Home Birth Reference Site

Home Birth Stories

These are stories from mothers and fathers who planned home births. Not all of the babies were born at home in the end, because this is a cross-section of real experiences, not fairy tales...

Newest birth stories are at the top of the page, after my own (editorial privilege!). See also Home Birth Stories on Other Sites

Would you like to tell your own birth story on this site? Please see the foot of the page.

Here are my own stories, to kick off! My fifth baby, Athena, was born at home on 10 February 2007. She is a gorgeous baby and I had a dream of a labour; I still cannot believe my luck! Her brothers Lee, Bobby, Teàrlach and Lachlan, were all born at home as well. My five labours were all straightforward, all waterbirths, and I was in exactly the same position for each. Not planned - just felt right. Just to be different, Teàrlach was born in his caul (his bag of waters).

Judith G planned a homebirth for her first baby. She tested positive for Group B Strep and arranged to have a drip of IV antibiotics at home. She transferred to hospital in early labour to be checked out, but did not manage to get out of hospital to have her baby. Her baby was well throughout, but Judith had a very difficult time in hospital, and feels her transfer was unnecessary. For the births of her second baby, Esther, and third baby, Leah, she booked with an independent midwife and had good, safe births with both baby and mother happy and healthy. During Leah's birth, Judith pushed back a cervical lip herself. Judith's fourth baby, Hanna, was born in Autumn 2008 - she planned an NHS homebirth, but when Hanna seemed small-for-dates and Judith went into labour early, she decided that a hospital birth was the best bet.

Sonia faced an extremely rude and obstructive obstetrician, and unsupportive midwives, when she planned a homebirth after caesarean - it seemed her health professionals hadn't heard of the concept of respecting informed choice. But it is clear, as Sonia says, that this birth was exactly what she needed.

Fran had a tough birth with her first baby - a 7-hour second stage, ventouse, and postpartum haemorrhage. She didn't plan a homebirth for her second initially, but when a midwife suggested it, it seemed right. And then she had to fight and fight for it, being told that it was out of the question because of her history, and that staff shortages might be a problem. It was all worth it in the end.

Emma Barrett had her first baby, Matilda Louise, at home. After a long, slow but steady labour, during which she used a birth pool and movement for pain relief, she delivered her daughter, and afterwards describes feeding her baby for the first time while lying on the living-room floor, in her husband's arms.

Cassandra's well-thought-out contributions to the Homebirth UK discussion group have helped many members to plan a homebirth. Her own journey to homebirth has not been straightforward, but her experience with her third baby speaks volumes. He was born at home, at 41+5 gestation. A moving and prosaic birth story; please read it...

Sarah H hoped for a home waterbirth for her first baby, but when a scan appeared to show problems with the placenta, she changed her plans to hospital. She was determined to have that home waterbirth with her second baby, Eva, and she fought off an induction-happy consultant, and a waterbirth-shy midwife, to get it! Sarah's story should be compulsory assertiveness training for all aspiring homebirth mums! Sarah's third baby, Sally, was born at 43 weeks, safe and well and 'lovely in every way', weighing 8lb 6oz. An obstetrician had feared that baby Sally was growth-retarded after a late scan and inaccurate weight estimation.

Lucy B had a very unusual homebirth. She tested positive for Group B Strep and decided to have intravenous antibiotics in labour, but went into hospital to have the drugs and then came home to have her baby. She had a rapid and positive birth, and although she returned to hospital because of concerns over her baby's temperature, both Lucy and Heidi were well.

LW lives in America, where she had two induced hospital births, followed by a homebirth for Hannah Elizabeth. She gave birth in her large bathtub, supported by her husband and midwives who kept discreetly in the background for most of her labour. Dad has added his perspective on homebirth.

Gemma was all set for a homebirth with her second baby, Caleb, when she developed Obstetric Cholestasis, and had an induction in hospital. She had great support from a midwife who respected her birth plan, and even though Caleb was persistently OP (back-to-back), Gemma still managed to push him out all by herself. Gemma had also planned a homebirth for her first baby, Morgan, but her painful, back-ache labour was progressing in fits and starts. Gemma transferred to hospital - but they sent her home again! This continued for two days until an exhausted Gemma was eventually admitted and given some help to deliver her baby.

Kate S had a great homebirth despite having Group B Strep. She had IV antibiotics in hospital, then went home to give birth. Kate is a doctor, and she found her NHS obstetrician and midwives extremely supportive.

Rosie R gave birth to Nina, her first baby, at home in Edinburgh. Rosie kept active in first stage, and had to work through a repertoire of positions in second stage as Nina had her hand in front of her face. Great support from community midwives.

Louise L's first baby was huge, and in the Occiput posterior position. And that was only the start of it... cord round the neck twice, baby passing meconium, emergency caesarean...but, as Louise says, hers is a very good example of how what happens when a homebirth starts to get complicated. A positive birth story, and one which helps to place complications in the context of a good labour.

Claire T's second baby, Ada, took a while to decide to be born, but when Claire did go into labour, it all went very smoothly. Claire sounds exhilarated and thrilled to have given her baby a much gentler birth than her first baby had when he was delivered by forceps. The community midwives sound almost as excited about homebirth as Claire was!

Gina was well-prepared and well-informed before her first baby's birth, but the reality was not what she had hoped for. When he passed meconium in early labour, she transferred to hospital. Faced with a difficult environment, a posterior labour and a syntocinon drip, she found her her yoga breathing and hypnobirthing techniques more effective than Gas and Air, and was able to negotiate hospital policies to give him some elements of the gentle birth she had envisaged.

Emma was taken by surprise when her second labour progressed faster than her first. A positive, straightforward birth.

Amanda B delivered her first baby at home after a very 'efficient' labour. When Amanda entered the second stage of labour, meconium was found in her waters and the midwife asked her to push hard to deliver the baby quickly. It sounds like Amanda pushed her baby out in record time through sheer force of will; he was fine, and amazingly, given that forced pushing, she didn't even tear!

Vivienne W drenched the midwife when her second baby's waters broke explosively! Vivienne tried a variety of positions to find an effective way to push, and when she found the right one, the result was dramatic. Vivienne has also written a lovely, inspiring story of her first baby, Gabriel's, birth at home. Vivienne's midwives suggested that she plan a homebirth, and gave her excellent support throughout her labour. Some good examples of ways to move the second stage along.

Charlotte H bubbles with enthusiasm about the home waterbirth of her first baby: "I looked down and saw this cute little ball of baby and grabbed him and pulled him out of the water nice and slowly. These were the most amazing few seconds of my life, holding my precious son close to me just bobbing around in the water. "

Emma Daniels's third baby, Caiden, was born at home, with his siblings asleep upstairs and his gran watching from the doorway. Emma comments that the home birth was better for her partner than her previous hospital births.

Amanda L is only 5'2", but she still managed to push her 10lb 5oz baby out under her own steam, at home. Her midwife intervened to help her push her baby past a swollen cervix, and while this must have been painful, Amanda is very positive about the labour and has some helpful suggestions and comments for first-time mothers.

Charlie Paris gave birth to her first baby, Finn, at home. This extract may make you wince in sympathy, laugh, or both :- "As I was about to get in my body really started pushing violently and I was yelling that I couldn't stop it, in between telling J that I wasn't going to do this anymore, I'd changed my mind and the baby could stay where it was." Charlie used hypnotherapy and swears it helped her. It's certainly quite an achievement to give birth to a persistent occiput posterior first baby without medical intervention, but Charlie makes it sound easy. Less than a year later, Charlie was delivering her next baby, Ruben, at home - this time before the midwife got there...

Elizabeth B suffered with backache in her first labour and considered transferring to hospital for more pain relief, but she couldn't face the short journey, and her labour progressed well. She delivered her daughter at home, in water, and says 'taking her up to my own bed that night with my partner and not alone in hospital was definitely worth it.'

Katie F planned a homebirth for her first baby, but transferred because of prolonged ruptured membranes and ended up having a tough time. Second time around, she planned ahead with hypnotherapy and employed an independent midwife. "All in all it worked out about as well as it could have done - no drugs, no serious damage and not too long. I must admit though, it did still hurt - not too much, but if that stork thing was really an option, I think I'd be going for it."

Rebecca N gave birth to her first baby at home in Belgium, where pain-relieving drugs are not available at home. She used hypnotherapy, a birth ball and water to manage her labour. Rebecca paints a wonderful picture of an early labour buzzing on endorphins! She had a difficult transition and second stage, pushing for three hours; her husband's support made a clear difference at a crucial moment.

Tina V's first baby was born by c-section after slow progress. She gave birth to her second baby at home, with the support of her partner and a doula as well as her NHS midwives. Tina used hypnotherapy and a birth pool to help manage her labour. It sounds like the labour was hard work, and Tina is clear that it was a team effort, but what a result - a gentle birth for a big baby.

Mandy R had a wonderfully straightforward labour and homebirth for her second baby, Maisy-Jo; it took 3 hours to push her first baby out, so she was taken by surprise to find that things were much faster this time.

Kelly G gave birth to her first baby, Charlotte, at home, under the care of community midwives and with great support from her partner. She had a bad tear stitched in hospital afterwards, but was back home just a couple of hours later.

Nicola H spent most of her first labour at home, keeping active. However, when the baby passed meconium she transferred to hospital and had an emergency caesarean when baby Isabelle showed other signs of distress. It's clear that, although this is not the birth Nicola had hoped for, it is the one she needed, and she was very pleased with the care she received both at home, and in hospital.

Sonia had a 1 hour 30 minute labour with her second baby, ably supported by a very well-organised father-to-be and a doula! Sonia had gone to some effort to make sure that midwives trained in waterbirth would be available, but still encountered problems.

Kelly R wrote an upbeat story about the birth of her first baby at home. Kelly used relaxation techniques which remind me of a DIY hypnotherapy, and she had a short established labour.

Nataliya's first baby died after a placental abruption and emergency cesarean at 29 weeks. Her second, a healthy girl, arrived after a hospital induction. Unhappy with her local NHS hospital's approach, and the private alternatives, Nataliya had a straightforward homebirth with an independent midwife.

Kelly's first baby was born at home, at 36 weeks and 3 days. Kelly's labour sounds like hard work and went on for two days, but despite the marathon effort, and her boiler breaking down just when she needed hot water (!), Kelly is very positive about it all! She was well supported by her birth partners and independent midwife.

Helen M is a nurse, and was clearly well informed about childbirth. However, despite being a healthcare professional, she had trouble arranging a homebirth when first a low-lying placenta, and then a small baby, was suspected. She made an informed decision to continue with her plans, and had a small, but healthy, baby boy at home. Great support from her NHS Supervisor of Midwives when an obstetrician was unsupportive.

Charlotte had a tough time with her first birth, ending in a forceps delivery, but her second was entirely different: "The midwife just took his heart rate twice as he lay against me to check all was well, but otherwise left well alone - for over 30 minutes. We sat motionless, me weeping with relief at his safety, joy at the manner of his arrival, and yes, a sense of personal achievement and absolute awe at the power of the birth experience when it goes the way nature intended. " Waterbirth with wonderfully supportive NHS midwife - and a dodgy boiler!

Claire S gave birth to her first baby at home, in water. She managed so well in early labour that the midwife did not realise how far along she was....

