Tallulah Moon Birth Story - Home Birth
Golden's first birth story, which you can read here, was one of the most read birth stories I have ever shared, and rightly so, such an amazing birth. So when Golden asked if I wanted to share her second birth on my page I jumped at the chance!! This birth story is phenomenal, full of goosebump inducing tales, Golden puts it into words so beautifully. Absolute Hypnobirthing superstars, Golden and Witty work together to bring their beautiful second babe earthside. Enjoy, Nic xoxo
On the 16th of March, I was one heavy mama surviving the wimpiest wet season we’d ever seen in Darwin. Each moment, I felt like I was wading through the swamp of humidity, and lugging with me, one bulging belly. It was a beautiful bump but it was hard to get comfortable given the weather, the sheer size of me and the fact that our home renovations had continued 3 months overdue! We were literally sleeping on the living room floor, brushing our teeth in the kitchen and it seemed I was getting dressed daily among the sea of tradesmen who swept in with the tides of tasks for that week. I’d long since grown too tired to care about modesty!
It was still ten days before my due date. My partner, Witty, had once suggested the 16th was a perfect date for the birth of our second child. He loved the numerical nature of the date 16.3.19 which summed up well, and matched the sum-style of our first-born’s birth date 6.10.16! I liked his idea and he definitely knows how to influence a situation, but when that day finally arrived there were still tradies in our house. Since we were planning a homebirth, this was not ideal!
Once the clock struck midday it was time for our toddler’s nap, and as we drove off to find quiet respite from the tile-cutting at a neighbour’s house, I called it in. Too late in the day to start labour, I thought. Too hot. Too bothered. No baby today, I declared. I was a little disappointed it hadn’t happened as we’d hoped. I’d even seen my brilliant acupuncturist the day prior and told her to give me the ‘birth-ready’ pins to aid the job! I had my birth affirmations painted up on the walls, I was practicing my hypnobirthing techniques and prepping with my epi-no. Despite these things I conceded. I thought we just must not have been ready for another mathematically dated babe. We lay down at our neighbour’s house and switched on the air-con. I propped a pillow between my knees and tried to relax. I ran some numbers through my head, thinking about how many hours of labour I might need, timing… what if. Then I drifted off.
It was about 2.30 in the afternoon when someone woke me. I’m going to hedge my bets and just say it was my child, because it could have been my toddler squirming on his mattress on the floor, but it also could have been my unborn child who was pushing fluid out between my thighs! “Towel please, honey!” I called as I lay awkwardly poised with anticipation on the bed. Once my husband swept in with slightly wide eyes and the towel, I sorted myself to stand up and get to the loo. It almost seemed like a non-event! There was hardly any fluid at all! Was this a false alarm?
I called my midwife and talked to Gemma. I explained how I thought my waters had broken but how little fluid there was, so she said to call back in 30 minutes to see if labour had kicked in. If it hadn’t I would have to head down to the birth centre for some monitoring to see if the waters had actually broken. I wasn’t feeling any surges (contractions) at this stage but I don’t usually leak just for fun, so we headed home to our house, and calmly but quickly started getting ‘ready’. I pulled out my ‘just in case’ hospital bag and then felt the subtle but sure tightening in my womb. I called the midwife-labour was starting! The tiler had left for the afternoon (lucky for him and us!) and as Witty dragged the birth pool out of the box, I shuffled our messy things into little piles and stacked them in the office, out of the way. It was time to get birth ready!
Finn and I had been reading children’s books about home birth and watching water birth videos, so he knew exactly what was happening as the birth pool got set up! I asked him if mama should have a baby today and he said “Yes! Mummy push baby out! Baby come heya!” “Okay!” I laughed. I jumped in the shower as the tightening started to squeeze more strongly. I washed my hair, watched the bubbles slide down over my burgeoning belly and smiled and winced as another ripple of activity rumbled inside. This is the last time I wash my hair as a pregnant woman, I pondered. My mind always goes on about lasts and firsts.
At that moment my friend Jess dropped by our house with a spanakopita pie for a pregnant woman!
Timing is everything! I hugged her and thanked her for the pie, then told her I was in labour! She was also pregnant, so the vibes were bountiful as she filled me with encouragement and pressed on the acupuncture points on my back as the surges came on! It was the ultimate ‘drop-in’ and she was immediately awarded the title Drop-in Doula!
