This weekend, at 7.38 AM on Saturday morning, amongst children, bran flakes and Saturday normality, we brought our baby boy into the world. A home birth. It was that surreal and that ordinary. All at once.
‘Are you mad?’
Having a baby at home. Where to begin?
With the lunacy of attempting to do this after laying new carpets? With the fact that the intention really can’t have been there otherwise surely we’d have bought protective sheets to cover said new carpets? With the reality that Daddy Pig certainly never believed we should actually have a baby at home?
Maybe I’ll start instead by saying this.
There’s no place like home birth.
‘Can I watch?’
For those of you who read my ‘Do you have a birth plan?‘ post, home birth wasn’t far off the scenario I’d envisioned.
Beaver and Godivy did come in at 6.30 AM asking for juice and bananas, when I was in the midst of contractions. Beaver did ask if she could stay and watch. BUT I did get out of doing breakfast. I mean, serving up bran flakes whilst I delivered would have been weird, right, if not downright skilful?
I don’t think either Daddy Pig or I really ever thought we would have a baby at home. I think it happened because it was nighttime. Because Daddy Pig likes sleeping. And because Daddy Pig actually was asleep for most of the birthing process.
By the time he woke up, it was too late to do much else.
Two midwives and a watermelon.
Yes people. You’ll be pleased to hear that Daddy Pig has retained his title, Idiot Birthing Partner, for a third labour.
And in that respect, for any of you out there with IBPs, home birthing is the perfect solution. Why? Because you get two midwives who come to your home and help you remove that watermelon from your pelvis. TWO, wide awake people completely focused on YOU. Who manage not to mention how tired they are even though you’ve got them up at 5.00 AM.
This leaves your birthing partner free to do other stuff. Like make the tea. Fetch the towels. Make more tea. Perhaps enjoy a sandwich.
Or a packet of cheese and onion crisps.
Mary Poppins meets Pulp Fiction.
The point is, you don’t actually care what he is doing. Because you have two lovely, trained professionals with a canister of gas and air and, more importantly, a vagina each and possibly children of their own. Meaning they KNOW this labour business hurts like hell.
By the time you’ve delivered your baby, you would gladly hand it over to them. If they asked. That’s how grateful to them you are for getting you through it.
It doesn’t matter that stupidly you only have white towels. That you’re birthing on your new, pale grey carpet. Because afterwards they give you washing advice. They actually clean your carpet for you whilst commenting how nice the colour is. Then they sweep up every last bit of equipment and debris, with the warmth of Mary Poppins and the efficiency of The Cleaner from Pulp Fiction.
Once they’ve gone, you’d never know they’d been there.
No parking. Just imagine.
But the best bit? The fear it takes away from labour. The fear I had perhaps a little more so this time for having done it twice before. Because there is simply less fear doing it in your own home with everything you love around you. With your children sleeping upstairs. Subtle lighting. Your iPod dock. The tealights you bizarrely bought in IKEA a few weeks back that your subconscious was obviously willing you to buy. That you put out but still forgot to light.
Because if all goes to plan, there is no drama. No point at which you have to make a decision to leave the house. There are no decisions to make whatsoever in fact. THERE IS NO PARKING!
You just go with the flow.
And when the pain has subsided and your baby is born, your new family is together immediately. Your delighted two year old and four year old are cuddling their new baby brother seconds after he has taken his first breath. You are sharing the most natural experience in the world. With the people you love most.
You are wondering why you have never done it this way before.
No place like home.
Then you have that shower. The one that never feels so good as it does immediately after labour. But in your own bathroom. You put on your new PJs and get into your bed. Your other half brings you a proper cup of tea and toast in bed. Just how you like it. And you don’t move. For the next 24 hours at least. 48 if you’re lucky.
Eventually, you’ll have to get dressed. But for now, there is nowhere to be. No need to be discharged. No journey to make home. It’s like being a first time mum all over again. Everything else waits. It just stands still.
If you were worried that a home birth might lose some of the ceremony of giving birth – the magic, that rite of passage of bringing your new addition home over the threshold – you couldn’t have been more wrong.
The magic of a home birth lies in its lack of ceremony. In how completely natural it feels.
And in the fact that, quite simply, there is no place like home.
Welcome to the world, The Boy with No Name. Born Saturday 5th July at 7.38 AM, 7lb 14 oz. Thank you to everyone for all your support and your lovely messages. Name suggestions needed! Pop over to Surviving Life and Motherhood and hit me with ‘em…