Anna Hein had always yearned for a fourth baby. But as her three children grew older, and time ticked on, the South Australian mum thought she’d missed her moment.
But the universe had other plans, and while the journey was anything but easy, Anna finally has precious baby number four in her arms. She’s shared her very personal story and moving home water birth images with Mum’s Grapevine.
One more to love
Anna and her husband Dan had always longed for a fourth baby to join their family of five. Living in rural South Australia, Anna was busy homeschooling their three children, 11-year-old Axel, nine-year-old Ava aged six-year-old Marley. She began thinking she’d left her run too late for another bub.
“After my niece was born, our older children loved her so much that they often begged us for another baby, so eventually we just decided we needed one more to love!” Anna told Mum’s Grapevine. “Sadly, we had a miscarriage at 10 weeks, which I found very hard. Three months later we tried again (once!) and that month we had two lines!
“Marley told me one night early on in pregnancy, ‘Don’t worry mum, this baby isn’t going to die’. All the children, but especially Marley loved following along with my pregnancy and would always know how many weeks I was and what size the baby was. Although I secretly hoped for a girl to even out the score, when I saw my baby on the first scan at 13 weeks, I immediately thought, that’s Ezra!
“At 20 weeks, we had an archery surprise gender reveal, which showered us with blue confetti! A boy, Ezra it was.”
A bittersweet final few days
On February 3, 2021, Anna had made it to 40 weeks and one day. As excited as she was to meet her baby, she was mourning the passing of her beloved grandmother.
“This was the day of my nanna’s funeral. She passed a week earlier and I just knew my body would hold out until after her funeral. How sad it was that she would not be meeting her newest great-grandson. I had a feeling things would happen over the weekend after the emotions of the week had settled down. Everyone kept wanting to know when our little man was going to come, but I wasn’t worried. I’d calmly respond, ‘He’ll choose the right day’.
Three days later, Anna traveled an hour from her home to celebrate her sister’s birthday. Having gone over 40 weeks, and had long labours with her three other children, she wasn’t concerned about being so far from home.
“During the evening, I felt several niggles that I paid attention to. They were sporadic and inconsistent but were there. I also began losing a fair bit of mucus. A good sign! That night Dan and I set the birth pool up and got ourselves to bed early, hoping for things to pick up.”
‘Wonder sparkled in her eyes’
The next morning, Anna had reached five days overdue. Given her third baby had arrived at five days over, she was hopeful that it could be the day.
“My midwife was already booked in to see me at midday. I decided to let her know that she didn’t need to come as I felt I’d be calling on her at some point later that day anyway, but she insisted she still come. I was feeling fine, nothing much besides some odd niggles were happening and I had a hankering for pumpkin soup, so off to the shops I went to get some ingredients. Jo, my midwife arrived just as we’d sat down to lunch. She shared a bowl of soup with us, and we enjoyed a casual chat. This was what I loved best about prenatal care with a homebirth midwife. No rushing out of the house for appointments, no waiting rooms, no waiting! Having her visit was just like having a friend over for a cuppa. Jo checked my blood pressure and baby’s heart rate and felt his position as usual. Everything was fine. Baby was head down and in a great position.
“Throughout the afternoon, I continued to lose more mucus plug and felt the surges more strongly. By late afternoon, I decided to take the kids for a good walk to help things along. We have a beautiful creek loop walk we love to do which includes a good hill. I well and truly felt like a waddling penguin at this stage! The walk was beneficial and aided in me losing a lot more plug. Over dinner, I began timing my surges. They were becoming closer together and increasing in intensity. About every 15 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds. Dan and I got everything cleaned up and the kids organised for bed. Ava helped me hang some fairy lights up around the birth pool and I set out all my last-minute birthing supplies.
“As the children were all tucked up, I looked around the room we’d prepared and felt such an emotional sense of happiness. Before me, in the beautiful space, I would soon experience the challenge and the privilege of bringing our fourth child into the world. What an honour lay before me.”
Anna tried to sleep, but after a few hours of restlessness, she headed to the lounge room. She timed her contractions, turned on her oil diffuser, switched on the fairy lights, and prepared a hot water bottle.
