Olga – Homebirth

Homebirth with Mireia from MareNostrum
I had planned a homebirth from the start as my sister also gave birth at home back in my native Russia and had a great experience. I knew I needed thorough preparation so I researched well the subject, used the Natal Hypnotherapy CDs throughout the pregnancy, swam twice a week, frequently used the birth ball, went to yoga for pregnant women classes, and really looked after my nutrition and generally the emotional and physical state. My husband and I followed the birth preparation course at MareNostrum in Barcelona and were happy with all the midwives we met there. In parallel we went to all our appointments at Tecnon in Barcelona but doctors there were a big disappointment. They prescribed unnecessary tests and antibiotics, and were keen to do a scan at every visit so in the end I just had to refuse them except for the main ones. This was however better than the first doctor that I went to in Sant Cugat where we live – on mentioning that we were thinking about homebirth she said that we were irresponsible parents, almost threatened me with a law suit and said that Hospital General de Catalunya (we live right next to it) would not accept me in case of an emergency, which is a complete lie!
Anyway, I felt very well throughout the pregnancy and was looking forward to the birth. And that day came two weeks before the due date, on Monday 23 June. Contractions started on Sunday at 7-8 in the morning; they were light, and I had almost a normal day, just stopping when the contraction was coming and wiggling my bottom. Then at night they got more intense, I put on candles and peppermint oil in the burner, the birth music was playing, and I went on all fours on the bed and spent 22.00-3am like this. Then contractions got even stronger (well, there was no going back!) and my husband suggested I go in the bath. This was my last ‘remedy’ and I did not want to use it yet but he insisted, and so I did. The problem was that my back was sticking out of the water and all I wanted was heat on my lower back. Only afterwards did it occur to us that we could have used the shower to pour hot water on me. But in the heat of the moment I just got disappointed that it did not help and got out of the water. The contractions got quite regular and strong by then, every 2-3 minutes and I asked my husband to call Mireia, our midwife from Mare Nostrum, I was desperate for her to come and do something! When she came I was 6cm dilated and this really disappointed me as I thought the baby was about to come out, but here you go, patience… I sat on the birth ball and it worked for a while, and then on the birth stool. By that time, the pain was really strong but luckily the body took care of that, and now I remember little of it, the feeling was as if I was drugged, everything was in the haze, and I was falling asleep in between the contractions. My husband was running between me and the microwave to heat the socks filled with rice and put them on my back. This was making a huge difference to me, so he was constantly on the move. Mireia filled the pool in the meantime and there I went at 10 in the morning. It felt great, the contractions stopped for about five minutes and gave me a break. From what Mireia told me I spent two hours in the pool in transition, and one hour in the pushing stage. My preparation served me well then, as I kept repeating positive phrases from the tapes I was listening to, and also I was thinking: if my mom did it four times and my sister did it, I can too! I also thought about the baby, that he should not be scared, and that he should do it at his own rhythm. I felt it was very important to keep control over your mind, if not it was easy to start panicking. Anyway, finally I felt that ‘ring of fire’, and with a ‘gluc’ the head came out. Then with the next contraction his body was born. My husband and Mireia got him under the water and brought him up to the surface. We saw that his whole body was still in the amniotic bag – I did not break waters, so in the end it probably was not too bad for him… it was unbelievable to see this little human being emerge from the dark water, as if out of nowhere, and realise it had been inside of you. He started shouting for life and did that for a while! We sat there marvelling at him until Mireia said he might be getting cold and that I should get out of the pool. So I did, with him in my arms and the umbilical cord between my legs. I lay on the sofa and he breastfed a little, the placenta was born and my husband cut the cord. It was still unbelievable, surreal. Then I had a shower and we moved to the bedroom where we continued staring at each other in amazement! Mireia did a great job of cleaning up everything, she checked that we were all fine (I had a little tear but it did not need stitching) and left.
Looking back I am really glad we did it that way, it was only us doing it, it was gentle, on our terms, a family event, as I hoped it would be… We feel we gave our baby the best possible start in life, he is calm and happy. Mireia is a real professional, she created for us the feeling of privacy and was in control at the same time. We spoke English throughout the birth which was fantastic for me as my Spanish became all of a sudden non-existent! I would not change a thing about the experience.