Caroline Graham's Home Birth Story

Caroline lives in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Her daughter Ayesha Eden Graham was born on 22 September 1998 weighing 9lb.

My due date was 22nd September 1998 and I had had an excellent pregnancy. For the last 4 weeks I had been drinking Rasberry Leaf Tea (YUKK) that my sister in law had told me to try, and for the last two weeks I had been bathing and rubbing an aromatherapy oil into my skin, which a friend (a qualified aromatherapist) had given me to help my labour and birth. I had also spent Sunday 20th September at Henham Steam Rally, a local steam engine and agricultural show, where we walked around quite a bit with our other children.

My due date came and I felt fine except for being fed up with everyone asking me if I had had it yet!!!! I walked the children to school (approx 2 miles) and I spent the day sipping rasberry leaf tea and resting. I had a show about a week previous and also one the day before but didn't think too much of this as I had spoken to the midwife and she said the birth could be a week away.

The day was quite warm but I decided against walking to collect the children and went in the car as I felt a bit strange. As I sat outside the school those familiar pains started!!! On picking up the children a friend asked how I was and I said in labour!!! The children, Siobhan 11, Craig 10 and Enya 8, were excited but went out to play and I pottered around making tea ( a roast dinner!!!) and Andy, my husband came home from work at about 5.45 p.m. He was quite suprised to find me in labour and cooking a roast meal!! I was very glad that he was there as he put on the TENS machine for me. The children all went out for the evening and were due back at 8.30 p.m.

The midwife, Sharon, rang to check how I was as I had rung her the day before and left a mesage on her answer machine to tell her that I had a show. She was very suprised to find I was in labour and she said she would pop in on her way to a netball game to check my progress. On arriving and examining, she said that I was only 1-2 cms dilated. She decided to call in when her netball game was over to see if I had progressed any further.

The pain was bearable and the TENS machine was really good. She popped back in an hour and a half later and said that I was 3-4 cms dilated. She decided to go home and go to bed as she thought I would probably give birth in the early hours of the morning. On leaving she told me to go and have a bath to perhaps speed things up. The children arrived back and we rang my parents as I was beginning to experience more pain and we thought it best for the children to go to my parents for a good nights sleep!! They arrived and took the children at around 9 p.m. and I sunk into a lovely bath with the aromatherapy oils that my friend had given me.

On getting out of the bath I found the contractions were much stronger and more painful. Andy helped me put the TENS back on but it took a while to take effect, he also timed my contractions and they seemed to be every 5 minutes and they were lasting approx 1 - 2 minutes. We rang the midwife and she said that she would be straight round. She arrived just before 10 p.m. and examined me and said that I was 5-6 cms dilated and that she was very pleased with my progress.

We put some relaxation music on the stereo and I pottered about and knelt on the floor and changed positions to help the pain. I soon decided that I would like some gas and air but unfortunately Sharon could not get the valve onto the cylinder properly and I could see her panicking with this. That made me panic as I thought that I would probably have to do without!!!! Luckily Andy saved the day and realised that she had been trying to fit the valve onto the cylinder the wrong way round!!!

With gas and air in hand I continued till around 11.20 p.m. when Sharon rang the second midwife Janet to come and assist. I was beginning to really feel the pain by now and I was feeling a bit lost with it. This made me realise that it was nearly over; I was finding it very difficult to cope at this time and with every contraction I was screaming out. Thankfully we live in a detached bungalow!!

When Janet arrived I knelt on the floor in front of her and Andy and tried to cope with the contractions. Janet helped me to regain control and she told me to stop as she didn't want the baby to hear me screaming!!! On examination Sharon said that she could see the baby's head but the bag of waters was holding her in. So she broke the waters and said that I was almost ready to push.

I decided to semi-lie down with my legs bent up with my back propped against the settee ( I had decided to give birth in the living room as it had the biggest floor space). The midwife told me that I could push when I was ready. I felt that I could control the pains better when pushing as it was a goal to work towards.

I pushed for 6 minutes and out popped a head full of black hair, which everyone had a good look at, except me, and a second later out popped the rest of her body. Ayesha Eden Graham entered the world at 11.54 p.m and promptly pooed everywhere. So while I had a lovely cup of tea, Janet gave her her first bath in the sink bowl!!! I went and had a bath while everyone else cleared up and we were all in bed by 1.30 a.m.

Ayesha weighed 9lb.

She was my first home birth after 3 hospital births.

Caroline Graham

Note: Caroline's fifth baby, Skye, was born at home in January 2001.

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