Fergus Alexander Smith Ross, born at home at 7.28pm on his due date, Sunday 2 August, weighing in at 3.2kg.
I was excited to see that the weather forecast was 16 and sunny the weekend of my due date. I thought this would be perfect, I could get some much needed sun after many cold July days.
I was getting stronger braxton hicks and some night time contractions in the days leading up, but this would subside during the day. So on that Sunday at 2am I woke to contractions. I got out of bed and set up my candles and my positive affirmations and even did some dishes that were left from the night before. After being up for an hour, the contractions slowed, so I jumped back into bed and was able to get some sleep off and on until about 7am. I became uncomfortable again, so I got out of bed and watched a film, moving between the couch and my fit ball. At this stage contractions were coming every 10 -15 minutes. Most importantly, I couldn’t start my day without a coffee, so I finally dragged my partner Calum out of bed at 9am to make coffee, which we enjoyed on our sunny front porch, as I shifted between sitting and all fours to breath through each contraction.
Calum and I had decided to engage a private midwife through our pregnancy journey for shared care, labour and birth support, but due to Covid restrictions, my midwife Danielle was unable to come into the hospital with us as planned. However, we were comfortable to know that she would come to our home and support us as labour progressed and send us off to the hospital when required. We wanted to labour at home for as long as possible and not have to make a number of trips back and forth to the Mercy.
Anyway, back to the labour. I checked in with Danielle after my coffee and she was happy to hear how I was progressing, so we kept going about our day. Trying to stay comfortable I used the Tens machine, shifted between the couch, fitball and the living room floor. I read my affirmations and focused on my breath through each contraction. Calum fed me snacks, kept me hydrated, and timed my contractions every now and then. At 3pm I checked back in with Danielle as contractions were now closer together, but were still pretty short in duration, so no need for panic, but she did say call if anything changes. At this point I was starting to tire and certainly thought that it was pretty tough going for the ‘early stages of labour’. Then as soon as I hang up the phone, it suddenly started to move. I kept going to the toilet as it felt comfortable there. Then back to all fours in my living room, I vomited and then my waters broke 30 seconds later. Danielle was now on her way and we were getting set to head to the hospital, however I was sure I still had some time to go and wanted to wait until she arrived. Once my waters broke the intensity between contractions reduced, so I jumped in the shower. However, when the contractions did come, I started shifting my weight from foot to foot and had the urge to cross my legs.
I got out of the shower and was back on all fours in my living room. I was now bearing down and getting the urge to push. Calum finally got the car packed, including the snacks, and called the hospital to say we would be coming in. Danielle talked me through the contractions over the phone on her way to our place. In between getting sorted to leave, Calum was giving me these great hip pressure massages. I remember shouting harder, harder to him as Danielle talked to me soothingly over the phone.
Soon enough Danielle arrived and to my surprise she informed me that I was fully dilated. I was also relieved to hear bubs heart beat, and that he was doing fine. An ambulance was called to transport me to the hospital. I was certainly not getting in my car at this point! However, once they arrived Danielle and I decided that it was best to stay put as bub was not too far away. At this point I had absolute faith and confidence in Danielle and myself to birth my baby. She took complete control and the paramedics sat back and offered support where needed, with one taking on the role of photographer. After about 45 mins of pushing, little Fergus joined us on our living room floor, nice and red and crying, surrounded by towels and lots of love.
I had requested in my birth plan to have a physiological third stage. The added bonus of having Fergus at home enabled this. We were able to take our time and connect with our new little man without interference. Fergus and I had uninterrupted skin to skin, where he quickly self attached to my breast. The umbilical cord remained attached (about 45mins) until it had stopped pulsating. I then excitedly took the honour of cutting the cord as I held Fergus in my other arm. I was thankful for the 9 months it had supported my boy for. I was then gently guided to stand, where I was able to deliver my placenta. We made a trip to the Mercy Hospital afterwards to check all was ok and were home the next day.
Reflecting on my birth, I feel so empowered and honoured to have delivered Fergus naturally and in the comfort of a familiar environment. We were fortunate as he was in a great position, turning perfectly and was not in distress. Having the services of Danielle throughout my pregnancy gave me reassurance and confidence, especially during these unprecedented times. She was a fabulous advocate and support for my pregnancy and birth wishes. I believe there were a number of things that also assisted me in having such a positive birth experience. Including, regular participation in a prenatal pilates class, which kept me active and strong throughout my pregnancy. I actually loved being pregnant and was never in a rush to have my baby. As well as doing a calm birth course, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, and most importantly believing in myself and creating a positive mindset that I could birth my baby. It was the two of us working together, going on our own journey, to help bring him into this world.