Once Drop-in Doula departed we called up my parents and initiated our birth plan. My folks came over and my dad collected Finn to take him for a swim at our neighbour’s house. I had wanted Finn to return home for the birth later, but at the same time we were playing it by ear. I also wanted my husband, Witty, to be able to be there with me and for me 100%, and I couldn’t necessarily have both things in conjunction. With that in mind, we decided to wait and see how it would play out. My mother, however, was locked in to experience child birth for the first time as an onlooker! Since she’d recently had foot surgery, she was unable to partake in Finn support, so her chief role was to sit back on the nursing chair, put her feet up, snap photos from time to time and try not to walk around! Sweet deal!
I handed my mother a book, pen and timer, and put her to task timing my surges. I lay out my yoga mat in the lounge room and flopped over my exercise ball. I put on my hypnobirthing audio and as I’d roll through each surge, I’d focus in on the spoken words. My mother was pretty excited about her role, and was calling out surge patterns as they happened! I had to ‘shush’ her as I felt a need to concentrate on the hypnobirthing voice, but she had good reason to call out, as my surges were already 3 minutes apart!
Witty quickly put the tens machine on my back and called the midwife. “We want you here now.
We’re definitely ready!” I heard him saying eagerly. I switched my listening from Hypnobirthing to my birthing playlist. I turned it up and tuned in to the songs I’d practiced listening to with my epi-no.
The surges were getting fuller and more intense and I wanted to groan with that music! Tash
Sultana’s guttural cries filled my heart. Mia Dyson reminded me I’d know what to do when the moment comes!
When Gemma arrived, a wave of excitement and nerves rush through me. I’d been deeply drawn into my body, rolling with the surges, but as she walked in the door I felt like my body signalled her arrival to my baby, and a blinding surge washed through me like a force field! It felt... intensely bright. Gemma came over onto the floor, greeted me and asked me how I was feeling. I felt good, but things were going so much faster than my first labour.
She touched the birth pool and immediately announced they needed to get the water much warmer, so she turned their focus on that. As I heaved over another great surge and called for a bucket in case I would spew, Witty asked me if I wanted to try the shower. Bless him, he’d done this before! He lifted me up and helped me walk to the bath where he’d laid out bathmats in the tub for my knees. I got down, hung from the adjacent towel rail, and he ran the hot water up and down my back as I surged. Things went on like this for a couple of minutes until, in one huge roaring surge, I felt that undeniable feeling of a baby pushing down on my bum like a poo! Holy crap! I thought.
When this happened last time, I had a baby 2 minutes later! Immediately, and for the first time that afternoon, I hollered! Not angrily, but loudly and with intent: “GEMMA! I need you NOW!” In a flash a rosy face appeared in the bathroom doorway. “Yes?!” she grinned! “I feel the baby on my bum, Gemma! I need to get in that birth pool now!!”. “Okay that’s fine,” she replied, “I’m just warming it up but you can slide in and I’ll keep going.”
Witty hauled me slowly out to the pool to slide me in. I glanced around to take in the room and come out of my inner focus for a moment. The kitchen cooker was working on overdrive boiling 4 pots of water at a time and the kettle was bubbling away. The sun was making the sky pink and it was breezy outside. Gemma was on the phone to check the ETA of our other midwife while juggling pots and pans. My mum was breaking her “no walking on sore feet” rule but I could see things were quickly climaxing with this birth, so I decided reign in my daughter bossiness and let her do her rush about and help Gemma. I just shut up, slid into the pool, and focused in on my body again. “Oh, God yes” I sighed. The water felt wonderful. My playlist was rolling through Sigur Ros, and I closed my eyes as Witty whispered birthing affirmations and filled me with calm. In between surges, he was jumping up and grabbing raspberry leaf ice cubes for me to chew on, or cold towels for my forehead, but when a surge came back, I was calling out to him and there he was, every time, grasping my hands and speaking to me with that calm voice as I hung over the side of the pool. It could have been 5 minutes or an hour as I lay in that pool, rolling with this force of nature. The pressure was so intense, and while I felt like the baby wanted to come, I felt like I was holding the baby in! Then with great relief, I heard our second midwife come through the door and as she came
down to me at the poolside and reassured me everything was fine, I finally felt I could have this baby now. All the people who we needed here were here. I felt right. I felt ready.
