Mallika was born at home at the end of January. After an excruciating long, hot summer and almost 42 weeks of being pregnant, I was starting to think that she would never come out and I would be pregnant forever. I had a relatively normal pregnancy, except for odema which developed during my trip to India at 26 weeks. I worked up until 34 weeks as a new entrant teacher, and it was quite a relief to wind down from work and focus on preparing for our new addition to the family.
My waters broke at 7pm on Wednesday night, after six hours of early labour. I was so excited when the surges started – it felt like period cramps, but timed so perfectly apart I knew it time to have a baby. I spent most of the day on my own, watching my favourite movies, drinking electrolytes and eating chinese food on the couch (in other words, enjoying my last few hours of freedom!). When the surges became strong I put on the Tens machine my midwife had lent me and it worked a treat.
Throughout the night I gradually increased the intensity of the Tens machine as I laboured in our lounge on my birth mat, which I had draped over a mattress. I had my birth music and candles on, and ‘got in my zone’ in between surges while my husband filled up the birth pool. I preferred to lie down most of labour, with my right leg up on a swiss ball and rag to squeeze on during the surges. I was glad I didn’t have to drive anywhere, or have anyone tell me what to do – everything seemed to progress so naturally, it was kind of intuitive I suppose.
My midwife arrived at 10pm – she was absolutely amazing. She sat by my side, and squeezed my hand during the surges, which were about three minutes apart. I decided to get in the birthing pool at midnight, and the pain of labour seemed to melt away in the warmth of the pool… the surges continued, but this time with a pushing and stretching sensation down below. The pool was fantastic, as I could easily change position till it felt right. I felt so empowered, being in my own home in my own time in the pool. There were no bright lights, or outside influences detracting my attention from my baby.
I vividly remember reaching down and feeling Mallika’s soft hair as her head was being born; this me gave such a thrill, as I thought “wow, I’m actually doing this”. It was like a second wind. She was born half an hour later, in the water. Time seemed to stand still as we sat in the water together for about 15 minutes afterwards, gazing at each other and getting used to each others touch. I didn’t notice it at the time, but the umbilical cord had snapped sometime during the birth. It was only when my midwife asked my husband if he’d like to cut it that we saw it had already detached. It was unsual, but not a danger to either of us so we let it be.