Charlie Malcolm was born successfully at home on Saturday 16th June at 5.37pm. He was 2 days early. I started getting regular crampy feelings just after 3 in the morning and after dozing for as long as I could I got up at 4.30 to try timing them and go to the toilet. They seemed to be about 6 minutes apart and I had some show. Woke my boyfriend at 5.30 and he helped me with the timing as I wasn't sure I was doing it right -- they were now every 5 minutes. We called delivery suite and five minutes later the community midwife called back. She said she'd have a shower and be with us in about an hour. I put on my TENS machine and my boyfriend started putting up my La Bassine pool.
Midwife arrived just before 7am and examined me -- I was 3cm. Was leaning on the birth ball with the TENS, which I wanted to use as long as I could before getting in the pool, so I didn't slow up my labour progress. When she examined me again a bit later (I think at about 11am) I was at 6cm so got in the pool. Absolute sheer bliss!!! Contractions felt more like vague twinges after that and I felt so relaxed. I would lie back against the side in-between contractions and chat, then move forward on to my knees to hold boyfriend's hand and do breathing during a contraction. I think I did about an hour of that before asking to try some gas-and-air. Worked brilliantly, especially with keeping my breathing calm and regular.
Anyway, time went on and the midwife was a little concerned that my water still hadn't broken. It eventually went with a gush at 3.30pm while I was standing in the pool after just having got back in from another examination (during which she'd noted that my waters were bulging right down -- I had actually had a feel while in the pool and thought it was the head but it was just the waters).
Started conscious pushing after that but Charlie's head was taking a long time to come out. I was feeling OK and not getting tired, but the midwives didn't want me to start tiring out. They helped me try all sorts of different positions in the pool to try and help things, but I wasn't getting much further. They suggested getting out of the pool which I was happy to try -- I didn't want to get to a stage of being too tired to push or running out of gas and air! They helped me out and on the next contraction the head was almost out: I could really feel the stretch. The head was out at next contraction, then body the next -- so within 5 minutes of getting out of the pool! I was standing up leaning on my boyfriend with my knees bent and the midwife behind me.
It was a 13-hour labour from the start of regular contractions and Charlie was my first baby. He was a little bit floppy and had some oxygen but his heartbeat was going great guns throughout the whole thing, even when he was having some help to breathe. I believe his Apgars where 6 and 9.
I delivered the placenta naturally with a little bit of cord stimulation from the midwife and then had a synto injection as I was losing a bit of blood -- 400ml in the end, I think. Had some stitches too while still breathing gas and air -- think it was a second-degree tear.
I was showered, hair-washed, and in my nightie in bed drinking some fruit juice within 4 hours of the birth. Bliss. Couldn't help looking at the clock and thinking that if we'd been in hospital my boyfriend would have been sent home around that time.
Thank you to everybody on the Homebirth UK email group. I couldn't have been so well-prepared and therefore stayed so calm and in tune with myself throughout the whole thing if it hadn't have been for the information, advice, and support I gained from this email group and the HB site. I can't express my gratitude strongly enough.
Jessica is a romantic novelist; more on www.jessica-raymond.com
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