Andrew Parsley's Home Birth

By Shirley Parsley

Andrew Parsley and mum

Andrew Robert Parsley was born at home on 27th May 1997 at 3.52a.m. This is the story...

I had a good pregnancy with no problems. I had had no need of any antenatal monitoring except for regular midwife checks and Hb checks. That is as I had hoped. This was my third pregnancy and I had a fairly good idea of what to expect even though things are never quite the same.

I planned a home delivery and had my parents to stay on the due week. I was very lucky to be able to put my complete trust in my midwife and since Rachel is a close friend and godmother to Matthew, my middle son (she also delivered him at home), I was confident that she could support my choices for delivery fully.

My eldest son, James's, 4th birthday party was planned for Saturday 24th May, the day after his birthday and 6 days before my due date. The only thing I was worried about was that I didn't go into labour on his birthday or during his party. Once Saturday was over I was relieved and raring to go. By this stage I was fed up and very uncomfortable. Having nearly finished renovating part of the downstairs of the house I was also very tired.

On Monday morning (26th) I got up around 9a.m. On visiting the toilet I discovered I had had a small show. I went into the guest room to see my mum and told her that babe would be arriving sometime that day. I had planned to go to a DIY store with my Dad that morning which we continued to do although my husband, Len, didn't want me to go. I felt babe would arrive sometime that afternoon which would be perfect timing!!

By the evening I was a little bemused as, despite having more of a show during the day, nothing had started. I decided to get an early night for two reasons - I would need my energy later and because everyone kept asking me if I was feeling anything yet!!

At midnight I woke with a slight twinge which recurred at about 5 - 10 minute intervals. I tried to sleep but kept having to change my position and get up to lean on the wall or rock to and fro. Everyone was asleep and at 2a.m. I crept downstairs and paced about in the sitting room - movement always helps!

At 2.30a.m. I decided it was time to inform Len as the contractions were at 2 - 5 minute intervals. They were still not that difficult to cope with so I went upstairs, woke Len and said "It's time". He wanted to call Rachel straight away but I said that the contractions still may fade so we waited. Len put the fire on for me in the sitting room and brought down all the bits and pieces I had ready. At 2.45a.m. I asked Len to fetch Rachel as the contrations were starting to quicken and were at 2 minute intervals.

Rachel arrived a few minutes later and examined me between contractions. 4cms dilated - she decided to call the second midwife as we knew it wouldn't be long with my track record. The time was 2.55a.m. and my Mum came in and helped Len set up the sitting room as we had planned - plenty of cushions, candles, lavender oil and quiet seashore music (at least it was quiet when Len got the volume control right!!).

I continued to natter between contractions but by about 3.15a.m. the nature of the contractions began to change. They were suddenly stronger and more difficult to deal with. Rachel said that I shouldn't be afraid to have Gas and Air if I felt I needed it and I said I might so Rachel began to set it up just in case.

My mum was giving support and Len was getting things like ice when I asked for them but really all I was listening for was Rachel. Her words and supporting touches helped me to stay focused.

By 3.45 a.m. I was losing it and needed those words to keep with it. I wanted to give up and go home (except I was already there!!) - contractions were more or less continuous and if Rachel hadn't kept reminding me that I was nearly there I would have completely lost control. I remember saying "If I ever say I'll do this again - shoot me!!"

As I pushed I was aware that the pressure was overwhelming and the pain almost unbearable - my waters hadn't gone but I could feel the babe crowning. That feeling overwhelmed me now and I was in tears and crying out for help.

A few seconds passed but to me it seemed like an eternity and as the second midwife had not yet arrived poor Rachel was trying to support the babe, support me and reach the instrument to break my waters all at the same time!! When they were broken just as Andrew emerged the feeling of relief was incredible.

Andrew was born safely at 3.52a.m. and was clean as a whistle with no wrinkles in sight!!

At that point James (my eldest aged 5) came in with my mum and I will never forget his beaming face - he shone with pride at his new baby brother. After 10 minutes he asked to go back to bed and 5 minutes later, when the cord had stopped pulsating, Len cut the cord.

At that point Rachel administered the syntometrine as we had planned and the placenta was expelled. I was exhausted but extremely proud to have coped naturally with such a difficult delivery and especially pleased I needed no stitches!!. I hadn't been calm as I had been when Matthew was born but I had coped with Rachel's help.

The second midwife arrived, a little late but helped and dressed Andrew - he didn't even need a wash as he was so clean!

After a soothing bath we all settled into bed and Rachel went home before heading off to the Gwent with the paperwork. Thank goodness she only lives next door or Len or my mum may have had to be midwife!!

By 5.30a.m. all was quiet and I drifted of into a very exhausted sleep. It may have been my most traumatic delivery but I felt very proud.

Shirley Parsley.

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