Julia & Graham – Our first baby

Miles, our first baby, was born at home at 5.44am on Tues 30th of May – it was an absolutely amazing experience.


Who was there: Graham (husband), Jo (midwife), Pam (Jo's friend, retired midwife)
First contraction: 10pm, 29th May
Fully dilated: 3.30 am, 30th May
2nd stage commenced: 4.20am, 30th May
Baby delivered: 5.44am, 30th May
End of 3rd stage: 6.45am, 30th May
Pain relief: TENS for 1st stage, Water (Birth Pool)
Intervention: Waters broken, Episiotomy

The story

I've always dreaded the thought of the ‘giving birth bit' when I one day got around to having a baby. I really dislike hospitals and find that the NHS is a convoluted organisation at the best of times, let alone when you have pregnancy hormones racing round your body.

When I first got pregnant I saw a couple of NHS midwives, who were perfectly pleasant, however I found it very difficult to understand what I needed to do and when in the 10 minute slot I was allocated. I didn't feel sufficiently reassured or comfortable with the situation – I realise that they deal with these things every day but I don't!! I became aware that there were independent midwives and having spoken to a couple of the phone and then having met Jo I decided that an independent midwife was for me. This was by far and away the best decision I made regarding my pregnancy.

From the point that Jo was on board, things started pointing more and more towards home birth being a good solution for me. Fortunately my pregnancy was straight forward with no medical complexities to cause concern. We developed a great relationship with Jo, which really gave us the confidence to go ahead with a home birth.

The Homebirth UK email group was a great source of information and advice – I purchased the Natal Hypnotherapy CDs based on a couple of people from the forum recommending them (thank you so much) and found them fantastic. I also used Tranceforming Childbirth , Tina Taylor & Nick Kemp, which had some really good visualisation tracks.

I ordered my birth-pool-in-a box and tens machine, and generally kept my fitness levels up with swimming and walking.

All in all, in the weeks leading up to the birth I was feeling really positive and relaxed and almost looking forward to the whole thing. This was a long, long way from where I thought I was going to be!!.

I had a week or so of strong Braxton hicks contractions, was a couple of days overdue and getting into bed at 10pm on 29th May when I had the first real contraction. We timed them for an hour or so before phoning Jo. During this time they went from being every 25 minutes to every 6 minutes or so. By the time Jo arrived they were coming every 5 minutes, but I was pretty comfortable and finding the TENS machine was doing the trick.

The only downside was that I was feeling slightly nauseous in the middle of each contraction.

I breathed and walked through each contraction with the TENS machine on boost for the next couple of hours and tried to ignore the nausea. I got into the birth pool at around 3am and almost immediately I started feeling as thought I wanted to push. Jo checked and told me I was fully dilated … woo hoo!!! Only 5.5 hrs in and I'm past the first stage. I was pretty happy!!

After an hour in the pool, Jo suggested I get out as I was a bit ‘hot and bothered' – I think we probably had the pool a fraction too hot.

From then on she encouraged me to really use the contractions and to move fairly regularly to a new place in the house. It took me a while to get the hang of just how hard I was going to have to push and by 5am I was utterly exhausted but things were progressing. The pain was absolutely fine, it was just the shaking legs and tiredness that were a bit of a problem!

After a long stint on the landing, we moved back to the spare room (designated as the birth room). Things get a bit vague for me around here….The notes say that the head was almost crowning, however being in the semi-recumbent position meant that the fetal heart rate dropped and stayed low for a couple of contractions. At this stage Jo felt that the baby needed really delivering so, with my consent, performed an episiotomy. Miles was born with the next contraction.

Graham had held my hand almost all the way through and been a great calm & quiet encouragement.

Although the birth was not intervention-free, both Graham & I knew that Jo would only take a decision to intervene if absolutely necessary. She gave us the support and encouragement we needed to have Miles at home and the result was a fantastic and elating experience that I would definitely repeat.

At the time of writing we were almost 2 weeks into Miles' life with a beautiful, calm, happy baby.

Thank you so much to Jo for helping us to achieve what we wanted, and to Pam for being such a smiley, happy assistant on the day.


First baby - is homebirth a sensible option?

Independent midwives

Using water for labour and birth

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