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  • Corina De Wildt

Born at Home: The Empowering Arrival of My Third Son

Updated: Dec 10, 2023


Early Labour - An Expectant Journey of Releasing Waters, Mindset Barriers, Tears of Gratitude, and Surrender

In the midst of a lazy afternoon, basking in the warm sun filtering through my windscreen, I awaited the school bell to pick up my 4- and 6-year-old boys. Unexpectedly, my attention was drawn to rhythmic tightenings, more distinct than any I’d experienced before. Tentatively hopeful, I brushed it off as I'd been a little crampy all week, despite a recent mucous plug loss.

Deciding on a swim after school, we packed up and headed to the indoor pool. The contractions continued in regular waves while I swam, when a subtle warm trickle between my legs caught me by surprise. Had I peed? I cautiously headed to the shower where the unmistakable gush of water and bloody mucous puddled at my feet. My waters had broken at the public pool! Excitedly, I messaged Amanda, my midwife and Casssie, my best friend and doula.

The tightenings increased consistently during our drive home. But into the evening while cleaning the house, organising dinner and feeding the animals, they began to slow. As I kissed the boys goodnight, guilt crept in for failing to cherish our final bedtime routine before we welcomed a new baby.

Cassie arrived shortly after but decided to leave again because of the sudden stall. However, amidst the wind down from the evenings chaos, labour resumed, prompting Cassies return. Together, we savored serene moments through the night in the ambience of fairy lights and candles, chatting and relishing the calm before the storm, knowing she'd soon be moving away.

By midnight, the tightenings had progressed into consistent 2 minutely contractions, and we decided to notify Amanda. This pace continued until around 2am as the birth team assembled, anticipating a swift appearance from baby as it was my third birth. Yet, when attention focused on their arrival, labour slowed again, filling me with guilt that I was burdening everyone for what may be a false alarm.

Sensing my unease, Cassie suggested I retreat to my bedroom, recognising the pressure I was unwittingly placing on myself. I sought refuge there, attempting to alleviate the subconscious burden that was undoubtedly stalling my labour. As I withdrew, Cassie thoughtfully arranged comforts for the birth team, allowing me to recalibrate and find solace amid the anticipation of the pending birth.

Through the early morning hours, I opted to stay nestled in bed with Malcolm, finding brief moments of rest in between the increasing intensity of surges. Well established and frequent in the solace of my dark bedroom, the contractions again spaced apart and softened as the house awoke, stirring with the morning sun.

In response to the change, Amanda graciously opted to step out to attend a local home visit and Maree, the student midwife headed out for study commitments. The respite offered by their absence turned out to be precisely what my body required and before long, labour returned in full force.

I navigated the intensifying contractions by standing, swaying, and finding support hanging onto Malcolm’s neck as he warmed my lower back with a heat pack. I moved freely around the house between contractions, engaging in conversations with Cassie, Malcolm, and the kids.

I treasured each moment, profoundly grateful for the control, freedom and sense of safety I felt. Here, I embraced autonomy, dignity, and respect, reveling in a shower of admiration. A deep feeling of being believed in and trusted filled me with unwavering confidence. There were no fears, no pressure, no constant stream of people, no restricting monitors or uncomfortable IV drips hindering my movement. Here, I avoided invasive and painful vaginal examinations designed to evaluate my progress and comply with strict timelines set by policies. Instead, I was firmly in control and it was liberating.

I felt so held by my husband who in the familiarity of our home, could actively support me without the worry of intruding or interfering with hospital staff or equipment. His support flowed naturally in our intimate setting, contributing significantly to my deep feeling of gratitude.


‘Oh Bubba’: An Emotional Release, Empowering Transition, and the Cherished Arrival

As I absorbed the space being held for me, an overwhelming rush of emotions—appreciation, love, contentment, happiness—and an inexplicable shift swept over me, bringing me to tears. Acknowledging this emotional wave, I suspected I might be nearing transition. It was a stark departure from my hospital experiences, where transition brought about an acute sense of panic and an urgent need for more assistance.

Observing this shift, Cassie informed Amanda, who returned as midday approached, followed soon by our second midwife, Renee. Sensing a change in the atmosphere, the kids, who had been intermittently coming in and out all morning, moved their toy box to the lounge room to be close. There, Amanda set out the resuscitation equipment in preparation and Cassie filled the pool.

Feeling the familiar pressure of the baby descending brought me to the floor, where I leaned over the couch, eyeing the inviting allure of the birth pool.

