I recently gave birth to a 10lb 5oz baby at home. I'm 5'2' and weigh 8 stone so I'm fairly petite. My home birth was great and I didn't need any pain relief, not even gas and air. I know people are scared to give birth at home, especially the first time and to a big baby- people assume I had a c-section. I found my labour to be pretty wonderful and would do it again, and I hope I have another big baby, they are so much stronger and seem much more advanced - mine is 3 months and teething, just about sitting and standing. He does grow out of clothes a bit too fast though and eats all the time - will be weaning early and hopefully his tummy will stop grumbling so much!
When my husband and I found out we were having a baby, we were thrilled. We were worried that I would have fertility problems as I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), but it only took two months. We agreed instantly that a home birth is the way we'd like to bring our baby into the world, and thankfully our GP was also pro home birth, as were the community Midwives. For me giving birth at home would mean not travelling while contracting, not risking getting caught in traffic - getting to the hospital, or when leaving with our newborn, and I would have all my bits close to hand.
Everything was going well with my pregnancy, all was normal – including the morning sickness! Until I approached 10 weeks and my belly popped, I now had a noticeable bump. "Goodness is it twins? Unlikely, not any in the family, it's probably just bloating coupled with the fact that I'm pretty petite (5'2" and 8 stone), but I'll guess we'll see at the first scan". At 13 weeks we had that fantastic first scan, and there was our little one, just the one, and he was fairly large – 8cm – which explains the early bump. After the initial excitement of seeing our baby for the first time we thought about his size, would it mean I wouldn't be able to have a home birth? I'm pretty small, if I have a big baby will I need a caesarian? I asked my GP and she said not to worry at this stage but if my baby is very large then I'd have to see a consultant to discuss things, as I wouldn't be able to deliver say a 10lb baby, but that size would be unlikely. After my second scan the following month, he was still large for gestational age, and my bump was massive. The Doctor and Midwife didn't seem overly concerned and everything else was normal and we were both healthy so the home birth was going ahead.
As my pregnancy progressed I got bigger and bigger, I was so big people would comment "I wonder how many she's having?" But the doctor and Midwife both told me that I was having an average size baby, probably just over 7 and half pounds. His head engaged toward the end of the 34th week, and I was told that I probably wouldn't make it to my due date but as long as I don't go into labour before 37 weeks I could still have a home birth, great stuff. I was so big and heavy and his head just got lower and lower, I wasn't sure I'd make it to 37 weeks, but I did, I made it beyond my due date and was pretty desperate to go into labour. I'd been in false labour for 3 weeks, walking went from being uncomfortable to painful, finally after spending a day walking as much as I could manage, having a massage and drinking raspberry leaf concentrate, I went into labour.
At 10:30pm I had my first proper contraction. I'd been having pretty intense braxton hicks contractions for weeks and I was worried it was a false alarm, and just the braxton hicks getting more intense, so I thought I'll wait 20 minutes and see if I have another. 10 minutes went by and I had another, so I figured it must be a false alarm as they shouldn't be that close together this early. Another 10 minutes and there was another; this must be labour. A couple more 10 minute ones, then 5 minutes – this is going fast, better tell my husband now - he was sleeping. I woke him and his first response was fairly unexpected – Me: "I'm in labour" Husband: "Do you have to be?" - He was tired. When he'd accepted the fact that the baby was on its way tonight he tried to get me to go back to bed, to get some rest as labour takes hours.
For anyone who hasn't experienced labour contractions, let me tell you that there is no way you can lay in bed and get some rest, the only thing you can do is walk about until the contraction reaches its most intense part then lean your head against a wall and moan. Take heart between contractions it's all fine, and if you don't think about the last one or worry about the next, then you'll be fine, also I found that making deep 'mooing' noises helps, high pitched noises makes all your muscles tighten, whereas deep noises relaxes them.
When they got 2 minutes apart I called the hospital and they said the Midwives would be on their way so we got ourselves ready to receive them and get on with having a baby. Things were going pretty fast and my contractions were very intense; I also started feeling a downward pressure and slightly felt the need to push. This worried us as the midwives weren't due to arrive for a while so my husband suggested sitting in the bath to slow things up a bit. It felt nice in between contractions, but when contracting I felt more comfortable being able to stand and walk. I also liked to be held and have my back rubbed. I stayed in the bath for about 2 contractions then got out and into a new nightgown and made my way into the birthing room. I just wanted to stand in one place and concentrate on breathing and making my fabulous deep 'mooing' sounds.
I'd already had the show so when a big dollop of mucousy blood dropped out of me, this was very red fresh blood, we were a bit concerned. We got in touch with the midwives (who hadn't yet left – this got my husband in a bit of a flap too) who told us not to worry, it was just the mucous plug, and perfectly normal. So we then just waited.
The midwives arrived at 5:30am and checked me over, listening to the baby's heart and checking my dilation. I was already 8cm dilated and we should expect a baby by breakfast. This was great news. My waters hadn't yet broken so we now just waited for that, then I could push my baby out. So we waited and waited and waited.
After a couple of hours of this, the midwives checked my dilation again: no change. My waters hadn't broken so they decided to break them manually. This was quick and easy and actually gave me a bit of relief - there had been quite a lot of pressure. Unfortunately, there really had been a lot of pressure and my cervix had swollen, and would keep swelling as I pushed, so I was told not to. This is the hardest thing I have ever done; when you get the urge to push you really have to push, and stopping yourself doing it is nearly impossible. I kept apologising every time I couldn't stop myself, I was also doing a poo which made me want to push too – ah yes doing a poo is commonplace too – I was so uncomfortable and struggling, in my mind I was telling myself that I would never do this again, then I changed to having a caesarian then to water birth, it was awful. The midwives kept trying to offer me gas & air, but I refused, then they offered again a little while later, I was so tired and in pain that I agreed, but one puff was enough to tell me that I was doing better my own 'mooing' way so I just got back in my zone and carried on.
Finally my cervix calmed down enough for the midwife to stretch it open while I pushed. It took 2 goes but his head came through and I could push with the contractions. I was so tired by this point that I couldn't feel the contractions, but I still knew when to push. My pushing was really weak and it took me ages to push his head out. As the head was emerging my husband said it looked like a tiny cupcake but that was just the crown; he was shocked as the rest came through, it was huge! Once the head was out, I was told to cough instead of pushing until the midwife had checked that the cord was wrapped around his neck, then pushing out the body was so easy, I had what felt like a really strong contraction and the body just slid out. At 2:32pm I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. He was instantly laid on my tummy and he just looked up at me. That moment was so utterly perfect, all the pain went and you could never feel love like it any other way.
We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and with one contraction, one push, and a midwife applying pressure to the top of my womb, out came the placenta. All was done, except a small tear inside my vagina which needed a bit of stitching. I had done it, my beautiful baby boy was here. The midwives commented on his size; he was big and chubby, they had a little guess at his weight, but no one came close: 10lb 5oz! They had to get a bag of pasta to check that the scales were correct. They were amazed I had managed it, especially with no pain relief! Double congratulations.
The midwives cleaned up as much as they could without moving me, my husband and I just sat where we were with our new son, juices and all, and the midwives left congratulating us once more and explaining that they'd be back the next day to do a check-up.
And that was my experience. I would do it all again ( hopefully not with the swollen cervix) home birthing is the best way to go, and you can do it without drugs, even if your baby is huge.
Happy home birthing.
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