Home Birth Reference Site

Poppy's birth, by Jackie Shute

Once the option of a home birth was mentioned by my midwife, I thought it was a great idea. I was expecting my third child, my other two were born in hospital 15 and 10 years ago. I had had very quick labours and very smooth delivery, so I was a good candidate. My other children were slightly late (6 and 8 days respectively) so my main worry was bring late with this one and having to go to hospital to be induced.

Note from Angela: This is something that a lot of people worry about. While induction can be the best choice sometimes, it's important to remember that it is always your decision. You don't ever have to be induced, even though it may sometimes be phrased this way! There is much controversy over just how risky it is to have a pregnancy continue beyond 42 weeks, if the baby seems to be a good size and healthy. While it is often said that the risk of stillbirth is much higher beyond 42 weeks, research suggests that the babies at most risk are those suffering from intra-uterine growth restriction - ie those which are not being well-nourished by the placenta. For 'normal' babies, the risks of postdates pregnancy should, statistically, be lower. For links and discussion, see 'Overdue - but desperate for a homebirth?'

Back to Jackie:

As my due date approached I discussed with the midwife the idea of a membrane sweep, which was unsuccessfully performed when I was 39+6, then again at 40+3.  A further unsuccessful sweep was undertaken at 40+6.  An appointment was made for me to be induced at 41+6.  After the three unsuccessful, and not very pleasant, attempts at a sweep, I decided not to have any more and just let nature take its toll (with the help of long walks, curries, raw courgette and raspberry leaf tea).  On the night of 41+1 I thought my waters went (either that or my badder had completely lost control), a midwife came round to examine me but said she didn't think it had.  Went for a very long walk at 41+3, and finally that night at 1:30, my contractions started.  Before I felt too bad, my fiance and I changed the bedding into old stuff, put down Pampers Bed Mats on the bed, we lay down some £2.99 shower curtains on the floor, we had a TV trolley with the box that the midwife dropped off at 37 weeks and a flexible lamp.  We arranged relaxing music to be playing.  As the contractions got stronger, I began to use the TENS machine, and bounced on the Gym Ball.

By 5am they were 1 minute in every 5, so we called the midwife and within 20 minutes she was there. Fantastic! My fiance was a big help to her by getting things out of the car while she examined me. It seemed like an eternity before I was using the Gas and Air, as well as my fiance controlling the TENS machine at this point. I was 6cm dilated. My baby's heart was incredibly stable throughout. The midwife called for backup as I was approaching the second stage, and she arrived at about 7am. It wasn't long before the second stage began and at 7:48 my beautiful baby daughter Poppy was born weighing in at a staggering 10lb exactly!

The midwife ran me a bath and helped me in, whilst the other one looked after our bundle of joy.

All in all it was a wonderful relaxing birth, and I received great care from the midwives. We were told this was the most organised home birth they had attended.

My top tips to make the experience run as smoothly as possible would be:

I thoroughly recommend a home birth to anyone.


Related pages:

Home Birth Stories

Overdue - but still want a homebirth? When is 'postdates' risky?

Big babies and homebirth


Home Birth Reference Page

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