Jo's story of the birth of Harry, her third child, is hilarious and witty, and also very touching: "How lovely to be given the chance to have my baby the way my body wanted to, without someone bossing me around, I just kept thinking this is how childbirth was meant to be and it felt a million miles away from the hospital birth of my first baby." Jo was so relaxed, she had no idea that she was in advanced labour until her baby's head was born!

Hayley planned a homebirth for her first baby and had to investigate several obstacles which cropped up in late pregnancy - Group B Strep, and a baby who appeared small for dates, with possible low fluid levels. She had an active labour at home for twelve hours, managing some difficult situations along the way. She transferred to hospital for help when her labour slowed and she was exhausted, but still managed to deliver her baby by her own efforts. A detailed story with lots of observations which may help other first-time mothers.

Rachel Stacey planned a home waterbirth, but when her waters broke before labour started, there was meconium. She went to hospital for monitoring, and when this suggested that her baby was perfectly happy, she made the controversial choice to return home and continue with her plans.

Rebekah and Roger have both written their perspectives on the birth of their first baby, Gaia, at home. A straightforward labour which was hard work at times, especially during the second stage. Neither parent romanticises birth, but they are both very positive about how it worked out for their family. Great to have a father's view of homebirth.

Deborah F had her second and third babies at home. Both lovely, straightforward, healthy births, with supportive NHS midwives.

Chris C gave birth to her second baby at home, on a lovely home-made birthing nest, and the birth itself went very well. However, she had a serious postpartum haemorrhage and transferred to hospital afterwards; Chris reminds us to consider emergency access to the room chosen for birth.

Nina's first baby was born by caesarean; Nina sounds like the sort of person who does not make choices lightly, and her decision to plan her next baby's birth at home was well-researched. Her second baby, Asya, was born at home in London in 2001. While awaiting her third baby, Sonja, in 2006, Nina felt the need to be near her family in the USA, and she explains some of the differences between midwifery care in the two countries. Two beautifully-written birth stories; romantic, and full of imagery as well as reason.

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; mother and baby went home, well, the next day.

Jenny Mac had a very positive homebirth under the care of the Albany midwife team, 3 days after her waters broke: "It was my greatest achievement. Empowering, joyous, strong, amazing. I am so glad that I went down this road and will always be grateful for the loving help and support I received along the way."

Colleen is in the USA, and after a straightforward birth, she had a severe postpartum haemorrhage when fragments of placenta were left in her uterus. She transferred to hospital and had a manual removal of the placental fragments without anaesthetic.

Brenda had her fourth baby at home, aged 41. It was tougher than her previous births, but she writes about it so wittily that we can laugh, even if she couldn't at the time! One of her older children chose to be around for the birth: "I will never forget the look on Sam's face - it was absolutely alight. He couldn't have looked more excited if somebody had given him a Play Station 2 and every game for it ever released."

Jessica Raymond's story of her first baby's birth at home is sunny and uplifting. Although Charlie needed some resuscitation at birth, he responded well and was in excellent condition a few minutes later.

Jo-Anne got to 43 weeks and 2 days with baby Chelsea, but still found it hard to believe she was really in labour when things started to happen! After a rollercoaster ride of a labour, with Jo-Anne in denial until her baby's head crowned, Chelsea arrived before the midwife. When her next baby, Kalonice, was on the way, Jo-Anne worried about wasting the midwife's time as she was convinced it was just 'early labour'. Little did she know it wasn't 'early' at all... two inspiring, and informative stories, which definitely raised a chuckle from me! Kalonice had a kidney problem detected on antenatal scans, but JoAnne decided that this did not need to determine her place of birth. When Jordan was born two years later, Jo-Anne found that even a straightforward birth can be emotionally tough. (added 7 April 2006)

Rosie was looking forward to her daughter's birth for a long time. Her first baby was stillborn by elective caesarean due to a major abnormality, so we can only imagine how desperate she was to hold her next baby. At 43 weeks and 2 days, she eventually arrived, safe and well, at home.

Rachel Vincent's first two babies were born in hospital after she had high blood pressure, but her third was born at home. He was in a persistent OP presentation, born facing upwards; despite this, Rachel managed to deliver him without even a graze. Rachel comments that home birth seemed better for her husband, as well as for her.

Emma Laing's third baby was born at home at 42 weeks and 2 days, under the care of supportive midwives and a mother who was determined not to be induced again!

Hannah Worthington was optimistic and enthusiastic about having her first baby at home. She used hypnotherapy and a birth pool, and sounds very calm despite labouring for many hours. She transferred to hospital for slow progress and her baby was delivered by caesarean section. Hannah sounds like a very positive person who would not like to feel ill of anyone, but she suspects that the outcome might have been different, had her midwives been more supportive.

Rachael Keith planned a home birth for her first baby; her waters broke at home, but she spent several days in latent labour before her baby showed signs of distress, and Rachael changed her plans to a hospital birth. Baby Matilda was a brow presentation, and was born by emergency c-section. Rachael stood her ground at every stage, agreeing to interventions when she was confident that they were necessary, but declining others.

Rebecca was 11 days over her EDD when her first baby was born at home. "She smelled of birthing and was looking about with little old eyes, like a little ancient monkey-sage come to show us the way. There was something so ancient and other-worldly about her, I felt awe and joy, but not pride because it seemed to me this little being had orchestrated my triumph for me and that I owed a lot."

Amanda Saini's third baby's birth was a remarkable, and triumphant, arrival. Her first was a hospital birth, with a difficult recovery from an episiotomy. Her second baby was breech and Amanda opted for a caesarean in preference to the vaginal breech delivery on offer in her local hospital. When expecting her third, she researched her options, and planned a homebirth. In the event, baby Connor did indeed have his gentle home waterbirth - and was caught by his dad, before the midwife arrived.

Sarah Ockwell-Smith was sure she had another five hours to go before her fourth baby arrived, but it was more like 10 minutes: "In hindsight it was obvious the birth was imminent but I just couldn't believe that it was, as fifteen minutes previously I wasn't even sure I was in labour!" Sarah had planned a homebirth for her first two babies, Sebastian and Flynn, but things worked out differently. Third baby Rafferty arrived at home, weighing over 11lbs!

Emma and her husband attended a HypnoBirthing course, went to a homebirth support group, and were very well-informed before their long-awaited first baby's birth. Emma had a very long, but positive, labour and homebirth, followed by a transfer to hospital to have Cameron checked over. Cameron was found to have a serious congenital abnormality, and spent the next three weeks in hospital. Emma says: "I am so pleased we opted for the home birth, it gave us those few precious hours with him before he went into intensive care."

Cerys planned a homebirth for all three of her children. She was persuaded to change to a hospital birth for her first, because of a painful pelvic ligament condition (SPD), but when expecting her second, she found that actually a homebirth was still an option: "This labour couldn't have been more different from the horrible experience of my daughter's birth, and laid a lot of ghosts to rest for me. I COULD labour at home, I COULD cope with the pain even with SPD, and it was a totally positive experience". She hoped for the same again with her third, but unfortunately had an unsupportive midwife and transferred to a birth centre for pain relief.

Dawn had a gentle, relaxed first stage of labour, spent alone with her husband. When the midwife arrived, she moved to a very rapid second stage, and was desperately worried when the midwife couldn't pick up the baby's heartbeat. Callum was floppy when born, but soon perked up. Dawn's first baby, Maya, was also born at home, in water, after a long, hard labour. Dawn makes no bones about it being hard work, but her sense of achievement shines through. "No one delivered my baby. I gave birth to her. It was the hardest, most painful thing I have ever experienced, but I did it. And she is perfect."

Joy Mottram's second baby, Malachi, was born at home at 43+3 gestation, weighing 10lb7oz. Joy had some trouble with an unsupportive NHS midwife in late pregnancy, so she delayed calling a midwife on the day; she is unsure whether she would go through the "Russian Roulette" of NHS maternity care again.

Anna Grube prepared thoroughly for the birth of her first baby in the USA. She found excellent homebirth midwives, and she and her husband attended Bradley childbirth preparation classes, as well as using hypnotherapy. Anna's story gives a good sense of how a positive attitude, and good supporters, can make a difference; while it's clear that the labour was still hard work, Anna also found it "great fun" in places, and said the time flew by.

Angela Hennessy had a difficult first birth in hospital, and was also found to be a Group B Strep carrier. She had a great, straightforward home waterbirth second time around.

Joanne W's first baby was born on her narrowboat, attended by her partner and an independent midwife: "I felt as though I was two people: one completely absorbed in the emotional and physical turmoil of giving birth, and the other a rational and distanced observer."

Jackie Rickman prepared carefully for her first baby's birth, using hypnotherapy and a cranial osteopath, and working to get her baby in the best position. A straightforward homebirth in a warm, family atmosphere; Jackie's mother was present for the birth. Includes some lovely post-birth photos.

Jackie Shute's third baby was born at home in what the midwife described as the most organised homebirth she'd ever seen! Straightforward birth of a very large baby, with some helpful tips for preparation.

Emma T had her first baby at home, and managed the whole of her first stage before the midwife arrived! She was fighting pushing urges before the midwife turned up, and perhaps as a result, had difficulty pushing her baby out in the end - but, after an episiotomy, she managed. A positive, but very practical, description of a first labour; Emma has some interesting reflections on the way her labour progressed and the possible impact of having tried so hard to avoid giving birth before the professionals arrived.

Donna Cummings had a homebirth for her first baby. Her waters broke before labour started, and didn't realise she was actually in labour for some time because she managed her contractions so well. Donna makes it all sound so simple that you could almost forget how unusual it is for a first-time mother to give birth in the UK with no interventions at all.

Kate Marshall's first baby, Olivia, was born at home after a stop-start early labour, at 9 days past her EDD. It sounds like Kate's labour was tough and frustrating at times, but she managed, with great support from her husband, mother and midwife.

Amber had clearly put a lot of effort into preparing for her first baby's birth; she attended HypnoBirthing classes, arranged a birth pool, and most importantly, she was very well-informed. A wonderfully straightforward labour and waterbirth.

Rachel Wright planned a homebirth after two caesareans. Her baby was occiput posterior and presenting brow-first, making labour tough and painful, and baby Jaya passed meconium before birth. Supported wonderfully by her doula, partner and NHS midwives, Rachel still managed to deliver her baby at home.

Victoria Whitworth had her first baby at home, aged 40. She used hypnotherapy and a birth pool, and was attended by her husband and a doula, with midwives arriving towards the end of her labour. Victoria's story is bubbling with excitement and enthusiasm.

Tina Redford had her third baby at home, and found her Christian faith a great support to her in labour. Her baby was in the occiput posterior position, and was much larger than Tina's first two; Tina is a petite woman, and baby Shaun was 8lb 5oz.

Nikki Ford had FOUR caesarean sections before she planned a homebirth with an independent midwife. She also planned a weekend away, at 38 weeks' pregnant. She only just got back in time... this birth story is more gripping than any TV drama!

Kirsty Crowther's second baby was born at home, after a long prelabour and several false starts. Her husband and midwife made a great support team. Kirsty's description of her labour is very clear, particularly the relief she gained from a birth pool. She makes some lovely observations about her daughter's birth underwater. This is a particularly educational birth story and might be a useful resource for antenatal teachers to print out.

