I feel quite emotional writing this. it’s just over two weeks since my birth and I am quite sad that it is getting further in the past. I don’t think many mums feel this way about their birth experience!
Recently being discharged and meeting my health visitor reminded me of all the reasons I wanted a home birth, with a team that understood and respected my wishes for a calm, relaxed experience.
Each one of the Surrey Hills team was incredible. I am truly grateful for them helping me have the birth experience I wanted.
To Homebirth or Not
It all started when I was about 30 weeks, I had researched home births and spoke to my midwife about how we might make it happen. Unfortunately she made it sound very difficult and put the idea in our heads that a midwife might not even make it to the birth! A worrying prospect, particularly for my husband!
We were put off the idea!
But I had a niggle that I didn’t want to lose the chance to have a home birth without a fight! So I did some research and came across the Surrey Hills team.
I text Tanya and she got back to me straight away. She asked Laura to pop round and talk through our options. As a mum of two who had home birthed herself, she was a great person to speak to. She laid out all the pros and cons, talked through her experience and all the mums she had supported, and gave us a really balanced view to make a decision.
Of course everyone has an opinion on homebirths. You will get a lot of what ifs, but speak to people who have actually had them! I did my own research – online & speaking to friends – and was massively reassured by the experience of Tanya and her team who had “seen everything and knew there was nothing they couldn’t cope with.”
Decision made. This was our birth, our baby and I had regained confidence in my body to birth my baby in the most natural and relaxing environment I could think of – my home.
Meeting the team
Subsequent check ups enabled me to meet all the team who might assist in my labour – they took all the time I needed to ask questions, check we were happy and involve our toddler, which was massively important to us. He loved hearing the heartbeat or baby train track as he called it.
Elation at reaching 37 weeks and being able to have a home birth, but then the wait!
I had an inkling that things might be starting at 39+4 and text the team to give them a heads up, but then nothing all day.
The next morning at 6:30am I started to get some cramps and by 7:30am thought I’d better get my parents up to look after Jack, just in case. We informed the midwives again, especially as it was daytime, and we wanted to give them a heads up to manage their workload.
My husband blew up the pool and got all the other equipment ready – hose & adapters, candles, music etc
I had a bath and put on my positive birth affirmations from my hypnobirthing course – filling my head with empowering messages that I could do this!!!!
I kept moving, watched some television, had a few snacks & wondered how long it might be until I met my baby! How nice not to worry about when to go to hospital or that uncomfortable car journey!
The next thing I remember is my body completely taking over – the natural expulsive reflex that I had read so much about – was happening. It felt like I had no control over the urges and my body was pushing out the baby with every surge. Like “reverse vomiting” as someone so eloquently put it. It was incredibly intense!
At this point (around 9:30am) we were still waiting for my parents and the midwife, but I was almost unaware and just working with my body. Tens machine on max!
Next thing I heard the voices of Alice and Jodie reassuring me that they were there. They made sure that our bed was covered in protective sheets and supported me through the surges. There were no vaginal exams – they could tell just from observing me that things weren’t far off!
They gently asked if I wanted to get in the pool downstairs that hubby had managed to fill and keep our toddler out of, but i felt I couldn’t move. Eventually I had the strength to get downstairs and I am so glad I did.
Almost immediately I felt like I had some relief in between the surges. And I knew the baby was almost here.
Alice guided me through slow pushing to avoid tearing – this was intense, exhausting & frustrating! I could feel the baby’s head move down then go back up. I wanted to scream, “just pull the head out!” But of course I didn’t and they wouldn’t have!
Jodie kept an eye on the baby’s heartbeat, which was reassuring. She always asked if it was ok to do this.
And then at 10:42am our precious baby girl was born. Alice gently delivered her up through the water and there were no tears. At least not from the baby!!
A Cup Of Sweet Tea & Reflection
The enormity of what happened struck us all – I had just given birth in my living room, a labour of four hours, no pain relief and had a beautiful, healthy baby!!
The midwives gave me time to adjust – I was a little uncomfortable, so they got me out of the pool, warmed up and administered some painkillers.
The kettle was on and the biscuits were out. I can say one of the most amazing things is being in your own home afterwards. I laboured with my eyes shut, but to be in my comfy lounge with a cup of sweet tea in my hand was lovely. Not to mention being able to lie in your own bed and not a noisy post natal ward!
Nothing was rushed, everything was at our pace. Alice and Jodie couldn’t have been more helpful tidying up – assisting hubby empty the pool, even cleaning it for us and bagging up all the used towels and equipment.
I had to have a few stitches, but they made this as quick and painless as possible. Finally I tried some gas and air!
In the aftermath there was lots of chatter and Alice even got my placenta out for us to study, upon our request. Our bodies are incredible and I wanted to see this piece of kit that nurtured my baby for nine months!
And then it was time to say goodbye – Alice left about 1:30pm, off to deliver another little baby girl I believe.
All the midwives were at the other end of the phone in case we had any worries. We had all the standard checks you would get in hospital, advice on breastfeeding, keeping the cord clean etc
I felt very supported before, throughout and after.
I can honestly say I don’t think i have met a more committed, positive and empowering group of ladies. They will forever have a special place in my heart.
Anyone considering a home birth should go for it. The chance of slow progression and intervention is so much greater in hospital. It makes so much sense to me that if you are relaxed with midwives that respect what your body is doing, with less of the “push, push, push, puuuuuush” you will have a better experience.
And this was certainly the case for me. Thanks Surrey Hills team – you have given me, my girl and family the best start we could have hoped for.