I had planned a homebirth for my first baby, so was pleased when my waters broke at 19.30 on 22nd June 2006 (1 week overdue). My midwife (happened to be my named midwife) came out to me at around 11pm and I was having contractions around every 10 minutes and was 2cm dilated. I went into active labour during the night and my contractions were coming every 4-5 minutes and lasting ages. It became really painful in my back, in fact I can't remember my tummy hurting at all. The midwife examined me and said that the baby was back-to-back and that was why my back hurt. My contractions then started to become less regular at around 3am, but still painful. I used gas and air and got to 5-6cm dilated by 8am and was allowed to get in the pool, however my contractions wore off and completely stopped by mid day on the 23rd and so I was transferred to hospital. Before being transferred we had tried everything, from having some breakfast, to putting clary sage in the water to walking up and down the stairs.
The community midwives who attended whilst I was at home were lovely. One of them came with me to the hospital and then handed me over to the hospital midwife. My community midwife told me that the hospital would put me on the drip immediately with me being 5-6cm dilated (this was fine by me as I had been up all night and just wanted to get it over and done with), but once I was handed over to the staff they were really rude and it was a different story. Firstly they questioned whether I had actually been in labour at all, even though I was 5-6cm dilated and the community midwife had told them. Then a consultant examined me and said that my waters weren't even broken - they had gone all over my kitchen floor, so I knew they had!! They told me that they were not going to put me on the drip until the 25th (it was the morning of the 23rd at this point) and that I should go home.
At this point I wasn't in any pain so thought it was for the best that I went home as nature may take its natural course. However the night of the 23rd I had more extremely painful contractions and so I missed another night's sleep. We returned to hospital on the 24th only to receive the same attitude and the comments like 'well you will have to get used to it because you won't get any sleep once this baby arrives'. I was given a shot of pethidine so I could sleep through the afternoon and was sent home again!
The evening of the 24th was the worst and most painful night of my life. I spent the entire night in the bath with the water running on my back. At one point I remember talking to Michael Owen who was sitting on my toilet!.... I was obviously that tired that I was hallucinating.
We returned to hospital at 8am on the 25th (as instructed) expecting to be put on the drip straight away, but no! They tried to break my already broken waters (what a surprise when nothing came out!) and made me pace around the hospital for another few hours in attempt to get things going. I was eventually put on the drip at around 3pm. Things got moving pretty fast from here and it was extremely painful. I had gas and air, then pethidine, then an epidural (which only took on one side). I started pushing at around 10pm, but then the room seemed to fill with Doctors and I learnt after it was because they couldn't find Morgan's heart beat. I managed to get Morgan's head to crown, but then they were desperate to get him out - Morgan was eventually born by ventouse delivery at 22.44.
He was 7lb 11oz at birth and very healthy. My midwife had been worried throughout my pregnancy that he was going to be a big baby, but I had a scan at 37 weeks that said that he would be between 7-8lb and he was!
He had a cephalhematoma as a result of the ventouse and his skull is still slightly miss-shapen now, but luckily he has always had a massive wad of black hair.
I was extremely traumatized by the birth to the point that I can only write my story now that Morgan is a year old. I just feel that if I was put on the drip sooner that I wouldn't have been so tired and that things would have been smoother. To make matters worse I got a massive infection due to my waters being broken for so long and ended up staying in hospital on an antibiotic drip for 5 days.
I have since become pregnant again, but sadly lost the baby at 15-16 weeks. This was at the same hospital and the treatment was appalling again and it did result in a complaint.
Next time I become pregnant I will be very keen to try a homebirth again.
Home Birth Stories
First Babies and homebirth
Transferring to hospital - why it might be advised.
Get Your Baby Lined Up - what it means when your baby gets in an awkward position, and what you can do about it.
Home Birth Reference Page