“As I laboured over my birth ball, timing my contractions, I was messaging my younger sister who was up feeding her little one in the night. She was wildly excited for me! Sometimes I silently marched around the kitchen, taking deep breaths. Sometimes I napped between five-minute contractions. Other times I lay over my birth ball, rocking gently and listening to my birth playlist. Not much sleep was had, and by 5am I was starting to feel it was all taking such a long time. I got up to close the kids’ bedroom doors as I worried I’d wake them.
“As I got to my daughter’s room, she woke up. ‘Are you in labour mum?’ she excitedly asked. ‘Go back to sleep darling’, I told her, ‘Yes, I am, but it will still be a long time, and it’s very early’. She tried, but 20 minutes later, she appeared by my side with a hand on my back. Literal wonder sparkled in her eyes. This! This was the moment she’d longed for, for years. The awe of birth mysteriously dangled before us.
“My contractions had steadily increased in frequency and intensity all night, and by 6am I expected he should be here soon. I woke Dan up and updated him on the night’s happenings. I sent both my midwife and birth photographer a quick text message to give them the heads up they’ll be needing to come anytime soon, and I jumped in the shower. The hot water was wonderful and relaxing. I didn’t want to get out! However, I did, and soon I discovered the most stunning sunrise out the window. I stood outside a few moments, taking in the fresh air, and wonder of the new dawned day. This would be Ezra’s birth day. February 8.
The arrival of Ezra
“Daylight began streaming in, stirring the rest of the sleeping household. As the boys woke and came out, they too were filled with excitement and joy. To my relief, everyone seemed to understand the sacredness of the moment and managed to remain quiet and at peace with each other. A miracle between siblings! By 9am both Jo and Millie had arrived. Each blended quietly into the background doing what they did best. Dan had filled up the pool for me and I hopped in as soon as there were a few inches of water in the bottom. Bliss! Axel asked me how long I thought it would be until baby arrived. I told him lunchtime, but in my head I thought, ’10am at the latest’. I was being hopeful. I didn’t want to have any internal examinations, as I felt they didn’t serve me any purpose. If I was less dilated than I hoped, that could be off-putting. Things can change so quickly anyhow, so I wanted to just let it be.
“10am came and went. I snacked on sips of coconut water, bliss balls, and watermelon. I breathed through the contractions. I let the water soothe my body. The second midwife had arrived. I didn’t see her till later though. She and Jo sat in the front room knitting and chatting; Jo checking in on me as needed. Everything in the outside world became a blur. I tuned out to the music that was playing and the goings-on of the household. I could only feel my body. My baby moving down. The change of my breathing.
I glanced up and saw the clock reach 11:30am. How much longer must I endure? My legs ached! I wanted to stretch but couldn’t stand out of the water. No, I needed the warmth. To get out was unbearable.
“12:00 came. Surely I should be pushing soon, surely! I couldn’t possibly still be hours away. Then suddenly something shifted. From out of now nowhere the urge flooded over me. There was no holding it back. I called out for Dan to stand by me. Ava rushed off to call the boys and they all gathered around silently. Their little faces showed anticipation as well as concern. I looked up in between contractions and whispered to them, ‘It’s ok, he’ll be here soon. I’m ok’. The pain was powerful and intense. I groaned and grimaced as I reached down to support my perineum with one hand as I pushed. His head was out! There was only a fraction of time between pushes, and my meeting this new life; my son! The thought spurred me on.
“Another push and his body came rushing out. The midwife caught him behind me and untangled the cord as she passed him through my legs. Still under the water I reached down and brought him to my chest. 12:30pm. Here he was! Our Ezra Fisher Hein. Emotions ran high as we soaked it in, staring at this beautiful new little person. Each of us feeling as proud and joyful as the other. Not long after I delivered the placenta and moved to our bed to snuggle up and feed. Dan and the children all had a little snuggle of him whilst I got myself cleaned up. Back in bed, Ava cut Ezra’s cord and Dan got the job of weighing. A healthy 3.74kgs.
“Later, while on the phone telling our good news to parents, we came to realize that Ezra chose the date of his Great Grandma Hein’s birthday to be born. February 8. She also, unfortunately, passed away just a few months before his birth. She would have loved this new little great-grandson so much. Another stunning red sky graced us that night of his birth and we’d like to think the heavens were looking down on us as this precious new life joined ours.”
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More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…
- Birth Story: ‘My water broke in the hospital cafe’
- Birth Story: Mum gives birth in her car, ‘My poor Jeep’
- Birth Story: ‘My water broke at Kmart’
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(Images: Oak Tree Road)