Finn's birth story, by Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer's first baby, Finn, was born at home in Edinburgh....

I really want to tell my story, because it's such a positive one, and I hope this is a sign of increasing support for home births within the health services.

Even before I became pregnant, I felt very strongly that I wanted a home birth. I had read up on all the material and searched the internet for information. When I did become pregnant, I was ready to deal with any opposition that came my way. I knew my rights! To my very pleasant surprise, I received nothing but support and encouragement from the community midwives. I was lucky to have a completely trouble-free pregnancy, so there was never any reason for them to recommend a hospital birth.

At 38 weeks plus three days, I went into labour. My waters broke initially, and strong contractions started immediately after. I phoned the midwife, who said that since my waters had broken, she would come out to the house to check me over. I asked whether this was really necessary, and was told that this was standard procedure. Both I and the midwife were fully expecting that she would come and examine me, and then leave until I really needed her. She was there within half an hour, by which stage I was 5cm dilated and in very strong labour. We quickly realised that she wasn't going anywhere. My baby was well and truly on its way!

I didn't get much of a break from then on, and neither did my husband's fingers as he constantly massaged my back and applied pressure. I know that the midwife read through my birth plan, which stated that I wanted as little intervention as possible. I was barely aware of her presence except for right at the end of the second stage, which was when I really needed her assistance. I remember being vaguely irritated on occasions when she was trying to listen to the baby's heart-beat, but I can't really hold that against her, and it was encouraging to know that Finn was doing well.

Finn was born in just over 6 hours - strong and healthy, and the placenta delivered 15 minutes later with no Syntometrine.

I suffered a second degree tear, and initially it looked as though I would have to transfer to hospital to have it stitched, as the desk lamp we had wasn't strong enough to see the end of the tear. The midwife started to make preparations for my transfer, which was frustrating, but at that point I was too tired to care. However, one of the senior midwives at the hospital, who was just coming to the end of her night shift, volunteered to come out to the house with a stronger light so the stitching could be done there.

So in the end, I stayed at home for the whole thing, and let everyone come to me. My husband helped me to have a bath and put me and the baby to bed in our own bed. He was buzzing on adrenaline, so rushed around making tea for the midwives, cleaning up the mess, and making phone calls to family and friends - comfortable and in control in his own environment.

Right throughout, the midwives were thoroughly supportive and respectful of my wishes. I can't praise them highly enough. They were professional, caring and friendly - the NHS at its very best.

Finn has settled in really quickly. He's got a lovely temperament, and I really believe part of that is because he was born into a relaxed and natural environment. No bright hospital lights. No being moved about. No noisy wards shared with other mothers and babies. Just our new family cocooned away to enjoy getting to know each other.

Jennifer Wilson (remove "homebirth_antispam." to get the correct email address)

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