been there to deliver little Jesse. It’s also important to know that although he wasn’t physically there, I felt like he was with Jesse and I the whole way through. >>
After about four or five pushes I saw your head. I messaged your Dad straight away (now about 30-40 mins away). He tried to call me, called the hospital and did everything he could to get us support.
One minute later I sent him a photo of you in my arms, I’d caught you before you hit the floor. Holding you in my arms, I birthed the placenta in the toilet (it made sense at the time) but this anchored us there. The midwife arrived not long after, the dogs who had been quiet up to this point made us very aware that she was here but she didn’t seem to be coming in. She was struggling with the door, I must not have pulled the bolt across sufficiently. After 15 minutes of chaos with people calling me, another midwife on the phone, the dogs barking and you crying, the midwife finally got to us in the bathroom. She undressed me, got us into ‘skin to skin’ and cut your umbilical cord which had now returned all your blood and was white. I was offered a shower whilst you were warmed and dried. In a delirious state I started washing my hair (probably with body wash), the midwife came to hurry me up and told me to do my lower half.
The image I sent to my
Jesse’s time of
birth as 1:45am
Your Dad arrived just after we were put into bed. We got to spend time, as a family of three, in bed together. The love was overwhelming. We gave you your first feed with a bit of help and shared the cuddles between us.
Those first moments with you were the most special thing I’ve ever experienced. The midwife had left and the sun rose on your Birthday to a beautiful crisp morning and view over the valley.
The best day of my life.