Jenny P's first baby was born at home, so naturally she planned a homebirth for her second baby. When she went into labour at 42 weeks (after taking castor oil), she was told that no midwives were available and she would have to go to hospital. Her husband took over negotiations, and with some assertiveness, the issue was overcome. (Added 19 August 2007)

Lisa Rabin-Smith planned a homebirth for her second baby, but was eventually induced in hospital when she developed pre-eclampsia. She tried again with her third baby - but ended up having an accidental hospital birth... (Added 19 August 2007)

Claire Thomas's second baby was born at home, after a hospital induction and ventouse delivery for her first baby. Claire writes that "the experience convinced me that the level of pain is directly proportional to the feeling of control. It was quite manageable, even in the late stages, whereas with Ben I felt completely unable to cope by the time I got to 6 cm. It makes sense really, but I think I had to experience that distinction to realise it." (Added 19 August 2007)

Sarah Harradence was well prepared for her first baby's homebirth, although she was messed around somewhat by her local hospital because of staffing issues and lack of midwifery confidence with waterbirth. Ethan arrived at home, in the birth pool.(Added 18 August 2007)

Dunja lives in Spain, where home birth is rare. She gave birth to her third baby at home, a couple of days after her membranes ruptured. It was a tough labour, with a long prelabour, but she managed ..(Added 16 August 2007)

Julie Kennedy's second baby was born at home weighing 9lb 9oz. Her first baby, 15 years earlier, had been delivered by forceps, but Julie did not need any intervention to deliver Emma.(Added 14 August 2007)

Heather planned a home waterbirth for her third baby, who decided to turn posterior despite all her mother's efforts. The progress of labour was slightly erratic as a result, but Heather made an informed decision to stay home despite her midwives requesting that she transfer, as mother and baby were in good health. (Added 26 June 2007)

Fiona's second baby, Gabriel, was born in her bathtub, assisted by a supportive midwife who took care to keep his head underwater until his body was born. Her first baby, Sebastian, was also born at home a little after her 40th birthday. Fiona transferred to hospital after the birth for some stitching, but it is clear from her story that this did not overshadow her sense of achievement in the birth.(Added 26 June 2007)

Donna Freeman clearly put a lot of thought and effort into preparing for her second baby's birth, and had to stand her ground when a midwife questioned the suitability of homebirth because her baby might be big. Donna writes: "I'm immensely proud of myself that I stood up for what I wanted and created a situation that led to a 'perfect' birth. I'd do it all again tomorrow, just to live through it again." (added 25 June 2007)

Judith had her fourth baby at home after three hospital births. Judith made effective use of active labouring positions and movements to bring the baby's head down, and took labour in her stride while her older children slept upstairs.

Caroline Brown gave birth to her first baby at home in Edinburgh. Benjamin was in the Occiput Posterior position in labour, but Caroline still managed using only TENS and water for pain relief. Caroline was very well informed and well prepared, and her experience shows that a first baby for an older mother in a relatively difficult position, can still be managed at home. (added 24 June 2007)

Rachel McGrath has had two homebirths against the odds now; twice she has challenged the advice of obstetricians who were concerned about her having a large baby, and towards the end of her third pregnancy she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and told that she had a high chance of a c-section. She gave birth to an average-sized, healthy baby, at home, with no drips, and no problems. (added 1 June 2007)

Kelly Chequer says that it took about six times longer to write her birth story than it took to give birth. She was alone when her baby was born, covered in meconium, and poor baby Amelia fell straight down the toilet. It sounds like Kelly was still in shock when she wrote this, 11 days later. (added 25 May 2007)

Bel came a long way to have her second baby at home. First she was anaemic, then her baby was breech, then was told her baby was small-for-dates, and then she developed gestational diabetes. She researched her options, took responsibility for her own healthcare, and had a wonderfully straightforward homebirth. (added 17 May 2007)

Debbie Dooley's fifth baby, Caiden, was born at home weighing 9lb 5oz. Debbie is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and she researched her birth choices extremely carefully. Hers was one of the first few planned homebirths to diabetic mothers in the UK. (added 17 May 2007)

Jem planned homebirths for each of her four children. This is the story of her fourth baby, born at home after a fast labour. Jem only just got her knickers off in time! An unusually painful third stage, but otherwise a very straightforward birth. (added 15 May 2007)

Laura got to fully dilated at home with her first baby, and pushed for five hours, but he just wouldn't budge. She transferred to hospital and, with a huge effort, managed to give birth to him by her own efforts, avoiding the episiotomy and forceps that she was offered. (added 15 May 2007)

Sarah K has given birth to all three of her children at home; Brigid's, Fiontan's and Diarmuid's birth stories are told here. Fiontan was much larger than his siblings, and Sarah had some problems delivering his body - but nothing she couldn't manage.(added 5 May 2007)

Terri Eaton planned a homebirth for her second baby, but after problems with a racing heart rate in pregnancy, she had very high blood pressure in labour and transferred to hospital. There were some other complications and Terri was persuaded to stay in hospital after she gave birth for observation, but the care she received was very sketchy and in retrospect she feels she would have been better cared for at home. (added 5 May 2007)

Melanie Renowden's second baby arrived at home after a fast and straightforward labour, despite worries about pre-eclampsia and her waters breaking before labour started. She writes: "I can honestly say that my first thought as he was born was ‘is that it?!’ because it had all been so easy." (added 20 April 2007)

Carolyn Hoolihan describes her first baby's birth as 'traumatic' and her second, at home, as 'terrific'. This is despite her midwife breaking her waters to speed up her labour, and then finding that her beloved Entonox had all run out just when she needed it most! (added 20 April 2007)

Sally Paech gives a great description of 'breathing' out her first baby, Mia, at home, with wonderful support from her husband and her NHS midwives. (added 18 April 2007)

Kirsty Nicol was 'desperate to avoid having another early baby' after her first baby was born in hospital at 35 weeks. Be careful what you wish for...... some very thoughtful consideration of post-dates issues here! (added 10 April 2007)

Sue planned a homebirth for her third baby after two straightforward hospital births. However, she changed her plans to a hospital birth when she found she had a low-lying placenta and it was not clear whether a caesarean would be necessary. (added 10 April 2007)

Buffy's fourth baby, Lori, was born at home safe and well, but Buffy had a retained placenta and transferred to hospital with serious blood loss. Buffy has written the story of her third stage on a separate page. She planned another homebirth for her fifth baby, Theo, and this time everything went swimmingly. (added 10 April 2007)

Clare Emerson's third baby, Miriam, was born at home at 12 days past her estimated due date, thwarting bad weather and induction appointments to do so! (added 19 March 2007).

Melanie Dunne planned a homebirth for her second baby and found her midwives very supportive, but when she went into labour at 36 and a half weeks, and the baby had recently been breech, she found herself labouring in hospital. Despite not getting the homebirth she'd hoped for, Melanie still found this a much more positive experience than her previous birth; she managed without epidural or ventouse, and her positive attitude comes across loud and clear! (added 17 January 2007).

Miriam went into labour with her first baby at 36 weeks and 3 days, and decided to continue with her plans for a home waterbirth despite local guidelines that babies under 37 weeks should be born in hospital. Her daughter was welcomed into the world gently, in water, as Miriam had hoped... (added 17 January 2007).

Christy, from the USA, planned a 'freebirth' - a birth without health professionals, to be supported only by her husband, for her second baby. However, her labour progressed rapidly and she gave birth completely alone. Her baby had the cord tight around his neck and was slow to breathe after birth, but Christy dealt with situation wonderfully and baby and mother were left in great shape. And he was a whopper...(added 17 January 2007).

Rosie Taylor's first baby was born at home, in water - a very well-prepared mother, ably backed up by a supportive partner and midwives. Alexander was born at 41 + 5 gestation, on the day when an induction had been booked, had his cord around his neck, and his hand by his head too - but none of this stopped mother and baby from having a wonderful birth. (added 5 January 2007).

Jessica B was interested in homebirth for her first baby, but her partner was not sure and she ended up having a hospital induction, and various other things which she expressly hadn't wanted. Second time around, Jessica did it her way - she caught her own baby in a gentle home waterbirth. (added 5 January 2007).

Claire X had her first two babies at home, and ten years later planned a third home waterbirth. However, this time she was living in Northern Ireland, which has the lowest homebirth rate in the UK, and which also has no independent midwives... she transferred to hospital in late labour and gave birth to a large baby, born sunnyside up. A great example of a well-informed and assertive mother keeping control of her labour and birth wherever possible. (added 5 January 2007).

Sarah from Maidstone planned a home waterbirth for her first baby, with great support from her NHS midwives. She laboured well at home, using the birth pool, Entonox and a birth ball, and transferred to hospital in the second stage when she because exhausted after four hours of pushing. However, amazingly, Sarah still managed to push her baby out herself. (added 2 January 2007).

Willow has sent a lovely story and photos of her second baby's homebirth. Willow tells it like it is, and women who are concerned about maintaining their dignity in labour may either laugh, or grimace in sympathy! Labour progressed faster than Willow realised, with a rapid second stage. She was wonderfully supported by her birth partners and midwife. Baby Tabitha had the cord around her neck, but it did not cause any problems. (added 28 December 2006).

Alicia did not plan to become single, or move halfway across the world to Australia, in her first pregnancy; she did, however, plan to give her baby the best birth she possibly could. It was hard work, and a tough second stage, but Elliot was born in good condition and Alicia's sense of achievement is clear, and well-deserved. (added 27 December 2006).

Lucy Griffin's second baby, Dylan, was born at home in August 2006. Lucy planned a homebirth for her first baby, Poppy, but had a long, tough labour and transferred to hospital for an epidural, so it was with some trepidation that she made plans for her next birth. Supported by a great midwife, things turned out very differently this time (added 26 December 2006).

Helen O'Donnell planned a homebirth for her third baby after two hospital births. It all went wonderfully and, although she didn't plan a waterbirth, Daisy had other ideas! (added 26 December 2006).

Sara Gonzales's first two children were born in hospital, with the full range of pain relief from Gas and Air through Pethidine to epidurals. She wasn't sure she had the guts to give birth without an epidural, but she booked for a homebirth anyway. She did it! (added 26 December 2006).

Rachel Hale gave birth to her 8lb 13oz first baby, Jude, at home in water. She was fortunate to be cared for by the Albany practice, which has a homebirth rate of 30 - 40%. Rachel writes: "My labour notes state that I was in established labour for exactly 23 hours 58 minutes. I had no pain relief besides TENS and water. To say I am proud of myself is an understatement." Quite right too! (added 23 December 2006).

Peta is from New Zealand. She had an horrific forceps delivery in hospital for her first baby, followed by three babies born at home after long, tough labours, but on her own terms. She moved to a different area to get the best midwifery care for her fifth baby, Melee, and she was to need it; Melee's shoulders were stuck for six minutes after her head was born. She transferred to hospital after the birth because of concerns about Melee's breathing. (added 23 December 2006).

Sophie planned homebirths for all three of her children, but the first two were born by caesarean after very slow progress. During her next pregnancy she saw an osteopath who corrected a misalignment in her pelvis and, wonderfully, managed to deliver her third baby at home. It was still tough - three hours of pushing - but with time, a supportive midwife and partner, and a warm bath, she did it (added 22 December 2006).

