I gave birth to my daughter Lucy 3 weeks ago at home. I wanted a homebirth right from the start. I encountered a bit of resistance from my midwife initially to the idea of homebirth, as this was my first baby and she seemed to have some idea that I was suffering from high blood pressure (which although at the higher end of normal, still stayed well within normal range throughout the pregnancy!)
Anyway, as it turned out, I was lucky enough to have a 'textbook' homebirth, so I thought I'd send you my story:
I was expecting it to be quite a long and hard labour as my mum had been 17 hours in labour back to back with me, and when I'd last seen my midwife she was a bit concerned that the head was only 4/5 engaged and thought the baby might be flexing her chin, stopping her head from going into my pelvis, so I'd been doing optimum foetal positioning for all I was worth - my birth ball was practically surgically attached to me for the week before Lucy was born!
I'd also been advised that in our area we can't have pethidine at home births, just gas & air. As I was worried about having a low pain threshold, I had been practising breathing exercises to CD of wave noises, and using that to go off to sleep to for 3 weeks beforehand, as I thought hearing something that I usually associated with being warm, relaxed and snuggly might help.
(Note from Angela: very interesting that Kelly thought of this approach. It's one which is used by some birth hypnotherapy courses, eg with Natal Hypnotherapy you practise guided relaxation with some particular background music, and then when you're in labour you have the background music on its own, which can help to trigger the relaxation you practised before.)
The night before Lucy was born I had started having a few uncomfortable period-type pains, and at one point they got to about 8 minutes apart but weren't very regular and after a few hours tailed off to ever ½ hour and then stopped. The next day they started up again at about 3pm, but again were quite mild and about 30-45 mins apart - just enough to make you feel a bit niggly, so I did lots of bouncing on my birthing ball and had a nap to store up some energy just in case.
By 6pm the pains were irritating enough that I didnt want to eat anything (which was a shame because my poor Mum and Stepdad had come over and cooked us a meal!) so I had a little rest and put my waves CD on to help me to relax, but by 7:30 the contractions were starting to get quite uncomfortable and were only 6 mins apart so thought I'd ring the hospital just in case they weren't Braxton Hicks! They said they'd get a midwife to call me back, but from their tone I could tell they thought it was a false alarm and even my mum said that when the midwife arrived she'd probably say it was nothing or just pre-labour as I seemed so calm and not in much pain. (I'm not trying to show off - its just that I'm normally the kind of person who screams the house down over a paper cut!!!)
By this point I was having to focus quite hard on my breathing and went on my hands and knees so I could rock about a bit to make the contractions easier, but suddenly felt like I needed to go to the loo. As I went to stand up, I felt a big POP! and suddenly my waters started gushing all over the floor - good job we'd put the waterproof sheets down about 5 minutes previously!
By the time the midwife arrived about 30 mins later things were getting quite tough - there was hardly any break between contractions and I really wanted to push so, on hands and knees still, I put my head right down on the floor, bum right up in the air and panted to try and avoid pushing, so my first view of the midwife when she arrived was of her feet, and hers was of my bum stuck up in the air!!!
She seemed a bit stern and we all thought I was just being a wimp and would only be about 1cm dilated, but when she examined me, I was 8.5cm! I felt I'd really earned some gas and air by now, and was soooo glad when I finally got the mouthpiece! Compared to the strength of the contractions before, I could barely feel any pain at all with the G&A. After the second midwife arrived, I started pushing properly and within an hour of that, Lucy was born! I was amazed it was so quick - 4 hours according to the midwife for the whole thing!
Lucy came out with the cord round her neck but the first 'stern' midwife was really great - because she was a bit stern it was easy for me to focus on what she was saying during labour and follow her instructions, so she got the cord off from round Lucy's neck really quickly, and helped her out so gently that I only had a really tiny tear and didn't need any stitches! Birthing Lucy's head was fine, but I have to say it felt really strange feeling her shoulders and things come out - all lumps and bumps!
Lucy was 7lb 3 but quite a long baby - she's starting to fill out a bit now but she looked quite funny for the first few days as she had really skinny legs with massive long feet on the end - DH kept calling her Gollum! I think she's gorgeous though. And my mum and stepdad were really really chuffed that they'd been there for the birth too (in fact the midwives even let my mum stay down the 'business end' to watch Lucy coming out!
If we have any more kids, I'm definitely going for a homebirth again next time as it was fantastic - I can't imagine cracking jokes in the middle of pushing if I'd been in hospital! Even the midwife who was trying to put me off HB before Lucy was born now agrees it was a good idea so a totally positive experience for us!!!
Home Birth Stories
Fast Labours - is quicker always better? What do you do if your baby is arriving faster than your midwife?
Pain relief - what are your options at home?
First Babies and homebirth
Hypnotherapy for childbirth
Blood on the carpet - How much mess are you likely to encounter at a homebirth, and what can you do about that carpet?!
Home Birth Reference Page