Boxing Day morning, having not long got showered and dressed, we were chatting about what to do for the day when my phone went off. It was a text from Alex, "Morning! Hope you had a lovely Christmas with the family? Just to give you a heads up, I think my waters are starting to leak. All good for now, no other symptoms yet, will keep you updated". That made the decision for us, we'd stay home and head off out for a walk around the village, so that I could dash off when needed.
I text Alex later that evening to let her know that I was headed to bed and to ring me if anything changed or if I needed to join them. I lost count of how many times I woke that night, checking my phone for any news before eventually nodding off again.
I woke the following morning to a text from Alex from about an hour previous, letting me know that she was having surges every 10 minutes or so and that she'd keep me updated. We kept in touch throughout the day, with things staying on a steady level, so again I headed to bed at a fairly early hour, just in case! (Most of my friends will tell you how rubbish I am at staying up in the evenings even on a normal night!)
I woke just as our daughter came bounding into the room, full of energy at 06:30 and then my phone started to ring. It was Christian, Alex's husband, he explained things had been ramping up since earlier that morning and that it was probably time to head over and join them. I quickly got myself sorted, had a slurp of my cuppa, said goodbye to the family and headed over to join them.
Arriving just after 07:30 as the sun started to illuminate the sky, Christian opened the door, welcoming me into a very peaceful and calm environment. I introduced myself to Alex's sister who had been staying with them over the Christmas period and headed into the lounge. Alex was quietly labouring over her birthing ball with her doula Lucy nearby and her son Rufus, who was so loving and gentle towards his mama throughout, it absolutely melted my heart!
The midwives arrived a short time after, went through Alex's birth plan, carried out a couple of checks and then settled down for the morning, respecting Alex's wishes for a hands off birth. We had all headed into the kitchen by this point, where we sat chatting and playing with Rufus for some time.
A little later Alex decided to head upstairs for a shower whilst Christian took Rufus out to let him burn off a bit of energy and hopefully have a nap. We then spent the morning moving between the kitchen and the lounge, allowing Alex to have space alone as she needed it. We took it in turns to make rounds of tea, do a little bit of washing up or just generally helping where we could.
Before long it was lunchtime and Christian had now returned with Rufus. Lunch was prepared and we all sat together at the dining table to have tomato soup with bread and butter. It was rather like continuing the Christmas celebrations with your extended family! We all sat, chatting and laughing our way through lunch, it really was such a lovely atmosphere.
Things had since slowed down a little so the midwives headed off for a bit, asking that someone call when things progressed further.
Alex then spent most of the afternoon in the lounge, with Rufus not far from her side. The log burner was roaring and the birthing pool was near ready, just with the task of keeping it at the right temperature.
By about 16:00 things had progressed quite a lot and Alex was feeling the need to get into the pool. So with the help of Christian and Lucy, Alex got ready, climbed into the pool and the look of relief across her face said it all.
Not long after the midwives returned as the light outside was starting to fade. The curtains were pulled as Alex sunk into the pool, letting the water take the weight and providing some relief. The room remained calm and quiet, Rufus snuggled with his auntie in the corner reading a book whilst everyone else offered support to Alex as and when needed.
Time then just seemed to disappear, each hour rolling into the next, as Alex worked harder and harder to bring her baby down and welcome him into the world. As each surge took hold, Alex became this primal, powerful mother, roaring her way through it. I was in absolute awe of her, the midwives remained hands off as Alex listened to her body, allowing it to guide her through each stage.
As transition hit, Alex began to panic and question whether she could do it or not, it wouldn't be long until she met her sweet baby. She had now been pushing for quite a long time and on recommendation of the midwives, Alex was helped out of the pool to try a different position. She crouched, squatting and leaning against Lucy for support and within half an hour of leaving the pool and a few super strong contractions later, gorgeous little Eden made his way into the world at 21:01. The room was instantly filled with overwhelming love and happiness.
Once the placenta had been delivered, Alex and Eden were checked over. By now two more midwives had arrived for the shift change, so people gradually started to leave. But not before the midwives and Lucy assisted Alex to shower, then getting them all snuggled in bed with their newest addition, leaving them to soak up all of that newborn goodness as a family of four.
Thank you to both Alex and Christian for inviting me to share such an intimate time with them and for also allowing me to share their story, I am truly grateful for both. It was also such a pleasure to work alongside Lucy and the community midwives, this really is a job which I feel incredibly honoured to do!
Lucy offers doula, hypnobirthing and placenta encapsulation services across Somerset, West Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), details can be found here.
Alex also offers hypnobirthing, birth trauma therapy, CalmFamily parenting and freedom fertility coaching, across London and Somerset, of which details can be found here.
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