Florence's Birth by Juliet

Juliet's first baby, Florence, was born at home in a birth pool, in the summer of 2003. Juliet transferred to hospital afterwards because her placenta was retained, but says that this was not an emergency situation and would not have affected her decision to have a home birth.

Our first baby Florence was born on Monday 18th August at home in a water birth (we hired a pool from Gentle Water who will deliver the pool to your door and pick it up when you're done). I began having contractions at 3.30am on the Monday morning, they were about 10 mins apart but I didn't know if I was in labour or not so I waited to phone the midwife until about 11am, she said that I probably was and that she'd come and check on me at 4pm. My husband and I went out for a walk with the dog at 2pm and picked blackberries; at 3.30pm I was making a blackberry and apple crumble in between getting down on all fours to have a contraction!

The community midwife arrived at 4pm and told me I was 3cm dilated and that she'd be back at 7pm. I put my tens machine on and laboured on the bed whilst watching TV with my husband until she returned at 7pm. By 8pm I was 7cm and the midwife broke my waters to speed things up a bit and to check that there wasn't meconium in the waters. The second midwife arrived at 8pm and I began to take gas and air as the contractions were getting much much stronger by this point.

At about 9pm I went downstairs and got in the birthing pool. As soon as I got in the water it felt fantastic and, along with the gas and air, it really helped to relieve the pain. My husband lit the candles and put on some soft music, and the dog watched the whole proceedings from behind the glass kitchen door. The midwives were both fantastic and coached me through the whole experience and seemed to know just how to massage my back to relieve the pain.

Florence was born at 10.30pm under the water; my husband saw her head come out and her eyes open under the water. A few pushes later and the rest of her was born. The midwives put her straight onto my chest and my husband looked and told me that we had a little girl.

I got out of the pool and the midwives gave me an injection to try and deliver the placenta, but however hard I pushed it wasn't going to come, so in the end they took me into hospital and I had to have an epidural to have my placenta manually removed - it wasn't an emergency situation and would not have changed our decision to opt for a home birth.

We are so glad that we opted for a homebirth - our daughter was born into a very relaxed and calm atmosphere, and I felt in control and calm throughout the whole experience. I'm sure that if I had been in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable surroundings of a hospital I would not have been so relaxed about the whole thing and may have opted for an epidural. I'm sure that the calm and relaxed way in which Florence was born has contributed in some way to her being such a calm baby.

The community midwives were fantastic and were very supportive of our decision to opt for a home birth. It is an experience that I would definitely recommend and I will definitely be going for another home birth second time around!

Juliet and Stuart

JulietBrowse _homebirthsite_ @ aol.com
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Update: Juliet's second baby, Monty, was born in March 2005.

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