Lorna's second baby was born at home after an intense labour. Lorna saw meconium when her waters went at 5-6cm dilation; the midwife advised transfer but Lorna asked her to monitor the baby's heart, and when that was fine, decided to stay at home. Then she decided to transfer to hospital anyway for an epidural... but didn't have time... great example of assertiveness triumphing over one-size-fits-all policies! (added 22 December 2006)

Aida is an independent midwife who has a "challenging" obstetric history involving a shoulder dystocia at home, and for her fifth baby a transfer to hospital when her baby did not descend. She planned a homebirth for her own sixth baby, attended by a fellow independent midwife. Baby Maia did not breathe when she was born and needed resuscitation, but this was handled safely and gently at home. Aida had a 'lotus' third stage. (added 5 December 2006)

Diana planned a home birth for her first baby, but developed symptoms of pre-eclampsia and was hospitalised for twelve days at the end of her pregnancy, undergoing five doses of Prostin in an attempt to induce her labour. When all that was unsuccessful, Diana agreed to an elective caesarean. This story was written 11 days after baby Maia was born, and Diana was still having difficulty coming to terms with what had happened, so be prepared for some raw, but honest, feelings. Second time around, Diana booked with an independent midwife and I was delighted to hear that she had her second baby at home. (added 21 November 2006)

Kathryn is a doula (a trained birth supporter) and she was planning a home waterbirth for her fourth baby when he turned breech at 37 weeks. Kathryn found an independent midwife who was experienced in breech birth, and Emmanuel was born at home, 20 days after his due date, weighing 9lbs. Inspiring story, illustrated with some lovely photos. (added 19 November 2006)

Katherine planned a homebirth for her first baby, but accepted a hospital induction at nearly 3 weeks past her estimated due date. Unfortunately her induction did not progress and ended in a caesarean. This is the story of her second labour, for which she planned a home VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). However, this baby was in there for the duration too, so Katherine again accepted an induction in hospital when she reached 14 days past her EDD - this time with much happier results. A very positive experience of hospital induction - and for all of us planning homebirth, it's good to know that if Plan A doesn't work out, Plan B can still be a triumph. (added 18 November 2006)

Debbie Johnson was dreading the pushing stage after a tough hospital birth with her first baby - but in the event it lasted all of 10 minutes, for most of which Debbie was in denial! Lovely, straightforward birth of a big second baby. (added 18 November 2006)

Carrie's first two children were born in hospital - the second after a placental abruption and an emergency caesarean. Carrie planned a homebirth for her next baby, with supportive NHS midwives. Although baby Imogen's heartbeat dipped at one point in the labour, it quickly recovered and she was born safe and well at home. (added 18 November 2006)

Tric had her first three babies in hospital in Ireland, and her fourth at home. She gave birth to her daughter in water and writes "I felt such a mixture of emotions - shock, delight, pride and relief, to name a few." There was meconium in the waters but baby Caoimhe was fine.(added 17 November 2006)

Jenni's fourth baby, Lydia, was born at home and, as one of Jenni's sons said, "it was wonderful". Especially so because just two and a half years earlier, Jenni had cervical cancer and was told she'd have to have a hysterectomy. She researched carefully and chose a cone biopsy and careful observation instead, but at the time still worried that any future children would have to be born by elective caesarean.... a worrying prospect after the great, but fast, birth of her third baby Theo - who arrived before the midwife. (added 17 November 2006)

Justine Caines gave birth to twins Rosie and Majella at home in Australia, in water, in December 2005. The second twin was a footling breech. A very well-informed mother and a wonderfully straightforward birth. (added 17 November 2006)

Jane had two caesareans, five hospital VBACs, and two ectopic pregnancies before she gave birth to her seventh and eighth babies at home. Below is the story of Caitlin's birth, her eighth baby, written just twelve days after Caitlin arrived. You can also read the story of Jane's seventh baby, Fred, on Jane's own site.(added 7 November 2006)

Nuala's first baby, Aisling, was born at home in Edinburgh. Nuala's labour was in many ways a typical first labour - long prelabour with several days of occasional contractions and "is this it?" moments, followed by a labour which was straightforward, but hard work. (added 3 September 2006)

Alex gave birth to first baby Nathan in hospital after transferring because meconium was found in the waters. Although Nathan weighed 10lb 3oz and had some trouble with the birth of his shoulders, Alex still managed without needing forceps or ventouse, and using only gas and air. (added 3 September 2006)

Farrah had the most amazing birth when her first baby, Valencia, arrived. "It was the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. It wasn't painful, and it wasn't at all what I'd come to expect.". Farrah was just eighteen years old when Valencia was born. (added 3 September 2006)

Rafeeqah had her first baby, Haneefah, at home. Her midwives were concerned about bleeding in the second stage and decided an episiotomy was necessary, and called an ambulance, but the baby was fine. It's clear that Rafeeqah did not feel she was treated with respect: "While it was not perfect, and has shaken any faith I might have had in NHS midwives, I'm definitely wanting to experience labour and homebirth again, soon!" (added 3 September 2006)

Julia had her first baby at home, supported by an independent midwife. Although some intervention was used, because Julia trusted her midwife she was confident it was justified. A good example of a first labour which, although not entirely straightforward, had an excellent outcome at home with a great team of mother, father, midwife and birth supporter who all worked well together. (added 1 September 2006)

Steph Amor's second baby, Lilli, was born at home, welcomed by her 3 year-old sister. Steph took a Hypnobirthing course during her pregnancy, and used independent midwives. She also took great care to help her baby get into a good position, having had a posterior labour with her first baby. When third baby Rafferty arrived, Steph used her hypnobirthing training to help her manage an incredibly fast labour - 30 minutes from the first twinge - and her baby was born before the midwives arrived. (added 1 September 2006)

Deb's third baby, Jude, had stale meconium in his waters. He was born safe and well, and enormous, just a few minutes after the waters broke. (added 1 September 2006)

Sally planned a home birth after her first baby was born by caesarean. She laboured well at home and reached 8cm, but her baby passed meconium and his head did not descend, so she transferred to hospital for a caesarean section. Emilio had meconium aspiration syndrome and had to spend time in Special Care. Sally write that "I hope my story can give support to others who go through something similar and let them know that they are not alone in feeling the mixture of disapointment and utter joy that I feel now, and that it is perfectly normal to have mixed emotions about your child's birth" (added 1 September 2006)

Victoria S gave birth to second baby Jocelyn at home at 40 weeks + 11 days. She was considering whether to accept induction or not. She suffered from pre-eclampsia during her first pregnancy, but fortunately had no sign of it this time. Jocelyn showed signs of postmaturity but was healthy, and Victoria was clearly elated and feeling justifiably proud of herself! (added 1 September 2006)

Jayne's fourth baby, Solomon, was born at home at 12 days past his due date, with Jayne under pressure to accept a hospital induction when "the nicest midwife ever came to tell me to go home, chill out and that words like "let" and "allowed" had no place on maternity care notes, and that I was the one who knew the most about how/when/where my baby should be born!!!" She went on to have a very positive birth just six hours later. (Added 28 August 2006)

Victoria's fifth baby was born at home after a very tough labour. She has described her third and fourth births as "blissful, really enjoyable labours", but although Esmé was more than a pound lighter than her siblings, she was determined to come out in an unorthodox manner.. not only posterior, but with both hands by her face. (Added 28 August 2006)

Jo writes that her first baby Cora arrived on her due date, in the water, in our kitchen, with her daddy and grandma and three amazing midwives! Jo prepared very carefully for her baby's birth, and was well supported by her partner. In many ways this sounds like a classic first labour - slow and steady at times, exciting, and immensely rewarding. (Added 26 August 2006)

Kerry's first baby was born in hospital with the help of a Ventouse. When her midwife suggested that she have her second baby at home, her first response was that she was not a hippie with a paddling pool in her front room! Guess where she ended up giving birth ?!! (Added 26 August 2006)

Becky wanted a home waterbirth for her first baby, and she prepared thoroughly, with hypnobirthing, active birth classes, and having homeopathic remedies and aromatherapy oils available. She transferred to hospital because there was meconium in her waters, but was still able to put all of her forward planning into use. An excellent example of negotiating the best birth you can, in difficult circumstances. I particularly liked Becky's idea of taking her baby in the birth pool and letting go of her sadness at not getting the birth she'd hoped for, while celebrating her daughter's arrival. (Added 26 August 2006)

Helen tells the joyous story of her second baby's birth beautifully. Erin's arrival was clearly uplifting and triumphant for Helen, who had sustained a third-degree tear in her first baby's hospital birth. This time round she needed neither stitches nor pain relief. (Added 26 August 2006)

Amélie had a high-tech birth in France for her first baby, but her second could not have been more different. Her baby was born in water, at home, before the midwife arrived. Amélie's husband supported her brilliantly and caught Clémence. (Added 30 May 2006)

Liz had considered homebirth for her first baby, but was told it "wasn't advisable". For her second baby, Casper, she stuck to her choice. Casper was breech until 36 weeks, but he turned head-down was born at term after a very efficient labour, with a first stage of just two hours. There was old meconium in the water, but Casper was safe and well. (Added 30 May 2006)

Suzanne Williams's first baby, Kira, was born at home after a 5-hour labour. Kira was asynclitic (head tilted slightly to one side) and had her hands up by her face, so it was quite an achievement for Suzanne to give birth to her without assistance. Jamie, Suzanne's second baby, had his cord around his neck and needed resuscitation at birth, but he was fine afterwards. A very interesting story with lots of thoughts on the importance of the relationship with the midwife, and on how birth partners can help. (Added 30 May 2006)

Karen Tye-Walker gave birth to her first baby, Oliver, at home. Oliver was born in a birth pool and Karen caught him herself: "I lifted him out of the water and placed him against my chest. He opened his eyes wide and looked up at me and Jon. He didn't cry - he just looked at us and I thought he was absolutely gorgeous" (added 30 May 2006)

Hannah has six children, of whom four were born at home and one was born minutes after transferring to hospital. After much research and careful thought, Hannah planned an unattended birth for Alfie and Francis. She called a midwife for the birth of Sylvia, but the baby arrived first. (added 4 May 2006)

Doris O Connor was having her fifth baby, but her first homebirth. A stop-start labour, in which the midwives broke Doris's waters after they were fed up with the stopping. Esther was born in the persistent occiput posterior position, ie face-to-pubes, and with the cord wrapped tightly round her neck twice, but mother and baby were well. Doris went on to have her sixth baby, Molly, and her seventh, Gabrielle, at home. Both were large babies - Gabrielle weighed 11lb 12ozs and her shoulders were stuck during the birth, but, as Doris says, "All's well that ends well".(added 4 May 2006)

Lucy decided that she wanted a homebirth at 32 weeks into her first pregnancy. After a three hour second stage, she gave birth underwater. She transferred to hospital for observation because of heavy bleeding afterwards, but did not need any intervention. Just 16 months later, it was time for baby Scrunchy to make her appearance, and this time everything went smoothly. Lucy's waters broke at 37 weeks and 2 days, but it was two days later before she went into labour. (Scrunch's story added 4 May 2006)

Jeanette Archer 'breathed' out all 9lb 12oz of her third baby, Angus, at a gentle home birth in 2002. She planned another homebirth for Sidney in 2005, and while the labour was tougher, and the baby more than a pound heavier, she still managed to do it at home, under her own steam. (Added 3 May 2006)

