Bronwen's birth story, by Clare

After a not-so-pleasant experience at my local hospital with the birth of my first daughter in 2001, I was determined to have a homebirth with my second child. Emma had been born very quickly, with no pain relief - so I knew I could do it! My husband took some persuading, but as we live only 3 minutes from the hospital, and the home visit from my midwife was very positive he agreed.

Monday January 12 started quite normally. My mum was due down mid-morning to do the ironing & catch up on housework for me (EDD was January 19). As Emma & I were up and needed to do a quick food shop, we dropped my husband off at work first. My driving was not the best that morning. We got to Waitrose and pottered around quite happily, having purchased the oh so important doughnuts. It was while we were in the cereal aisle that I got that first feeling of not feeling quite right. It wasn't something I could really put my finger on, but there was a pain that made me stop and took my breath away. Deciding that discretion was the best, we finished our shopping quickly and made our way back to the car having to stop every few minutes. The drive home was an interesting one. Unfortunately they were altering bumps on one of the roads - I always drive over them with a smile now!

We arrived home about 10ish and unpacked the shopping. I was having more of those pains, and now they were really making me stop in my tracks. I rang my friend who was due to have Emma if needed and asked her not to go out just yet. Phoned my husband who was about to go into a meeting and told him to go to his meeting, but to leave his phone on just in case! Emma was very intrigued by my stopping every few minutes and breathing heavily. All I could say was it was tummy ache as I still wasn't sure.

Mum arrived about 11:00 - but needed to go to the toilet & to have a cup of coffee first! She took one look at me, and told me to ring the midwife. I tried to get her to do it, but she wouldn't. I rang the hospital. Who informed me that I may well need to go in if they couldn't get hold of my midwife. I told them to just get hold of her & to hurry up! I then rang my husband & told him to come home. I rang my friend, to say that Emma & Granny were on their way. My husband arrived home at 11:30. Emma & Granny left at 11:40. The midwife arrived as they were leaving. My husband didn't know what to do!

My lovely midwife took charge, and a bath was run as she made phone calls, rearranged furniture & sorted everything out. This was about 12:00. By about 12:15 I was unhappy in the bath, and getting no relief from the pain that was now every other minute for about 30 seconds. So, up out of the bath into the front room. By the time I got there, I decided that I needed to go to the toilet and my waters broke.

I then had that incredible urge to push - the head was crowning as the second midwife arrived with the gas and air - this was not used! Bronwen was born at 12:35. The placenta was delivered naturally about 10 minutes later. I had a very minor tear, which my midwife said needed no stitching. Very shortly after her birth, the second midwife was helping me to breastfeed. They cleared everything away & left about 2pm.

So, the 3 of us sat on the sofa getting to know one another. My husband left about 2:30pm to go & get Emma & Granny - both of whom were delighted!

My homebirth was wonderful and I enjoyed it immensely. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life.

(and my ironing never got done!)

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