My home birth with my first baby was the most wonderful and amazing thing I have ever done. I knew I wanted a home birth before I was even pregnant after coming across this site and also after hearing about hypnobirthing, which just seemed to make so much sense to me. As a nurse myself I know how much we can want to interfere and I see birth as a natural process which shouldn't be interfered with unless themother or baby is in danger,not just to 'hurry things along'.
I told my midwife at my booking-in appointment and she was all for it. At my 20 week the placenta was found to be low-lying and I was advised to have a repeat scan at 36 weeks. I wasn't worried about this as I knew there was every chance that it would move away from the cervix as my uterus enlarged. I then met a horrible consultant. I told him about my homebirth plans and explained that I would be planning a home birth provided that the placenta was no longer low-lying at my 36 week scan. He was so arrogant--and asked me 'why do you want a homebirth? Is it because you don't like the staff at this hospital? You're a nurse; you should like intervention.' I chose to ignore him and carried on with my plans.
At 36 weeks I had my scan and the placenta was fine. However they now told me the baby was too small and I would need a repeat scan in 2 weeks. There was no evidence that the baby wasn't growing ie. the placenta looked ok, the cord blood flow was good and amniotic fluid level was normal, the baby was just small. As I pointed out DH was 5lb9 born, his sister was 5lb 10. They were both long and skinny--and still are!!! I felt my baby was the same as my ribs were killing me--the baby felt so long !!
I wanted to have a scan in 2 weeks and if the baby was growing, but just small then I would go ahead with my homebirth. If the baby wasn't growing and there was evidence that there were problems then I was willing to reconsider. I was then spoken to like an idiot by the same consultant who told me I would be giving birth on the labor ward and I would be monitored throughout. He also said I didn't understand the centile charts!!! He then walked out. I was so angry and ready to burst into tears. The junior doctor asked me if I was upset that I couldn't have my homebirth and I felt like saying who do you all think you are to order me around, without having a sensible discussion, giving me the evidence, discussing the benefits and risks of what I wanted to do, allowing me to make informed decision for myself. I was too upset and just wanted to leave. She scrawled hospital birth across my notes and then I left. I burst into tears as soon as I got out the door. I felt to out of control and as if all the decisions had been taken away from me. Luckily DH was with me.
I tried to contact my Midwife to discuss things as I knew that if I told her I had made an informed decision to go ahead with a homebirth that she should support. But I was so worried that she wouldn't be supportive and I was starting to feel like I couldn't fight anymore. At 37 weeks pregnant it is very difficult when you are put in this position to fight for what you are entitled to. Well my midwife was on holiday and I couldn't get hold of anyone!! I really was worrying now, I kept thinking I would go into labour early and would have to go into the hospital as nothing had been organised and I didn't even know who to contact!
In the end I managed to get hold of a supervisior of midwives and she asked me to come in. I told her the whole story and thank god she was so supportive. She agreed with everything I said, she didn't feel there was any reason not to try a homebirth. We discussed the risks and I had my own knowledge of when I would wish to transfer to hospital, which she was happy with.
The head of community midwives rang me the next day, arranged everything, someone came round the next day which was a Saturday. She dropped off some stuff and went through everything with me. She said my midwife would be back the next week from annual leave. I asked if I should ring them after my next scan but she said "No, just make your own decision and we will be happy with that. Just let us know if you decide you don't want a homebirth." They also arranged for me to see a different consultant.
I had the next scan and surprise surprise the baby was growing fine, everything was ok the baby was just small. The new consultant was more reasonable. She wasn't keen as she felt homebirth was safer for a 2nd baby ( I wanted to laugh at that nonsense) Once she realised I knew the risks and how to care for a small baby at home (all thanks to this site!) then she was ok. And she acknowledged all along that it was my decision. She did say I will see you 2 weeks after your EDD for an induction---I didn't argue at the time--I decided to cross that bridge if I came to it.
So after all that we were on for our much-wanted, and fought-for, homebirth!!! I was quite stressed ( I also lost my father-in-law at 36 weeks pregnant so it was a difficult time) but once I knew what was happening, who to call etc. then I relaxed and was just waiting for my baby to arrive. I was so grateful to the community midwives for their support.
I got everthing ready in the corner of the living room,stocked up on food and drink and waited. I also got on with loads of hypnobirthing practice after doing the course a few months before. I felt so relaxed and excited about the birth.