Leighann wanted a homebirth for her first baby, but was told she couldn't because she had a positive Group B Strep result. With her second, she was told GBS wasn't a problem, but it was "too late" to book a homebirth. Her baby had other ideas and arrived rapidly at home, unplanned. When she was expecting her third, nothing was going to stop Leighann. Not even a baby who decided to be born face-first. (Added 2 May 2006)

Cassy had hoped to have a homebirth for her second baby, Carys, before she was even conceived. However, after four nights and three days of irregular contractions, Cassy transferred to hospital and and had a caesarean. Her labour at home, and the caesarean operation, were both positive experiences, and Cassy still had the energy to notice that her partner "looked gorgeous in his scrubs"! (Added 2 May 2006)

Katherine lives in the USA, where she had a caesarean for her first baby, and a hospital birth for her second. She worked hard to make things different for her next baby, and writes: "I did it. I had my baby at home and in the water. And I suggest you all do the same." (Added 2 May 2006)

Katrina lives in Northern Ireland and she found that her rights were different from those of women in the rest of the UK. She explains how she fought to plan a homebirth, and urges women not to give up if homebirth is what you really want. (Added 2 May 2006)

Faye's family is "overrun with medics", so she was a little worried about their reaction when she planned a homebirth for her first baby. When her midwives wanted her to transfer to hospital after a two-hour second stage, Faye pushed her baby out through sheer force of will! (Added 24 April 2006)

Rebecca planned a homebirth for her first, second and third babies. The first birth ended in a ventouse delivery after transfer to hospital. The second was an elective caesarean birth because of severe back problems. The third time, it all went perfectly. (Added 24 April 2006)

Anna planned a homebirth for her first baby, but after a long labour which did not seem to be progressing, she transferred to hospital hoping to have an epidural. At hospital she was told that she could not have an epidural as her labour was too advanced, and she had an horrific forceps delivery. (Added 23 April 2006)

Jamie knew from that start that she wanted a homebirth for her first baby: "I have a passion for the natural process of labor and the way God designed our bodies to do this miraculous thing. I attend births whenever I get the chance and couldn't wait to finally experience it for myself." The labour went well, and Jamie caught her own baby. (Added 23 April 2006)

Nicola's first baby was born at home, weighing 5lb 15oz. Nicola had some concerns about anaemia during her pregnancy, but went ahead with her homebirth. Despite a last-minute drama with a tight cord, everything went well and "The whole labour was not nearly as bad as I had psyched myself up for." (Added 20 April 2006)

Michelle tells a lovely story of a first labour and home waterbirth. She managed to have a good birth despite midwives who flapped and fussed over her use of the birth pool, and threatened her unnecessarily with transfer to hospital. Even with all of this hassle, Michelle still did it on her own - she had prepared well, and she had a great birth. (Added 19 April 2006)

Rachel's first baby was small-for-dates, and she was told this meant she should see a consultant when she wanted to book a homebirth for her second. The consultant tried to dissuade her on the grounds that her second baby would be too big! Good example of assertiveness in dealing with an unsupportive doctor. Despite the doctor's fears, and her baby deciding to be born fist-first, Rachel managed to give birth to a good-sized son at home. (Added 19 April 2006)

Claire's first baby, Sophia, was born in October 2005 at home. Claire writes:"As my own experience was so wonderful, I'd like to share it and hopefully provide some reassurance to expectant mums." A wonderfully positive story, and a great antidote to all the horror stories told to first-time mothers. Claire wrote this story four days after her baby's birth, and her sense of achievement is clear. (Added 18 April 2006)

Gillian Hall's first baby, Elena, was born in hospital, with forceps. Despite being told that she could not have a home birth for her second baby because of this, Emily was born at home weighing 8lb 5oz - larger than her big sister had been - with no problems. No prizes for guessing where Gillian wanted to have her third baby, Lewis! Gillian had wanted her daughters to be present at the birth, but found that "The idea of a lovely birth with all the family present seemed increasingly unlikely when my contractions stopped just because they were awake in the next room."(Added 18 April 2006)

Denise Tupman's third baby was caught by Dad before the midwives arrived! Now, you would think that the midwives would take her first twinges of labour seriously after this, but guess what happened when fourth baby Andy was on his way? (Added 16 April 2006)

Clare Russell had her second baby, Jamie, at home, having considered transferring to hospital because of prolonged rupture of the membranes. Clare describes Jamie's entry to the world as "slow, but peaceful". Clare was anticipating another slow and steady labour with her third child, Bethany. Instead, she ended up with what must be the world record for going from 3cm to giving birth... (Added 16 April 2006)

Ciara had her first baby in Ireland. She wasn't keen on the idea of homebirth because, in her area, no pain-relieving drugs were available at home. However, she was sure that a standard hospital birth wasn't for her either. Ciara describes a classic first labour - long, and sometimes hard, which is as much an emotional journey as a physical one. (added 16 April 2006)

Naomi planned a home waterbirth for her fourth baby. She got the waterbirth bit... a positive accidental hospital birth story, which just goes to show that if you want a homebirth, don't go anywhere near a hospital after 37 weeks unless there is a clear medical need; sod's law says that you are at high risk of having a fast labour and being caught out! (added 15 April 2006)

Jillian's second baby was born at home after a very positive labour - she writes that 'Nothing about this birth was as painful as I'd expected, after my first (hospital) birth.'. The third stage of labour was different, though; Jillian bled heavily after the birth and transferred to hospital, where she continued to have severe blood loss until fragments of retained placenta were removed. During her next pregnancy, with baby Mark, scans were unable to rule out another abnormal placenta, so Jillian decided to keep her options open about place of birth.(added 14 April 2006)

Clare planned a homebirth for her first baby, but transferred to hospital when her labour never really got going. With her second baby, she realised that her labour was deeply affected by her own state of mind and her environment; distractions and onlookers slowed it down, and privacy made it stronger. She had a gentle birth, with support from sensitive midwives. (added 14 April 2006)

Rachel tried very hard to have her first baby, Freya, at home, but after labouring for nearly two days, she transferred to hospital. After that marathon, she gave birth soon after arriving in hospital, with the assistance of a ventouse. Includes positive and constructive comments on transferring to hospital. (added 10 April 2006)

Jessica chose a homebirth for her second baby in order to get some continuity of care and a midwife who she would at least recognise, after a first hospital birth left her feeling that she had "had a baby removed" rather than given birth. A very positive story, with some perceptive comments about the role of her partner at a homebirth compared to in hospital. But when Jessica's third baby, Adie, had not shown any signs of arriving by 18 days postdates, Jessica reluctantly booked a hospital induction for the next day. Clearly aware that she was under threat of eviction, Adie put in an appearance just in time.. and what a whopper! (added 10 April 2006)

Anna, a midwife, says her 'inside knowledge' made her confident of her choice of a homebirth. Some interesting perspectives on pain in childbirth. When pregnant with her second baby, Samuel, Anna planned a homebirth with the same independent midwife. She wondered why her labour didn't really get going for four days after her waters had broken - but when labour eventually started, Samuel was an unexpected breech presentation. Knowing that her midwife was experienced in breech birth, Anna chose to remain at home. Oh, and as if all that wasn't enough... Samuel was 9lb 4 oz! Inspiring story, with photos.(added 8 April 2006)

Emma had trouble arranging her home birth because she was considered high-risk for a thrombosis. After researching the subject, she decided to go ahead with a homebirth, but her baby was posterior and her labour seemed to stall. However, after her waters were broken, and with judicious use of pain relief, Emma managed to deliver her baby at home. (added 7 April 2006)

Jo did not plan a homebirth for her third baby, but despite the fact that he was 11lb 10oz, and she is petite, her labour progressed so fast that she was not able to get to hospital. However, Joshua's shoulders got stuck after his head was born (shoulder dystocia), and he needed resuscitation. He was fine afterwards, although poor Jo was in shock. I don't usually include unplanned homebirth stories on this site, because they are quite a different matter from planned homebirths and are generally much higher-risk, but Jo's story is a good example of how midwives can manage a difficult birth at home in an emergency.(added 7 April 2006)

Helen's third baby, Skye, was born at home in November 2005. Helen sent this birth story to me the next day!!! Helen had been having bouts of regular contractions for four weeks, and when Skye eventually turned up, she had her hand by her face.. (added 4 April 2006)

Dawn managed to give birth to her first baby naturally, in a birth centre, despite having a long labour. This is the story of her second baby, who arrived at home, in water, after a labour of just around four hours. (added 4 April 2006)

Oddny's second baby, Anton, was a surprise breech presentation. Fortunately, Oddny had booked with an independent midwife who was confident in attending breech birth, and Oddny managed to give birth to her 9lb baby after a labour of just two and a half hours. The overwhelming impression from this birth story is one of calm control, with Oddny and her supporters just doing what needed to be done. A wonderful example of a gentle and natural breech birth. (added 4 April 2006)

Shelley planned a homebirth for her first baby, but when her labour started at 15 days postdates, she did not have the pain relief, or midwifery support, that she needed at home. She had a spontaneous, natural birth after transferring to hospital when meconium was found in her baby's waters, but because of her experience of a very tough early labour, she says she would not recommend homebirth for a first baby.(added 4 April 2006)

Emily's third baby, Jerome, was born at home - very quickly!! Emily says 'When me and DH and a friend watched the video my friend cried and couldnt believe how brave i was. To be honest, i Couldnt either!! It was such a lovely easy birth. ' You can tell that Emily is a woman used to multi-tasking, as she did much of her labouring while shopping in Tesco!(added 4 April 2006)

Keri had her second and third babies at home, in water; her third baby, Ian, weighed 10lb 6oz! (added 4 April 2006)

Catriona had two good hospital births, followed by a home birth for her third baby which was "as perfect as I feel labour and birth could be". She wondered if she should have any subsequent babies in hospital, to avoid risking the memory of this perfect birth! But when the time for her fourth baby, Theo, came... guess what she did?(added 24 February 2006)

Clair had a c-section for her first baby, but planned a homebirth for her second. She ended up transferring to hospital for another c-section, but still had a positive experience. For her third baby, Samuel, she was determined that things would be different ... and they were! An uplifting story, especially since Clair has been disabled by ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for many years. (Added 24 February 2006)

Karen R's second baby, Lewie, was born at home at 42 weeks and 1 day. (added 24 February 2006)

Helen had a deep-vein thrombosis after the home birth of her first baby, so in her second pregnancy she was classified as higher-risk and was given anticoagulant medication. Initially her plans for a second homebirth met with opposition, but Helen explains how her research convinced her, and her obstetrician, that it was a reasonable choice. She went on to have a great birth, with no problems. (Added 3 February 2006)

Georgina carefully planned a homebirth with independent midwives for her first baby, and then waited for the big day. And waited. And waited. Jemima eventually arrived at 43+6 weeks of pregnancy. The birth was hard work, with a three hour second stage, but Georgina found the birth empowering as well as exhausting. George's next baby, Beatrice, arrived at 43+4 weeks, in rather different style to her big sister... In each case, Georgina and her husband carefully considered their options, and made an informed choice to decline induction. (Added 3 February 2006)

