A Three-Minute Home Birth, by Melanie Fanos

Melanie's first child, Sophia, was born at home in 1998, and her second, Romany, in March 2002.

I had my second daughter Romany at home in March 2002. I have been running a homebirth support group through my local NCT for about 2 years now and the situation in Birmingham is rapidly changing. The midwife team that covers my area, South Birmingham, now does more homebirths than anywhere else in the country. Incredible considering that only four years ago no one on the team had experienced a home delivery!

Anyway, when I became pregnant with my second child I decided, of course, to go for another homebirth. I was prepared for the same kind of obstacles I had experienced first time round. Instead I was told "of course you can plan a homebirth"???!! The midwives on the team remembered me from last time and were absolutely confident that I would deliver at home, so confident in fact that I began to worry that I wouldn't. My first labour had been very quick and I was told this baby would arrive faster (just how much faster I was unprepared for!)

At 37 weeks I was advised not to leave the house for long periods of time. My midwife phoned me everyday to ask if anything was happening, "no" I would say "and I am really sick of waiting and looking at these four walls" Finally at 38 weeks I awoke in the middle of a dream about Eastenders with a huge contraction. I shot out of bed as soon as it was over and called my midwife "I think something is happening" I said "I'm on my way" she said.

I went to the bed to read the TENS machine instructions when the contractions hit me so hard and fast I really felt I was going to die. My husband said "this is all going to be over in half an hour" as he did his best to reassure me. I thought "what does he know!" Then I began to feel like pushing and could feel the baby's head decending. I began to panic. The midwife arrived then (she lived round the corner)and Romany appeared three minutes later, just minutes after my first contraction. I breathed the baby out instead of pushing and my pelvic floor afterwards felt like I'd never even had a baby, incredible. I think if I have a third child my husband will have to take a crash course in first aid.

Melanie (Birmingham UK)

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