Friday, 6 July 2012

Eli's Arrival - An Unexpected Home Birth Story!

In honour of my sweet son's second birthday today, I wanted to share the surprising story of his birth! We are having a small celebration tomorrow so will share his birthday fun then. Xx 

Just the same as with the labour and birth of our darling Lily, I was having a lot of ‘pre-labour’ in the week or so leading up to Eli’s birth. Mild contractions that would build up for a few hours and then fade away – frustrating because I would get excited thinking this was ‘it’ but then wouldn’t be - but also good because my body was obviously doing a lot of the work in advance, which after Lily's quick birth I was very happy with! I’d been having bouts of this for about a week and so wasn’t sure what was happening or when it would truly kick into gear. I knew it was coming though, so I was happy to just wait and see!

On Monday the 5th July (the day before my official 'due date', surprise surprise!) around mid afternoon the mild contractions started up again and I was trying to ride them out without getting too ahead of myself. By early evening they seemed to be getting pretty regular – 3-4 minutes apart and more ‘real/intense’ so Mark and I thought it could really be happening – great news as I didn’t want to be really overdue again - I was so ready to meet this baby! Lily had been at my Mum’s house for the afternoon so we decided to have her stay there while we checked out what was happening. I called my wonderful midwife Leanne (who had also been with me for Lily's birth!) and she suggested we come into the birth centre if they were getting that close due to my rather fast (3.5 hour total) first labour. The contractions still seemed very manageable but as they were getting so close we thought we better head in too. So we packed up our gear and excitedly headed to our much loved Birth Centre thinking we would be coming home with our new baby!

Once we got there things seemed to slow down again – sigh! I tried walking up and down three flights of stairs for an hour but not much was happening. Leanne checked me out and I was I think only 50% effaced and maybe 3-4cm dilated. It was late evening and my contractions had pretty much stopped, so we all decided it might be best to just head home and try to get some sleep – Leanne said I would probably be calling her back at 3am (too funny, that’s the exact time we called her) but it could also well be another week or more!

As much as I didn’t want to go home sans baby I also felt a bit pressured (just from myself) to ‘perform’ if I hung around the Birth Centre so we packed up and headed home around 10pm, not knowing what was going to happen. We called Mum and told her things were slowing down but agreed as Lily was already asleep we would leave her there for the night and see how things were in the morning – good thing we did!! Leanne had given me a Panadeine Forte and  mild sleeping tablet and suggested I take the tablets, a shower and just try to get some rest and sleep – so I did. I got to bed around 11.30pm.

At about 1.30am  (the time is somewhat vague) I suddenly woke up gasping from an extremely intense contraction. I was shocked and groggy and didn’t know what was going on! I stood up to get through it and Mark woke up too. I told him they had restarted and seemed pretty strong. Not knowing how it was going to pan out, we heated up the room, Mark got the fitball from upstairs for me to sit on through contractions and he started timing a few contractions while rubbing my back. They still seemed about 3 minutes apart, though quite intense, so we thought we would see how they went for a while longer, not wanting to call and wake Leanne unnecessarily as they were still a while apart. Also not wanting to rush into the Birth Centre and have labour stall again. I worked through a few contractions but also was SO tired so we laid down on the bed and I would just stand up through the contraction then lie down again, half asleep!! This didn’t seem to happen for very long, but I guess it was about 30- 45 minutes. I really wasn't feeling like the contractions were that full on or close, so thought we still had quite a while to go.

I was then standing up holding on to my dressing table to rock through quite a strong contraction when I suddenly felt a deep dropping and opening within me. I moaned/yelled/shrieked at Mark – ‘My baby’s coming!! I think…. It’s coming, it’s coming now…My baby’s coming!!” (or something like that!). He was coming and by now, I meant NOW! I literally had no time or ability to move or do anything further as my body simply started to birth, so I just dropped right down onto my hands and knees in the narrow and tiny area between my bed, the door and the dresser. My body just took over and was moving my baby down and out and I knew it was happening but was totally in shock too. Mark jumped up and was like ‘Are you serious?!!’ and I think I was like ‘Yes, no, I don’t know, YES!’ and I think (it’s all a little hard to remember sequentially) I somehow tried to pull down my tracksuit pants (I only managed to get them to my ankles!) while Mark was also trying to help me whilst he was calling 000.
The Emergency Operator came onto the line (at 2.30am we discovered later) just as the baby's head was crowning (on the very next contraction!!) but I didn't pay any attention to the call – I was totally focused on the task at hand! Although I was surprised at the situation happening so quickly and unplanned at home, I didn't feel scared - just focused on birthing my baby and confident in what I and my body needed to do. Eli’s head was coming out and I knew to reach down my hand and hold his head as it started to emerge so he didn't come too fast or traumatically for either of us. My water also broke at this time (Mark told me afterwards as he also was preparing to catch the baby and it went all over his hands - I didn't even notice!). Somewhere in there I thought of the mess this was going to make on the carpet but did not have even a second to grab anything to put down!

