I used this site and the yahoo webring to research home birth while I was still living in Australia, knowing that I may been deemed a 'difficult case' because I would be returning to the UK at 28 weeks. I didn't actually move into my local area (served by Heatherwood Hospital fortunately enough) until 34 weeks. I was prepared for a serious fight but did not encounter ANY hurdles, in Leamington where I was first, or Sunningdale where my son was born. I did consent to a scan at 36 weeks to check that all was well, but other than that, all went swimmingly!
I woke up on Tuesday morning (20.07.04) with contractions about 10 minutes apart, but not for too long and not of great intensity. Sandy went to the office to get a couple of things done but spent the rest of the day working from home as I'd told him that I thought we were 'on'. I think I put the Tens machine on around lunchtime at a very low intensity. By the end of the day the contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and so a midwife came along to inspect the bump and say hi. She was a bit dismissive given that it was baby number one, I think she thought I'd be trogging along like this for a good couple of days! No thank you. She went on her merry way leaving me with instructions to have a relaxing bath, supper and a good night's rest!
At about 1.30am on the Wednesday morning I woke Sandy up as my contractions were getting more intense and lasting for longer and I was really hoping that I could move from the birth ball - where I'd been bouncing and breathing (did a Hypnobirthing course for relaxation) for a couple of hour - into the pool (blow-up paddling pool sort). So, I phoned the midwife, who came by way of the hospital to pick up the water Doppler having left instructions that Sandy could start to fill up the pool.
When she arrived at 3 am I had a VE to check that I was OK to jump into the pool and to my relief I was 6cms dilated. I was delighted, my biggest fear about the whole thing was that I'd called out the midwife too soon and was actually being too excited and a bit wussy!
By 4am the pool was filled and I hopped in. Sandy had spent the interim period whilst we waited for it to fill massaging my lower back, which was lovely. The pool performed fantastically kept its heat really well, just the right size and really comfy. The baby's heartbeat was strong throughout and by 7 am I was fully dilated. I know this because we discussed another VE, which I was happy to have. I also consented to have my waters broken at this point to speed things up as my contractions were not at all unbearable and I wanted to move things on a bit. So, I hopped back into the pool, which I was relieved to do as I'd got a bit chilly.
Serious pushing started not long after this and was hard work. However, Sandy was on hand with apple juice and a cool flannel and things progressed nicely. The second midwife arrived at about 9am and a student midwife arrived only about 30 minutes before the main event.
The midwives could see a head for what seemed like ages, but I had to wait a few more pushes before head and body came in one big 'whoosh'! It was a huge relief to know that I'd done it! And, then I saw under the water my baby being passed through my legs and I picked up a solid little block of a person whose eyes were wide open and ready, it seemed, for anything.
I stayed in the water until the cord had stopped pulsating but I found it quite difficult keep the baby's body in the water but head out as the cord was quite short and I felt a bit uncomfy. At some point one of the midwives asked whether it was a boy or a girl. Good thinking! I gently parted a pair of legs and noted dangly bits. I replied 'a boy' and then Sandy and I got on with just absorbing how lovely this little person was. The midwife cut the cord as neither Sandy or I felt able to do it, given how close it was to said dangly bits my hands were way too shaky and Sandy said he'd never forgive himself if anything happened! While Sandy took the baby to be weighed, measured etc with the second midwife, I got out of the pool and had a natural third stage, with a bit of help from the baby who came back and had a little nurse. I had a quick shower and then got into bed and nursed and cuddled the baby, who we named a couple of days later after his Great Grandfather Alexander.
In summary it was everything I had hoped for and a truly wonderful experience. Many thanks to everyone who provided help and support. I was very fortunate that I was fully supported in my efforts of a home birth - Heatherwood Hospital's midwives were excellent - I didn't have to fight for my rights which came as a huge relief. Xander is now 5 months old and is still an absolute delight!
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