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Aidan's Homebirth, by Rachel Smith

My first baby was 5lb born at 38 weeks and I had a horrendous experience in Hospital with the care provided. Due to the small weight of my first baby I was referred to the Hospital for extra scans and interference from the Consultants.

At one particular appointment the Consultant who was clearly anti home birth informed me that the baby was very big and I was at increased risk of shoulder dystocia. I questioned her as to how they treat this differently in Hospital than at home, she told me "we would be outside your room" I asked exactly how that would benefit me and surprisingly she could not give much of an answer. She then went on to tell me that if the shoulders did get stuck the baby would need resuscitation and the midwives would not be able to do this because they don't carry the equipment. When I questioned her on this she backed down and admitted that yes they did actually carry the equipment. Oh the lies they tell!!

I told her (politely) I had listened to what she had to say and was having a home birth. Thankfully my actual midwife was extremely supportive and agreed that if she believed there was a risk then as I was so close to the Hospital then I would be transferred immediately.

Incidentally my midwife could not understand why they believed my baby was so big; I was not carrying that big.

My due date was the 27th August 05 and the Hospital had booked me in for a dreaded induction - although I had told them I did not want to go in and I would not turn up!!

Anyway my contractions woke me up at 5am on Monday 5th September and I immediately rolled over and told my dh (Dear Husband) he was having the day off. It took a little convincing that I was in labour as I had the spent the previous 3 weeks at every twinge saying "ooh is that it". This time I assured him it was happening.

We got our 4 year old up and he went to his nanny's house; he is very sensitive and I did not feel comfortable with him around.

I telephoned local delivery suite and asked them to contact my mw at home to let her know the contractions had started. She telephoned 10 mins later and said she would get dressed and be out to me. 30 minutes later my mw arrived and examined me and informed me I was only 4 cm (2nd child so not much progress really). She went off to get the gas & air and all the rest of her stuff and came back 30 mins later.

Note from Angela: cervical dilation is of some use in assessing the progress of a woman's first labour, because on average dilation happens at a steady rate. However, when you've had a baby before, your cervix can sit at 3cm dilated for hours and hours, and then ping open to fully dilated rapidly - eg sometimes in a couple of hours or less. For this reason, many midwives feel that you can't rely on dilation to tell you how fast a multipara's labour will progress. Rapid dilation after a 'resting' phase can happen in a first labour, too, but it's more common in a second or subsequent labour.

Back to Rachel:

Labour continued to progress quite well and a student mw also came out at about 9ish, bounced up and down on the birthing ball and kept pressing that booster button on the TENS machine. Started on the gas and air.

Decided to have a bath; my dh said he felt a little uncomfortable with everyone in our room so I asked them to wait downstairs - which they did quite happily. 3rd mw then arrived about 12ish because they felt contractions getting stronger.

At which point they promptly slowed down; I was having one strong contraction and then two mild ones. I was examined and told I was only 6 cms dilated at this point although everything else was looking favourable. I agreed that they should break my waters which they did, and this is when I started begging for pethidine!! Told I was too late and to get on with it!

I was on our bed on my hands and knees leaning over the birthing ball and holding onto the gas & air for dear life. I do recall the OAP across the road walking up our drive and putting our bin back as he does every week, this time however the windows were open and he heard me screaming ! He dropped the bin and ran back to his house which did make me giggle.

The second stage lasted a whole 3 minutes and my baby was born fist first. I turned to look so that I could see the sex myself and I found I had another beautiful baby boy weighing 8lb 9oz (with only gas & air - I am proud of this!)

I had a natural 3rd stage and they cleaned me up - I jumped in the shower and as I was getting out heard my husband ask the mw why she was making the bed and saying to her "she won't be going back to bed will she?, shes been in there all day" Unbelievable! my mw had the good sense to ignore him! I'd had clocked him one if he'd been closer.

The most wonderful thing about my husband was getting back into my nice warm bed and breastfeeding my alert, content beautiful baby and being looked after by my husband.

He was born at 2.58pm and we have called him Aidan James.

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