Kristy and Alan Wilkie always knew they wanted a big family and after their fourth bub, they thought their tribe was complete. But their little surprise Hamish had other plans, and he became the Victorian family’s third homebirth.
Acupuncture, frustration and a house full of kids
Like any mum at the end of her pregnancy, Kristy was keen for the action to start and after a couple of rough nights, she resorted to acupuncture to get things going. That night was another restless one.
“I was woken a few times Wednesday night by my 18-month-old and then again at 6 am so I breastfeed her in the hope it would get labour going properly or she’d at least go back to sleep. She didn’t but it had made me have some pains I thought were Braxton Hicks as not regular and only my lower belly which actually made me quite upset.
“My husband woke to his alarm and heard me crying and asked what was wrong to which I replied I was just so tired and sore. He took my daughter while I went to the toilet but there was no show or anything so again I felt uncomfortable but couldn’t say I was in labour and as disappointed as I thought if there was another sign like a show then it would be happening. I decided to call my midwife but it was diverted to another midwife who I explained what was happening and she even heard me have a contraction but she said it was so short only about 20 seconds so she didn’t think it was a contraction either.”
Kristy said she would wait another 10 minutes and she’d let the midwife know what was happening because she didn’t want to ‘waste her time’. Her midwife said she would sit tight but get ready just in case.
“I got off the phone and asked my husband to stay home as I didn’t know what was going on. He agreed but I got upset again as I wasn’t sure if anything would even happen – this was at 6.30am. I had a pain which was a bit more intense than before so I then decided to call the midwife back and say come which she was just in the shower but would come straight away but was travelling about an hour.”
A little crowd of onlookers
Kristy’s husband Alan called his mum to come and look after the other kids, just as her pain started to intensify.
“By this time my 7-year-old daughter was also awake. I made my way to the rumpus where we planned to our homebirth, my husband started to fill the birth pool that we had set up with the help of my daughters with my 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son now awake also.
“I had more strong contractions which we couldn’t even time as they were often and all over the place and during this time my son reminded me to breathe and rubbed my back but I was also calling for my husband to be with me and help me breathe through the contractions. I went to the toilet and had contractions there but then moved back to the rumpus where the pain started to change to bearing down at that point my husband tried to convince me to take off my pants as I hadn’t even had the chance to do that yet. I asked him to wait until after the next contraction. As soon as they were off I felt the urge to push and my waters broke which is when I realised we would be having this birth unassisted again.
“I tried to slow down my breathing as I knew he would be here quick now that my waters had broken. I had another push or two and then could feel the burning sensation of his head crowning and Alan was telling me he could see the head but I was so concentrated looking forward I had no idea who was behind me. I asked him who was there and he told me Gracie so I called out to the other three to come quickly as their brother was coming. They all came in and I needed another push to get his head out so I said to him ‘come on Hamish’ while grunting and pushing which was the moment the other children found out his name. At this time Charli was in the room and became a little upset at hearing me pushing but she was ok.
“His head came out with the next push and I felt a huge sense of relief, Alan told me to keep pushing to quickly get his body out but I needed a moment to breathe and slow down. When I felt the urge to push again I knew he could come in one go so I concentrated all my energy to push down and he came out. Alan lifted him up to me and I asked him to take my tops off which were still on then once he did that I placed Hamish on my chest. Hamish didn’t make any noise and Alan asked if he was ok which I knew he was he was calm and breathing well. I didn’t know at the time but only Gracie had stayed the other children left to another room. I asked Alan to look under me as I felt there was a bit of blood which he did but we weren’t sure. The children all came to look at him and me.
“Alan helped me to turn and put a towel on us, we sat there for a minute and Alan then called the midwife to tell her he was born. He mentioned to her there may be a bit of blood but she suggested an ambulance as she was still 10 minutes away. Alan’s mum arrived in the meantime and I felt the urge to push again delivering the placenta. Alan helped get it into the container and helped me onto the couch with Hamish. He then called the ambulance but they were asking a lot of questions so I told him to give the phone to his mum and come sit with us which he did.”
A family of seven
When the ambulance arrived the paramedics checked Kristy’s blood pressure and sugar levels, which were fine. She was offered the chance to head to the hospital but she wanted to wait for her midwife.
“She arrived a few minutes later and checked the blood loss and my tummy and said there was no need to go anywhere as all was good. We were then able to sit back and feel relaxed, the ambulance left and Alan had a hold while I went to the toilet. His mum also had a hold and the children continued to cuddle me and Hamish.
The second midwife arrived and they filled out paperwork while we spent time with Hamish then our original midwife Jacqui arrived so we were able to tell her the whole story!
“Alan cut the cord after an hour or two and Gracie carried him over with help to weigh him and put his first nappy on. Everything was good so Jacqui left and I decided to have a shower while Alan cuddled Hamish. I then went back to the rumpus where I spent the rest of the day cuddling him and having skin to skin contact with him.”
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