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First Baby - Home Waterbirth, by Claire S

I had been getting regular Braxton Hicks contractions for about 2 weeks so when I was woken at 4am 2 days after my due date I was not sure whether anything was happening or not. After an hour of uncomfortable contractions every 15 mins I decided to wake my husband (JP) so as not to panic him later when he woke for work. We decided to try and sleep but I could not so left him in bed and started tidying up the house and making sure the pool was heating itself (we had a thermostatically maintained pool hired from Hello Baby which was 6 feet so I could stretch full length in it).

At 8.30 I presuaded JP to go to work as I was sure I'd be in labour for days and he nervously managed to make me laugh during 2 contractions which really hurt!!

The pains started to intensify about 10.30 so I thought I'd try to lie down and rest for a bit. They were coming every 10 mins and hurting more. I found it really uncomfortable to lie down, even on my left side so ended up sitting up in bed miserably trying to doze.

At 11.30 JP called me and I begged him to come home as I was in a lot more pain. At this point I called the hospital and they promised to send a midwife out to see me. MW1 (Cecile) arrived at about the same time as JP. She had a feel of my tummy and said she'd do an internal which I declined. She said that I did not look very far on so she would come back at 5pm after she'd finished her clinic (this was about 12.30).

We decided to get some food but before I could manage to eat much of the chicken JP cooked for me the contractions seemed to be coming on top of each other. I decided to go and sit on the loo to see if that made them easier but I just got stuck!! JP managed to persuade me to come back downstairs. I ended up kneeling on the sofa with him rubbing my back. At about 3ish I said to JP I could not wait any longer and to call a midwife NOW!!!

When a midwife called back and asked how I was doing I said I feel sick and need a poo (on reflection I can see I was in transition at this point) so she rushed over. When the midwife (Louise) arrived I was stuck on the loo again and remember saying to JP as he hauled me off "if she says I'm only 2 cm I'm going to scream". Louise gave me my first internal and told us that unbelievably she could only feel a tiny lip of my cervix!! She then said to my shock that I was doing so well she would not bother getting the entonox out of the car! She also said I had a huge bag of waters over the baby's head and did I want her to break them, I declined.

While Louise was calling for a second midwife I got into my pool which was bliss! I think this was about 4pm. I was pretty spaced out at this point, I was chatting in the small break between contractions but just concentrating on breathing during them. I don't remember the 2nd midwife arriving (Mickie) nor Cecile popping back in to see what was going on (feeling really guilty that she'd not realised how far gone I was earlier). The midwives were pretty much letting me be, just checking baby's hearbeat every once in a while until I got my first pushing contraction and let out a groan (the first noise I'd actually made apart from talking!!) then they realised I was ready to push.

I let my body do most of the work, just breathing through and only pushing if I absolutely could not stop myself and letting out a primal groan at the end of each one. After a few pushes my waters broke with what felt like a big pop and I felt a great relief of pressure. The next few contractions intensified and I could feel the head moving up and down with each one. With each contraction I could feel myself stretching more and more with a burning sensation, the midwives just kept telling me how much hair the baby had! After a few contractions like that I subconsciously decided to go for it and gave a huge push with the next contraction. The head popped out so fast and I felt myself tear with a bit of pain but once I'd go my breathing back to normal it did not hurt any more.

The shoulders came with the next contraction then the midwives and JP helped me turn over floating on my back (rather than on my knees against the side as I was since I'd got in) and at 5.07pm with the next 2 contractions pushed the body the rest of the way out. We rushed to see if it was a boy or girl as we both really wanted a baby girl and wonderfully enough it was a girl. I held her in my arms and she very calmly looked about as she pinked up and we had a good happy cry. I would have fed her straight away but my cord was too short so we decided to wait rather than tug on it (good thing as it turned out that my cord was at the edge of the placenta rather than the middle and the membranes were already ragged).

I held her in the pool until the cord stopped pulsating then JP cut the cord and they took her away to check and weigh etc. She scored 9 and 10 on her apgars and weighed 7lb 13.5oz. I sat down in the pool for a bit then decided to stand up to deliver the placenta. I stood in the pool and after a couple of pushes it came out in a big rush into the tray Louise was holding. I felt such a relief then as it was over! My labour was officially logged as 7 hours with a 30 minute second stage. Louise helped me out of the pool and onto the sofa.

I felt really great then and so proud of myself for being so calm during the delivery as I was terrified the whole time. Unfortunately it turned out that I had a third degree tear so had to transfer to hospital to be stitched up. I don't count it as part of my birth experience as I had a great birth at home. It was a shame that I ended up with 2 nights in hospital following an hour in theatre but my daughter got the start that I wanted for her and I will definitely be having a home water birth if we choose to have another child.

Claire S

Related pages:

Home Birth Stories

Waterbirth at home

First Babies and homebirth

Transferring to hospital - why it might be advised.

Homebirth after a bad tear or episiotomy


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