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Cerys's Homebirth, by Emma

Emma contacted the Homebirth UK email group when she was 32 weeks pregnant, because her midwives and obstetrician were not supporting her homebirth plans. She suffered from a blood condition during pregnancy which meant that she had high platelet levels, leaving her at increased risk of blood clots. In addition, she had a Deep Vein Thrombosis three years beforehand, after an accident. As a result of these two factors, she was treated as high-risk for a thrombosis in labour, even though her condition was well controlled. Emma explained her predicament, and her decision process, on the page about High Platelets in Pregnancy. This is what happened next...

I saw the Obstetrician on Tuesday the 19th March in the afternoon and she did a very vigorous sweep and booked me in for an ARM (Artificial Rupture of Membranes) on Monday. I was 3cm dilated and pronounced as being in "latent" labour which had started on the 15th.

I got back from the hospital at about 3pm and started to feel a bit achy. By about 4.15 I was having pretty bad low down pains and decided to have a bath. At about 4.30 I had the first "real" feeling contraction in the bath. After that they were 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. By 5pm though they were 2 minutes apart and lasting 90 seconds. We started to panic at that stage and Ryan rang for the midwife.

On getting out of the bath the pains kept coming so I put my nightshirt on and went downstairs to make sure all the homebirth kit was to hand. I spent the contraction on all fours on the sofa until the midwife arrived at about 6.30pm. The midwife, Gillian was lovely - very matronly with a wicked sense of humour. She did the assessments and was pretty certain this was real labour. The only thing she was concerned about was my very slow dilation and the fact that my waters were showing no signs of breaking. I was encouraged to get my hips wriggling and to use my birth ball to encourage the baby to move down and speed things up.

At 8.30, Gillian did an examination and was a bit concerned as the baby was posterior and the waters were still showing no signs of breaking. I was offered an ARM but I wanted to hold off for a bit longer.

After another 2 hours things were still not really going anywhere. I was stuck at 6cm dilation and although the baby was moving down there was a chance I'd need to transfer to hospital at the current rate. I agreed to the ARM at 10.30 and I thought I'd flood the house!!! It's a good job the waters didn't go naturally as I might have drowned!!! I was actually allowed some pain relief once this had been done and I started on the gas & air

Not long after I started to feel very odd and felt a bit pushy. Suddenly I started to feel totally out of control and panicky and thought I was hitting 2nd stage. At the same time I emptied a gas & air cylinder.

I had to have an ambulance on standby outside at this point, and the back-up midwife, so they were both called but Gillian wanted to do an examination to see if I could push. I was nowhere near fully dilated! My body had tricked me into a kind of transition while the baby turned anterior and I had badly overdosed on the gas & air. By this point I had got really upset and was bawling and talking about how my consultant would be laughing her head off. I felt really stupid and kept saying "Why didn't I go to a hospital with doctors and drugs?". I was pretty out of it and ended up shouting for the midwife to "give me some drugs!". When I had calmed down a tad she gave me some meptid at the same time as the 2nd gas & air canister began to ran out. Cue more panic from me and I ordered the second midwife to get some more!!!

Cue yet more excitement when one of the new canisters leaked everywhere and gave Ryan a nasty reaction and a haze of gas all round the room. The meptid really kicked in then and I felt really in control and could actually feel myself starting to go into transition. This seemed to last for ages but eventually I really felt like I needed to push the baby out. I was advised to stand up for a bit to make sure baby was at her lowest position and then I got to choose my position for delivery. I wanted to be fairly upright but comfortable so I got on my knees and leant forward over the sofa.

Within minutes I really needed to push and I think I caught the midwife by surprise when I said the baby was coming out. With a couple of big pushes she was delivered onto a big squashy cushion.

The ambulance turned up just after and stayed while I delivered the placenta. I had a small 2nd degree tear which needed stitches, so I got lovely and high while I was stitched up, and that's when I decided our 7lb 10oz little girl was going to be called Cerys.

Having a homebirth was lovely because I just felt I could do what I wanted and labour at my own pace. Cerys's agpar scores were 9 at 1 minute and 10 at 5 minutes and she fed for 2 hours in total following the birth and then slept through for 6 hours.


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