A couple days before my due date I’d started to get anxious at the thought of going over due. The thought of wasted time at home waiting and then the idea of being induced filled me with dread. I was already on the dates, raspberry leaf tea and clary sage but I decided to ramp it up with a curry, a reflexology session, a pineapple and whole evening on my birthing ball.
This seemed to do the trick because at 4.30am at 40+1 I felt a little trickle and thought ‘hmm…that can’t be anything else’. Trying not to get excited I went to the loo to put a pad in and went back to bed. About 15 mins later the same amount leaked again and I got out of bed.
Not just wanting to lie there I went downstairs and had a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. I decided that if this was it I wanted my husband Sam to get some good sleep in because this could be a long day or so.
However at 6.30am the period pains were enough for me to wake him with a ‘I think it’s all starting’. He was wide awake and ready to go. We had it all planned that we’d make the living room cosy, watch something light hearted and put on the mp3s, all to keep the oxytocin high.
However as the period type pains quickly ramped up and we’re quite painful I wondered are these full on surges not just period pains? I’d expected strong tightening across my belly but it was all low down period pain and it felt like there wasn’t much of a break in between. So at 7.30am I called the homebirth team and was told to just chill and see what happened.
It then ticked over passed 8am and I really thought these are strong so I called back and the next midwife on shift for the homebirth team answered (Laura) and reiterated that I was a first time mum and I could have a good 8-12 hours ahead of me and I just needed to relax and maybe I should get in the bath.
The surges were starting to make me be sick, and I asked Sam to call my mum who used to be a midwife to tell her what was going on and check I wasn’t harming the baby by being sick. I found out after that she told Sam this was all a good sign and my body was really in the process of labour.
Sam ran me a bath and I was in, but the surges were progressing so at 8.15am I called again, really starting to feel like I was a nuisance but I just knew my adrenaline was rising at the thought of delivering our baby without a midwife.
Laura suggested herself and the student midwife get over to my house to see me and take it from there. They arrived, and Sam tells me now that immediately I calmed down and my mindset changed from one of slight panic to ok its time to go!
I continued to be sick whilst having a bath and for every surge Sam counted with me, in for four and out for eight. I realised, after one particularly intense surge, that my body would give me a break and the next wouldn’t be so bad so I took them one by one realising I could get through them.
Suddenly the bath didn’t appeal anymore and I went to my bedroom but lying down was really uncomfortable, so the student midwife suggested I kneel over the bed and she rubbed my back.
This next chunk of time was a blur but I was asking for the gas and air. Laura said she’d prefer I used the gas and air only once in the birth pool (due to the amount they carry!) but before I got in the pool she’d prefer to examine me. I had absolutely no problem with being examined and when she said 7cm although I was really pleased I said out loud ‘so I’ve missed the chance of an epidural!’.
In planning the birth, in the back of my mind I thought I’d be transferred to hospital for pain relief but now I knew I was doing this at home.
I got in the pool and it really was as good as they say for pain relief. It felt warm and I had lots of space to get comfortable.
After some time I started on the gas and air and that was amazing, I loved it! I really felt the benefits and it just took away any apprehension about the surges.
I remember hearing Laura in the hall describing where we lived to the second midwife who joined for delivery and Sam saying ‘that’s because you’re close now’.
I don’t remember any transition stage but I remember a feeling of needing to push at the very end of a surge. And Laura just encouraged me to go with my body. She didn’t do any checks and I didn’t feel like she interfered at all.
At this point there was the strong feeling of ‘I need a poo’ so I went to the toilet, here I did my best pushing and felt in 100% the right position. Laura said afterwards that she thinks this was a really productive part of my labour and the baby moved really well, so much so they had to persuade me to get back in the pool as they wouldn’t be delivering the baby on the loo!
I got back in the pool and back in the squatting position but this time the pain was in my legs, I felt like an athlete pulling my muscles during the surges. I was worried to change position to lying on my back as I didn’t want to slow anything down but my midwife reassured me it wouldn’t in the pool. So there I was with Sam holding one leg and the student midwife the other both massaging my hamstrings as I pushed!!
I could feel the progress now with each push and my baby was crowning. I held him still as just the forehead was out following the midwives instructions but on the next surge his head and body all came together and I said to Sam ‘it’s a boy it’s a boy!’ I couldn’t believe I’d done it!! It really is the most unbelievable feeling in the world!
Without even asking, my midwife team did delayed cord clamping and suggested a natural delivery of the placenta whilst Sam had skin to skin.
I’d only decided on a home birth at 38 weeks but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. If anyone is considering it I’d strongly suggest you ask all your questions and scenarios as I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the safety of homebirth.
I think back on my baby’s birthday as the best day of my life and would relive it over and over if I could.
I cant thank the Surrey Hill Home Birth team enough for their support and care, and for giving me the most positive experience possible.
H and baby B February 2019