“On the morning of my due date I had a few mild cramps which came and went with me hardly even noticing them. I put it down to ‘due date excitement’! I had a sweep booked in with Emily at around midday and I was excited that at the prospect of it possibly starting things off. I took my toddler to nursery and my husband and I went out for breakfast to enjoy some child-free time before the next baby came along. Emily and a student midwife came over after lunch at around 1:30pm, and after a cup of tea and a lovely chat she did the sweep for me. She said I was already 3cms dilated and my cervix was fully effaced!! What!? My body had been up to all sorts of things without me even knowing! Emily said that we would very likely have our baby today and said to call the team when things ramped up, and advised that we inflate the birthing pool. Having the sweep at home was much more relaxing than at hospital (if you can call a sweep relaxing!?).
Once Emily and the student midwife left I couldn’t quite believe that we might meet our baby today. I felt absolutely fine except for now having a few more strong cramps. My previous labour and delivery was about 5 hours long so I expected something similar this time around…(how wrong I was!)
My husband and daughter blew up the birthing pool in the front room (which she found such great fun!) and lit some candles. By now I was having fairly regular, strong contractions but as it wasn’t that long since Emily had left I didn’t think I needed to phone the midwives just yet.
I phoned my mum and asked her to come and collect our daughter so that we could concentrate on the labour. I did hip circles on my birthing ball, as advised by Emily, to help dilate my cervix.
After my mum left I was struggling to talk through contractions. They were coming every 2.5-3 minutes. It had only been about an hour and a half since I had my sweep, so I thought surely i’d still have ages left. I phoned Emily to let her know that things had ramped up but I told her I felt as though I was coping well at the moment. She advised that my husband should start filling up the pool with water and I could get in to use it for pain relief if I wanted. She also informed Heather who was on call for births that day.
Heather phoned me a few minutes after I had got off the phone to Emily to check how I was doing, and even though it was only a few minutes later, I suddenly couldn’t cope with the pain anymore. I couldn’t talk and was crying through contractions. She stayed on the phone to me to listen and gauge how I was labouring and said that she was going to drive over immediately. I still thought that I probably had ages to go until I delivered the baby.
Heather arrived and by this stage I was on all fours in my lounge and I was ‘mooing’ loudly to get through the pain! I suddenly felt as though I couldn’t go through with the delivery and remembered that feeling from my last labour as being incredibly close to having the baby. I still couldn’t believe that it was all happening so quickly.
Heather helped me take my underwear off and asked my husband to get our birth kit ready and put the shower curtain out on the floor as the baby was likely to be out a bit quicker than we all thought!
The contractions were becoming unbearable and I felt a huge urge to push. I asked for gas and air and my husband stayed with me and kept talking to me the whole time, encouraging me to keep going. My body seemed to do most of the work as each contraction felt so strong and made me involuntarily push. The position I was in really helped and was the most ‘comfortable’ one to be – leant forwards over the arm of an armchair.
By now Kirsty had also arrived who I had seen at all of my antenatal appointments. It was so nice to have two familiar faces at my delivery.
Heather had a mirror which she put on the floor between my legs so that she could see how close the baby was to coming out. Every step of the way she was incredible and told me exactly what to do. When to push and when not to push. She was so reassuring and if I felt panicked or scared she seemed to read my mind and told me exactly what was going on, which was hugely calming.
Once the baby’s head was out she told me to reach down and put my hand on his head. It was the most incredible and emotional feeling I have ever experienced. I burst into tears and felt so much relief that he was nearly out. To be able to feel his head there was just amazing!
With the next push he was out and Heather helped pass him to me as I sat back and brought him to my chest whilst I sobbed (with relief and happiness!).
Just after our baby was born and as I brought him to my chest, Kirsty used my husband’s phone to take a few photos of the 3 of us. I hadn’t realised they were being taken at the time and they are the most precious photos! I’m so grateful to her for taking them for us!!
I opted for physiological management of the placenta, so I didn’t have the injection. About 5 minutes after delivering my baby I felt a lot of pressure down below and Heather helped me deliver the placenta which was quick and pain-free.
Heather and Kirsty helped clean me up, covered my sofa in towels and conti sheets and helped me lie back on the sofa and enjoy skin to skin with my baby. I put him to the breast straight away.
I then realised the birthing pool was still filling up! My husband hadn’t had time to switch the tap off but luckily it was only half full.
The cherry on top was when the midwives brought me a cup of tea and a brownie to enjoy whilst I chilled on the sofa with my husband and our gorgeous new baby in the comfort of our own home. They really do go the extra mile.
Heather, Kirsty and all the members of the team we met along the way were absolutely amazing, kind, compassionate and incredibly professional. I am forever grateful that they made our home birth experience so special.
I can’t recommend the Surrey Hills Homebirth Team enough.”