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Scrunchy's homebirth, by Lucy

My first baby, Roxy, was born in water at home in March 2004, and I hoped to repeat the experience with baby number 2 in July 2005. Some sixth sense had guided me to getting my birth pool on 8th July, which was a week earlier than I had originally planned.

Baby was due on 29 July, but my waters broke on 9th July, which was a big surprise. No contractions though, but we built the pool anyway. Nothing happened on the 10th, so on the 11th I went into hospital to have the baby monitored. She was fine, and I could see little contractions on the monitor. The hospital staff tried to persude me to stay in hospital, because my waters had broken 2 days earlier so the protective bubble around the baby had gone, and also because after the birth of baby number 1, I lost quite a lot of blood and had to go into hospital for a night. They tried very very hard to keep me in hospital, even to the point of trying to scare me, but I was adamant that I wanted to spend one more night at home.

After leaving hospital I went to Sainsburys and I knew then that my contractions were building as I was having trouble pushing the trolley! This was about 3pm. We went home and I started to get a little more uncomfortable but could still talk and walk normally. By 5pm I knew this was it and the baby was coming. At this point I thought the baby would arrive during the night at some point. At 5.30 I asked my husband to fill the pool.

At 6pm I called the midwife and had to have my older daughter (16 months) out of the room because I was in quite a lot of pain. I still believed I was in the early stages of labour - I only had the labour from daughter number 1 to go on and that labout was 14 hours in total. I was still only about 2.5 hours in to this labour.

Midwife number 1 arrived at 6.15pm and I was already in the pool. The midwife told us it was not warm enoug,h so my husband set about boiling the kettle to top up the water as the hot tank was now empty. If the water is too cold, there is a danger that the baby might take a breath under water. The midwife brought in the entonox tank and I said 'I'll have some of that'. She looked at me and said 'You'll have had that baby by the time I've set it up'. I was amazed, very happy, and looking back after the event realised that by this time I could feel the baby moving down the birth canal.

At 6.30pm the midwife had hurried to unpack all her equipment, and called midwife number 2. The phone call was very short, and very similar to 'labour, leave now or you'll miss it'. The second midwife was the one who had looked after me during my pregnancy. She had missed the birth of my first daughter, so it was wonderful to have her there. She arrived and I managed to open my eyes and say hello, hold her hand and then push out my baby's head. My husband had just had time to grab the video camera. The next contraction saw the birth of my baby, underwater, at 6.40pm, after a 3 hour labour.

It was fantastic. Fast, furious, no pain relief, no excessive bleeding (ha! to the hospital staff), no hospital. My elder daughter and my two step children all came in to meet their new baby sister when she was just 2 minutes old. She was quite small (6lb 7oz), covered in vernix and quite scrunched up. 8 months later, she is still called scrunchy.

Lucy

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