Super Snow Moon

This little girl could not resist the call of the Super Snow Moon calling her Earthside and in to the arms of her waiting parents #homebirthjusthappened #Continuity #BetterBirths #Moon @RSCH_Maternity

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Empowering and Amazing…(1st time mum)

At the 8 week appointment with the midwife – when asked ‘Would you consider a homebirth’ my answer was ‘No way!’ I thought it was pretty unsafe. It wasn’t until my pregnancy yoga teacher – Louise Rogers – said to me about how amazing the team were and how I was less likely to need medical intervention if I had a homebirth. 

So I came home and told my husband – much to his dismay! But he agreed to meet with the team to see what it was all about.

We did a bit of reading up in the meantime and learnt all about the effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) and oxytocin on the birthing experience. We learnt that if you homebirth, you are less likely to need medical intervention , labour can happen quicker and it can be a much calmer, powerful experience where you feel in control. 

My husband and I met with Jodie and we had loads of questions for her- mine all around the safety of my baby and me and my husbands all around the mess!! We knew we were only around 15minutes drive from the hospital but we learnt from Jodie that we would have two (very experienced) midwives with us the entire time. She explained that they not only had a lot of equipment with them – should anything go wrong, but that there were warning signs that they would look out for along the way – which would indicate that we might need to transfer.  

So after a lot of thought (my husband was super keen after meeting the team) we decided to sign up with the team from around 24 weeks.

Having my midwife appointments at home with my named midwife was amazing. I got to know her really well and when a scary thought/ birth story or concern came up – I could speak to her about it and get reassurance. 

 I practiced hypnobirthing every day, yoga and swam. I ate really well and made sure I did everything I could to get baby in the right position.  

When it was time, I started having signs on the Friday that things were happening but we thought it was safe for my husband to still go to work! I went for a walk around Godalming and actually sat and watched a little waterfall stream (very hypnobirthing – down breathing! I used this visualisation in the birth.) 

My husband walked in the door on Friday night and gave me a cuddle and immediately I felt like I had mild period pains – talk about Oxytocin getting things moving! 

We watched the fireworks and had a good night sleep (the last one I have had in a while J) and on Saturday morning – things really started to increase. I knew I needed to be at home, in my safe place. So we put on our funny dvds – American Office, lit a fire and candles and chilled.

We gave Jodie a call to let her know that things were starting and she told us when to get in touch with her.  My husband kept trying to give me food – its true that eating becomes very difficult!

Around 5pm we started to time the contractions and updated Jodie. She instructed us to try and get a good night sleep and ordered Jon to keep feeding me! I had a bath and tried to remain calm. We went to bed but around 3am the contractions had ramped up and I couldn’t lay down anymore. I had a shower and did lots of hip movements – ‘rotate to dilate’ kept going through my mind! We hooked up the tens machine which massively helped and gave me something to focus on when each contraction started.

At 7am we phoned Jodie and said that we thought things were really moving along now. At 8am my waters broke on the stairs and I ran to the tiny downstairs loo and had a freak out – I don’t think either of us really believed it was going to happen until the waters broke. Jon was amazing and calmed me down – but I refused to leave my tiny safe space and screamed that I wanted Jodie! The relief when she arrived was huge. Jon had set up the pool so I got in and started my breathing through the surges.

My birth was incredible, crazy intense, powerful, empowering and magical. I couldn’t believe how it went. The midwives observed me the entire time, making me feel safe but leaving it to Jon and I to do together.

I was monitored but never felt interfered with at all. At one point Jodie could sense that the fears I had discussed with her were creeping in and she reassured me that everything was progressing perfectly.  

After what felt like a lot of crowning and lots of extremely loud noises (I have never heard myself make those sounds before!) my gorgeous boy was born at 11.41am on Sunday 4th November. I was the first one to touch him, he went straight onto my chest, I discovered the gender and we kept the placenta attached for 40minutes and well after it had stopped pulsating.

It was the most overwhelming experience and I cannot believe it went so well – better than I could have ever imagined. I came away after birth exhausted but elated and it meant my recovery was so quick.

