Birth is a wondrous thing – daunting for a first time Mum, exciting for all of us waiting to meet the new baby and I am convinced traumatic for some little ones, whilst harmonious and serene for others.
How was it going to be for my daughter? First time Mum at 37, the strong desire for a home birth and a family none too sure she was making the right decision!
Renee and Ben waited a long time for the news “we are going to have a baby” – almost convinced it wasn’t going to happen for them. Well it did, and it has!
My beautiful ‘earth mother’ daughter, as I like to call her, had the perfect pregnancy and near perfect birth.
Calm, but excited all the way through the expectancy, this girl knew exactly how she wanted her baby to come into this world. No sterile hospitals or doctors in white gowns, no cold harsh white lights or changes of nurses’ shifts. No strangers examining her to check 3,5,10 centimetres dilated, no insistence of intervention, medication or time restraints.
Instead – in the comfort and care of her loving husband, the quiet considerate professionalism of Anna, her midwife and the familiar surroundings of her own home, not to mention one other very fortunate and privileged to be there, myself – Mum!
The scene was set, albeit it be two weeks early – this ‘little person’ knew what awaited on the outside and was in a hurry to enjoy it. The time was near, although Renee endured 36 hours pre-labour contractions: a worrying time for us all.
Pressure was mounting. Contractions were regular but not progressing overly well – hospital – or not! Let’s hope not! Knowing what could happen, there was never a time that Renee would jeopardise her own health or that of her unborn child. However, there is a time limit before intervention is deemed necessary and we were approaching that.
Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 8.50 – when the flood gates opened – until Friday 22nd at 4 pm when we were finally ‘on the move’ seemed like an eternity.
Friday morning with Anna’s advice, 10ml of castor oil was taken – nothing happened – 12 o’clock another 10 ml. As anxious as we were for Renee, she had faith in herself and her body and trust in Anna’s advice.
At this time I departed the scene to come back when desired by my daughter. Anna had informed me that there would be a time when she will ‘just want her mum’.
At 7.45, the call came. Of course, I was there in a heartbeat. On opening the door I was greeted by an ambience that I will never forget. Ben had lit all the candles around the room, giving a soft amber glow to the living room. The room oozed love and comfort. In the middle stood Renee looking radiant, tired and with a touch of the little girl waiting for her mum to make everything good again. We met – we hugged, rocked, soothed, crooned, comforted only as a mother can.
After an hour, she was back in control and ready to embark on the next miraculous milestone with Ben at her side. He listened, responded and tried to understand her wishes and what was happening to his beautiful wife. Together, with little assistance from anyone else, they moved forward
I still picture Renee in the birthing pool – hair piled up, lying back with her feet up, a look of serenity, peace and sometimes concentration on her face – not consternation. She is quite tall my girl – and to the unenlightened would have looked like she was being pampered in a Roman Spa, however, she was in labour, about to give birth!!
Between contractions, she was concerned about us – “Oh this must be boring for you guys” or “perhaps another cup of tea might help” or “How do you think we are going Anna?” Anna’s response was always the same – “Whatever you want Renee. You are doing a great job Renee. Just keep doing what you are doing”. Just as Renee wanted – no hospitals, no white coats, no change of shifts, no harsh lights or clanging of trolleys and instruments. Just soft lights, warm soothing water pool, cups of tea and Andrea Bocelli playing his special strong classical music – a magical combination! A magical experience!
Without going into the private details of the actual birth, which I can say continued much the same way – controlled by Renee’s mind and body and faith in her decision to have a home birth, little Llewyn Owen came peacefully into this world at 3.20am on January 23rd 2016.
Of course it was hard work for Renee and emotional for us all, but it was also the most awe inspiring, beautiful thing I have ever witnessed and ever likely to. Of course there were times that seemed over whelming – as all births are – but with the professionalism of the team of midwives, once about was underway there was a new optimism, excitement and serenity never a time of fear, uncertainty or dread.
A mother never wants to see her child hurting in pain or afraid. This was a time of celebration, enrichment, loving, caring and awe.
Thank you Renee and Ben for allowing me to share your very special time. Thank you to their midwife Anna for her unswerving support, care and faith in her own practice and the miracle of natural child birth.
Mother to Renee
Mother-in-law to Ben
Nanna to Llewyn