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A Water Birth in County Galway, Ireland

Jessica and her partner Joe contacted Private Midwives to discuss having a home birth for the arrival of their second child.

Jessica really wanted the homebirth as she had done a lot of reading about the benefits of homebirth and knew it was exactly what she wanted, she decided to use Private Midwives to provide antenatal care, support during a water/home birth and postnatal support. Our midwife, Ann was at hand for the birth of their beautiful baby boy, Max.

Jessica has kindly shared her birth story experience and some great pictures of the moment baby Max came into the world:

Jessica's Homebirth Experience:

  • Max is our second baby. I gave birth to Jamie (2 years 2 months) in hospital. I had originally wanted a homebirth but I could not get a midwife through the HSE scheme and we did not have insurance and could not afford to go privately. When I mentioned it to family they were very concerned about the safety of it and I decided I would give birth in the hospital. While I loved the way the start of the labour went, the delivery didn’t go quite as planned and I needed an episiotomy. I had my partner Joe and a fabulous doula with me who were such a great birth team, however I was determined to have a home birth the second time around. I had done a lot of reading about the benefits of homebirth and knew it was exactly what I wanted, being in my own environment, no strange people or bright lights etc.

    I got pregnant when Jamie was 18 months after 8 months of trying and we were so excited to be expanding our family. Once I had my scan I phoned Private midwives Ireland and hoped they would have someone in my area that would be available on my due date. I was so excited when they said they did, Midwife Ann, and they sent me her reviews from previous births which were all fabulous. I spoke to her on the phone and she immediately put me at ease with her confidence and calmness. She put me in touch with another local lady she supported and she spoke so highly of Ann and her birth experience, I knew I was in good hands and got so excited for my big day.

    I stayed with the midwife and GP care until 34 weeks when Ann started my care. It was just so nice to have Ann come to my house and do my checks. She was just so easy to get a long with and I completely relaxed with her and Jamie absolutely loved her and loved listening to baby’s heartbeat. We decided to not tell anyone we were doing a homebirth as we knew our parents would worry and it would make me frustrated and maybe doubt myself.

    When I was 40 + 5 weeks. I woke up around 12.30 am to little cramps. I didn’t think it was anything so kept trying to go back to sleep but was also a bit hopeful it was the start of labour. I listened to my gentlebirth tracks to get me to sleep but also to prepare in case it was labour. I couldn’t really sleep and by 2.30 I noticed the we’re coming in waves so I told Joe. He said to sleep for an hour then ring Ann and see what she thinks. So at 3.30 I rang Ann and she said to start filling the pool and get the tens machine on. I couldn’t believe it was time but was so excited. Ann told me that the doula that usually comes with her was in Cork so it would just be her coming, which I was OK with.

    Joe started filling the pool and I got our bedroom set up with fairy lights, tea lights, lavender in my humidifier, I stuck birth affirmations, pictures of family, scan pictures and the picture of when I just delivered Jamie, up on our wardrobe by the pool. I downloaded the contraction app and started timing the contractions which were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds. They were totally manageable at this stage but Joe put on the tens machine which really helped. Ann came at 5am and got set up. She did her checks and then told me to do my own thing and rest. Jamie woke up just before 6am and wanted to come into my bed and he had a feed. My contractions started slowing down then and Ann suggested getting up and going on the ball and moving around.

    I got up and swayed through a couple of contractions on my own in the room while Ann and Joe and Jamie had breakfast in the kitchen. I used lavender scent when breathing in which really calmed me and the tens was a great help. I went to join them all in the kitchen, then Ann suggested doing some lunges in the garden. Joe had to mind Jamie and he took him for a short cycle. After a while Ann suggested that Jamie’s Nanny pick him up as she could see I was worrying about him and knew he would need Joe’s full attention. So nanny picked him up at around 8.30 and soon after the contractions ramped up and I was in active labour. I found keeping my jaw open and relaxed and using an audible vocal outbreath really helped. I kept repeating certain affirmations like surrender, release, and thought of the pain as positive, bringing me closer to meeting my baby and thought about holding my baby at the end. Ann told me how my outbreath really helped her to know how far along I was. Ann gave me lovely massages on my belly and back using coconut oil and Clary sage which was so nice. She suggested getting into the pool and it was such a relief and so relaxing. I tried several different positions in the pool, on all fours, leaning back with Joe behind me, leaning up against the side of the pool. Ann and Joe did counter pressure on my middle lower back and it was just amazing at relieving the pain, I wanted it for every contraction. Ann suggested having some contractions on the toilet and standing up which were hard but definitely helped to bring baby down. I held onto Ann and she took my full weight as I breathed through the contractions. Ann suggested breaking my waters to speed things along as I was getting very tired. I lay on the bed on my side and two minutes after she suggested it, my waters broke (12pm). Then I really started to feel that downward pressure and intensity. Ann gave me some honey (Joe’s dad’s honey) to boost my energy which really helped. I did a couple of contractions standing up, and sitting on the toilet which were tough but helped. I got back in the pool and rested on the side, and actually fell asleep between contractions. I could feel babies head coming down but kept slipping back up which was frustrating so Ann suggested pushing until I get his head down. This took a couple of contractions and a lot of effort but got baby down. Then Ann told me to do nothing just let my body do the work and I involuntarily started pushing down, it was so intense and powerful but I felt in control and knew I was so close. I felt a stinging sensation and intense pressure as the head came out and the the relief was unreal. His head was out for two minutes and just holding his head between my legs was incredible. I felt another contraction and my body pushed him along but not all the way out and Ann noticed a very tight nuchal cord wrapped twice around his neck that she couldn’t release so she gave me a little help getting him out and unwrapped the baby from the cord. Joe shouted ‘oh it’s a boy!’ before I even got a chance to turn around! Ann handed him straight to me and he started breathing straight away. I couldn’t believe what I just did and that he was here! The most incredible feeling in the world!! We stayed in the pool for a while just staring at our new baby. I was helped out of the pool but couldn’t lie down on the bed so Ann placed a bowl on the toilet and I sat there holding and feeding the baby. Joe cut the cord after about an hour. Ann suggested the injection to help the placenta along as it had been over an hour. With a little tug the placenta came. I got back into bed with the baby and Joe and video called my parents who were so surprised but over the moon. Then Jamie came home and met his baby brother for the first time which was so special. Ann then helped me into the shower and washed my hair which was such a treat. We spent the rest of the day resting and getting to know our new baby.

    It was such a beautiful experience, so calm and relaxed, I didn’t have to have any vaginal examinations, Ann just completely trusted and listened to my body. I didn’t have any tears or grazes which I had been worried about. Joe and Ann were just incredible, I felt completely safe with just the two of them there and they really minded me so well. I would 100% recommend a homebirth to anyone considering it and if you can have Ann as your midwife, even better again!

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Birth is a very personal and intimate event. We recognise how important it is that you meet your midwife and have a “connection” so that you can develop a trusting, professional relationship going forward. We hold regular “meet the midwife” sessions where you can come along and chat to past clients, talk to the midwives and ask questions. We also offer you a free consultation to talk through things on a more personal level and discuss your individual needs and wishes. Please contact us for further information.

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