My EDD was 2nd of December, and when that day arrived I was desperate to meet my baby. I knew it was just a guess date but I was impatient. The next morning I started to get some contractions ( well I thought they were I didn't think they were that bad so wasn't sure, I never had any braxton hicks so was a bit in the dark) However it all died off by the afternoon. I went for my MW appointment. She was checking the baby's heart beat when it suddenly went really slow and took a while to pick up. I knew before she even said anything that it wasn't right. So she she sent me up to the day unit to be monitored. Again luckily DH was with me and he took me up there. I was on the verge of tears the whole way there. All I could think was that they were going to say ' you need an emergency C section.' which was my worst nightmare although obviously I wanted the best for the baby. I was monitored for an hour, and everything was ok!! Heartrate fine and 6 contractions while there. They felt the baby had probably pressed on the cord when the midwife was checking which was just bad luck and bad timing. So off home again, thinking to myself there cannot be any more obstacles to this homebirth!
Contractions started up and stopped again that evening. Then started again about 2330. Managed until 0130 then woke up DH. By 4am contractions were every 3 minutes and very painful! Was managing with hypnobirthing breathing and leaning on a shelf in the bathroom.
DH called the hospital and they called the on-call midwife. She came at 5am and I was praying that something was happening and thought I may cry if I was less than 3cm dilated. She checked me and I was 5cm Yeah!!!-halfway. She stayed with us, I was managing with breathing and seemed to find it easier to cope once she arrived as I knew she was checking baby. She was so nice, the 3 of us chatted away and she said how well I was managing (so far!!!). </p>
At 9am she finished so my own community midwife came which was great as I knew her. She checked me at 9.30am and was 6-7cm. Hoped for a bit more but not too bad. Waters broke then and things really got going. Could only cope by leaning over sofa. Started to make noise for the first time throughout contractions.
After about another hour I said I needed gas and air, so had some--wow that is good stuff. I kept asking her if it would run out as I needed to be prepared she said more will come. I was starting to find it a bit difficult now--so had a really good lot of gas and went off in my own world for a while. I remember starting to laugh and then I said to DH and midwife 'I am putting this down now because I am laughing and when you are laughing you've had too much!' Then I went to breathe it in for the next contraction and nothing came--it ran out! It was such a small cylinder with only 20 minutes in it. I told them I would just bite the mouthpiece. I really wanted to swear but didnt-just had to keep going obviously. Someone eventually brought more from the hospital but didnt really use it then.
Started wanting to push which she said to breathe through---how??!!. At 1245 she checked and I was 10cm--those magical words--little did I know that was the start of the hard bit.
Right at the end, about 5 minutes before he came out, heartrate dropped a little so really had to push. When the head came out she asked if I wanted to feel it but had to concentrate on finshing; body came out all in one go after that. Hard work- but got him out at 1355, and he was fine. He did poo
(passed meconium)as he was coming out, but apgar scores were 9 and 10 so he was all ok and gave a good scream. DH announcd we had a son and cut the cord - although he told me the day before he was worried he would do it wrong.
Delivered placenta naturally 10 minutes later. 2nd midwife checked and weighed him--5lb9oz so a tiny one. Then I breastfed him which he took to straight away. My midwife checked me--very slight graze but no stitches required luckily. DH cleaned up the waterproof and duvet from the floor. Midwife cleared away placenta etc. and all their things and place looked back to normal. Within 1 hour we were on our own with our new son.
Homebirth was amazing, thought I wouldn't get through it at times but after I was on a high Kept saying I can't believe I did it! It was great to be settled at home after with DH and to all be together. I found I could cope in my own environment. Birth was recorded as 10 hours and although it was hard work, and I can't say there was no pain. It was such a great experience. I was so proud of myself. I was also so grateful to my husband for his support, not only during the birth but with all the problems we had with organising it. He never once told me just to give up and supported me all the way, even when he had just lost his dad and was going through a tough time himself.
My midwives were wonderful and just let me get on with giving birth. The first midwife who left before I had my baby even rang me that evening to say Well done, and to say how well I coped. I just thought that was such a lovely thing to do.
Good luck to anyone who wants a homebirth, you may need to fight for it but it will be more than worth it. I am still on a high from it now. Our little boy is such a wonderful chilled-out little baby, which I feel was helped by his lovely entry into the world.
Home Birth Stories
First Babies and homebirth
You may be expecting a small baby - what are the issues regarding homebirth?
Pain relief - what are your options at home?
Meconium in the waters - what does it mean? Should you go to hospital?
Fathers and home birth - fathers' feelings about the birth, and how they can help.
The Third Stage of Labour - what are your options, and the pros and cons of each?
Hypnotherapy for childbirth
Homebirth UK email group
Home Birth Reference Page