Home Birth Reference Site

Joshua's Unplanned Homebirth, by Jo

I don't normally publish unplanned homebirth stories on this site, because there is a world of difference between a planned homebirth, where a mother wants to give birth at home, and a birth which happens at home because the mother couldn't get to hospital in time. Unplanned homebirths are high-risk, because often there was a good reason for the mother planning a hospital birth in the first place. Also, unplanned homebirths tend by definition to be fast and furious. They frequently involve premature babies, for instance, and often do not have good outcomes. That said, unplanned homebirth stories are often still very interesting and informative, so thank you very much to Jo for sending this.

My unplanned homebirth went from bad to worse, but had a happy ending.

I didn't plan a home birth as my last baby was 9lbs 10oz and we thought this one would be bigger (some doctors and midwives advise against homebirth for big babies, because of worries that the labour may not progress, or the shoulders may get stuck. See 'Big babies and homebirth' for more discussion)

I already had two false alarms, and at 1.30am on the 8th January I started to get pains. Again I put it down to the pelvis problems at first, for a few minutes anyway, then I phoned my husband as he was working late at the time. At this point my contractions were 15 mins apart. he wasn't driving at the time so he had to get the bus from canary warf to dagenham where his mum and dad live to get them to drive to me in basildon. I also phoned my mum family in Colchester to try and get them to me, as I was alone at home with only my two sleeping children for company.

An hour later I I phoned the hospital and they arranged an ambulance and midwives to go to me. At 4.30 am my husband and his mum and dad turned up just after my waters had broken, then the ambulance turned up, then my mum, then the midwives. I was nearly fully dilated at this point so the midwives sent the ambulance away and helped me upstairs to my room.

I was soon ready to push, and before long Joshua's head was born. The midwife quickly became concerned and told me to push as hard as I could, and sent my husband to phone the ambulance; the shoulders had got stuck (I'm only a very small person and only 5ft 2ins tall and very slim). The midwife had push very hard on my tummy to release the shoulders and soon Joshua was born at 5.27 am, after only fours of labour.

Note from Angela: Joshua had a Shoulder dystocia - his shoulders were stuck inside his mother's pelvis. There are various maneouvres that midwives can use to try to resolve this - see the linked page for discussion. Management at home is exactly the same as in hospital, and resuscitation is often needed afterwards.

He was very very still and I immidately started to rub him and try to wake him. The midwives cut the cord and took him off me; in a few minutes he started to wimper. Very soon he pinked up a bit and they were happy, and I was allowed to hold him. I went into shock shortly after and couldn't stop shaking. The ambulance took us to hospital and Joshua was fine He weighed in at a whopping 11lbs 10oz.

I'm now expecting baby number 4; I'll try to get to hospital next time lol.

Thanks for reading -


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