We had planned to give birth at our local hospital. To be honest when I mentioned a home birth (for Caspar and Otis) my husband totally freaked out. It wasn't for us.
Last Sunday I experienced some unexpected bleeding. I telephoned the hospital who suggested to come in. The doctor did a thorough examination and determined the baby was fine and there was no need to worry. He recommended staying in hospital that night but suggested as the bleeding had stopped I would be alright to go home the next morning.
My husband and Caspar waited until I was admitted then went home.
Later that evening I started having contractions. They were frequent but as a midwife suggested not intense enough to suggest labour was imminent. Around midnight the contractions were closer but still not intense enough for me to go to the birthing suite. It wasn't until I lost some more blood that the midwife suggested the birthing suite was the best place to be. I think she just wanted me off her ward!
Around 1am I was in the birthing suite having frequent contractions that were still considered mild. I called my husband assuring him I was ok, having contractions but could be all night. We live only a couple of minutes from the hospital so we agreed he would stay home until the birth was a bit closer.
At 2am the contractions were getting strong. I called my husband again now knowing that the baby was going to be born that night. I didn't want to wake Caspar and I didn't think twice about suggesting that they both stay at home and have a good nights rest.
With a midwife by my side and a little gas to help me through I gave birth to Otis at 2.40am. The birthing suite was comfortable, warm, quiet and dim. I felt strong and confident. I didn't feel alone, rather empowered that the baby and I were going to get though this together.
I used two techniques to get through the strong contractions (in addition to the gas). One was my mantra, I said repeatedly to myself 'moment by moment' knowing that I only had to get through to the next moment, then the next moment, that the pain was only one moment in time. At this stage I knew this was going to be a fast labour which helped.
The second technique was visualisation. I visualised my family at home, warm, comfortable, cozy and asleep. I visualised my dog all curled up in his bed, my husband and Caspar curled up in our bed. This really helped me relax, remain calm and focused.
I never actually looked to see Caspar being born. Otis however was momentarily stuck at the shoulders. This gave me the opportunity to actually see and witness him being born, taking his first breath. So amazing. I am touched, changed forever.
As Otis was born the midwife passed him directly to me and I held him close and warm for a hours. The doctor came and did his thing (ouch - stitches). I fed Otis and then called my husband. Yes he and Caspar were asleep the entire time. He did want to come in straight away but I felt in need of some sleep (I was absolutely exhausted) so they waited until the morning to visit.
By the time we got back to the ward we only had a couple of hours sleep until morning. It was so lovely to introduce Otis to his dad and big brother. Such an emotional time.
After waiting to see the doctor again, Otis and I were discharged. It really helped to go home so early, to become a family together again. And together we have remained. This last week we have lived in our own blissful cocoon.
And of course, the sibling gift. What could be better than a new, shiny, red fire engine.