My Positive Home Birth
My pregnancy was pretty much as my 2 before. Extreme exhaustion in my first trimester and bring iron deficient my whole pregnancy and therefore on iron supplements.
My previous 2 pregnancies had been low risk and I gave birth in midwife led birthing units, so when my midwife asked if I had considered a home birth my answer was - why not!
Preparation for Home birth
I started an online hypnobirthing course at around 28 weeks. To be honest I didn't think I would learn anything new but was very impressed at the quality of content and felt it gave me the confidence I needed to go through with a home birth. (There were many around me that thought I was crazy)
At 36 weeks I started to get my things together and arrange the birthing pool, only to find that they were out of stock everywhere. I began to think that maybe I wasn't going to be able to have a home birth after all. However something prompted me to contact a doula in the area and ask if she hires out birthing pools and to my surprise she did and yes she had one available for me.
Once we had collected the birthing pool and the order of the lining etc had arrived, hubby and I did a test run to make sure we could fill the pool adequately and to get an idea how long it all took. I was relieved and felt at peace.
Labour & Birth
Fast forward 3 weeks, my other 2 children were at their grandparents who were part of our support bubble and I was relaxing at home on a Friday night when I started to feel cramps. I told my husband that I was feeling cramps but honestly ignored them as we settled down for the night. I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday as the cramps, which had now become "surges," were more regular though not painful.
Now, with my 2 previous pregnancies my progression from active labour to giving birth had been very quick so I had been advised by my midwife that the moment I started having contractions to contact the home birthing team.
At approx 9am I contacted a midwife in the team and let her know that my contractions had started. She told me to phone back when I was having 3-4 contractions every 10mins.
At 12pm I noticed that the surges had tailed off and they had become irregular so hubby and I decided to Netflix and chill by binging on the final series of How to get away with Murder.
At around 4.30pm the surges had began again and we were having to pause the TV in between surges. I decided to monitor again using the Freya app and used Upbreathing during each surge. At this point it became clear that I was indeed in active labour so I called the midwife to let her know.
The funny thing is I could tell that she did not feel there was any urgency as she told me to call again in an hour. By around 7pm the surges were becoming more intense, my husband decided to start to prepare the birthing pool as I called the midwife who said she was on her way.
As the surges intensified I continued to breath through each one. The midwives arrived around 8pm, they checked baby's heart rate and I was happy for them to check how dilated I was. I was told that I was 4cm. I didn't say anything but I found this slightly disheartening but I remembered one of the positive affirmations "My baby will come, when my baby is ready " and so I decided to just relax and listen to my body.
The midwives were very respectful of my space and just sat in the corner whilst my surges progressed. At approx 9.15pm I went into the birthing pool, I instantly felt relief and the intensity of the surges eased.
It was the 14th of November and my sisters birthday was the next day so my husband and I were discussing if the baby would share his or her birthday with my sister. The midwives said they were pretty sure the baby was going to arrive tomorrow as I was definitely hours away from birth (if only we all knew what was going to happen in the next hour or so)
Since being in the birthing pool seemed to slow things down I decided to come out and do a lap around the house as well as try going up and down the stairs. My husband was with me as I did laps up and down the stairs and by lap 3 I had to stop half way up as the surges were becoming very frequent and strong.
10.15pm We decided to go back into the living room. One of the midwives was on the phone updating her family that she would be home very late. At this point I had a huge intense surge and like my 2 previous times in labours I felt a sensation in my mind and body that the baby was coming. I said out loud to my husband and the midwives that I think the baby was coming. The midwives did not seem to believe me, then my waters began to break as I stood upright. The 2 midwives ran towards me and asked if I wanted to go in the pool, my hubby started to rush to get some hot water but I could tell there was not much time.
I again said out loud "The baby is coming NOW!"
I could feel my body begin to bear down more and push. At this point I began to squat, one of the midwives came toward me to check and indeed the baby's head was there. Before I knew it I was on the sofa ( the midwives had swiftly put disposable pads on to save the sofa, though at this point I did not care about saving my sofa from stains). I felt a strong urge to push and also remembered I did not want to tear so I began to pant and with 1 or 2 pushes my beautiful baby was born
I sat back and the midwife put her onto my chest. She was born at 10.25pm, 10 mins after the midwife had got off the phone. The 2 midwives were in shock at how fast things progressed and I was thankful for trusting my instincts.
I had opted for a physiological third stage, whilst we waited for the placenta to be delivered my husband cut the cord and we did skin to skin. Once my placenta had been delivered, one midwife completed the checks on the baby whilst the other checked me over. I was happy to find out I had only grazes and no tear with no need for stitches.
The midwives stayed for 2hrs after birth to monitor things before heading home.
It was an amazing, positive and empowering birth experience. Being at home and being able to go upstairs and rest in my own bed after it all was such a blessing. I would definitely opt for a home birth again if given the choice again, though this is our last addition to the family. The hypnobirthing course definitely helped to create the right mindset and give me the confidence I needed.
I hope that after reading my birth story you feel encouraged that giving birth should be a safe, wonderful and empowering experience.