Clare's first baby was born in hospital, but she wanted a homebirth for her second. Good job too, as she would never have made it to the hospital in time! Clare clearly took it all in her stride, and says tt was definitely one of the best experiences of her life. (Added 3 February 2006)

Natalie has had two babies at home. She gives a great description of 'breathing' Ryan out, rather than consciously pushing. A lovely, cheerful, gentle birth story. She tells the story of Leyoncé Rose's birth in the same no-nonsense way. Her commentary is so lively I felt like I was in the room with her. Could be sub-titled 'Natalie's training course for midwives' !!! (Added 3 February 2006)

Jennifer S's first baby was born by c-section for breech presentation. Her second baby was born at home, with the help of an independent midwife. It was only when Jennifer asked about homebirth for her second baby that she was given full information about the implications of her previous caesarean, but she chose to 'defy my obstetrician and go with my gut feeling'. (Added 3 February 2006)

Jenifer's third baby was born at home in the USA. She writes "This was the healing birth experience that I craved with my body and soul after having two medical births in the hospital with my other two children. I still can't get over what we did here in my home, and how we were able to welcome Morgan to the world in such a gentle and loving manner. " (Added 3 February 2006)

Caroline F arrived in the UK from Australia at 34 weeks pregnant, expecting a fight to book a homebirth. Instead, she found that her midwives were wonderfully supportive, and her first baby, Xander, arrived calmly in a birth pool, at home. (Added 2 February 2006)

Abigail Brundinhad her first baby, Adelaide, at home. A beautiful birth story - Abigail and her partner Dan spent most of the labour alone, until a sensitive and supportive midwife arrived for the last hour. Her second baby, Saul, rushed his way out in 2004 - less than three hours after Abigail's first twinges. Although it was a textbook 'ideal' labour, Abigail found the pace of the labour shocking... (Added 2 February 2006)

Rachel posted to the Homebirth UK list when she had trouble arranging a homebirth because of her size. Because her BMI (Body Mass Index) was higher than Trust guidelines, she was told a homebirth was not appropriate for her. She took this advice and had her first baby in hospital, but decided to continue with a homebirth for her second. Her story was written before her baby was nine hours old! (Added 2 February 2006)

Joanne's first baby was born at home in Australia. A thoughtful and inspiring story. Joanne was exceptionally well prepared, having practised yoga and planned her birth environment well. She had wonderful support from her husband, midwives, and both of the baby's grandmothers. (Added 2 February 2006)

Paula's second baby, Fraser, was born at home in February 2004. After a difficult first hospital birth left her depressed, Paula prepared carefully for this baby, using yoga and hypnotherapy, and she was attended by an independent midwife. Her hard work paid off - Paula writes that "I still marvel at how wonderful Fraser's birth was. I will always remember it was a truly euphoric experience, and have no memory of pain". (Added 16 January 2006)

Miradija's son, Braxton, was born at home in Australia. He was her fifth baby, but her first homebirth. Three of his siblings were present when he was born! (Added 16 January 2006)

Christine gave birth to her twin daughters at home, in water, in August 2003. Her story makes it sound so calm, so matter-of-fact, that you would hardly realise how rare an event a twin homebirth is. (Added 16 January 2006)

Elizabeth's first baby was born at home, in water, after a labour which sounds both powerful and peaceful. Her story tells of a couple working very closely together, with great midwifery support, to make a very positive labour. Elizabeth makes no secret of the fact that it hurt, but she was able to manage. She had heavy blood loss in the days afer the birth because of retained pieces of placenta, and ended up transferring to hospital five days later for treatment. (Added 16 January 2006)

Amy Driver's first baby, Ella Hope, was born at home after a straightforward labour, with a very supportive birth partner. Unfortunately Amy had a snapped cord and transferred to hospital after the birth because of heavy bleeding. Despite this, she had a very straightforward homebirth for her second baby, Lucy - a lovely story...(Added 15 September 2005)

Cate's third baby, Tabitha, was born at home, in water, after a tough second stage. She planned another homebirth for her fourth baby, Martha, but kept an open mind about transferring to a birth centre and considered how she would manage if her second stage was tough again. As it happened, she didn't have time to put any of her plans into action....(Added 14 September 2005)

Mitch gave birth to her first baby, Noah, at home in Bristol. Mitch's thorough preparation for the birth helped her through a long prelabour; she used hypnosis and yoga to great effect. (Added 14 September 2005)

Sally's third baby was born in the bath, to the sound of the Verves' 'Lucky Man'. A lovely story, and a beautiful baby...(Added 14 September 2005)

Antonia's first baby, Hugo, was born naturally at home, in a birth pool. Hugo's head was asynclitic - tilted to one side - which meant that the second stage was long, and Antonia sustained a third-degree tear which was repaired in hospital, and had to work very hard to establish breastfeeding. Her second baby, Beatrix, also arrived at home, after a 'storm of a labour' - she came shortly after the midwives, despite having both hands up by her head! These stories are very special because Hugo and Beatrix are my godchildren, and Antonia is a dear friend who was present at the birth of my second baby, Bobby.(Added 4 August 2005)

Megan Oxberry planned a homebirth for her first baby, and did everything she could in pregnancy to help her chances. Unfortunately lady luck was busy elsewhere, and after Megan's waters broke, she didn't progress to established labour within a time frame that she and her obstetrician felt was safe. Her labour was induced in hospital and she had a ventouse-assisted birth 72 hours after her contractions first started. Megan clearly has an indomitable spirit as she says she was ready to do it all again, right away!(Added 7 July 2005)

Helen wanted a home birth for her first baby, Harry, but was persuaded to book a hospital birth by her midwives. She ended up with a classic 'cascade of interventions' and forceps delivery, and post-traumatic stress disorder. For her second baby, Jesse, she was determined to have a homebirth, and despite the fact that Jesse needed resuscitation after birth, it is clear from Helen's story that her feelings about the birth are much more positive.(Added 7 July 2005)

Danielle Winser's first baby, Fletcher, was born at home after a very straightforward labour. Danielle's positive attitude shines through this story and it is clear she had prepared herself well for the labour. She also had wonderful support from her husband, midwife and friend. Just about as perfect as you could wish for. Oh, and Fletcher weighed 10lbs !!! (Added 7 July 2005)

Megan Montgomery's second baby, Lachlan, was born safe and well at home on 28 February 2005 - a waterbirth, with judicious use of Entonox. This birth was a new beginning for Megan and her husband, Neil. Their beautiful first baby, Seoras, was born at home on 7 May 2003, but, tragically, he died later that day. Megan cherishes her memories of Seoras's birth, and writes that "I will never forget the joy of the moment he was born and the moment I first held him against me." (Added 4 July 2005)

Ziva is a second baby, and she was born at home in Ontario, Canada. Although the author is petite - just 4'9" - she still managed to give birth to her large baby, perfectly naturally. A thoughtful story, and beautifully written. (Added 30 June 2005)

Flora B had both her first and her second baby at home, while hospital induction dates loomed. Flora also fought off anaemia during her first pregnancy. Both labours progressed faster than expected towards the end - had she planned a hospital birth, she might have had road-births instead! (Added 30 June 2005)

Andrea has had twelve babies, of whom seven were born at home. Her twelfth baby, Oscar, was born in April 2005. Oscar arrived before the midwife, but unfortunately his placenta decided to take its time; Andrea had to transfer to hospital to have a retained placenta removed. She has written this afterbirth story, which is very moving, separately from Oscar's birth story as readers may find it upsetting. Andrea's eleventh baby, Lydia, was born by caesarean after she transferred from a planned, unassisted birth. Her tenth baby, Seth, was a planned, unassisted homebirth. (Added 26 June 2005)

Juliet's second baby, Monty, was born at home, on an army base in Cyprus, in March 2005. Juliet faced considerable opposition to her homebirth plans from the MOD. Her first baby, Florence, was born gently into water. Juliet later transferred to hospital for manual removal of the placenta, but she says this would not have affected her decision to opt for a home birth. (added 11 May 2005)

Rachael's first baby, Verity, was born in hospital, while her second, Archie, arrived by home waterbirth weighing 9lb 4oz. However, with her third baby, Jude, Rachael decided to transfer to hospital after her waters broke and her baby passed meconium.(added 24 February 2005)

Carrie-Anne Flexen planned a home birth for her second baby, but transferred to hospital after 26 hours. She had another attempt at a home birth for her third baby. Just as well really, as Sonny decided to make his appearance a bit faster than his older sister... A very entertaining birth story to read, but I think Carrie-Anne was still in shock when she wrote it!(added 24 February 2005)

Andrea Paley's second baby, Yael, was born at home. Andrea developed high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia), but the labour and birth were straightforward. (added 24 February 2005)

Jo Burberry's first baby, Alex was born at home after a long, hard labour. Alex passed meconium during the labour, and Jo had a retained placenta, so they both transferred to hospital after the birth. A marathon effort, but Jo writes that "It was a shocking experience at the time but it was shocking in a natural way and it wasn't many days before I began to look upon it all as very positive and interesting." (added 1 January 2005)

Philippa de la Haye planned a home birth for her first baby, Oscar, but transferred to hospital as he was in a difficult position. She managed to give birth to him without the assistance of forceps or ventouse - quite an achievement in the circumstances - but sustained a third-degree tear. Her second baby, Delilah, was born at home in April 2003. (added 1 January 2005)

Suzy Robertson has had two posterior labours. Her first was a planned hospital birth, when she had pethidine for pain relief, and gave birth after an episiotomy and ventouse. Her second baby was also posterior, but she was born at home, after Suzy managed the labour with upright and forward-leaning positions. (added 1 January 2005)

Becky's first baby, Sam, was born at home, in a birth pool, on 14 March 2004. He weighed a whopping 9lb 1 oz, but Becky managed to deliver him without intervention, and with only a minor tear.(added 1 January 2005)

Cerys Byrne had her first two children, Emily and Kieran, in hospital; she planned a home birth for Kieran, but transferred because of worries that the baby had been in distress. Her third baby, Alexander, was born at home, in water, on 3rd August 2003. He weighed 9lb 5oz. (added 1 January 2005)

Siobhan wanted a home birth for her first baby, but was told that her doctors would not support her because she has manic depression. Here she describes that first induced labour, and the home births of her other children. (added 29 December 2004)

Claire Constable had her second baby, Katja, at home. An antenatal scan had shown that Katja had only one kidney, but Claire found that this was not a sufficient reason to plan a hospital birth. Claire also managed to give birth to her third baby, Conan, at home - despite him being 2lbs heavier than his sisters, and being born in the occiput posterior position (face-to-pubes).(added 29 December 2004)

Clare K describes the home waterbirth of her first baby, Rosie. As a nurse, Clare felt strongly that hospital was the place to be if she was ill or having complications, but that she should be at home for a straightforward birth. (added 29 December 2004)

Brigett English's first baby, Oscar, was born at home - 20 days after his due date! Brigett researched issues about post-dates pregnancy and chose to wait for spontaneous labour as long as her baby seemed healthy. A triumphant birth story. (added 29 June 2004)

Sarah Sadler gave birth to her second baby, Freya, at home in January 2003. Freya was a whopping 9lb 9oz! Sarah had planned a home birth for Kirsty, her first baby, but transferred to hospital for a forceps delivery because of a long second stage. Kirsty had decided to start labour in the posterior position... Sarah had encountered some difficulties making her booking because of surgery for an ectopic pregnancy in the past. (updated 29 June 2004)

