In January 2020, I photographed my beautiful client give birth to little Effie. I only just made it, I almost had to deliver her & the birth pool never even got filled up due to the speed Effie arrived at. So when Tasmin got in touch at the beginning of 2021 to tell me she was expecting Baby Number 4 and could I come to document it again, it was a hell yeh! Absolutely, I'll be there with bells on (but silent invisible ones!)
Timing was our biggest factor, and something out of our control. There was no knowing how quickly baby would arrive this time, would it be even quicker than Effie? Tas was under strict instructions to tell me the second things started, e.g., period type pains (she had these for a whole day with Effie) , mucous plug coming away, or full blown regular contractions but I wanted to know when they were around 5 minutes apart. At 41 weeks the Midwife visited Tas and under her instructions performed a stretch and sweep. That evening I had a text message.
As soon as I saw the message 'having some regular contractions' I grabbed my bags which were already by the door and started driving. The first voice message was me telling Tas that she was too laidback for her own good and the others were along the lines of 'it'll take me 45 minutes to get to you' 'hang on in there' 'get Matt to fill the pool up' and then just keeping everything crossed that a) we'd get Mama in the pool this time and b) I'd make it there with more than 2 minutes to spare!
And.....................I did! Although Matt hadn't got very far with filling up the pool (technical issues!) so we still had that to negotiate as well as being told there were no midwives from the home birth team available.
All three babies were awake when I arrived and ready for bed so between Matt & myself we navigated tired children and a Mama who was breathing brilliantly throughout each surge which were about 1-2 minutes apart according to the timer on my phone and lasting 90 seconds to 2 minutes long - they were goooood ones! The youngest two, Effie & Maverick both came in for cuddles before bed and the hospital phoned to say that they had managed to find an off duty midwife (not from the home birth team) to come to the home.
The pool was close to being full after about an hour which was a relief as I could tell that Tasmin was transitioning - the breath was mixed with those beautiful guttural sounds and she kept saying she felt sick (and was). The midwife arrived and like us she could sense that Tas was close to giving birth and she decided to call an ambulance as back up. Tas proceeded to get into the pool (a huge sigh of relief from me - we made it into the pool for a water birth this time!) and the second midwife arrived 5 minutes after the paramedics who then stood down and left.
No more than 30 minutes of being in the pool and urge to push was there. Tas had been monitored closely throughout her pregnancy with growth scans as baby was 'measuring' small but seeing as all of Tasmin's previous babies had been 'small' and knowing that there could be a 15% discrepancy in accuracy she fought for her right to still have a home birth. Tasmin breathed slowly and with a huge amount of control a beautiful boy -all 10lb 4oz of him! No tears and no grazes!!!!!! Amazing breathwork!
What I loved about this birth is that Isla - big sister of two brothers and one little sister has watched her Mama give birth at home twice - normalising birth & has had the chance to watch her Mum be that powerful and wonderful being that she is.
Tasmin birthed her placenta easily but about 45 minutes afterwards she experienced a small blood loss. Much to the dismay of us all , the midwife who called the first ambulance, called a second ambulance and took Tasmin and Tommy to the hospital incase of a Post Partum Haemorrhage. It was upsetting for Tasmin and understandably she just wanted to be monitored at home and surrounded by her children. She discharged herself 12 hours after admission so that she could do just that ( all was well at the hospital). Sadly though for Tasmin her home birth once again didn't quite 100% go to plan and so for the first time ever I went back a week later, popped that birth pool back up and had a Rebirth ceremony.
Tasmin's birth experience wasn't just compounded by her transfer to hospital but also paramedics turning up in the middle of her labouring in the pool, by language that was used and certain actions taken in the minutes after the birth that were questionable. We talked through it all together from our different perspectives - a debrief - and then Tasmin and Tommy got back in the pool to rewrite the ending of their story on THEIR terms and nobody else's.
It was an absolute pleasure to share Tasmin's birth space once again. Baby Tommy. You are an absolute, squishy delight.