By 2pm I was sitting on my sofa (no mess!) with a cup of tea and cake. It was the most surreal experience. 

I cannot explain how empowering and amazing my birth experience was and if you are considering having a homebirth my advice is to just give it a go!

Even if it doesn’t happen at home, you will have had such a lovely lead up to the birth with your experienced midwives. Either way you are going to do some of your labour at home so you might as well see how far you can go with an experienced midwife by your side!

Surrey Hills Client November 2018

Supported Choice

I had a slightly more complex route to choosing homebirth as whilst my first baby was a spontaneous and easy birth in an MLU, my second daughter had to be a section at 34 weeks due to antibodies causing her anaemia and her needing a transfusion.

I was therefore under consultant care for this pregnancy, both due to the repeat risk of antibodies affecting the baby, and due to being a VBAC.

Reasonably early in the pregnancy we were sure the antibodies weren’t going to be a factor, so the VBAC was the only concern. However, my consultant was very keen for me to have a medicalised birth with monitoring in the delivery suite, and potentially an early induction.

I contacted the home birth team – initially to discuss whether use of the MLU was an option for me. Tanya helped me understand my options and talked through all of my concerns, and I made the decision that a home birth would be my preferred option.

The home birth team supported me excellently through my pregnancy – especially as I continued to need consultant check ups and was faced with a lot of negativity about my home birth decision. Almost every possible risk factor was raised to try and persuade me out of my homebirth (my age, VBAC, baby size, specific blood tests needed for the baby after birth, post dates, speed of my first labour etc) so Tanya’s support to stand my ground was very much needed.

I attended an appointment with my consultant at 41 weeks, which resulted in a section being booked for 42 weeks – I was concerned my home birth was not going to materialise after all; it was hard to stay positive with a looming deadline and multiple hospital appointments booked to prepare for the section. I booked some reflexology and acupuncture appointments for the coming days and tried to mentally stay in a positive mindset.

 In the early hours of Saturday morning, whilst resettling my daughter back to sleep, I started to have more regular Braxton Hicks. I spent a few hours awake, but decided they were tailing off so returned to bed at 4am. A few minutes later I realised they were actually getting more intense and woke my husband to start setting up the pool.

As we were getting things out downstairs I thought my waters had started to trickle, but realised it was actually blood so I rang the midwife – Jodie was on call, who was comfortable it was nothing to be concerned about. We had a bit of a chat about whether it was worth her coming out yet, as I wasn’t feeling any pain, and could talk happily through the tightenings. We decided she would come and check me over as she could always go back home if I wasn’t close to active labour.

My waters went shortly before Jodie arrived at 5:15 – at this point I was still helping set up the pool and comfortable with the tens machine and walking through any discomfort. Within fifteen minutes everything suddenly leapt up a gear. 

Jodie was amazing at helping me as my contractions were very frequent, with barely any gaps between, then Tanya arrived at 5:50, and ten minutes later I was feeling a lot of pressure.

They coached and supported me brilliantly as I struggled with the intensity of transition and the speed of contractions that I was experiencing, and then helped me into the pool. My daughter was born minutes later, at 6:05, within 3 pushes. We spent a magical hour in the pool with my eldest daughters there, fascinated by their new sister. 

I had felt doubts about my homebirth decision at times during my pregnancy, especially when faced with so many people who only talked about the risks, and with strong opposition to my choice voiced regularly by my consultant.

I am so very glad that I trusted my instincts, and that I had the support of Tanya to make this experience possible for us as a family.

There is something amazingly special about bringing a baby into the world within the safety and familiarity of your own house, with the support of midwives you know and trust, and to be able to get comfortable in your own bed once it’s all over.

I can’t thank the Home birth team enough as this will be an experience we treasure forever as a family, and without Tanya this birth would have happened in a very different environment.

Homebirth January 2019

Note from the team: Have additional considerations in your medical or pregnancy history? We will work alongside our multidisciplinary colleagues to support you to balance up your individual benefits and risks of homebirth so that you can come to a decision that feels right for you. Contact the team to arrange a 1-2-1 chat at Tanya.ashton@nhs.net