This is the birth story of my son Noah Aidan Freeman McLeod. He was born on November 29, 2003 When I fell pregnant for the second time I was in total shock! Not only was it unexpected, it was planned against – I had an IUD. After the initial shock wore off, I became excited with the thought of becoming a mama of two. I enjoyed my first pregnancy and the birth of Amber empowered me as a woman and it gave me a lot of much needed strength on my journey through motherhood. I was 18 when Amber was born and this was a life-changing experience for me. Now at the tender age of 20, I was pregnant again.
I planned another water birth at home and made plans to meet with a midwife that I felt would be the perfect birth attendant and support system for me – and she was!
Throughout my pregnancy she was an immense source of support for me – even though she didn’t know how deep her kindness and care were going. I was in a rough patch in my life and although this pregnancy was difficult to deal with it gave me a lot of strength not to give up.
By the end of my pregnancy I was HUGE! I had gained something like 25kg and I was very uncomfortable. I had an appointment with my midwife a week before my due date – I was 4cm dilated… and I hadn’t felt a single thing! WOW! I was so happy – finally something was happening – I was SO ready for this baby to be born by this time!
A week went by and on my due date – 27 November 2003 – I went to see my midwife. I hadn’t dilated any further and Noah’s head was still pretty high up. She could tell that I was ready and she said she could see my body was getting ready too. She told me that I should do a lot of walking and keep myself hydrated.
The next day was a Friday and I was SO wanting to go into labor! I went out for the day with my late mother-in-law and she was such a great support for me! We got on so well together. She was a total home birth junkie and we were really close.
At about 10pm I started feeling very light rushes. They were not intense at all and I didn’t pay much attention to them. Amber was asleep and my husband – Matthew was dozing off. We lay on the bed and I tried to time my rushes. Eventually I decided to call my midwife to let her know what was going on. She was assisting another midwife with a birth and said to call her if anything changed. For the next half hour or so I lay in bed timing my rushes. I could hardly feel them so I sent my midwife a text message to say I was going to try and get some sleep. She replied to say she would get her things ready anyway and that I should let her know if anything changed.
I lay down beside my husband and closed my eyes. Then – without warning – I felt a warm and almost sticky gush of liquid. My water had broken! But had it? My water never broke this early with Amber and when it did I was having a rush and was sitting on the loo (it was the only comfy place that I could be before getting into the pool). I pushed gently on my belly and more water came out. Yup – this was it! I woke Matthew up and asked him to phone our midwife. He did and she said she would be there in 20 mins. I was so excited! Finally – I would meet my womb dweller!!
I phoned my mom to come be with Amber. She arrived and we decided Amber could go home with my mom and she could bring her home in the morning. I also phoned my mother-in-law who arrived with water, food and lotsa love. We were in such a good mood and we chatted and laughed until my midwife arrived. She came inside with a smile and we had some tea. It was a beautiful night – the moon was bright ans the air was clear. A mid-summer night! As my midwife set up her things in the lounge/dining area, dh made a fire and we all chatted. Every now and then I would feel a rush and Matthew would hold me close and rub the small of my back. I felt so alive and all calm and in sync with the rhythm of my body. My midwife asked if she could check my dilation to see if Noah had descended any further. I was 8cm. 8cm!! and no pain! This was so amazing! Noah’s head was still quite high and my midwife suggested I walk round in the garden. It was just the right temperature outside and the walking was helping a lot. The rushes became stronger and more intense and with each one Matthew was beside me – in the moonlight, silently riding each wave with me.
I was enjoying the rushes and with each one I felt myself connecting with my body and it made me feel humble and very primal. The energy was very intense around me and between rushes I felt warm and happy. My midwife was very unobtrusive and her presence felt more like an old friend and it was wonderful. She was quiet and calm and very mother-like. She laughed with me and said she had never seen a mother in transition laughing and smiling in between rushes. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I was in transition!
I decided to go inside. My midwife was preparing the the pool by candlelight and I decided to walk up and down the passage. My rushes were become more intense and during one I needed my husband close. He has a very serene presence and together I felt we fused and connected. I fell in love with him again with each rush. At the same time I felt empowered and very centred. Even though the rushed demanded my full attention, I enjoyed them.
At 1am my mother-in-law left to go home and I became more and more drawn into my primal self and I felt very centered. The pool was ready and I got into it. It was warm and relaxing. I had two rushes in the water but I became too hot and uncomfortalbe. Matthew couldn’t get to the small of my back easily and I began to feel disconnected. I told my midwife and she said I should do whatever I felt was right. I wanted to get out and told my midwife that I really needed to go to the toilet. The rushes felt different too and in the middle of the next one I climbed out the pool. I went to pee and suddenly I had an undeniable erge to PUSH! I called to my husband that I had to push and he came to the toilet door. I let out a long moan – it felt *so* good to push!
Dh and my midwife led me to the main bedroom. My midwife suggested I go on all fours at the edge of the bed. I did and I began too feel a lot more connected and was able to integrate with the rushes a whole lot better. Just the change of positions of me getting out the pool gave my body the boost to dilate the last cm and I was ready – my baby would be here soon!
During a rush I would groan and close my eyes. It was strong now and very close together. Dh was next to me and I had my head in his lap. This was amazing for me – I felt to free!
When my midwife said she could see Noah’s head I reached down to feel. It was so warm and wet and I was pleasantly smiling… The next rush came and with it an incredible erge to push – so I obliged … His head was born and my midwife gently rubbed my back and Matthew ran his fingers through my hair. I was high and my body was warm and tingly. My midwife said, “Shireen – breathe his body out for him. You are doing well…” The next rush came and it felt like a deep wave… I could actually feel his body sliding out of me as I rode the wave and breathed slowly.
I opened my eyes and there he was beneath me… so pure and delicate. His eyes were bright in the candlelight and he was like an angel. We rubbed his feet and he let out a ‘cry’ to let us know he was here. Then he closed his eyes and I kissed his forehead. We rubbed the vernex into his skin and when the cord stopped pulsating Matthew cut it. Then another gentle rush came and I birthed the placenta. He was born at 1:24am.
Matthew carried Noah to the candlelit lounge where we got into the birth pool. It was magical… Noah was so comfortable in the water and his little hands and feet curled up and his legs gently opened and closed in the warm water… Everything was gentle and quiet and perfect!