When Jessica Farley found out she was pregnant with her third baby, she knew she wanted a homebirth. What she wasn’t expecting was to have an unexpected “freebirth” of sorts, birthing her son in the shower with her midwife on speakerphone.
But rather than panic when she began crowning with just her and her partner Tom at home, Jess, from Queensland, embraced the moment and told that it was an incredible moment having just the two of them present for their son’s birth.
Having read a lot and listened to podcasts about birth, particularly with third babies, throughout her pregnancy, Jess was expecting a prolonged labor. And after going over for six days with her first, she assumed she’d go over again. So when she started having contractions at 39.5 weeks, she dismissed them as Braxton Hicks. “I’d heard third babies are really different. People told me the third was a wild card. I’d read stories of women who were three days in labor. So I let my contractions continue, but I was clearly in labor!”
Having first felt twinges around midnight, she felt excited that it was getting closer, but when she found there was no consistency to them, she went back to sleep. Especially with her first two, contractions had been “so hard and fast” that there had been no mistaking she was in labor. When she was able to easily fall back asleep, she thought it couldn’t be true labor. After waking up at 5 a.m., she kept the nigglings to herself so as not to get Tom’s hopes up prematurely.
While he took their eldest to a skateboarding lesson, Jess rested before they headed to a midwife’s appointment in the afternoon. “We drove to the midwife, which was about an hour away, and I looked at the clock and I’d had three contractions in an hour, so I wasn’t convinced. They sort of felt like painful period contractions.”
They arrived home and, feeling a bit off, Jess didn’t feel up to doing the bedtime routine, so they called in Tom’s mom to help out. “They were starting to get a bit closer together and more painful. I was just starting to close my eyes, but I wasn’t struggling. And I stubbed my toe and thought it was the worst pain in the world, so to not find it painful, I thought I must be on day one of a three-day labor.”
Alone in her room, around 4.45 p.m., Jess said her body instantly relaxed. She tried using a TENS machine but “couldn’t stand it.” By this point, her contractions had rapidly accelerated from 10 to five minutes apart. By 5 p.m., she knew she was in labor but thought she had a long way to go. She asked Tom to set up the birth pool and asked his parents to take the boys, whom she’d planned to have present, to their house until she was further along.
When they called the midwife back at 5.20 p.m., Jess shared that she felt the need to “push” and that her contractions were very intense, and the midwife told her to moan through them. Jess, at the time, was in the shower trying to take deep breaths. Her husband called the midwife and put her on hold. Within minutes, their son was born. “I was excited because the labor was pretty quick and easy,” she said, adding that her midwife guided them step by step throughout the labor and arrived minutes later after the little one was born. So does the photographer!
Fortunately, everything went well, and both mom and baby are doing well!