I can't believe he is 1 today!! Such a wonderful first year, I really couldn't have imagined a smoother transition to being a family of 5!!
He is the sweetest little soul who adores his brothers & his Mama and Daddy! And we adore him right back!
Here is Caspian's birth story:
In hindsight there were many signs in the week leading up to The 21st that would point to a a birth being close. I wasn't looking for them though.
I was 37 weeks, heading to 38 & because my second baby arrived after 41 weeks & I had let myself get disheartened at that time, I was preparing myself the whole of this pregnancy for a 42 week gestation. Anything before that would be an exciting bonus.
On the morning of the 21st (a Sunday) I woke at 4am. In that kind of half asleep half awake haze, I had the thought that I was about to wet my pants. I got off the bed, trying to go as quickly and quietly as I could (squeaky springs!) as I was in with my 2yr old son. I really did not want to wake him.
As soon as I stood up, liquid went everywhere, soaking my pyjama pants and socks. In my head I'm thinking, damn pregnancy induced bladder control!
I started towards the bedroom door & with each step, more and more liquid gushed. I remember feeling embarrassed, even though I was in my own home, that I had wet my pants. Eventually I made it the 4 metres to the bathroom, leaving a river of liquid in my wake. I was so baffled at how I just could not contain my bladder no matter how hard I squeezed my pelvic floor!
Once I had stripped of my wet clothes & started drying my legs off with a towel (of course this was futile as each time I bent over, more liquid gushed out), I started to become a bit clearer of mind and the thought crossed my mind that this could be my waters. It had not been my experience before, my first was an AROM and my second popped in the shower just 20min before he was born.
Being the google fan that I am, I grabbed my phone & searched "have I wet myself or have my waters broken?". It seems funny now, but thankfully many others had asked the question before me. I received the "advice" to sniff the liquid and see if it smelt sterile (or bleachy). It did! Thankyou Google!
I called out as quietly as I could, to try and wake Kaleb. Thankfully he roused fairly quickly (he would have been close to getting up for work anyway) & came down to see what was wrong. I told him what was happening & asked if he could quietly clean up all the liquid beside Leo's bed. I was worried he would hop up when he realised I wasn't there & slip in it.
Once I had a bit more control of the situation, I rolled up a towel for between my legs and went back to bed. I had not yet begun any sensations & thought it best to try & rest a while longer.
A short while later, I felt a light sensation roll over my belly. I checked the time: 4:52am. Then another 4 minutes later, then 11 minutes, then 7. I have a history of irregular contractions that don't even out in time or intensity, right up until birth. I had discussed this with the midwife & I knew she would come as soon as I called her, particularly as she lived almost an hour away. (My previous labour had been 3hrs 47min). At about 5:30 am I felt an urgent need for the loo, & realised while on there, experiencing some mild diarrhoea, that we had no toilet paper. Kaleb scrounged me up some kitchen paper towel (I do not recommend!).
By now, the boys (ages 5 & 2) had woken up &I told them that today is the day we will meet the baby! Kaleb made them some breakfast, while I called my Mum. I asked if she could drop off some toilet paper & maternity pads at some stage in the morning.
Then I called the midwife. She was asleep (I think it was around 6am). She took a few minutes and then jumped into action, remembering my previous fast birth. I also did not have the birth pool yet, as she was waiting on another mama to birth before passing that pool on to me. (That mama was almost 42 weeks and I was "early" at 38 weeks - she birthed the same day as me, in the evening! Full moon!). I knew the midwife would be a while, she needed to pick up her birth partner & then stop & pick up another pool. I continued wandering around the house, chatting to Kaleb & the kids, kind of in disbelief that baby was coming soon.
I asked Kaleb to attach the hose to the kitchen tap, so as to be ready to fill the pool up, but he couldn't figure out how to do it & we didn't seem to have the right attachment. I was kicking myself that we hadn't sorted this out earlier. Thankfully when the midwife arrived she had a handy bag full of tap fittings & got the hose sorted for us.
Just as the birth pool was about ready, my Mum arrived with the loo paper and pads. She stayed for a little bit, along with her husband, who had never seen a woman in labour before (he doesn't have children), he kept making awkward comments to the midwife like "so, you do this baby delivering thing in homes then". I started down the hallway to go to the toilet again & had the strongest surge yet. I had to grip the doorway & vocalise through it. The midwife called out that that sounded different & I said things certainly shifted with that one. I thought it best to usher out my visitors (they were on their way to church anyway) & get down to business. I knew that the baby would not be far off.
I took off my skirt and hopped into the pool. I left my shirt on for some extra warmth. It was winter after all, & our old house up on the range gets mighty cold. Our heating was not working, & all we had going was a crappy little fan heater. I floated around in the pool for a bit, keeping vocal through the surges & at one stage I asked Kaleb to take the boys outside for a walk. They were doing really well with this situation but maybe a bit too well! Asking me to read stories, splashing hands in the pool and playing Angry Birds on the couch next to me, it kinda felt like a really normal day in our house, particularly as ABC4Kids was on the TV behind me!
I was starting to feel a bit pushy & just let my body go with it.
I was now on all fours pushing my head into the birth pool wall with each surge. I was finding it difficult, having nothing solid to hold or push against. My female birth attendants were sitting in front of me at the dining table, then with the next surge, I had to really roar and pushed my head so hard into the pool wall. When it came to an end & I looked up, the ladies were gone. I looked around & they were both now behind me. I took this as a good sign & asked if they could see his head. Nope.
It was at this point that I asked for some direction. I was feeling unstable in the pool (I had never birthed in water before) & felt like I was not getting much achieved on all fours. The midwife suggested I float on my back a bit & push my feet into the wall of the pool while Kaleb supported me from behind. There was an almost instant shift in gear, which caused me to panic. Leonardo had been born so quickly & I ended up with a second degree tear, so I was mindful of this part moving too fast. I started to clamp my knees together & got pretty vocal at this point. Belinda kept a reassuring hand on my knee, to remind me to make some space for the baby.
I also realised at this point that Roman had been in his room playing Lego. I called out for him as I knew he didn't want to miss his brother being born. He made it just as the baby whooshed out into the pool at 9:17am. I reached down and put my hands on him and lifted him to my chest! The absolute best moment, it simply cannot be replicated!! I commented that he was "so small" but the midwife gave me a wide eyed look & replied that he was not a small baby!! (Looking back at photos from that day, I can see her point!!) He was absolutely covered in vernix & was very quiet. He had no reason to be upset! We cuddled for a while & his Daddy & big brothers came in close to meet him.
After about 40 min he went to the breast (he was a voracious sucker that morning and unfortunately it didn't last, we had a difficult start to our Breastfeeding relationship, but with good help we got it sorted) and then 10 minutes later I could feel some tightenings. With some pushes the placenta arrived 1 hour after him.
His cord was cut and I passed him to Kaleb while I attempted to get out of the water. I was reminded how difficult it is to regain your centre of gravity once all that weight has gone from your front! I was tucked into bed while he was weighed next to me, 9 lb 5 oz! Much smaller than I had gotten myself prepared for. But a lovely generous size for 38 weeks!
We laid in bed for a few hours with the occasional visit from daddy and brothers. I had a shower and some lunch before his grandparents arrived to meet him. We waited until the next day to name him Caspian Marc Harper.
In short our family-centred homebirth was one of the best decisions we'd ever made! Birth belongs to women and families...
And a little slide show from his birth:
(I hope the link works! I'm really over blogging from my phone - looking forward to a new computer!!)
Thankyou for following along on our journey this past year (and beyond!)