Home Birth Reference Site

Mercy's birth story, by Jenny Mac

Jenny posted this birth announcement to the Homebirth UK email group:

Some of you may remember me from last year.  I was having a big fight with my local London NHS Trusts about homebirth provision. After screaming/shouting/ranting I finally landed completely on my feet and was taken on by the Albany Midwives in Peckham.

Note from Angela: the Albany team is a group of midwives who contract to work for the NHS on a caseload basis. They work mostly on an estate with many socio-economic challenges, and they achieve excellent outcomes. They visit women at home in labour, and only ask women to decide on their place of birth while in labour. Their homebirth rate is over 50%.

These wonderful, wonderful women bonded with me and my family and encouraged me and supported me through the last 3 months of my pregnancy.  Anyway, here comes the birth story.

My due date was September 14th, but I had been 2 weeks overdue with my first daughter, and was expecting the same again.  On Friday 9th, I saw Becky, my midwife.  She told me that the baby was engaged and lying nice and low - I also told her that my BH's (Braxton-Hicks contractions) were feeling different - more purposeful somehow.  We both agreed that labour would probably start within the next week or so.  On Saturday 10th, in the morning I had a very definite show - so started to feel that things really were moving.  Saturday evening.... ooops! my waters went just as I was getting into bed (and just 1/2 an hour after putting clean sheets on!).  Started having niggling contractions... but they fade away and I have a good night's sleep.

Sunday morning, gentle contractions again, and I call Becky to let her know about my waters.  On and off contractions, just gentle ones, lots of dribbling and leaking (yuck).... and so it continues throughout Sunday and Monday.  In the meantime, I see Becky. Protocol is that I should have a swab to test as my waters have been broken for 48+ hours by now, with no established labour. We discuss & I decline - I have no signs of infections, no other contraindications and I WANT MY HOMEBIRTH.  Time goes by... I talk to Becky on the evening of the 13th - I'm in the middle of a really good run of contractions and Becky advises that if things tail off again, I might want to try nipple stimulation.

9pm.... everything stops.  I eat some supper, then dig out my trusty old double electric breast-pump.  After 5 minutes of pumping, we are rocking and rolling, stronger than before and I know that this is it!

By 11pm, I am 100% confident that I am in established labour.  I use beanbags, breathing and all fours - everything is fine.  Jake fills the pool.  At 1.30am, I know that it is time to call Becky -contractions are good, strong and about every 3 minutes.  Becky arrives at 2am, kisses me, tells me that I am doing brilliantly and asks if I would like to get into the pool.  In I jump!

The pool is brilliant.  We light some candles.  Becky and the student stay in the living room, and it is just Jake, myself and the quiet, peaceful night.  Becky comes in every 40 minutes, tells me I look beautiful, checks the heart-rate, vanishes again.  I know that I am making progress - I feel calm and strong and I'm coping with breathing and relaxation.

At about 4.30am I have a run of about 4 contractions that really take my breath away.  I think to myself... if it gets any stronger than this, I'm not sure that I can do it without pain relief! Suddenly - everything stops - I become euphoric - I float in the water and call to Be cky and Jake 'This is it!  My baby's coming - my beautiful, beautiful baby!'.  Then the urge to push starts...

Becky coaches me, and Jake catches the baby after about 7 pushes.  I lie in the pool and hold her.  Another girl.  After the cord stops pulsating, Jake cuts her free, and Becky ties it with the silk braid I made.  Nicky, my second midwife arrives - just a bit too late!  I deliver the placenta into the pool  - then it is definitely time to get out.

By 6am we are all done and tidied away.  At 7am my elder daughter toddles down stairs to discover her two friends Nicky and Becky, plus her new sister!

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.

Thank you xxx

Mercy Elodie, born at 5.30am on 14th September 2005 (her due date!). 6lb 12oz.

Related pages:

Home Birth Stories

Siblings at a home birth - what to do with your older children? Should they be present?

The Third Stage of Labour - what are your options, and the pros and cons of each?

Waterbirth at home

Homebirth UK email group

Albany Midwives

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