Danielle's second baby was born at home, weighing 9lb 4oz. The labour was very positive and Danielle managed well using hypnotherapy techniques, but when Jacob was born he did not breathe. He was resuscitated at home and transferred to hospital for observation.
Danielle was on Thyroxine for an underactive thyroid. She says: "I never even realised that taking throyxine, (my dose was at 175mg during my pregnancy, usually its 100) was a problem for homebirths - no-one ever mentioned it! "
My first baby was born in 2004, in hospital, at 40 weeks, induced because of low fluid and he was going to be a big baby... I used the HypnoBirthing techniques and lots of gas and air and it wasn't great, definitely not pain-free (and yes I teach HypnoBirthing, and this story isn't to tell you how great HypnoBirthing can be, but if you want to know more see my website www.hypnobirths.co.uk).
The second time round I wanted a better experience and planned gain for a homebirth. I saw the consultant, who said that the charts had changed so the fluid would not be considered low if it was the same as my first baby, so a homebirth was fine, did I know the risks etc. I said yes, as I did, homebirths can go wrong, but so can hospital births.
On the 25th May 06, one week after the due date, my membranes released! I called Chris, as he was working several hours away, the hospital as I didn't know how long it would be to get a midwife etc, and my parents to come and get my son.
At around 11am the surges were getting longer and the midwife, Tamsin, and her student, Sally came and Chris arrived home. We had cheese on toast for lunch and I sat on my birth ball, gently rocking through the surges, it was great they didn't hurt. My community midwife, Andrea, arrived, with another student, Jody. I said the students could stay; one, Sally, had never seen a birth before!
Chris blew the pool up and got it to the right temperature, I went in but decided I was more comfortable on the floor. I was so chilled out. Then I decided to go to the bathroom and then said I wanted to lie down. Andrea let me lie down and I felt incredible, like I had taken some good drugs! Andrea encouraged me to get up and get things moving after a few minutes, the surges had slowed a bit, she suggested I kneel and hold on the headboard. When I got on my knees I started to feel panicky and sick and could hear Andrea explaining transition to the students, so I thought 'right, concentrate on breathing, you know what this is', Chris was also reminding me to breathe and stay calm. Up till now both Jacob and I were doing great.
Jacob's head was born; he had his cord round his neck. The midwives cut the cord and then he was sort of yanked out (sorry baby). He wasn't breathing; the midwives did CPR on him. I remember sitting on my bed, Chris holding one hand, Sally holding the other and just saying 'I've killed him'. Tamsin and Andrea did a great job, they stayed calm and got him breathing. Jody phoned for an ambulance. The paramedic arrived and I was holding him, then came the ambulance and took us to hospital. Jacob went under a heat lamp for a while to warm him up and then he stared to breastfeed. We went home the next morning.
For a while after the birth I felt guilty thinking what could have happened. I spoke to my midwife and she said that she never thought 'we have lost this baby' and I realised from talking to others that if we had been in hospital Jacob and I could have ended up being traumatised and with different midwives, possibly less experienced ones, it might have been worse. On the notes the midwives did query shoulder dystocia, but it hasn't been confirmed or anything. I had great care and support from my midwives and it was wonderful that a midwife I know and trusted delivered my baby; this is something every woman should have the chance to experience.
The labour was everything I dreamed of:- pain free, calm, relaxed. The hypnobirthing was wonderful; the only time I felt pain was when his head crowned. The birth - not exactly how I planned, but ok in the end. Would I have another at home-absolutely!
There is a considerable amount of evidence that cutting the cord early, especially when it is around the baby's neck, can leave the baby in poor condition at birth and at risk of anaemia during his first year. This is because some of the baby's blood volume is trapped inside the placenta if the cord is clamped before it has finished pulsing. Where the cord is around the neck, a greater amount of oxygenated blood is trapped outside the baby's body than it otherwise would be, so the baby in this situation stands to lose more from having his cord cut early. An increasing number of midwives and obstetricians are now trying to resuscitate these babies with the cord left intact wherever possible, so that the baby benefits from the oxygenated blood in the cord and placenta while he or she establishes respiration.
For a discussion of these issues, and references, see The Third Stage of Labour
Home Birth Stories
Hypnotherapy for childbirth
The Third Stage of Labour - what are your options, and the pros and cons of each? What are the risks to the baby if the cord is cut early?
What if your baby needs resuscitation at home?
Shoulder Dystocia - if the baby's shoulders get stuck at a homebirth, what can be done?
Waterbirth at home
Transferring to hospital - why it might be advised.
Home Birth Reference Page