Happy Birthday To Us!

Today the the team celebrated eight years of providing a dedicated, case-loading, homebirth service for families booked with the Royal Surrey!

This year we took inspiration from The Greatest Showman with a circus themed party complete with red noses, popcorn, and candy floss- and the tag line- Your Body, Your Baby, Your Show!

We were delighted to see so many familiar faces and get the chance to observe how much your little ones, and you as parents, had changed and grown over the preceding months!

Summer picnic and reunion 2019

If you are new to the team and would like to meet us to have a chat about your birth place options simply pop along to one of our informal forums or email us to arrange a chat in the comfort of your own home.

rsch.homebirth.referrals@nhs.net

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Homebirth After Caesarean

My first labour with my son was a 3 day back to back, including 6 hours of the syntocinon drip due to slow progress and only dilating to 4cm, when he got into distress and it ended in a category 1 Emergency Caesarean.

Whilst I was delighted that he was fine and healthy, I found the recovery after the C section hard as I developed an infection, and 2nd time around I was keen to try something different. 

I kept going back and forth between wanting a planned C-section due to the ease of organising and at least not having to go through labour again, and then wanting to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) because it was an experience I really wanted to have and because for me I felt it was the braver decision.

At about 6 months I decided to go for it – I saw a statistic that said 90% of people are eligible for a VBAC but only 10% try, and I wanted to be part of that 10%. As a coach, I support and challenge my clients to take smart risks, and giving it my best shot was in line with my values and who I want to be.

In the end my birth story was pretty straightforward. I had minor contractions from mid afternoon, and in the evening we settled down to watch a cheesy Christmas film. The contractions started to ramp up about 10pm when I found the need to lean over the sofa for some of them. I decided to sleep in the other room to let my husband get some rest and the contractions continued through the night whilst I breathed.

At about 1am we called the midwife and she said to continue doing what we are doing, as they weren’t yet long enough in length. Around 3am I noticed a shift in contractions getting much stronger and felt like I was entering a different phase. I think one of the books talks about first room and second room and I did really feel a change. 

My little boy woke up around 6.30am and was collected by his grandparents around an hour later. Suddenly then everything ramped up, I felt like I could really let go and I started being much more vocal with more primal noises.

Our doula, Zara (www.doulabud.co.uk) arrived and said to call the midwife, Heather, as it sounded like I was bearing down. She arrived after 8am and from there on in she just sat quietly and enabled me to get on with it myself, in hindsight by doing less, she actually did more.

Zara massaged me with aromatherapy oils and my husband came in and let me squeeze his shoulders for the tougher contractions. After about an hour or so I started pushing and also felt a need for more energy. Zara gave me a couple of spoonfuls of honey which was just the boost I needed.

I continued to push and Heather suggested I get up from the all fours position I had been in the whole time and stand up over the bed to help use gravity, and open my legs wider. This was the only intervention she suggested the whole time, and it was very much offered if it worked for me.  

Zara used a rebozo scarf wrapped around my tummy to help shake from side to side and help ease her out also.

EJD was born at 10.09am in the superman position – with her arm up by her head. She came out all in one go and literally flew into the world! 

After the birth I held her in my arms whilst we waited for the placenta to come, I was happy to have the injection but Heather advised as I hadn’t bled much to wait a little longer. Within 20 minutes of sitting of the loo it was out and we’d managed to have a birth without any medication at all – it hadn’t occurred to me to put the TENS on or ask for gas and air at any point as I didn’t feel I needed it.

During the birth there were times I doubted myself – I felt like the pushing stage was taking too long and I wondered if I would need intervention, and to be honest I had doubts all the way through pregnancy if I would be able to do it.

However, I felt amazing afterwards, like I could honestly do anything I put my mind to – quite like wonder woman! It made me realise again the power of listening to my body and intuition and I couldn’t quite believe I had done it – it felt so surreal.

