Home Birth Reference Site

Matilda's Birth Story, by Emma Barrett

We had only tried to get pregnant for 6 weeks so I was overjoyed when I discovered I was pregnant in January 2007.

Even before I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to try to have a home birth. I have been lucky enough to reach 29 years old without needing to go into hospital for anything so the thought of going through one of the most momentous occasions in my life in one filled me with dread. My husband, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with it!!

I had an incredibly supportive team of midwives and on my 9 weeks check-up the midwife even suggested a home birth before I even mentioned it, informing my husband that we had several months to change his mind!

Nine wonderful months passed and the careful planning had been completed with pool, snacks, films, drinks and champagne in place. I had gone to yoga classes too, which helped. Of course my husband was now extremely supportive and was actually an ambassador of home birth by this point!

My due date of 15th September came and went and we tried the normal things to get labour started with no avail. I was very determined not to be induced and would have suggested monitoring should I have gone more than 10 days over.

On the Wednesday evening at 7pm (4 days past my estimated due date) I started having mild period pains and started to get a bit excited. I kept an eye on the clock for an hour or so and then told my husband, who helped to time the pains. At 10pm we went to bed, having decided to inform our parents that labour had started (not knowing they would be in for a long wait!). I woke at 1am wondering if the labour had stopped and it hadn't. I slept some more and finally woke at 4am with much stronger pains, so I got out of bed and went to the loo where I had quite a large bloody show. Horrified, I called the hospital who said this was normal and they informed my team of midwives that my labour had started.

In the excitement I got my husband out of bed and he proceeded to get the pool set up, laying out bits of tarp and moving sofas, dog beds etc! Again not know there was still a long while to go! By 6am we sat looking at each other wondering what to do next. We had a nice breakfast and then the midwife came round to check on me, telling me that I had such a long way to go yet and to try to have a nice day.

Daniel went to the shops to buy smoked salmon etc for a nice lunch, which we enjoyed in front of the many films I had recorded for the occasion. By mid afternoon the labour pains where much stronger and I decided to put my tens machine on. Daniel cooked me a jacket potato for dinner and I couldn't eat it, feeling quite sick at this point and disappointed I wouldn't be able to eat my chocolate! My husband had given me a scare at the point with his frequent trips to the loo, I was panicking that he had food poisoning or something, but it turned out to be nerves!!!

The midwife on call that evening, Jo, popped in to check me, telling me that I was only 1cm dilated and to use the pool whenever I wanted and to call her again when things changed pace. When she left I got in for a dip, which just annoyed me and I wished my tens machine was still on, so I got out again. I spent from about 4pm til 10.30pm on my knees with a pillow between my legs and with each contraction I got on all fours and rocked, which seemed to help. My husband was in charge of the boost button on the tens machine and ensuring I was peeing a lot.

At 10.30pm things did seem to pick up pace and Daniel called the midwife, who said she would pick some bits up from the hospital and then be on her way. I stripped off at this point and got into the pool, which felt great. I was on my knees, leaned over the side, holding onto my husband's hands - which wasn't great for him!

The midwife got to me at 11.30pm when I had the sudden urge to push. She examined me and informed us that I was 8cm dilated, which was great. She started to prepare the gas and air but the valve wasn't working, and although she could have got a replacement she made the decision not to as I had coped this far. Personally I reckon it would have made me sick, so I was pleased in a way.

Being in the water made a huge difference to my comfort because when the midwife monitored the baby's heartbeat all I had to do was to turn and the water supported my body perfectly.

By about 3pm the baby's head had crowned and was half-in and half-out for the next hour. I couldn't seem to push it any further. The feeling down below was really weird; it felt as though I was pushing my insides out, but the midwife told me to be fearless and push as hard as I could. Each contraction came hard and I pushed with all my might. Jo told me that the baby's heart rate has increased a little and I had to get out of the pool to deliver. Good job I have long legs as I climbed out with the baby's head crowned!

I was a little disappointed at the time as I wouldn't be delivering in the water, but as soon as I was out I patiently waited for the next contraction and I pushed the head out and after the following contraction the rest of the baby came along while I was still stood up! I was asked if I wanted to hold 'her' while the cord was clamped but she was too slippery! I was also bleeding enough to warrant her cord to be cut straight away and for me to have the injection to get the placenta moving asap (I was hoping for a natural third stage but I was fine with this decision).

My husband took off his top and was handed our baby girl, who weighed a very healthy 8lb 12oz. Once I was lying on our living room floor in the arms of my husband, being patched up, I was handed my baby and she fed for the first time. We have called her Matilda Louise. I am extremely proud to have delivered our first child at home with no pain relief and that was the best day of my life!

Emma Barrett

Related pages:

First Babies and homebirth

Fathers and home birth - fathers' feelings about the birth, and how they can help.

Pain relief - what are your options at home?

Waterbirth at home

The Third Stage of Labour - what are your options, and the pros and cons of each?

Post-Partum Haemorrhage - what can be done if you bleed heavily at home?

Home Birth Stories


Home Birth Reference Page

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