Upon lowering myself into the water, the warmth immediately enveloped my body, offering relief far beyond my expectations. I had been focused on maintaining relaxation, inadvertently employing a technique of gently tracing my thumb across the tips of my fingers, releasing the sensation of each contraction as though it seeped away from their tips. The realization of the immense tension in my body only struck me as the warm weightlessness of floating in the water, and the gentle support of the air-filled edge beneath my head, enabled me to completely relax and release. It was an incredibly invigorating experience.

A new found energy coursed through me now. I became acutely aware of the music that had been playing all day, yet I felt as if I was hearing it for the first time. With longer breaks between contractions, I found myself chatting, singing, and teasing my husband about unfinished renovations, while deeply appreciating the incredible support around me. Cassie had thoughtfully prepared fruit and cheese platters for everyone, offered drinks, and arranged icy cloths in a bucket for Malcolm to place on my face and neck.

Malcolm remained steadfast by my side, providing unwavering encouragement and watching me attentively with anticipation and admiration. As each contraction intensified, he squeezed my hand while supportively resting his other on my shoulder. In the moments of respite between waves, I eagerly welcomed the straw that brought refreshing icy coconut water to my lips, replenishing my energy. I knew that the moment of meeting my baby was drawing near.

As another contraction approached, I took a deep breath, knees apart, lightly resting on the cushioned pool floor. My head and shoulders draped over the soft edge, arms hanging gracefully over the side. It was formidable, building deep within me, clenching my entire body. "Ooooooooooooo," I vocalized deeply, the sound reverberating off the pool's inflated rim filling the room, only to be interrupted by the sweet voice of my 6-year-old. "Mum...that's actually kind of annoying!" I attempted to chuckle, but all that escaped was a stuttered groan, followed by an even deeper, shaky "Ooooooooo" and "ahhhhh."

“It's definitely sounding like labour now," Amanda said encouragingly, observing as I expired long, quivering breaths, dropping my shoulders with each exhale, recovering in between. The pressure was undeniable. I could feel my baby in my vagina, and resisted the urge to reach down prematurely, waiting until I was certain I would feel him.

Between the frequent contractions, which felt nearly back-to-back, I joked about keeping my legs crossed until Maree returned, knowing she was only 15 minutes away. With another surge, a prolonged, quivering note emerged deeply from within me, signaling to Malcolm that our son's head might soon become visible. He recognized this sound from our previous births. Without words, he communicated to Renee, urging her to check, all the while holding me, avoiding leaving his position by my side. She shook her head but prompted Amanda to note that I had experienced a bloody show. "Just the right amount," she softly assured me.

As everyone gathered eagerly, awaiting the baby's imminent arrival, Cassie took charge of keeping the kids occupied. Meanwhile, in my euphoric oxytocin high, a calm, hazy bubble of love, I gazed at them adoringly. Even their bickering over who deserved the bigger piece of cheese on their biscuit failed to ruffle me. Nothing could disturb this moment.

During the unrelenting and intense pressure of the following contraction, an impulse drove me to reach down between my legs. I wanted to confirm Malcolm’s suspicion. I suspected what I felt was the bulging water sac, although I was perplexed as my waters had ruptured the previous day. Stammering, the only words that escaped my mouth were, "something squishy, not hard. Gone now," as it slowly slid back inside me before Renee could identify it.

Even stronger this time, every inch of my body heaved into the next contraction. I instinctively slowed it down with my breath. All I could hear was Malcolm’s calming whispers  ‘Keep going , breathe’. There was no mistaking the firm head I could feel beneath my fingers now. I could sense the boys, accompanied by the midwives behind me eagerly trying to spy their baby brother. ‘Can you see boys?’ I asked between breaths. ‘Yeah, in the mirror’ my older son answered shyly.

The stretching sensation resurged as the next contraction steadily intensified, building to its peak. This time, there was no pause. I applied gentle pressure to my clitoris as the sensation escalated, releasing short, sharp breaths outward. It felt as though the baby might quickly emerge,  tearing me, but instead, there was a deliberate, gradual stretch as he continued his descent. His firm, rounded head pushed against my hand, gently parting my fingers until, with a long exhale and an abrupt sense of relief, his entire head filled my hand.

