Born at home

Me and my newborn son. Love at first sight. Photos by Alessandra Gerardi

A short report of my third home birth! It can be easy to let your body do its job. You just need the right people to do absolutely nothing at the right time. Eight weeks have gone, and I still haven't told you about Leo. It's been busy and, surprisingly, not only with nappies and feeding. My professional brain has not switched off this time (a sign that your frontal lobe learns to cope even with the craziest hormonal thunderstorms. Or rather that I really truly love what I do? Or maybe both?) New projects are taking form while I walk and cook and bath and breastfeed. That is another story for the next post. Today, it is all about Leo and how he was born.

Leo's birth was BEAUTIFUL. I was five days overdue and had been enjoying the extra quiet time a lot. On Monday, January 12th, the children were at nursery. I had a walk by myself. I spent the day resting and watching "The Best Offer.” I remember sitting on the sofa and feeling my body opening up and Leo descending. No pain whatsoever, just a feeling of gently opening up and of smoothly gliding down. The day went by without regular contractions. The kids came back from school and we had dinner. I kissed them goodnight before they had their evening milk. I went to bed. I had a good rest, and when everybody was in bed, it was time for me to stand up. I had some light contractions. I covered the sofa with a blanket, and sat there, watching out in the quiet London night. Yes, things were starting to happen.

I lit a lavender candle and put on some soft music. My husband rolled the rug away and I disposed of the two yoga mats on the floor (so glad that I did). Once everything was ready, my husband went to bed for his last short sleep as a father-of-two. I started reading articles about the terrible events that had been happening in Paris — terrorist attacks at a satirical magazine's newsroom and in a kosher supermarket in Paris — and debating with myself whether I was Charlie or not. Who would have thought that I needed to "look outside" to be able to let go? With both Raphael and Francesco, I "retreated" when the time had come. With Leo, I just had to keep my brain busy while my body was doing her job.

The job was done pretty swiftly. At midnight the contractions were relatively intense and regular. My husband came back and we called the midwife. We weren’t sure if she should come straight away because the contractions came only every four minutes. Maybe it was still a bit early. In the end we decided she should come. It was a third birth after all.

When we hung up, things sped up. In the candle-lit living room, I looked for the position that would go with my bodily feeling and, after a couple of trials, I ended up on all fours. Things were getting serious. Another contraction. Strong. My husband was watching from the window. And another one. Ouuuuhh! Urge to push. "Oh no!" I say, aware for a second that the midwife had not yet arrived. Then, I am overwhelmed with love and confidence, but mostly love. "Yes, come, my darling. We can do this." I felt him coming down. Beyond the pain, there was his lovely little body passing through me.

One more push washes over my body. The midwife arrives. One more push, and I scream, "baby is coming,” and the head pops out. The midwife looks for her gloves. One last push and Leo rolls onto the floor (well, the yoga mat actually). Just like a baby elephant. He is here, and I love him. I could not live without him. We are so strong together.

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