Jenelle watched me groan through a surge as I floated on my back and she asked me to roll over onto my belly to let the baby feel the gravity. As I switched over, I immediately felt better. Gemma continued to hurry kettles and boiling pots of water over to the birth pool! I was feeling the heat but apparently it needed to be warmer still! Suddenly with another great force I felt my legs shake beneath me and an all-over body tremor sent electrical currents through my veins! “Baby wants to come down! Baby wants to come down!” I called out! “It’s okay,” replied Jenelle, “Let your baby come down if you’re ready”. Apparently at this point, they’d been checking with a mirror and a light, and saw no crowning, so they didn’t think I was where I thought I was. I asked if the water was hot enough and hearing Gemma’s positive reply, I let go. By letting go, I mean I pushed. I felt I’d been holding back this push and I groaned deep and hard as I squeezed Witty’s arms and cried out. In
disbelief, my midwives saw a head appear! “Am I far enough under the water?” I asked. I felt like my legs were floating away between surges! Jenelle and Gemma helped me prop my knees underneath me and spread my legs in a wide kneel. With baby’s head now deep in the water and pointed down toward the pool floor, I reached down. As I pressed gently on the head with my fingertips I felt a boyant outer layer. My baby was still inside the amniotic sac!
Another surge started to rise within me; This will be the last one, I thought. I could hear a circle of whispering supporters surrounding me in the pool. I could hear my mama behind me, my man in front, my two beautiful midwives beside me, poised for the next moment. I wasn’t focusing on what they were saying but I felt all was calm. Then the noise of the surge took over my senses and I pushed down with one great roar. With one intense squeeze the noise in my body seemed to peak and in a rush, my baby slipped out in the water below me. I reached down to take this miracle in my hands as a shock of relief and emotion washed over and through me. I felt swept away in a storm of exhilarating euphoria until I heard my midwives telling me to bring my baby to the surface. I gently brought her up and there she was, encapsulated mesmerizingly in her own caul. She’d been born in her own waters!
With her head and upper body still floating little sea of her own, Gemma reached down her back and pulled the caul up and over her face. The pressure broke and her leaping waters washed down over her and me. Then, she took her first breath and her little moon face was revealed. We still didn’t know the sex at this stage, and between gasps and laughter and tears of joy, I took a poll around the room to guess. Her father looked at her face and said “that’s the face of a little girl”, everyone agreed. I lifted her bottom out of the birth pool confirmed Witty’s remark; cheers filled the room!
The sun was setting and the day’s work was done! We retired to the bedroom and with my little girl attached to my breast we awaited Finn’s arrival. When my son walked into the room, he climbed up on the bed. His eyes were soft, his smile was unmistakably smitten. He couldn’t take his eyes off his little sister. Finn gently cut the cord, kissed baby over and over again, and we nestled in together in our big bed for the best love-in that has ever filled that room: The dreamy love-in of a new family of four.
Home birth from the perspective of a fence sitter
Tallulah Moon was born at home. It was beautiful, comforting and convenient! In my years before children, I’d never considered myself a ‘homebirth woman’. I wasn’t against women doing it, and I had no interest in getting involved in the divisive arguments that brew around it, but with the limited knowledge I had of homebirths, it just didn’t seem sensible to me when there was a hospital nearby.
Having said that, when I became pregnant with my first child, I sought out the Homebirth Service to support me to birth at my hospital’s birth centre. I took this option as I knew women using this service received continuous care from a single midwife throughout the pregnancy. This unique model of care meant I had one midwife with whom I built a solid trust, and all of her visits were in the comfort of my home. Throughout that journey in 2016, I also became aware of the wisdom of the midwives who work in that homebirth service, and I learned more about homebirths and their benefits. While I still chose to birth at the hospital with my first baby, I garnered all of the knowledge, courage and best-practice antenatal education that I needed to birth my baby well. This was high-level, midwifery care that was both professional and intimate. I was empowered by these women.
So when baby number 2 arrived through the fallopian tubes, I knew I wanted the brilliant support of the Homebirth midwives again! By this time, the Homebirth Service had been growing in popularity in the Top End, and I spoke with some work colleagues who’d even switched from private hospital births to homebirth. With more information, confidence and research the second time around, I opted for a birth at home. I’ll admit at one stage in this pregnancy, I became fearful (through hearing other birth stories) and questioned my decision to birth at home. My Homebirth midwives fully supported me to change my mind about the location of birth at any time. Whilst they would continue to support me through and after the birth, they assured me the birth centre or the delivery suite at the hospital were easy options that I could switch to at any moment. There was never any pressure to stick to a birth at home, or feel like I couldn’t change my mind. Instead, these midwives offered a steady stream of support that gave me the facts of my pregnancy, and helped me work through fears, facts and make informed decisions through that process.
I am a lucky woman. I have had two healthy pregnancies, two wonderful births and am what the medical world refer to as ‘low risk’. My circumstances made it easy to choose homebirth. And while I’m careful not to give birth recommendations unless they are sincerely asked for, when someone actually seeks my thoughts on the subject, I tell them homebirth was the best thing I ever got to experience, for me and my family. I’d do it again if I could. That’s my story and my experience.