When I found out I was pregnant for a second time the only thing that I was worried about was giving birth again. Despite the fact my first daughter’s birth was a straight forward water birth at the Royal Surrey it wasn’t the positive experience I had hoped for. All the community midwives at the GP surgery kept suggesting that I consider a Homebirth, but I didn’t really think I was a “Homebirth sort of person”. What about the mess? Wouldn’t it be better to keep the pain and trauma at hospital and bring my nice baby home?
At 34 weeks with the due date getting closer, repeated suggestions from the community midwives and a bit of Internet research, I finally stopped procrastinating and contacted the Homebirth team. Hannah came to visit us and my husband and I chatted through the idea of a Homebirth. Her clear explanation to my questions and honesty immediately put my mind at rest and I realised a Homebirth was without doubt the best option for us. After her visit and my decision to have a Homebirth it was the first time I started to think positively about my upcoming birth. I was a total convert.
My husband and I went to a forum where we chatted to others, it totally broke my stereotype of who has a Homebirth!
I had weekly antenatal appointments where we got to meet the midwives and it was so lovely to have time to discuss any issues without feeling rushed. I felt totally confident with the advice and suggestions from the midwives. I thought all the midwives were really experienced and gave me a total sense of trust.
We hired a pool, pushed the dining room table to one side and I bought some lovely candles for the dining room. Now my only worry was if I wouldn’t be able to have a Homebirth, what a change from a few weeks previous!
On the 29th I said to my husband that the baby wouldn’t arrive tonight as it was our due date tomorrow and only 4% of babies arrive on their due date. I woke at 11:30pm with contractions which were regular at about 5 min apart, I woke my husband just before 12 and we got up. As soon as I got downstairs and my husband lit the candles they stopped. Back to bed. As soon as I got back to bed they started again. Back downstairs, candles lit again! This time my husband thought he would blow up the pool. Once he finished I said we should call the Homebirth team. It was about 2am and when we rang we found out Caroline was on call. Caroline had delivered our daughter 2 years previous so it was meant to be! She had been the only good part of my previous birthing experience so I was so pleased.
Caroline asked us if we wanted her to come straight away. Such a difference from thinking I would need to call the hospital and convince them I was in labour. Caroline made us feel like she was there for us in whatever way we wanted. As soon as she arrived I felt a total sense of calm and being supported.
Without having to travel and being comfortable in my own home my contractions built and at about 4am Caroline suggested I get into the pool. No examinations, no stress, just Caroline keeping an eye on me and monitoring the baby without me really noticing. Our beautiful daughter arrived at 4:35 safely and calmly, ready for cuddles.
My elder daughter slept through the whole thing upstairs and got up in the morning to find a baby sister. I couldn’t have believed it would go that smoothly.
I didn’t tell people we were having a Homebirth as I didn’t want to let any negativity or scepticism affect me. Most people don’t realise they are being negative, but even saying “gosh you’re brave” implies some negativity. It was totally the right decision for us and I am so pleased we had a Homebirth. I cannot really put in words what an amazing service the Homebirth team provide. It was like having your own private midwives. They are amazing.
I can’t say it wasn’t painful or I that I went off to my happy place and hummed through the whole birth, but it was without doubt a positive birth experience and exactly what I had hoped for. This time I felt like I was listened to and looked after amazingly, what more could I want.
I was more convinced from the start that a Homebirth was the right thing to do, as I had already seen how well my wife had coped with the birth of our first daughter. It felt that having our second baby at home would be a more relaxed experience for us all. When Hannah came to visit us she really helped reinforce for me why a Homebirth was the right thing to do, and it was the best decision we could have made to have a Homebirth.
I can’t sing the praises high enough of all of the midwives in the team, and it was great to meet them at the forum and on home visits. They really put my wife at ease and it was a real pleasure to know that midwives from the team would be present at the birth. Although I was confident that having a Homebirth was the right thing to do, I still had some questions and listening to the midwives explain things put my mind completely at ease.
When the big day arrived I felt as though I had more of a role to play. As well as trying to make sure that my wife was comfortable as possible during her contractions, I had other things to do such as putting lights outside so that the midwife could find our garage to park, lighting the candles and inflating the pool etc. I really felt that I was part of a wonderful experience and less of a spectator in an unfamiliar environment.
When Caroline arrived she was everything I had already come to realise a midwife from the Homebirth team would be. I had complete faith in her, as did my wife, and she was so calming in the way she dealt with everything from when she first walked into the house. She had a great skill in making my wife breath properly throughout, and also the ability to make me do things, such as adding hot water to the pool, without me actually realising that I didn’t really have a choice in the matter! It really felt that we had an advisor who would only intervene if necessary, and whose role was as a guiding hand in what is something that is completely natural.
I still of course wished that I could do more to help my wife when she was in pain, but I could tell throughout that she was again coping admirably and also having a much more positive experience. I knew we had done the right thing in having a Homebirth. Watching my wife cuddle our second daughter on our sofa, and later bringing our eldest daughter down stairs to meet her little sister, are moments I will always treasure.
I will be attending forums whenever I can in the future and look forward to meeting others considering a Homebirth.