Surrey Hills Client November 2018

Friday Night Live

I was ‘due’ with baby at the end of April 2018. Having been very careful in my first pregnancy to only tell people the end of my ‘due window’ date and to have mentally prepared for going to 42w or longer, and then birthed him at 39 + 6, somehow this time I’d messed up and actually told people the end of April! So as the 1st of may came and went I found that I was starting to get impatient – and irritated as the ‘any news yet’ texts started rolling in! Turns out I’m great at advising friends and family that babies ‘arrive when they’re ready’ but I’m not so patient myself!

With my first I’d had no pre-labour signs at all and the first thing which happened was my waters breaking in the night. However, this time around I’d had tightenings, on and off low back ache, baby’s head engaging and waddling for a morning only for it to have gone back up after a lie down etc for weeks!

Having checked the weather forecast for the may bank holiday weekend I’d joked on the Thursday that Friday Eve would be perfect timing for baby to arrive! On Friday I was feeling quite emotional and irritated by my son so I did wonder if it would happen! I’d been watching home birth videos with my son to prepare him in case he was there and on Fri afternoon we watched a new one together. After we finished watching it I started becoming aware of some ‘period pain’ cramps starting to come and go. At the same time (around 3.15) my husband phoned to say he was leaving work and on his way home for the weekend.

By the time he got in (around 4.45) I told him that tonight could be the night as although the cramps were mild they were coming and going every few minutes. We decided to continue with dinner and then Dan would at least blow up the birth pool just in case. I also text my doula and the midwives just to give them a heads up it could be tonight.

At 5.10 my phone rang and I answered, thinking it could be one of the midwives. However it wasn’t – it was an estate agent giving us the news we hadn’t got the house we wanted. I felt deflated and through dinner the cramps stopped and I was worried labour would stall. By 6ish though they had started again so I called the midwives and by 6.30 they were increasing in strength so I called again, and my doula, to say please come NOW.  My first birth was only a 4 hour active labour and I’d been warned this one was likely to be even faster so I suddenly wanted them here asap! I was thrilled when Alice (midwife on call) said that Tanya had been asked to be called as Tanya had been my named midwife through both pregnancies.

My son was still up and wanting to play so I just knelt on an armchair through surges and played with him in between. When Nikki (doula) arrived around 7, Dan took Charlie through to go to bed and left us to labour alone. Around 7.25 though Charlie came pottering out wanting mummy to put him to bed (we usually feed to sleep still at night). I judged he was close enough to sleep to give it a try so I went and laid down with him and let him have a feed. I had to use all my hypnobirthing concentration and affirmations to get through surges whilst staying relaxed so he could go to sleep!

At 7.40 he was down and I left him and returned to the sitting room. Surges were getting really quite strong and I could feel we really weren’t that far away. The midwives arrived (Alice, Tanya and a student) whilst I was still labouring knelt in the armchair and Dan cracked on with getting the tea and biscuits out (fortunately he already had the pool up and filled!).

After the next surge or two I asked if I could get in the pool as I was starting to feel the urge to push. It was heaven getting in! Once I was in I don’t think I had many more surges to breathe through before I could feel her head was there and ready! At that I panicked slightly inside as she was coming so fast I was worried I would tear. Dan tried to leave to go make more tea and for the first time I snapped at him to stay with me!

Her head was born in an unstoppable rush on one surge and then Tanya was able to warn me that there was a hand up and I was able to gently breathe her out through the next surge. I even managed to catch her this time whereas Laura (midwife) had had to help me with my son! Official birth time was 8.14, only 34 minutes after finishing putting Charlie to bed!

We had lots of cuddles in the water as we greeted our little girl (we hadn’t found out the sex and I’d not had any strong feelings this time, unlike with my son). However the placenta was being a little slow to come so eventually Dan cut the cord so Tanya and I could concentrate on getting it out whilst she had some skin to skin with daddy. The placenta then came out quite quickly and I got out the pool to be checked – miraculously no tears and not even a graze!

We snuggled on the sofa and all had a chat over tea and biscuits whilst the midwives finished their notes and did the first checks and weighed (7lb 9oz).

By half 10 everyone left us to it, with Alice joking she’d said she’d wanted a birth that evening, preferably done by 10pm 😉 we were happy to oblige!

I cannot express how blessed we are to live in an area with access to such amazing midwives, providing an incredible personalised service on the NHS.