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Our beautiful baby boy Killian was born on the 21st April. Here is his birth story.
After having very poor and traumatising experiences in hospital on all my pregnancies I decided that Killian’s birth would be a home birth. I wanted a different experience. One that gave him a gentle way into this world along with a healing and empowering experience for me.
We were looking to be supported and cared for and to be allowed to create a space where we could face the fears we held from our experiences so far. It felt right to pursue a homebirth and a privilege to find a midwife who would support us in that and treat us with compassion respect and humanity.
From our very first meeting with Madelaine i could feel she cared. She listened, heard us and acted professionally towards us.
We received care from 36 weeks although i had contact and an initial meeting with Madelaine and phone calls to Gail from 20 weeks. I developed a deep trust that they and Madelaine in particular would be there for us when we needed support. This had not been my experience with the hospital.
As our ante natal visits continued i felt she completely cared for and respected my baby. She handled me and him with great care and really involved my husband and son Samuel too in our journey together. Husbands and children are very often ignored and pushed to one side as if their feelings and experiences are not to be considered important to the pregnancy. As far as I was concerned we were all pregnant together. Similarly ,as was my previous experience, the unborn child and mother can be treated insensitively. And without continuity of care.. you can be certain of never seeing the same consultant or midwife for the duration of care and may have to continually repeat your previous history regardless of how traumatic. You feel exposed, vulnerable and uncared for and distrusting of a system which should and could provide you with care and support.
For me it was really important that our family shared a new kinder and healthier experience together which honoured our previous experience and made way for a more positive healing one. Madelaine and Private Midwives gave us that and we will always be grateful.
Our time with Madelaine was special ...we chatted about all things pregnancy and birth related and prepared for our home birth. I began to feel confident about facing into something I now feared, namely the fear of pain and the fear that I wouldn't be able to handle it coupled with a fear of unnecessary intervention and delivering a baby who had died. I practiced hypno birthing breathing techniques...wrote up birth affirmations and got my space ready. I found this preparation key to visualising how I wanted things to be this time around. It helped me focus. It gave me tools to strengthen a resolve I had that I could face and overcome these fears. I began to enjoy nesting and preparing myself, my body and my mind for labour.
During the final two weeks of my pregnancy I could feel my body getting ready to give birth..I had contractions on and off and had a very strong urge that once I had nested enough that I needed to rest as much as possible…Madelaine told me to do the same...the best advice ever!!! There were times when I thought I was going into labour over those two weeks and I felt I don't want this to happen now. I wasn't ready. When I finally did go into labour I felt rested ..ready...accepting and excited about my baby's arrival.
I felt contractions start at 7:30pm lasting about 30 secs every 10 mins...my husband put our son to bed and I had a shower...by 8 they were every 5 mins. I sat on my yoga ball bouncing and breathing...I was excited and told my husband when he came down what was going on...we put on the diffuser with lavender oil...lit some candles with a special one on the window to welcome our baby home. I rang madelaine around 9 convinced now I really was in labour...contractions were lasting longer getting stronger and were closer together and regular. She said she was on her way. I knew it would take her two hours as she is based in portlaoise. We both breathed through each contraction and I found movement was great at easing the sensation of the contractions. I was amazed at how painless it was and how although intense it was very manageable. There was respite between each one and no prolonged pain. I just breathed my way through each wave and tried to stay as much as i could with each moment. This may very well have been my last pregnancy...my last time to give birth...I wanted to be with and in each moment.
Madelaine arrived just as I was about to transition. Perfect timing. I felt she could read exactly what was going on without being told...she left me to it and didn't interfere with me. I felt like getting sick and shortly after that I felt like I needed to push. I found this part challenging not because of any pain more the thoughts I had in my head of not being able to. I felt like I wanted to run away. Madelaine held onto me and really got me through that part. She refocused me...telling me not to run away to deliver our son...i focused on getting this baby out..on delivering him and being there fully present for him. I was ready to push again.
Madelaine massaged by lower back which felt great. I began to push and several times felt like just wanting to rest. Madelaine and my husband really began to spur me on when they saw his head crowning...contractions had been one on top of the other since I had gotten sick and I was feeling really tired, but I knew I had to keep going...I roared and groaned my baby out feeling like the sound was helping me push and gain more energy and strength to push. I was going with what my body was telling me. This was such an internal process something I can't quite put words on but something I was so glad to fully experience. I also know that this was the only environment I could experience that in. It was OK...my baby was nearly here….two pushes more and he was out...I couldn't believe he was here….madelaine kept saying to me take your baby…!!! I held him in shock...good shock!! Amazed at him being there..amazed by the experience…..amazed that it didn't hurt...and that I had finally had the birth I always wanted….healing...calm...supported...pain relief free and pain less…..no interventions...my husband had a supporting role and I was guided and helped by someone technically great but also caring...kind...professional. our son was alive...big and beautiful...fully there for us all to see...we were over the moon.
We wanted to delay cord clamping and have skin to skin contact and establish breast feeding.
Our second midwife Angela arrived shortly after and helped to deliver the placenta and weighed and cleaned our son. My husband made us all tea and Madelaine helped me to shower before bed and cuddles with my beautiful boy...to say I was over the moon is an understatement…my husband told me that Killian weighed 10lbs 8oz. I was so proud of all the work we had done and that he was finally here.
Over the next two weeks Madelaine came every few days to support us post natally. She helped establish breastfeeding and helped with baby's and my post natal needs. She had great tips and advice on bathing baby and healing advice for me and baby. Her holistic approach takes care of mind body and soul. She uses homeopathic and flower remedies, encourages movement during labour, good diet, reminders to drink plenty of water, resting, positive affirmations hypno breathing and simply being open to the process itself, where it can bring you and making the journey itself as positive an experience as it can be. Our home birth was because of this everything we wished for and more.
We finally became parents again and most importantly gave our son the gift of becoming a big brother.
Madelaine was so interested in my son and in his journey with our pregnancy too. She listened to him...chatted to him...let him help her when she was assessing baby and me...something he really loved and enjoyed being apart of. At our last meeting ante natal appointment she even brought finger paint for him to create hand prints on my belly and my husband and Madelaine also got to write on my belly and take photos of such a thoughtful and kind memory. On Killian’s birth she brought him a doctors kit as a gift for him becoming a big brother. Every moment was not only made special for us but also for him.
6 weeks on from our home birth and I still feel it's magic. I feel healed and powerful like I have fully stepped into what my own power is and what I can do and withstand as a woman and as a mother. My son Killian is a very content and relaxed baby. This may be down in part to his personality but it is also down to the way he was born. That specialness of us all coming together to create a new way of adding to our family...a gentler..kinder less traumatic way...a way full of what care should be and should make you feel is something I'll cherish forever. I feel important, i feel my baby and my son are important as were the choices made this time.
My mantra during my homebirth was "my courage is stronger than my fear" . It became a reality and is a memory now for me to draw on.
Every woman and family should be able to have these choices and experience pregnancy and birth in a caring, professional, kind and holistic manner. How have we gone so far in the opposite direction that this is not the case or the option for so many.
Best of luck to all expectant Mammies...you can do this and you are doing this.