Dennis is my first child and was born at home on Monday 3rd September 2007 at 7.29am.
It was reading pregnancy books that gave me the idea of a homebirth. I then read lots more about the subject and decided that this was what I wanted. My husband was very supportive and felt it was a good idea too. After reading other people's experiences of homebirth in the UK, I thought it may be difficult arranging one particularly because it was my first pregnancy. Instead the midwife was fine with it and was extremely supportive and positive.
2 weeks before my EDD, I started having strong Braxton Hicks contractions and hoped that it would be the real thing. Instead they just disappeared after a while. However, for the following 2 weeks I continued having these contractions on and off. The EDD came and went and nothing happened. I was absolutely sick of being pregnant and was finding it increasingly hard to move around.
On 2nd September (3 days after my EDD) I went to an outdoor concert with my husband and figured that as it was such an inconvenient place, I'd probably end up going into labour - I was so desperate to get the little one out! Instead I enjoyed the concert, and still no baby. That night my husband and I had deep penetrative sex, which seemed to spark off the labour, as at midnight I woke up with what I thought was a contraction. I went to the bathroom and noticed that my waters had broken too. My husband woke up, popped the TENS machine on me and called the midwife as the contractions were pretty strong and frequent.
However, I also vomited during the contractions, which was awful. In fact, I was on the floor vomiting into a bucket when the midwife arrived at 01.20am. She examined me and I was already 3-4cm dilated, I just couldn't believe it! She confirmed that I was having fairly strong contractions. However, I felt that I could cope with the pain. At that point I decided to go and have a shower and remember just feeling so excited that I was finally going to meet my baby!
(Note from Angela: Some midwives say that when women vomit in labour, they tend to dilate rapidly. It would be nice if there was some consolation for feeling that bad!)
As it was night time and I was tired, I tried to lie down. This slowed down the contractions and the midwife suggested I walk around. This helped and the contractions became strong again. I kept trying to drink, but even after a small sip I vomited during the following contractions. It really was awful as I was feeling tired and getting more and more dehydrated. However, the midwife insisted that I try and drink as much as possible, so I did.
The contractions were getting really quite painful, but counting helped me get through them. I was also really tired and kept trying to lie down. This was possible between contractions, but during them I had an urge to stand up. Every now and again my husband tried to rub my back as we had practiced during the pregnancy, but I couldn't stand him touching me. He was fantastic though, and continued to give me peppermint tea and clean my sick bucket.
I didn't notice time passing, but at around 6am I noticed that it was light outside. I thought, "bloody hell, I can't go on for another 6 hours with contractions like these - next time I think I'll just go straight for a c-section". My contractions were getting really really strong and I really didn't think I'd be able to go on much longer. My counting was getting all muddled so the midwife offered my gas and air. I took about 3 puffs, but it made me feel awful so I declined the offer and just did my best to count.
The second midwife arrived at around 7am and I was checked internally a second time. I was absolutely shocked and relieved to find that I was already 10cm dilated and wouldn't need to put up with the contractions for another 6 hours or so!!! Unfortunately she also noticed that there was meconium in my waters. She couldn't see the head and asked me to push as hard as I could in the following contractions or she would have to call an ambulance. I went into absolute panic. Firstly I definitely did not want to go to hospital as I felt I was coping just fine, and even if I agreed, I was so worried that the baby would be born in the ambulance or halfway down the house stairs. My husband instead was very worried and thought I should go in.
Note from Angela: meconium is the baby's first bowel movement, and when the baby passes meconium in the womb it can mean that the baby is in distress, or has been in distress at some time in the past. Most NHS Trusts have policies which recommend transfer whenever meconium is present, but midwives who are experienced in attending homebirth may make more individualised recommendations, depending on whether there are any other signs that the baby might need help - usually if there are any signs of distress in the baby's heart rate. For more discussion, see Meconium in the Waters.
Back to Amanda:
I had no urge to push, but pushed as hard as I could. Still no head. the midwife called the ambulance. I felt like crying, I was so desperate. During the next contractions I pushed as hard as I could. I was such hard work and so painful - I felt I was going to rip open. I was screaming as well at this stage. The midwife told me not to scream, but to put all my energy into the pushing. Another contraction but still no head. My husband told me to put all the energy into the push. I told him that I was doing my best and he told me that it wasn't good enough!!! I had to get this baby out. On the next contraction the head appeared. The midwife asked if I wanted to feel it. I was in far too much of a panic to bother with such things. Another push and the baby was out!!! I couldn't believe it! It was 7.29am - just seven and a half hours of labour!
The next thing I remember I was holding my little baby boy Dennis in my arms. The ambulance crew arrived but there was no need of them anymore. While Dennis was in my arms, the I received the injection (to help deliver the placenta) and the midwife tugged on the cord. I felt really scared at this point as it was the only part of the labour that I didn't feel I was in control. However, the placenta just slid out easily and I didn't feel a thing. The midwife checked me over and I hadn't even tore either - how lucky!!!
Dennis was born 3.330kg after a fairly easy labour. Although I was completely in panic during the pushing stage, all went well and I have a healthy little boy. All 3 of us were able to snuggle up in the bed following the birth and we were so relaxed. I'll definitely be having future children at home, although as my labour was so short for a first child, I'm a bit worried they may just be born when I'm out shopping!!!
Meconium in the waters - what does it mean? Should you go to hospital?
Fast Labours - is quicker always better? What do you do if your baby is arriving faster than your midwife?
Pain relief - what are your options at home?
First Babies and homebirth
Transferring to hospital - why it might be advised.
What if your baby needs resuscitation at home?
Home Birth Stories
Home Birth Reference Page