I remained in a state of serene awareness. I knew that the next contraction would bring my baby into my arms. With a composed demeanor, I savored each moment, fully aware and in control. Meeting Cassie's eyes, she choked out, 'You're amazing!' Her admiration was palpable, resonating deeply within me. I felt an immense sense of power and pride. Responding with a radiant smile, I cradled my baby's head between my legs.

As the next contraction surged, my focus re-centred inward. My head lowered, relinquishing control, exhaling as my body involuntarily beared down with instinctive determination, I found myself embracing my baby's body as it slowly emerged from within me. 'Oh, bubba!' escaped my lips unexpectedly, expressing my overwhelming emotions effortlessly as my baby's legs freed themselves, and I smoothly lifted him out of the water. In that moment, I realized—I had birthed my baby at home.

Unveiling the Placenta: Embracing Birth's Finale with First Breaths, Cord Cutting, and Family Harmony

As I brought my baby boy to my chest, I sensed his umbilical cord tugging uncomfortably at my vagina. 'The cord's really short,' I winced, lifting myself slightly out of the water in an attempt to ease its tension. For a brief moment, the boys gazed puzzled into the pool behind me, expecting the baby to appear. With guidance,  they came running excitedly, circling the pool to meet their new brother. Malcolm swiftly helped remove my bra, and at that moment, our beautiful baby let out his first cry—he was breathing! He was perfect!

In the midst of this joyous chaos, Amanda noticed the cord tangled around his neck and body—a detail I had overlooked in those fleeting seconds. 'There you are, that's a much longer cord,' she said with a reassuring smile as she skillfully untangled him, immediately relieving the tension in my vagina allowing me to sink back into the water.

Malcolm, the boys, and I all marveled at our perfect new addition, admiring the incredible umbilical cord that pulsated between our fingers, transferring all the precious blood to our baby boy. However, soon after the birth, I was hit with after-birth pains, stronger than any I had ever felt before. The pains came frequently, and I squirmed in the water, seeking relief. Although I had been trying to encourage my baby to latch for breastfeeding, he seemed disinterested at that moment.

Aware my birth was not complete until the placenta had arrived, I opted to try sitting on the toilet for added comfort, to relieve my bladder, and encourage the placenta to detach. My incredible birth team supported me out of the bath, wrapping baby and I with towels and holding some between my legs as I made my way to the bathroom. The now white and limp cord laid cool against my body, tracing from the baby’s belly button, into my vagina where it was still attached to the placenta.

While perched on the toilet, still attempting to breastfeed my drowsy baby, I reflected on the incredible experience with Cassie, all the while navigating through discomforting contractions that required focused breathing.

Surprisingly, within just 10 minutes of settling on the toilet with my feet propped up, I felt the squishy placenta effortlessly slide out and drop into the bag Amanda had prepared. I was proud to announce I had emptied my bladder with only mild discomfort, and passed my dreaded first bowel movement without any trouble . Just like that, my birthing journey concluded.

After placing the placenta in a container, I made my way back to the couch where Renee checked myself and the baby without any disruption or separating him from me, while Amanda took notes. Over an hour had passed since his birth, and he had started to lazily suckle.

As I cuddled up comfortably, enjoying the bliss of skin-to-skin contact, my thoughtful 6-year-old brought me an apple and a hot chocolate, which I delighted in while the kids engaged in a guided tour of the placenta, eagerly awaiting their chance to cut their brother's cord.

I hadn't noticed any blood loss until after the kids had cut the cord, hours after the placenta had been delivered. Lying back on the couch breastfeeding my baby, who had finally latched properly, I suddenly felt as though a tap had been turned on, and I found myself sitting in what felt like a puddle of warm blood. I promptly informed Renee, who, after assessing the loss and confirming my uterus was contracting appropriately, assured me that it was all within the expected range.Meanwhile, Malcolm shared his first cuddles with our youngest and assisted Amanda in weighing him—3080 grams of absolute perfection.

As Amanda wrapped up her notes and everyone began to leave, I drifted in and out of blissful sleep. Cassie was the last to depart. Throughout the evening, myself, Malcolm, and the boys rested peacefully, enjoying uninterrupted skin-to-skin bonding time. I felt tired but content, in the best way possible. It was akin to the feeling of floating on a cloud or having spent an entire day at a luxurious spa—my body and mind so relaxed that I was hesitant to move. At last, we were a joyful and complete family of five.

Footage captured by Cassie



Amanda Schmidt:

Renee Samson:


Cassandra Fieg

Photo's by:

Jackie Cohen

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