My birth plan consisted of having a home water birth with our independent midwife Betty, and with my husband Adrian and best friend Kristie as my birthing companions, as well as Mum to be here to look after Brody throughout the birth (she was not due to arrive until 24th January). Since using HypnoBirthing for my first birth with Brody 14 months previous (also a home birth), I went on to become a HypnoBirthing® instructor, and it was a given that this technique was used again for Lilis birth. I knew that drugs were not necessary and that the relaxation and breathing techniques were enough to ensure a calm, comfortable and safe birth for my daughter. I had prepared snacks for throughout the birth, I had candles and a chillout music playlist at the ready on the iPod. I had also prepared a To Do List for Adrian I had 3 EDDs: 13th, 18th and 20th January, the first being my cycle due date and the latter two being scan dates. For the purposes of allowing extra time to avoid unnecessary induction, we chose to go by the latest scan date. However my gut instinct said that my cycle date was the most accurate, and that, based on my first birth, I would go 9 or 10 days over this. My instincts also told me that 22 January was a likely date! I felt no pressure for my daughter to arrive and therefore felt that sweeps or any other method to encourage Lili out (e.g. hot curries, pineapple etc!) were unnecessary as I believed she would come when she was ready. On Friday night, 21 January, my instincts were telling me that something might happen in the next 24hrs. I was frantically trying to finish sewing Brodys duvet so that I could clear the sewing machine away from the kitchen table. Levi our cat was hovering around me and meowing a lot and at around 11pm I asked Adrian to do a test run to inflate the pool as this had not been done yet. We both had thought to ourselves at the time that we should leave the pool up! I then said we should go to bed in case we needed the rest it was late afterall! We went off to bed shortly after 11pm and some tightenings Id felt earlier became more intense. And more frequent and regular. I quickly realised they were more than Braxton Hicks. Adrian realised too as he timed them to be 3 minutes apart. I said I wanted to hop into the bath so it was filled and the contractions sped up and increased in intensity. We both realised this was it and Adrian had the To Do List in hand and was frantically phoning Betty, Kristie and Mum to get them on their way FAST! (Although Mum would never have made it in time from North Queensland!) Adrian was also torn between re-inflating the pool and filling it with warm water, filling the bath I was in with more warm water, coaching me with my breathing and pouring water over me during contractions, dimming the lights and lighting candles, getting me a drink, setting the iPod music up, and trying to capture anything he could on video (he managed one clip!) It was all a bit hectic for him considering my contractions quickly sped up to 1 minute apart and he was on his own but he did an amazing job. As the birth pool was still filling up, Adrian checked me in the bath and told me I needed to get out of the bath and into the pool NOW! I was mid-contraction and had to wait until it had passed, then he assisted me quickly out of the bath and into the pool just as the next contraction began. Once in the pool I knelt down with my hands holding the edge and felt the need to push. Remembering my primary focus for this birth not to forcibly push I breathed through it, nudging my baby down, just as Id been taught and instructed in HypnoBirthing. Based on past experience I thought the intense pressure was my waters breaking; the pressure suddenly eased. I reached down and felt around and realised that I was holding Lilis head in my hands, still in her membrane! Adrian told me I needed to sit back before she came we both knew that would be with the next contraction. I managed to lean back against the opposite edge of the pool and with the next contraction Lili was born. We reached in the water and lifted her up on to my chest. All three of us were in shock at the speed of the delivery and the fact that we were the only ones present (apart from Brody who was sound asleep in his bedroom!) Betty and Kristie were both just arriving outside and finding carparks. Although Lili was born with a beautiful pink colour and no signs of blue, she did not cry. We knew that not all newborns cry when born but we were desperate to hear some kind of sound from her. Her eyes were slowly opening and shutting which was reassuring but we continued to rub her to stimulate a sound from her as we were both starting to slightly panic that we werent getting more of a response. Our midwife walked in at this point and gave her a good rub and she finally made a sound. Kristie burst in not long after. We were all in amazement at what had just happened! Adrian and I were in shock and Betty and Kristie couldnt believe theyd missed the main event! I remained in the pool with Lili still attached and had the syntocinon shot to speed up the delivery of the placenta. After 20 minutes or so, Lilis cord was clamped and Adrian cut it. He then took her for some skin to skin bonding on the sofa whilst I delivered the placenta. The entire labour lasted only 1hr. Although it was all very quick, it was an amazing experience and Adrian and I worked as a team to deliver our daughter in the absence of our birth supports. There was no fear; we remained in control of the situation and trusted that we knew what to do. Though to have our birth supports walk in the room a minute after Lili was born was comforting! We could also then relax and look in awe at how amazing she was. She was so content lying up on my chest and her beautiful blue eyes were so alert. She enjoyed her first breast feed whilst in the pool, and another once I was out and had showered. Lilian (Lili) Leigh Harris was born at 1221am on Saturday 22 January 2011 at 40+9 weeks based on my cycle date. She weighed 3.625kg (8lb) and measured 57cm long with a head circumference of 33cm. Her Agpar scores were 9 after 1 minute and 9 after 5 minutes.