When I first found out I was pregnant, there was never any question in my mind that I wanted a homebirth. The only times I'd ever been in hospital was when I was sick, and I wasn't sick - just pregnant! Luckily a very good friend of ours is a midwife and her husband a nurse, so they were ecstatic to be asked to attend at the birth.
My husband Stuart and I decided that I would attend all my antenatal checkups at our local public hospital, just in case we needed to go. That way, all my history would be on record and in easy reach for them.
My pregnancy was uneventful. The hospital, however, seemed determined to classify me as a high risk pregnancy, as my blood pressure was high at each visit. This turned out to be a case of 'white coat syndrome' as my pressure was fine whenever my midwife took it, and I showed no signs of pre-eclampsia or any other threatening condition.
My due date of 31 October came and went. The midwives at the hospital were threatening induction, despite my baby showing no signs of distress, simply as it was their 'policy' to do so. After expressing my fears to my midwife, she offered to come around and strip my membranes in the hope of starting labour that way. While she was doing this, she said "Oh that was a contraction. Did you feel that?" I had been feeling something like it for two or three days prior but assumed it was just wind pain. I'd been in early labour!
A week later, our baby was still taking its time, so our midwife came over on Monday 10 November and broke my waters at around 1pm. Afterwards, with nothing happening apart form my 'wind pain', we grabbed dinner and settled down for the evening movie. At around 10.30pm, my midwife and her husband decided to nip out and check into a hotel for the evening. No sooner had they left but labour began in earnest. All through my pregnancy I had been prepared for enormous pain, and was surprised to find it not as bad as I had imagined. I was able to breathe through it all, supprted on my knees by my wonderful husband.
At around 3.30am, I went for a toilet break between contractions, which were getting quite uncomfortable. As we had an outside toilet at the time, I wandered out with hubby and midwife beside me, semi-naked in the moonlight! While out there, I felt the urge to push. They both hurried me back inside where I just made it in time to push again. Poor Stuart took my full weight around his neck while I was standing.
After 4 or 5 pushes, Fletcher Atticus Winser made an appearance at 3.43am on Tuesday 11 November, 2003. A thinker like his father, he'd come out with his hand beside his head and so I had a small tear that needed stitches. It was a beautiful birth, perfect for my first experience. We were extremely fortunate in that it all went as we'd wanted - no drugs, no hospital, just the four of us and then the five of us. Stuart's parents joined us minutes after Fletcher was born, and later went out for McDonalds for us. A terribly healthy breakfast!
I felt so well that we later went out for lunch at a local cafe, just 12 hours after Fletcher was born. A visit to the chemist to weigh Fletcher showed that I had had a 10lb (4.55kg) baby at home. I was so proud, not just of myself but of our whole 'team' as well. I can heartily recommend home birth but would also recommend that familes (not just mothers) prepare themselves really well mentally for it. It truly is a wonderful way to welcome a child into the world.
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