I am in a non-monogamous marriage (also known as polyamorous) with my fantastic husband Matt and my other long-term partner, Sam. This was a planned pregnancy, agreed by all three of us, with Matt as the known father.
Before the pandemic Matt and I had been trying to get pregnant for 5 months. Then lockdown happened and we debated whether to stop TTC, given the pandemic and our suddenly precarious financial situation, but decided to see what happened. We work in Theatre so now being in lockdown we had more ‘normal’ eating and sleeping schedules. Soon enough, we were pregnant!
I had an uneventful pregnancy with the usual nausea and no risk factors aside from my age (36). I felt strongly that a home birth would be best for our family. As restrictions on birth partners came about, my desire to stay at home only grew. We spent a long time discussing our options as a family and in the end we decided to hire a private midwife who was able to protect our choice to birth at home.
We purchased the Hypnobirthing Digital Pack from PBC and watched the videos together as a three. I found the pack to be an absolute game-changer for the simple act of making space each week to sit together and think about the birth. Watching and discussing the material together openly and honestly, including voicing our worries, really forced me to face some of my deepest held fears, gave Matt and Sam a chance to figure out their own unique roles in my birth, and made us feel like an invincible team.
From 32 weeks Edith was back to back. My midwife, Rene explained what this meant and said that my surges may be accompanied by back pain. However, I was told she’d probably move of her own accord and given lots of exercises to do. At the 36 week scan, she was still back to back. At this point, I really started to worry. This drastically increased the chances of me going to hospital and my birth team being separated. We’d long agreed that since Matt was the biological father he would be the parent that would attend if it came to it, but the thought of having Sam absent when his daughter entered the world left me in tears. The weeks kept passing, and I could tell she hadn’t turned. My faith in my body started to waver.
On Saturday I had some jelly-like discharge. I told the boys that the start of my plug was coming away but we reminded each other to stay relaxed. We went to bed at midnight and that night I was sharing my room with Sam. I kissed Matt goodnight and told him to get some good rest, just in case! Sam and I stayed awake cuddling and made love before falling asleep at 1am. I woke up at 4am. Within an hour I was having mild surges so I went downstairs, ever-mindful that a back-to-back labour could be very long.
At 6am I woke Sam and he sat downstairs with me. At 6.46am we opened the Freya app and recorded irregular surges. My back was aching so Sam got me a heat-pack and we went to bed, dozing between surges until 8.30am when I was prompted by a much more powerful surge to head to the bathroom to find yet more mucus. I texted my midwife, Rene, and gave her a heads up that things might be getting started.
By 11am the surges were consistently every 7-8 mins and I could feel them strongly in my back. I woke Matt and filled him in and we all had breakfast. None of us were expecting to meet our baby within the next 24 hours! At 1.30pm I woke from a nap with a more powerful surge but after this things started to taper back down to every 10-12 mins. Matt and I went for a walk and then we all relaxed on the sofa. At 7.30pm the surges became powerful again and I lost more mucus.
At 9pm I used the Freya app and recorded consistent surges 6-7 mins apart. By 10.30pm they had increased to every 4-5 mins and at 11pm I asked for my TENS machine. The boys sat with me timing the surges and stroking my hair. By midnight my Freya app said I was in ‘established labour’, yet I was still unconvinced.
I was insistent I was miles from the finish line. Wary of being demoralised, I pleaded with the boys not to call Rene our midwife. After an hour I realised Matt had moved from beside me. Sam said he’d gone to the bathroom. I later found out they’d been texting each other and decided it was time to call the midwife. I am so pleased they did! Our midwife, Rene, stayed on the phone with Matt to hear me moan through a surge and told Matt to start setting up the birth pool, quick!
Rene arrived at 2am and sprung into action. I was still using my up breathing and the TENS machine, and although it was incredibly intense, I was coping okay.
At 2.30am, my water broke. The sensation was so strange. I then noticed Matt was back and so I asked about the pool. Rene gently told me I wouldn’t make it into the birth pool and I would be having the baby very soon! I vividly remember at this point shaking my head and saying “No, I want the pool!”. I struggled to get my head around the change of plan for a few moments before I realised, if I wasn’t going to make it downstairs I wasn’t going to have to transfer into hospital! I was going to have my home birth and I wouldn’t have to be separated from Matt or Sam!
I became aware of myself making loud, powerful and involuntary noises. They helped focus my energy. The second midwife hadn’t arrived so Matt was drafted in to hold a torch while Sam remained sat on the bed rubbing my back. It felt impossibly intense but Rene guided me through everything. I felt the head be born with a pop and what felt like a long pause until the body came out, and she was there! I picked her up and sat holding her in my arms. Rene, Matt, Sam, me, and our seconds old baby Edith. We’d done it!
I had an hour of skin to skin. This part is all a blissful blur. Matt cut the cord after it had turned white. The second midwife arrived and paperwork started. No one took her from me or bothered me. I was helped to latch Edith and she had her first feed. After a couple of pushes I birthed the placenta with no intervention. A little while later, I went to have a shower and passed Edith to Matt for his first hold. She was weighed and checked while I was in the shower. Once clean I lay back on the bed to be checked. I had a graze, but otherwise all was well. By 6.30am, three hours after she was born, all was tidy and I was tucked up in bed with Edie. The midwives left at 7am. Matt came to bed with me and Edie, Sam took the other room, and we all slept for a couple of hours before waking about 9am as a family of 4.
I am slightly sad I didn’t get to use the birth pool or even see the beautiful birth space Matt set up for me. But, overall, I had a dream birth. I’ve never been more proud of myself, and I’ve never loved my partners more than I did in those 24 hours.
We’d love to have more children and I feel excited to give birth again. Not just okay with the idea, actively excited. If you’re reading this and you’ve given birth, I hope this brought back positive memories. If you’re yet to give birth, I hope this is yet another voice counteracting the mainstream media scaremongering.