This incredible mum navigated her options to safely birth her baby with our @RSCH_Maternity colleagues and we still have the privilege of supporting her in these precious early days. #continuity #BirthIsAmazingWhereverItHappens #HandpaintedHome
Some of you may be concerned at all of the recent changes within maternity care due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are delighted to share some feedback posted to the Royal Surrey Maternity Unit’s Facebook page by one of our clients.
“ I will get round to a proper thank you for the homebirth team and all the midwives at RSCH. Planned a homebirth and the wonderful team were absolutely amazing. We were all excited as a family as our boys age 5 and 6 were also keen to see their baby brother born. Plans changed and I was very upset and anxious but Lucy reassured me and was absolutely amazing. I had reduced movements and went into hospital for monitoring and there I was very emotional but the midwives sat and spoke to me and again Lucy reassured me. I was induced and I felt very supported throughout and extremely safe. I was so blessed to get my water birth that I had always wanted and my midwife was again amazing. I hadn’t met her before but she kept me so calm and really looked after me. She answered all my questions and listened to all my wishes, I felt completely respected and once we had our baby Bertie we were given time to bond. Just a short few hours later we were home and the boys met their baby brother. I can’t thank you enough for bringing our baby Bertie into the world safely and taking such good care of us both. I had such an enjoyable birth and the care afterwards was second to none! We hope you all stay safe and we will be bringing some gifts your way when it is safe to do so.” Surrey Hills Client March 2020
Reflecting on the events a year ago today…
We were living a building site (classic have a baby do arenovation– run out of time!) as well as being 8 days overdue and 2 sweeps down the line, it was beginning to feel like having a homebirth wasn’t very realistic…
On that Tuesday I had just attended a clinic appointment(had another sweep!) and reluctantly booked in my induction for two days time. Following the appointment I had a huge urge to take my cocker spaniel, Alfie, for a walk to our favourite place and have some alone time with him– it was a really special afternoon just the two of us and we walked for hours until the sun began to setand I remember feeling very content and mellow.I alsoremember that we kept having to stop so that I could catch my breath– I think in hindsight Alfie was well awareI was already in labour as instead of being his usual crazy self- he walked calmly and stayed next to me throughout.
1800- we got home and and my boyfriend j was headingout running and I didn’t stop him as I still hadn’t twigged it had really started. He said he got the feeling he needed to come back and when he got home he found me frantically cleaning which is completely out of character! I managed to convince him that I was in “very early stages” so he headed off to bed and I stayed up scrubbing floors! I text Jodie to know that I was nowregularly having some twinges. She told me to rest and she would keep as ear out for her phone. I ran myself a bath, lit some candles and got my 2 hypnobirthing tracks playing on repeat. The bath felt amazing and I was beginning to realise that my little one may be on their way and all I could feel was excitement! I got out the bath and plaited my hair but I remember thinking that a 5 minute plait had easily taken an hour as I kept letting my hair go to grab hold of the sink every couple of minutes.
After the bath I went into the baby’s room and realised that their room didn’t have a lampshade- so I decided that I needed to get to work on it ASAP. During this late night craft session (photo below taken at 0018), Idecided that I would put my TENS machine on but I didn’t want to wake J incase it was “a false alarm” so I managed (using a mirror) to aim the pads in the right area on my back (not recommended!) and that first time I pressed boost I remember feeling euphoric and deciding that I would be able to cope thanks to this magic little machine.
So to paint the picture I’m in a tiny box room making a lampshade with one hand (which is unsurprisingly very wonky) boosting my tens with my other hand, breathing deeply whilst trying not to wake up J or the kids on the other side of the wall of our semi-detached house. My mooing however wasn’t as quiet as I thought and J woke up to me apparently “groaning” but still desperate to finish the lampshade! Jodie text me at 02.39 and asked how I was getting on to which I replied I was having strange pains every 3-4 minutes (you wouldn’t think I was a midwife !).
0326 messaged Jodie to say these “strange pains” were now every 2 minutes and Jodie was on her way- J was now WIDE awake and filling up the pool as directed by Jodie. Jodie arrived just before 4am and very dramatically my waters decided to break on her arrival! This was shortly followed by all of my dinner coming back up! Jodie agreed that it seemed as though labour was well and truly in full swing. J had very proudly filled the pool up (he loves a task) only to realise that he hadn’t put the all important liner in it (the pools are reuseable!) So at now 04.30 in the morning- with the equivalent of 4 baths worth of water in the pool- J was now emptying the water into the drain outside our house on the main road that we live on- needless to say that thanks to hypnobirthing and doggy doula cocker spaniel- I was completely unaware of all this going on around me!
0600 Tanya arrived as the second midwife and I had no idea she was planning to come so I remember getting really excited to have her there as well as feeling incredibly lucky to have such amazing women there to get me through this!
Very shortly afterwards I was getting huge urges to push and was encouraged by both Tanya, Jodie and J to go for it and “see what happens”- needless to say this pushing malarkey is NUTS- how do women all around the world do this everyday (again you wouldn’t think I was a midwife as my day job!)
