Hudson De Lucchi - 9 September 2000 - 10lbs
When I found out that I was pregnant with my third child I immediately knew that I wanted another homebirth. I had had my first baby in hospital and after a lot of unnecessary intervention, ended up having an induction, epidural and him being delivered by forceps. The episiotomy took four months to heal and I cannot say that I had a very positive birth experience. My second son was born at home and the difference in the two births was something that has changed my outlook on birth forever. His birth was a family event, calm and exciting.
I had used water for pain relief with my second labour and decided that I wanted use it again, but this time not get out of the pool to deliver the baby.
I struggled to find a midwife experienced in doing water homebirths, and my GP was not at all supportive of my idea. I eventually (at 28 weeks) contacted the manager of community midwives, who put me in touch with a fantastic midwife, Penny.
Penny came and did a few antenatal checks at my house and at 37 weeks brought along the birth pack, which contained everything she needed for the birth.
Two weeks before my due date the birth pool was delivered and we set it up in a corner of the lounge. I suffered from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction in pregnancy and having the pool there, meant that I could climb in and relax at night. My husband, Colin, and I also used the pool to practice positions that I could use during labour and for the birth.
I woke up on the day that baby was due at about 4.30am with strong Braxton Hicks contractions and thought nothing of them as I had been having them all week. I got up to see to one of the boys and went to the loo (like you do all night at end of pregnancy) and when I came back to bed I woke Colin up and suggested that he time the contractions to see if this was the real thing. They were coming every 7 minutes and we were too excited to stay in bed, so we got up and I walked around, stopping to breath through each contraction. By 5.30am the contractions were coming every 3 minutes, so we called the midwife and my mother who was coming to keep an eye on the boys. Penny arrived at about 6.30am and I was still in good spirits as I felt that I was managing the contractions really well.
For the next hour I stayed upright in between contractions and knelt leaning against the sofa during them, while someone rubbed my back. Daniel (nearly 6) and Taylor (3) woke up and came downstairs at about 7.30am. They took it all in their stride, Daniel helped rub my back and then they were both happy to lay upstairs in our bed and watch a video, while munching on some breakfast. At 7.45am I asked to be examined and was delighted when Penny said I was 8 cm dilated, as this meant that I could climb into the pool. I had a last trip to the loo and a drink to keep up my energy and then it was bliss being in the water. The water was a fantastic form of pain relief, as it halved the intensity of the contractions. I tried a few of the positions that I had previously practiced, but things were progressing really quickly, so about 10 minutes later Colin joined me in the pool.
Penny called the hospital to request a second midwife, as there are normally two midwives present at a homebirth. The contractions were now coming every 2 minutes and I could feel the baby moving down. After the baby's head had crowned, Daniel was called downstairs, as he had said that he wanted see the baby being born. During the pregnancy we had given him the choice and when he said he wanted to be there when baby was born we prepared him, by reading him books about births and showing him a video of a few water births.
He was so excited to see the baby's head out that he was jumping up and down at the side of the pool shouting encouragement. The baby's head stayed under the water for two and a half minutes before he was born, as the cord was around his neck. Penny checked and told us that the cord was loose enough to slip over his shoulders. With the next contraction and an almighty push out came our son, a whopping 10 pounds!! He opened his eyes, looked around him and was in no hurry to cry, as his transition from womb to world had been such a gentle one. A minute and a half later he let out an almighty howl to expand his lungs and announce himself to us all. He was born at 8.34am after a 4- hour labour. Less than an hour after he was born, I was sharing some breakfast with the midwives and toasting our son's birth over a class of champaign.
Hudson's birth was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, and at 7 weeks old he is still calm and quiet and loves being in water.
Julia De Lucchi
Julia runs a home birth support group in Harrow, North London, which has regular meetings for parents interested in home birth. For more information, please contact her on deLucchi@ukgateway.net
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