I was 22 when I had my son, he was my second pregnancy, planned and i was pregnant within two weeks of the thought of deciding to give my five year old daughter a sibling.
My pregnancy was smooth, although we moved three weeks before his birth from a supportive shared house with friends to our own house. But we had it unpacked and decorated ready for the week he was due. It always amazes me how expectant families can move this late on. It's like a strong inner drive for nesting on the extreme level. So many of my clients as a doula have moved late on in their pregnancy.
I was gifted a book by a friend, a battered copy of Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. I read it cover to cover and again. I loved it. It was birth how I felt birth should be. I read it out to my partner too. It lead me to deciding to have a home birth. My friend who had given to me had birthed her five babies using it, the first three in a bus travelling Europe and her youngest at home freebirthing. She completely inspired me! She introduced me to homeopathy too so I bought Arnica and various others she suggested to help with anxiety, birth and healing.
The midwives weren't all keen on me opting for a home birth, some saying it had risks, but one was positive and excited. I can't recall her name but I clung onto her words. My family weren't keen either but my nan had two home births with her third and fourth pregnancies and was very positive and supportive too. I had some positive support in my decision, including my friend too.
In preparation, as well as reading spiritual midwifery cover to cover, I attended an active birth yoga class by lovely Karel Ironside, it helped to much. She did a meditation each week, and yoga. I didn't fancy NCT or the NHS classes this time, as I had stigma being a young mum already and had been heavily judged previously so I stayed clear feeling I knew enough not to attend any other class. What Karel offered was enough for me. In fact I returned to her five and ten years later with my third and fourth babies too.
The night before Kai's birth I had gone to visit my dad for his birthday, and I remember just not being able to move off the sofa because I developed a back ache that wouldn't go no matter what I did, or what position I lay in. It was so uncomfortable.
The following morning i took my daughter, Jade, to school and came home feeling quite uncomfortable still. I remember not being able to sit down, slight contractions had started every 30 minutes ish from around 9am, as it was uncomfortable driving home from school and id two in the 30 minute drive.
I couldnt sit down, so i decided to dust every leaf on every plant in the house. (A sure sign of early labour but I was in denial).
My mum rang and suggested i was in labour, I didn't believe her because it wasnt strong like before. She drove over, collecting my sister from school, who was then still 15, and arrived around midday.
Kai was actually due on the 17th January, and this was now the 16th, exactly on time, just like my daughter was.
My contractions picked up when my mum and sister arrived, I wasn't timing them much but I couldn't speak while they were happening and had to move through them. We rang the community midwives.
The midwife came out, a small lady with short hair, and quite a sharp face, she said: 'you've got ages yet, they'll get much stronger than this, it'll be tomorrow'. And off she went. I felt silly, was this really labour? Could it go on until tomorrow?
3pm came and my grandad picked my daughter up from school bringing her home. I remember not being able to speak or concentrate on his words I was doubled over the work top in the kitchen moving my hips through each contraction and trying to breath long deep breaths to ride the contraction.
We rang the midwives again, hoping it wouldn't be the same lady again. Luckily it wasn't, a lady with blond hair and amazing stripy socks turned up, her name was Dilly, I remember thinking she'll be ok she's wearing nice socks.
I went upstairs when the midwife arrived. I'm unsure what the time was and I wasn't timing my contractions any longer.
My partner came home from work at this point too. My mum and sister were still in the house, and my daughter had gone home with my dad.
Dilly examined me and called the second midwife out.
I rode each one like my breath was a surf board riding a wave. I have no idea where that csme from but it worked really well. I remember thinking it'll get worse, I've got a long time to go yet. I was expecting the sharp sensation I had with my daughter as I'd torn badly internally with her, but that feeling never came.
(** in reference to tearing badly with my first. I was 16 when I had my daughter, and deemed as 'high risk' so I spent her labour on my back being monitored, it was very different to this time with the freedom to move around at home).
Suddenly my waters popped. I was semi reclining naturally against my bed on the floor, and within what felt like a few sensations of bearing down, and on the clock 25 minutes, at 19.25pm my son was born. He flowed out with the waters.
I couldn't believe his size either, 8.3! I was 22 and 9 stone at full term of pregnancy.
I was in shock that it wasn't intense or painful like my first. I was still expecting it to crank up a lot more.
I'm unsure why I had syntocin for the placenta, I didn't think to ask, I'm sure they told me but I can no longer recall. The placenta was born quickly.
I did bleed a fair amount, as I always do after birth and so the midwives stayed until 10pm to ensure I was ok. They supported me feeding which went well.
I had a slight tear but it was ok, the midwives came daily then to check my tear but it was fine.
I remember laying in bed, holding my beautiful boy, I had a son!! I could see the stars from the window, it was just him and I. His dad had fallen asleep. I sat telling him of all the things is like to show him. It was a moment I'll always treasure.
I almost named him Sirius after the star that seemed most prominent in the sky that night. He became Kai, Celtic warrior of the sea, or Willow tree.
This was in 2003! This photo of Kai and I was last month 💜