Lonnie Fletcher gave birth to her fourth baby, Aoife, at home in November 2003, witnessed by all of her older children! Lonnie's third baby, Conrad, was an unplanned hospital birth after Lonnie transferred to hospital because her waters had been broken for 24 hours. Lonnie's second baby, Eloisa, was born at home and Lonnie wrote this touching birth story just three days later. (updated 29 June 2004)

Nicky's third baby, Jodie, arrived in a gentle home waterbirth in March 2004. Her story is especially moving because Nicky's second child, Kim, died shortly after her breech birth at home. No reason has ever been found for Kim's death, but Nicky still cherishes the memory of her birth.(added 28 June 2004)

Zoe's first baby, Maya, was born at home, after threats of induction drove Zoe to get reckless with castor oil! Zoe's midwives were great; despite a long second stage, and the fact that Maya's cord was around her neck, there was no panic, and no rush. (added 19 November 2003)

Elaine Lyden's first baby, Niall, was born in hospital in a ventouse delivery; Elaine's husband, Jack, writes movingly about the experience, which left them both determined to do things differently next time. Their second child, Hope, was born at home - a gentle labour and a gentle waterbirth, and a happy family...(added 2 November 2003)

Hazel Clatworthy had her first baby, Bronwen, at home in South Wales. A cheerful, down-to-earth birth story which first-time mothers should find encouraging! (added 2 November 2003)

Sara Patterson planned a home birth after two previous caesareans, but transferred in labour and had a third caesarean which was a very positive birth. Sara describes it as an example of how things can work even when they don't go according to Plan A...(added 9 September 2003)

Jo planned a home birth for her first baby, Ellen, but transferred to hospital because of slow progress, prolonged rupture of membranes, and meconium in the waters. Despite this, she had a very positive birth in hospital with supportive midwives. (added 2 July 2003)

Kate Wood planned a home birth for her third baby, but transferred to hospital because her midwives were worried about the progress of her labour. Kate still managed a natural birth in hospital, but writes that "I learnt from this labour that it's very important to leave the labouring woman to herself as much as possible, to allow her to go within and dig deep and find the resources she needs to carry her through this amazing journey; that often the biggest help to a woman is no help, just a strong, comforting positive physical presence around her. "(added 2 July 2003)

Natalie's third baby was born at home, with the support of independent midwives. Natalie had planned home births for her first two babies, but ended up in hospital both times. She felt that this good birth led to a remarkable recovery which allowed her and her baby to flourish in the weeks afterwards. (added 30 June 2003)

Claire had a straightforward, good hospital birth for her first baby, and planned a homebirth for her second. In the event, her labour was induced in hospital for reduced amniotic fluid levels and suspected small size.(added 5 June 2003)

Maria's first baby, Hannah, was born at home in the USA, with support from a midwife and a doula. Maria had a long labour - 40 hours in total - and spaced-out contractions in second stage. Despite this, she managed to give birth to her baby naturally. (added 5 June 2003)

Laura MacIntyre's first baby was born in hospital six years ago, and her second was born at home. Laura says "Giving birth naturally at home is the most empowering and satisfying thing you can do. It's hard work, it hurts like hell and at times it can be traumatic as you experience childbirth the natural way, but it's also a beautiful, intense and overpowering experience, just as nature intended." (added 27 March 2003)

Sarah Calvert's first baby, Rohan, was born in hospital after an induced labour with an epidural. Her second, Nayt, was born at home, three weeks after his due date. Before having children, Sarah had "assumed that women who had babies at home naturally probably needed psychiatric help for wanting to inflict unnecessary pain on themselves, when there are perfectly good drugs on offer"! (added 27 March 2003)

Lisa Williamson's second baby was born at home after a very short labour, on a stormy night. Because of a fallen tree blocking the road, her midwife nearly missed the birth! Lisa makes it all sound so easy... (added 27 March 2003)

Joanne King's first baby, Ethan, was born at home in June 2000. Her second, Tabitha, was born at home on 8th September 2002, at 43 weeks and 3 days' gestation.(added 27 March 2003)

Melanie Fanos's first baby, Sophia, was born at home in Birmingham, England, in 1998, when homebirths were rare in her area. Nonetheless, she had excellent support from enthusiastic midwives. In March 2002, Melanie had another baby, Romany, after a very fast labour. By this time, her local midwives had a much higher homebirth rate - and still provided enviable support. (added 25 March 2003)

Jennifer Wilson gave birth to her first baby, Finn, at home, after a straightforward labour. A very positive birth story, with much praise for her community midwives. (Added 30 March 2003)

H - two birth stories. H planned a home birth for her third baby, but told that she had to go to hospital when she went 10 days post-dates. Her fourth baby was born at home, in water, under the care of an independent midwife. (Added 28 December 2002)

Sarah Mitchell's first baby, Amber, was born at home, on a narrowboat. Sarah managed to push Amber out herself, despite Amber's head being asynclitic (tilted to one side) - quite an achievement for a first birth. Sarah's midwives were from the Albany team, which is famous for having a home birth rate of around 40% despite drawing its clients largely from an area of social deprivation. (Added 3 December 2002)

Kate Cook's second baby was born at home, after a straightforward labour. Kate contrasts this to her first birth in hospital, and says "Whilst there are physiological reasons why first labours are generally more hard-going, I feel sure that being in a normal environment, the midwife's attitude and my own increased knowledge and confidence had a huge part to play. Second time around, the only pain relief I ended up using was a TENS machine, 4 gasps of gas and ¾ of a cheese sandwich!" (Added 3 December 2002)

Tessa's first baby was born in hospital, but during her second pregnancy she became interested in the idea of home birth... "Until now I, like many other western women of the modern age, believed things would be much better, cleaner, safer, nicer, more professional and that I would be more sensible to go and get it all over and done with at hospital." ...(Added 3 December 2002)

Ruth planned a home birth for her first baby. She achieved a natural birth in hospital after deciding to transfer to have the option of more pain relief, and that her NHS midwives were not able to provide the support she needed to have the best chance of giving birth at home. (Added 3 December 2002)

Catherine Rogers's first baby was born in hospital, weighing 6lb 7oz. Her second and third were born at home, weighing 9lb 1.5 oz and 9lb 14oz. Catherine is a midwife working in the NHS. (Added 13 November 2002)

Joanne Foster's first baby, Amy, was born in hospital - quickly. Joanne found the experience traumatic and suffered a third-degree tear. Her next three children were all born at home, with no need for stitches - including one whopping 9lb 5oz boy. Joanne's home births were real family occasions - a lovely example of how helpful supportive friends and relatives can be. (Added 7 November 2002)

Kiara planned a home birth for her first baby, Ben, but ended up with an emergency caesarean because his head was in one of the most awkward positions imaginable. Kiara tells the story with great humour, but her journey to hospital was somewhere between a farce and a nightmare. (added 24 September 2002)

Kate Pavey's second baby, Isaac, was born at home, but insensitive midwives left Kate feeling "cheated, robbed and confused". (added 21 August 2002)

Rachael Moore's first baby, Verity, was born in hospital. Her second, Archie, was a home waterbirth and he weighed 9lb 4oz. A good birth story for anyone wondering how to fill the hours of early labour - and for those concerned about not losing their dress sense just because they are about to give birth! Includes Rachael's reflections on her firsts birth experience. (added 18 August 2002)

Lucy's first baby, Adan, was born in hospital after she transferred because of prolonged rupture of membranes and worries about infection, because her temperature was raised. Her wishes were not respected and Lucy finds the memory of the birth traumatic. She says "I feel that I have had a taste of both hospital and home birth, and under no circumstances would I ever chose to give birth anywhere but home in the future. " (added 18 August 2002)

Angi Nutt has been through quite a range of birth experiences. She had a caesarean for her first baby, a hospital VBAC and ventouse delivery for her second, and a rapid, unassisted home birth for her third - he arrived before the midwife!

Mel Rimmer's first baby, Thomas, was born by caesarean section after she transferred from a home birth. Her second child, Eleanor, and her third, Samuel, were both born at home (Sam's story added 22 July 2002).

Caroline Creasey's fourth baby, Mia, was born at home in water, at 43 weeks + 1 day. Mia was in the posterior position and stayed that way throughout labour - she was born face-up. Ouch. Despite this, and an unhelpful midwife, Caroline still managed to give birth to her baby without assistance. (Added 5 June 2002)

Emma Frayne's third baby, Shiona, was born at home, at 12 days post-dates. Shiona's sisters met her just minutes after the birth. (Added 2 June 2002)

Nichole Bruce's third baby, Adam, was born at home weighing 9lb 4oz, while his older siblings slept quietly.(Added 2 June 2002)

Deborah Black's third baby, Kyle, was born at home, after a lot of hard work on Deborah's part because of Kyle's occiput posterior presentation. (Added 2 June 2002)

Rosie Barker's first baby, Alice, was born at home after a very fast first labour. A reassuring story for anyone nervous about mess! (Added 31 May 2002)

Ruth Clark's first baby, Eddy, decided to come breech at 35 weeks, so instead of the home birth she had planned, she had a breech delivery in hospital. Her second, Ben, made up for this by arriving at home so quickly that he beat the midwife! Ruth's third baby, Alice, just about waited for the midwife, and this is perhaps one of the funniest birth stories I've read. I wonder if Ruth is the only woman in Britain who has had two babies on the toilet? (Added 31 May 2002)

Bronwyn Kunhardt's first baby, Olivia, was born naturally at home. The fact that she was breech was, as Bronwyn writes, "neither here nor there". A very moving story describing Bronwyn's emotional growth during pregnancy as well as Olivia's gentle and natural birth. (Added 15 May 2002)

Hatty Wilson is very good at being pregnant - so good that she tends to carry her babies for a long time. Her first two children were induced, while her third was born at home at 42 weeks. Her enormous fourth baby waited until 43 weeks and 2 days before making an appearance.(Added 18 January 2002)

Katherine Carney, a midwife, gave birth to her sixth baby, Imogen, at home, when she was 41 years old. (Added 18 January 2002)

Sian Lupton had her second baby at home shortly before her 37th birthday. Her first baby was a forceps delivery in hospital. (Added 15 January 2002)

Louisa Todd's first baby, Ellie, was born by ventouse delivery in hospital. Her second, Joe, was born at home, in water, despite being far larger. Louisa describes the birth as a "wonderful, beautiful experience". (Added 13 January 2002)

Kirsten Millinson had three babies at home, after a traumatic hospital birth with her first baby. Kirsten writes about her births, and her journey to provide support to other mothers. Kirsten later had a fourth baby, Ben - another home waterbirth. (added 14 January 2002)

Sunrise Jade transferred to hospital for the birth of her sixth child, Laurie, after her fifth was born at home. She went on to have her seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth children at home! (Added 10 January 2002)

Julii gave birth to her second baby at 3AM on 2nd October 2001, after a fast, furious and painful labour. At 10.35 AM she emailed her birth story to me. What better testament to the 'normality' of home birth could there be? (added 1 December 2001)

Mandi Larner used self-hypnosis techniques to help with the birth of her second baby. This was an unplanned unassisted birth - Mandi managed her labour so well that, by the time she felt the need to call the midwife, it was too late... (added 1 December 2001)

Tikki Potter, who had a forceps birth for her first baby and a caesarean for her second, gave birth to her third child, Sophie, at home with independent midwives. It must have been a good experience because, despite vowing that this was her last baby, she went on to have yet another at home - Simon! Tikki's fourth labour was very unusual, and she considered transferring to hospital for intervention - but ended up giving birth on the stairs!(added 24 October 2001)

Anne Humphreys gave birth to her second child, Daniel, at home, after transferring to hospital for her first, William (added 21 August 2001).