The next contraction suddenly came over me, my body did its work and my beautiful baby boy came sliding out all in one go! Yes, Eli arrived in only three contractions from transition to emergence! I reached both hands down, recieving his tiny, beautiful, slippery body into my arms as if it was the most natural thing in the world (which it was!) and quickly lifted him to my chest as I sat back on my heels. I held him close and Mark and I were both rubbing him with our hands as he let out a tiny, fierce and beautiful cry and we knew all was well! It was an incredible moment. My amazing husband and I looked at each other in shock and awe - has this really just happened?! We knew it was most important to keep little Eli warm so we managed to get my shirt off so I could nestle him close skin-to-skin, still crouched there in the same spot on the bedroom floor as Mark covered us in a mountain of dressing gowns and towels (he was taking his midwife job very seriously, bless him!). Somewhere in the midst of all this Mark had also managed to give the Emergency Operator our details and an Ambulance was on its way.

Our Little Boy Blue
So there we sat, me kneeling on the floor cuddling and crooning to this new little guy in a state of complete bliss (and probably a little bit of a daze too), Mark bustling around warming towels, and watching over us. I think I was crying and laughing and cooing‘My baby, my baby, my baby’s here…’ and Mark and I kept looking at each other in disbelief, amazement and joy!! It was an incredible and surreal moment together - the air was filled with love and this incredible high - just the three of us together for this suprising birth! We certainly never expected this.

Around 5-10 minutes after Eli arrived, so did the Ambulance! A male and female Paramedic came into our now very-over-crowded bedroom and were so kind and calm and helpful - just lovely. They could tell Eli was doing just great and I was too, so they encouraged me to try breastfeeding him to help us both with recovery. They had a quick check over of us both (while never even trying to take Eli from his Mama's arms) before clamping the umbilical cord and then Mark cut it. I got into a wheelchair then into the ambulance, and Eli and I were on our way to the Hospital Birth Centre (my first Ambulance trip!) while Mark followed in the car. Mark had also called our midwife Leanne and so she met us there. I got wheeled straight into a lovely cozy Birth Centre room where we got into that wonderful double bed I had so looked forward to. Leanne checked us both over and declared all were perfectly well and healthy! I then naturally birthed the placenta and discovered to my amazement after that speedy arrival, that I didn’t even tear! Was even more shocked when we found out Eli was 3.6kg (half a kilo more than Lily).

Lily is fascinated to meet her already-beloved little brother!

Anyway, after all the action it was time to rest (I guess it was about 3.30am or so at this point) so the three of us snuggled into the double bed and had a good sleep – well, Mark and Eli did, I was too excited to actually sleep but tried to rest anyway. We spent the day relaxing and getting the various health checks, and Lily and my Mum coming to visit so Lily could meet her beloved little brother, which was such a precious moment. We headed home in the late afternoon to settle into life as a family of four. It still seems so surreal but wonderful that Eli joined us so quickly (with an active labour of about an hour), and we are so thankful for such an unexpected yet beautiful experience that ended so well with such a healthy baby boy – we love our little guy so much!


  1. What an amazing birth story... Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    Happy birthday Eli, may your special day be filled with love, joy and happiness xxx

  2. Oh wow, I would have been terrified. What an amazing story and congratulations on an amazing birth. Happy Birthday Eli. 2 years old. Your mummy is awesome and I know she knows how blessed she is to have you and Lily.

  3. Whoa, that was so wonderfully intense! Big smiles all the way through reading that.

    Sounds so much like Blake's birth (except we did go to the BC, but if it had been up to Brian we wouldnt have gone in, he thought I had hours to go!) especially when Eli was born in just a few contractions. Happy 2nd Birthday to little Eli, and happy birthing day Mama!!! You were amazing!

  4. Happy Birthday Eli!
    What an incredible birth story. Really truly amazing how your body can do what it needs to do - with or without our permission!

  5. Aunty Alex & Uncy Iain6 July 2012 at 17:26

    Happy birthday little eli!! We love you and we can't wait to see you and give you belated birthday cuggles and kisses!!!!!

  6. Oh my goodness! Wow! That is so awesome. Congratulations and happy birthday to Eli! Wow!

  7. Oh Kate! So amazing! Reading over this must make you even more excited about what's to come :)

    (I could read birth stories all day!)

    1. yep totally claire, just re-reading this story again made me so excited to 1) feel better and 2) give birth again! who knows, maybe this time i will actually make it to the (new) birth centre for once!! :)

  8. I'm blown away! You are quite a woman, Kate...quite a woman...

  9. I have found my way to your blog from Andrea's :)
    This is a great birth story, and very similar to my Eli's. I also have a 4 year old girl, a 2 year old boy (Eli, who was born at home before the midwife could arrive, though it was planned to be at home) and a new little boy.

    1. wow Lauren thanks for coming by! That is sooo amazing how similar our stories are... esp that both our little Eli's were in a rush to arrive - and btw I am pregnant w another little boy too! how funny! thanks for your kind comment and now im going to pop on over to your blog :)


i love to hear your thoughts, thanks for leaving your comments! xx