Imogen's Birth Story, by Katherine Carney

Imogen is my sixth child, the last three of whom were born at home. I am now 41 years old, which I mention so that other older mothers wil not be put off from having their babies at home. I had a normal pregnancy except for being troubled by excessive ankle and foot oedema, which is not quite resolved yet 9 weeks later. I was cared for by my lovely community midwife, Sandra, and was lucky that she was on call when I went into labour.

My waters broke on 4th August at 09.15 pm just after my toddler was in bed! My due date was 4th-5th so i was very lucky there too. I drained clear liquid and after flying round getting things ready I rang my midwife, who said she would be on standby at home until I requested her to come, which I was happy with. I knew that the baby's head was very well engaged and had no worry about her condition as I could feel her movements.

Contractions were quite light and about every 5 minutes at this point and gradually became a little stronger and closer together, though still nothing to write home about! However at 1.30 am I decided to call Sandra, having kept her informed in the meantime. I just felt I wanted her there. After she arrived there was a lull in the conractions and then about 20 minutes later they started very forcefully and frequently. I used gas and air and remained very mobile, comfortable standing on the whole.

The second stage started painfully for me which I haven't experienced before. I was almost rooted to the spot (standing) but half-knelt on the bed and half-stood, feeling the baby was very big and convinced I could feel her face descending. However, she was only 7lbs 10oz, smaller than my last at 9lbs 1oz, but I think her hand was by her head.

I had no stitches or tear and rapid physiological 3rd stage (about 15 minutes) normal blood loss. Baby breastfed to aid this!

I am a midwife myself and become ever more convinced of the benefits of birth at home, no separation from family, no interference from hospital staff, no adrenaline rush. If I had gone into hospital I would have been advised to have intravenous access becuse of my age and parity and a managed 3rd stage.

Katherine Carney (Hales)

peter@carneyy.fsnet.co.uk

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