Helen Gardner had a hard hospital birth for her first baby, Clare, and a home birth for her second, Edward. She transferred to hospital briefly after Edward's birth to have some stitching, but her triumphant story makes it clear that this has not marred her memories of the birth. (added 15 July 2001)

Emma Barker planned a home birth for twins, and gave birth shortly after transferring to hospital in labour (added 11 June 2001).

Richard and Rachelle Strauss both write about the birth of their first baby, Verona, at home. The couple used hypnotherapy to help Rachelle manage her labour (added 10 June 2001)

Maggie Howell used self-hypnosis to great effect during the home birth of her first baby, Joseph (added 30 May 2001)

Clare Nicholson's second baby, Phoebe, was known as 'Snowdrop' for her first few weeks... (added 30 May 2001)

Laura's third baby, Catherine, was born in her white-carpeted home... the carpets survived unscathed! (added 29 May 2001)

Roomy Woodbury describes her three births, across three decades of her life, in the USA.(added 29 May 2001)

Caroline Graham's fourth baby, Ayesha Eden, and her fifth, Skye, were both born at home (added 28 May 2001)

Laura B's first baby, Iain, was born by caesarean section weighing 10lbs; there were always some concerns that perhaps he was 'too big' to be born, although his head was not in the ideal position. Laura's second baby, Clara, was born at home, weighing 11lbs. (added 22 April 2001)

Julie C's fourth baby, Philip, and third baby, Patrick, were both born at home, both in the membranes ('in a caul'). This is supposed to be very lucky - they will never drown! (added 14 February 2000)

Pat O'Brien had a traumatic hospital birth for her first baby, Jane, followed by three very different home births for Sandy, Rachael and Charlie, in France and in England. (added 2 April 2001)

Sophie S planned a home waterbirth for her second baby, but when he turned out to be a surprise breech, she chose a hospital birth instead - and had a completely natural breech birth. (added 31 March 2001)

Genesis Dove transferred to hospital for induction after her labour never really got going...(added 24 February 2001)

Rebecca's first baby, Eric, was born by caesarean for foetal distress after an induced labour. Her second baby, Rowen, was born at home. Rebecca was 17 when she had the caesarean and 20 years old when she had a home birth after caesarean; her birth stories make a mockery of the stereotypes of young mothers as ill-informed! (added 15 February 2001).

Karen Fairweather's first baby, Emily, was born in hospital with the help of forceps after she transferred from a planned home birth. Despite needing an epidural for the forceps, Karen discharged herself from hospital and was home again the same day. (added 15 February 2001).

Julia De Lucchi's third baby, Hudson, arrived weighing 10lbs in a home waterbirth which his mother describes as 'one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had'. (added 5 February 2001)

Laura Oakley's first baby, Tabitha, was born by caesarean after she transferred to hospital from a planned home birth. (added 10 January 2001)

Dad Haydon Bambury describes the birth of Monica, a first baby. They were asked to transfer by an obstetrician when the waters had broken for more than 24 hours, but stayed at home. (photo added 27 December 2000)

Helen Bates gave birth to her first baby by caesarean, and had a home birth for her second. (Added 22 October 2000)

Nikki Murphy's first baby, Kiera, was nearly born at home - she finally appeared in hospital after a long second stage. (Added 22 October 2000)

Diane Allen's second and third children were born at home, after her first baby was a forceps delivery in hospital. (Added 28 September 2000)

Bernadette Tilley's third daughter, Louise, was born at home after two prior caesareans for her older children. (Added 30 August 2000)

Julie Abbott's first baby, William, was born at home, a day and a half after her waters had broken - with the support of her independent midwife.(Added 28 August 2000)

Nicki Seaton, a trainee midwife, felt that the home birth of her second baby, Jessica, helped them have a special bond.. (Added 26 August 2000)

Joanne King's first baby, Ethan, was born at home in June 2000 - after two and a half days of contractions. Joanne is the front-runner in my Year 2000 award for stamina!(added 10 August 2000)

Elly Akkerman's first baby, daughter Maartje, was unexpectedly born at home in the Netherlands on 31 March 2000. It was not just Maartje's arrival at home that was a surprise.... Elly was not even aware that she was pregnant!(added 10 August 2000)

Jennifer Vaudin's first son, Edward, was born in hospital after Jennifer transferred from a planned home birth for induction because of pre-eclampsia. Her second, William, was born at home. Both stories are good examples of how to be assertive when under pressure, and of how valuable the support of your birth partner can be(added 14 July 2000).

Joan Smith's second baby was born at home in May 2000.(added 3 July 2000)

Kristy Demmer's first baby was born at home in Nottingham, in May 1998. (added 1 July 2000)

Jo Bottomley's second baby, Cathlin, was born at home in February 2000. Her first child, Daniel, was born in hospital by a difficult forceps delivery, weighing 10lbs 14oz. (added 9 June 2000)

Laura Middleton-Green's first baby, Martha Chloe, was born in a hospital midwifery unit after Laura changed her home birth plans in late pregnancy. Martha's predicted birthweight was very small and her liquor volume was low. (added 18 April 2000)

S's first baby arrived at home shortly after the midwife! (added 28 March 2000)

Sharon Matthews had a straightforward hospital birth for her first baby, Kate, before her son Sam was born at home (added 28 March 2000).

Katie Davis had planned a home birth for her second baby, but had an accidental hospital birth! Cheering story of the arrival of a very large baby, Kira Charley.... (added 18 March 2000)
... and Kira's dad, Steve, has written a moving account of her birth and the events leading up to it (added 28 March 2000).

Suzanne Jackson's first baby, Amber, was born in hospital after a long labour and a transfer from home. Suzanne explains how a wonderful hospital midwife and a friendly ambulance driver made the hospital birth a good experience. (added 22 February 2000)

Sam Newman talks about her transfer from a home birth to hospital, before giving birth to Milly, her first baby. (added 13 February 2000)

Pam Beck's story - Kira Jadzia, her second baby, and Dad Glenn tells his story too. Yes, they are Star Trek fans!

Caroline Pearce had a fast labour and birth with her second baby.

Shirley Parsley's story of the home birth of Matthew, her second child, and Andrew, her third. (UK)

Alyson O'Neil's second baby was breech in late pregnancy, turned after much effort from mum and was planned for a home birth, but Alyson transferred to hospital in labour. (added 13 February 2000)

Monica O'Connor of the Home Birth Association of Ireland had a home birth 20 months after a caesarean for pre-eclampsia.

On other sites:

Sarah Kent's twins were born at home - one breech - in a very carefully-planned homebirth. Sarah also had a previous cesarean, so this was a twin HBAC!
(www.vbac.co.uk/stories/story.php?s=sarah2 )

Ruth Gallagher's first baby, Hazel, was born at home weighing 9lb 10oz, six days after her waters broke. Her second, Robbie, was 12lb (5.45 Kg), and was 3 weeks post-dates. Ruth is only 5 feet 3 inches tall.
(www.ucd.ie/~pubaffrs/ruth/birthstory.htm)

Lucy Burns had her first baby, Morgan, at home, in water, in September 2001. Here's a taster:
"I reach down and put my hands underneath the baby's shoulders and lift it to the surface. This has to be the most amazing moment of my life - to see my baby floating up through the water, so alert and amazed by what is going on.".
There are some wonderful photos of the new family on their website. (www.easyweb.co.uk/morgan/lucy_story.html)

Eva Middleton planned a home birth for her second baby. The labour progressed rapidly and the baby arrived before the midwife. Baby Katarina had a serious heart defect and Down's Syndrome, but at six months old was doing very well. (http://www.fasterpage.com/katarina/page3.html)

Sara had Anthony, her fourth child, at home. She gave birth unassisted - without a midwife - but with her three older children not only present, but in the birth pool too!
(www.geocities.com/birthathome)

Sun had her fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth babies at home.
(www.geocities.com/sunrise_starchild/sunjaya.html)

Alison Tooth's third baby, Elijah, was born at home in the UK on 15 October 2000, weighing 9lb 11oz. The midwife arrived 20 minutes before the baby - good job Alison knew exactly what she was doing!
(http://homepage.ntlworld.com/theportico/kidc/ebirthstory.html)

Anna planned a home birth for her first baby, but was persuaded to transfer to a hospital booking by a midwife and GP, because her baby was expected to be large. She had a planned caesarean instead, which ended in an emergency hysterectomy.
(www.radmid.demon.co.uk/csanna.htm)

Deborah provides home birth information and support for women in Northern Ireland. Deborah's website describes the hospital birth of her first child, and the home births of her second and third. Her second baby, Matthew, was 18 days overdue and was a brow presentation until shortly before she went into labour. If she had agreed to induction, his birth would have almost inevitably ended in a caesarean.
(www.deborahs.zonehere.com)

A detailed story about the birth of Monika and Larry McMahan's second child, in the USA. Includes wonderful photos of the birth. The midwife used some unusual techniques to help mum deliver a 10lb 6oz baby, with his hand stuck up by his face, without a tear or even a graze.
(http://home.comcast.net/~l.mcmahan/niel.html)

Cathi Cogle's site includes her homebirth and unassisted birth stories (www.aspiringmidwife.com).

There are links to other sites featuring home birth stories from mothers who had a prior caesarean (home VBAC, or 'HBAC' births) on the VBAC - Mothers' Experiences page.

Ann O'Ceallaigh, a midwife in Ireland, displays the stories of several mothers she has attended, including one who had a 12lb baby!
(www.iol.ie/~raydj/Ann/cases.htm)

There are lots of home birth stories on the Birthstories.com site, mainly from the USA.
(www.thelaboroflove.com)

epregnancy.comalso has a home birth stories section, with contributions mainly from the USA.
(http://epregnancy.com)

Would you like to tell your birth story?

If you planned a home birth, I would be happy to have your story on this site. Whether you (or your partner) stayed at home to give birth, or transferred to hospital, your experience could help other parents. Please just tell it in your own words - warts and all. What was good, or bad? What would you do differently next time? One of the aims of this site is to give people an idea of full range of experiences which they might have if they plan a home birth, so please don't leave out any details that you think might put people off.

I publish all birth stories which are submitted, although it may take me a while to put them up. The only editing I do is to put spelling and punctuation into standard format (if I'm feeling pedantic...) and to occasionally add editorial notes. Other than that, your story will not be changed.

Please send your story either as plain text in an email message, or alternatively as a plain text file. Please don't send HTML files. I can accept Word Processing documents, but would prefer it if you could copy and paste the text into an email.

My address is angela @ abcde.homebirth.org.uk
(REMOVE 'abcde' to get the correct email address - a provision to stop my email address being inundated with junk mail)

If you have a birth story on your own site and would like me to include a link to it, please let me know. However, to avoid sending people to the same sites many times over, please let me know if your site is also on the Homebirth Webring.

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