Mum-of-three and doctor of dietetics, Alexis Hure, is the woman to talk to if you are pregnant and in need of a positive birth story. After delivering two gorgeous girls, Frieda in August 2012 and Marlo in January 2015, Alexis hoped to have her third baby at home.
“I had a couple of pivotal conversations with friends in the lead up to my due date who had some great experiences of home birthing. They all mentioned feeling more relaxed at home, so it helped me make the decision with my midwife.”
Before their first baby Frieda came along, Alexis and husband Damien, a medical doctor, took a ‘Calm Birth’ course that gave Alexis the confidence to try for a natural delivery first time around.
“Everything went smoothly with Frieda and I was so lucky to have excellent midwife support during my pregnancy and labour at the midwife-run Belmont Birthing Service. During labour with Marlo however, I was transferred by ambulance to the John Hunter Hospital, after my waters wouldn’t break.
“The experience was still positive however and I thought that if I had to travel by ambulance from home during labour with baby number three, it wouldn’t be much different to transferring from the centre.”
As her due date got ever closer, Alexis realised there was a high chance baby number three would be born on daughter Marlo’s 3rd birthday.
“I had planned a family party for her at home and organised as much as I could in advance but the day before her birthday, and three days before my due date, my contractions started. They were inconsistent and slow at first but by the afternoon of Australia Day, we decided to drop the girls over to my mum’s house.”
To distract herself from the labour pains, baking enthusiast Alexis made Marlo’s birthday cake before trying to relax in the shower and having a couple of hours sleep. Just before 3am and after a lot of pacing, Alexis called the midwife as her contractions were becoming extremely intense.
“She told me I was doing really well and to call again soon with an update, but I didn’t get a chance because our beautiful baby boy Emile was born in the bath before she had even got into the car!”
The last hour of Alexis’ labour was an incredibly intense period that not many couples get to experience privately.
“The birth of a baby is always wonderful, but it was just Damo and I at home so it felt particularly special. As a doctor, he did go into ‘medical mode’ and was obviously worried about all being well, but he also ran my bath, made me tea and held my hand like any other husband and excited father-to-be would.
“Those final 10 minutes were extremely uncomfortable and it was a huge emotional relief when I pushed Emile out into the water. He was born still inside the amniotic sac, a perfect little mermaid’s purse baby!”
By the time Damo placed Emile on Alexis’s chest, the midwife had arrived to clamp and cut the cord and was thrilled that all had gone to plan. With no tears or stitches, Alexis didn’t need to transfer to hospital.
“The midwife checked Emile and I over as she normally would in hospital and after some emotional chats and cuddles, the three of us were left to bond.”
As the happy hormones kicked in, Alexis watched the sun come up from the comfort of her own bed while feeding Emile for the first time.
“It was a beautiful few hours where Damo and I lost track of the world and just focused on the joy of meeting our newest family member. After I showered, and got some rest, Damo went out to fetch celebratory coffees and bacon and egg rolls. By this time, it was nearly 7am on Marlo’s birthday, so we called to tell her that she had a little brother as an extra birthday present.”
With just a few hours until the start of the family party, Alexis decided to carry on as planned with the celebrations.
“I was very keen that Marlo still get to enjoy her day, and having a happy, healthy Emile with us made it even more special. It was hilarious to watch people’s faces react to the news as they arrived. My mother in law nearly leapt out of her skin when she saw sleeping baby Emile in his bassinet! It was a lovely, memorable morning as everyone got to eat cake and celebrate Marlo, while enjoying new baby cuddles.”
Alexis knows how extraordinary Emile’s arrival and first few hours in the world was, and realises it is not possible for everyone.
“I had a great experience third time around, but I know birthing is not always straightforward. I suggest pregnant women talk to their doctor or midwife before making any decisions about where or how to give birth.
“I think that on balance it is important to hear and read about the positive birth stories as much as we hear or read about the bad ones. It is absolutely possible to have a beautiful birthing experience - Emile and I are living proof.”
What was your birth experience like? Tell us in the comments section below.
The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Mamamia. For further information on home births please consult a health care professional.
For another amazing birth story, Rebecca gave birth in the back of a ute... twice. She shares her story on This Glorious Mess: