Kimberley Northcott wanted a natural, intervention-free hospital birth for her third baby – and she almost got everything she wished for. But her baby had other ideas.
The West Australian mum gave birth to her daughter in the shower at home, after a rapid-fire labour that took everyone by surprise.
‘I wanted as little intervention as possible’
After two previous inductions and a miscarriage, Kimberley told Mum’s Grapevine that she wanted her rainbow baby to arrive with as little intervention as possible.
“Being our fourth pregnancy I had wished and prepared for a natural hospital birth. After having two previous inductions for the birth of our older boys and a miscarriage several months before conceiving again I wanted as little intervention as possible.”
“I continued on with my day to day life during these contractions even picking our eldest son up from school. During the early hours of our baby’s birth day, with contractions 10 minutes apart but lasting 60 seconds, we made our way to hospital only to be sent home after some monitoring which showed it was only early labour and told to return when contractions were regular and more painful.”
At home, Kimberley napped between contractions and used a birth ball, tens machine and hypnobirthing techniques to pass the time.
“I was feeling utterly deflated and concerned I would be experiencing this for many more hours or even days.
Contractions had become very irregular since visiting the hospital, only feeling uncomfortable every so often.”
A baby in the shower
After trying to rest in bed for a while, Kimberley got up to use the toilet, and that’s when she had two strong contractions just a couple of minutes apart.
“Just following my instincts and doing what they suggested in the hospital to stay comfortable and help progress labour I jumped in the shower. At this point, I continued to have another contraction which felt more intense, with lower pressure. I called my husband into the room, I recall saying the baby is coming.
“While my husband made phone calls to the hospital and then to 000 I continued to experience intense contractions and while trying to support myself could feel babies head emerging. My mind was trying to control and not have this baby my body had naturally taken over. With the emergency service operator trying to guide us and establish where we were at, things had progressed very fast and with four contractions down one last strong contractions saw our baby into this world.
“Kneeling in the shower, I guided and delivered the baby by myself born as the amniotic sack ruptured giving her some extra momentum facing sunny side up (posterior). Approximately a minute later we were in the company of the paramedics who were just as surprised and shocked as we were. Once the cord had stopped pulsating they allowed my husband to cut the cord and we were prepared for our transfer to hospital.”
As she was loaded into the ambulance with new baby Iris Mae, Kimberley was in the third stage of labour and her body began to go into shock. She was experiencing postpartum haemorrhage and was finding it hard to stay awake and breathe. Her bleeding was controlled once she arrived at the hospital, and she was treated by medical staff. The next day Kimberley and Iris were discharged to recover at home and soak up the bliss of their unexpected birth.
“Sometimes you can have all the ideas and plans in the world and then the unexpected occurs. Even with the complications after I feel utterly empowered by our accidental homebirth and in awe of the female body. In many ways it was a dream come true. Never in a million years would I of thought I could be capable of birthing on my own, let alone labouring with no medical pain relief or even going into labour without intervention to begin with. Birth is not to be feared and I hope that in sharing stories, even when they aren’t all positive it can empower others to have more faith in themselves or also embrace their own story.”
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