0800 J was watching and quickly learning from the best (Tanya and Jodie) and was an incredible support I remember him moving all my affirmations into my eyesight which was really what I needed at that point. I clearly remember just looking round the room and realising that I was so lucky to have 3 (plus one of the furry variety) amazing cheerleaders there for me. I used the pool for a while but chose to jump out when I knew the baby was near.
The excitement was building and with every push I knew I was getting closer to meeting them! This excitement also bought me back into real time and realised that we needed to tell the builders not to come this morning as they were due to arrive anytime!
I knew I was getting close because I could hear changes in the baby’s heart rate but those final few pushes took everything out of me and I reached around J’s neck and that final push we did together and it was enough to get the baby round the bend.
The atmosphere in the living room changed from calm into excitement and I knew now was the time that I’ve told so many women to “just to listen” and I focused all I could into tuning into Jodie and just Jodie and I knew how much I trusted her in that moment. This was it- I was about to meet the baby I had yearned for for so long who I felt I had already known forever….All my years as a nanny and then a midwife and now I was about to meet my own little one… I heard J shout ‘there’s a head’ and I remember laughter from either Jodie and Tanya or from me as for j this bit was all new!
0850: the baby’s born! Jodie lifts the baby up to reveal their gender but the midwife in me could only see his HUGE tongue tie and then I quickly came back into the moment to realise that we had a boy- a long and slim boy who looked identical to his daddy! That relief of holding your prize after all that hard work- I’m not sure there’s a feeling like it- and then the love- the raw, unconditional mothering love that engulfs you as you cradle baby in your arms.
And then there was the other star of the show: Alfie, who we was with me from start to finish-he watched the whole process from the comfort of the sofa and came over to see and sniff him as soon as he was born and needless to say they’re still the best of friends!
So how to sum up this experience: primal but perfect- everything I imagined homebirth to be and then some! If we’re lucky enough to have another– I can honestly say I’ll be excited for birth again- whenever I remember that night I beam- I beam because I was so lucky to have experienced the magic of the Homebirth Team
Jodie and Tanya- you are our heroes! X
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
As I embark on writing down my birthing story I stop and look down at the most precious and beautiful sight – my newborn baby girl.
The beginning seems a crazy place to start – to imagine all the steps that led to the ‘welcome to the world’ moment!
I envisioned a Homebirth to be calm, relaxed and empowering and it proved to be that and sooooo much more.
‘Breathe in inspiration and trust yourself, the answer is yes you can’ Continue reading
My birth story for my second home birth…. almost 6 months after the event!! It’s short and sweet… 💕
So it was 4 days after my ‘due’ date, I had put Merlin my almost 2 year old
son to bed and went to bed myself as normal. Was having my normal braxton hicks but they felt a tiny bit different, like they were more in my back. I also couldn’t sleep and just felt different so turned the TV on… feeling a bit… restless I went for a wee and felt an odd click inside me! Went back to bed and felt another click… 30’seconds later… whoooooosh! My waters broke!!! I didn’t get this with my first birth until I was pushing so it was actually quite cool! I comedy style ran across the bedroom to the loo trying to catch it all with my hands 😂
We rang Deana and told her it had begun and she said to call back when the contractions were 4-5 mins apart lasting more than a minute.
I went all cold and shaky with the adrenaline and turned to nathan and just said…”this is going to go really quick”. Weird how I knew but I just did! A few minutes after calling Deana we realised the contractions were already only 3 minutes apart and lasting over a minute. So we quickly called her back and she told me to get in the pool to try and slow things a little. This worked for one contraction, then it was straight back into it! Things got very powerful very quickly and I was soon mooing and rocking back and forth in the pool.
Sarah and Deana arrived with the lovely gas and air and 45 minutes of mooing later, my beautiful Orla arrived.
So from start to finish it was around 2 hours! Speedy, calm and all at home. Beautiful!! X
I don’t have enough good words to say about The Surrey Hills homebirth team. Truly incredible ladies.
I woke up at 1.15 am weds 27th May trying to decide if I needed the loo or could get away with more sleep – having decided the loo was wise I felt damp trickling down my legs as I went down the stairs and immediately suspected it was waters over developing incontinence! The day before I’d not had any signs of impending labour although in hindsight the frequent cramps down my right buttock and hamstrings could have been a giveaway! I’d also seen my chiro that afternoon who had said he thought the baby would be here in the next day or two from the feel of my pelvis and spine.
Anyway, my mucus plug came away whilst on the loo and I was then in no doubt as to what had happened. I wasn’t feeling any cramps or contractions so decided just to put a pad in and try and go back to bed and get some rest. I also decided not to tell Dan so he would at least start the day fresh after as much sleep as possible. My main concern at that point was being ‘put on the clock’ or being asked to go to hospital and talk of induction if labour didn’t start so I lay back in bed and started using the pressure points on the top of my thumbs which Juliet (hypnobirthing teacher) had said could be useful for stimulating contractions. Just before 2am I was aware of mild period pains coming and going. Between dozing for a few hours and continuing to use the pressure points I think these were around 10 minutes apart. At 5am I decided to have something to eat and have a bath so I could at least start motherhood with clean hair!