Isabel is an amazing, strong woman who came to me for pregnancy care.  She had planned to move overseas, and as you'll read, her pregnancy came as a surprise.  She planned a homebirth with a midwife overseas - but the story has a twist in it!  We went about the pregnancy, preparing thoroughly for an active, natural and drug-free birth.  I was thrilled to receive Isabel's birth story, and she has kindly agreed to share it here.

Thank You to all the women out there who shared their birth stories and experiences which gave me to determination to birth at home. Now it is my turn to write the story I have been so looking forward to… I hope I help inspire another mum-to-be to have the great confidence in her own ability and her body’s ability to birth her baby safely and naturally…love Isabel xx

Our beautiful birth story of baby Zachary by Isabel and Jed

It started in mid-April when I noticed an unusual change in my body. I pee-ed my pants when I sneezed. Even though I have a very weak bladder control and recurrent cystitis I had never done that before. I decided to get a urine test and after 4 weak positives I decided the product was defective and I needed to go see a real doctor tomorrow.

Half way through a busy day at work as a Veterinarian, caring for animals, it hit me that I might be pregnant and that we weren’t really ready for this big change in our lives. I broke down and cried. I left work early to go see the doctor. Jed met me at the clinic and we saw the doctor together. The doctor promptly told me, “My Dear, there isn’t such a thing as false positive results. Only false negative are possible. You ARE pregnant!”

I guess at that point both Jed and I had a lot of conflicting feelings. We had only just gotten married less than a month ago. We had a wedding dinner to attend in Malaysia followed by a honeymoon which required us to trek over 4000km up a mountain. At the same time it was such a big surprise and blessing to know that we were able to have a baby. We both set about sorting through our feelings and thoughts for a couple of weeks before letting the rest of the family and friends know about it.

It was a smooth pregnancy and we had amazing help and support from friends and family. We learnt so much from our lovely midwife, Melissa Maimann and our ante natal teacher, Julie Clarke. It was basically life changing. I had known I would have needed to hit the books for this but who would have thought I find so much conflicting information. It was hard making the right choices. It was doubly hard to not have my sisters around which I rely on so much for guidance. Jed was so good and read everything I told him to. I only had to chuck temper tantrums once a month. =)

In the end, I decided I wanted to have a home birth because I dislike being told what to do with regards to my body and I strongly dislike needles. I spent a lot of time visualising what my ideal birth/labour would be like and tried to get the support network I needed to achieve this dream. It wasn’t easy finding medical people to agree so in the end I realised it would probably just be Jed, Alicia and my mom helping me. I prayed to whoever was listening that everything would go smoothly and I that neither Zachary or I would not need medical help.

Fast forward about 9 months to December, my mucus plug came out throughout the day on the 13th with no signs of labour. So we decided to head over to the homeopath for back up help if needed to get the contractions going.

Almost a week later, on the 22nd of December my waters broke at 2am. It was such a surreal feeling as I sneezed and wet the bed. I was surprised at how wet the bed was and decided to stand up and this big gush of clear warm water ran down my legs. I then realised that my waters had broken and that I would be meeting my baby today.

I woke Jed up and told him the news. Since there were no signs of contractions once again I decided to take the homeopathic remedy and we both went back to sleep.

By 4am, I was uncomfortable enough to wake up and walk around. I emptied my bowels multiple times and drank lots of water and ate some fruit. At 5am I woke Jed up and told him to pump up the exercise ball and warm up the heat packs. By 6am, contractions were regular and about 15 minutes apart, Jed started filling up the bath tub. However, there was no hot water because the water heater had been turned off. So off he woke mom up to take over comforting me and went to boil many many pots of water.

I sat on the bathroom floor rocking on the exercise ball and constantly visualising a soft open cervix and my baby descending nicely. I breathed nicely through each contraction remember our Calmbirth classes.
Heat packs placed on the lower back and under the belly helped with the discomfort as well.

The exercise ball was good for sleeping and resting on between contractions. Around 7 o’clock the bath tub was finally ready, got in and felt lots better. Alicia came shortly after and took over from mom. She gave awesome back rubs and was such a grounding energy which was exactly what I needed to get things done. Things went quickly after that.

Jed got into the water around 8am and I knelt down with my arms wrapped around him. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart then and required a lot more attention. I kept reminding myself that each contraction meant one step closer to seeing Zachary. I felt him slowly pressing down on my cervix and my cervix dilating.

Vocalising helped during the contractions. Jed was a great help reminding me to breathe and not hold my breath.

He was like a rock I knew I could rely on. Did a few self vaginal exams and could feel Zachary’s head progressing downwards.At about 8.20am I realised I was in transition, his head was crowning and I wasn’t fully dilated. Was upset and freaked out but Alicia reminded me to trust in my body. Took a deep breath and focused on opening my cervix up. A few minutes later I was ready to push, Zachary came out head first with a hand. I rested for a few seconds till the next contractions came and looked up at Jed and said “Are you ready? He is coming.” Jed caught Zachary Francis McKenna at 8.38am
We were both ecstatic and sat there admiring for a while. He started crying almost immediately and looked around at all of us.

Stood up and tried to birth placenta but couldn’t so I went back to the room. He started feeding soon after and I was enjoying his skin to skin contact. The doctor arrived soon after he advised us to clamp the cord and get the placenta out.

Jed was frantic and really wanted the placenta out because he was worried about bleeding. I was getting a little annoyed by his constant fussing. We clamped the cord and Jed cut it. The doctor applied gentle traction and got the placenta out. Finally we were left alone for some quiet time.

I would like to thank my lovely husband for supporting me through the pregnancy and birth and agreeing to a home birth and studying so hard.

I would also like to thank Melissa and Julie for their teachings which allowed me to have the confidence to do this, although neither of them endorsed free birthing they were not judgmental.

No amount of thank you can express my gratitude for having Alicia around to show me there were many options and that we need to take charge of our own births.

Many thanks to my Mom and Dad for allowing me to use their house. Last of all, Thank You to all the women out there who shared their birth stories and experiences which gave me to determination to birth at home.