By Rosie B
Rosie's first baby was born at home, 11 days post-dates - and fast!
We moved to Birmingham when I was 6 months pregnant, and I decided to ask for a home birth, fully expecting to be turned down as this was my first child. However the midwives were happy with it, and were all hoping I'd go into labour on their shift! The baby was due on 24th September, but still hadn't arrived by October 5th and so we reluctantly went to hospital to make an appointment to be induced.
While being monitored, my partner, Steve, noticed I was having regular contractions - about 10 minutes apart - but they weren't painful and nobody mentioned them, so we assumed they weren't important. After a talking to from the Consultant who was not keen on home births, an appointment was made for Monday morning. That evening we went out for a pizza to celebrate our last weekend of freedom. At 11pm, I got terrible backache and decided to have a hot bath. Ten minutes later I had to call Steve as the pain was getting worse. I rang the midwife, from the bath, who told us to time the contractions. We did - 1 ½ minutes apart - and panicked.
When the midwife arrived at 11.30, I got out of the bath to be examined, to find I was 7cm dilated. I said I couldn't possibly be, as it was supposed to take ages to get to that far. By now I was in a lot of pain but couldn't bear to be touched, so had to rub my own back during contractions, and found that wiggling my legs really helped! I had planned on giving birth kneeling up, but once I lay on my side to be examined, I couldn't move, so I stayed in that position for the rest of the labour.
We'd been given a long list of things to have on hand, from the expected (plastic sheets, buckets) to the more unusual (bricks to prop the bed up, a torch in case of powercuts). In the end we only used a few things - a bucket to throw up into (what a waste of a pizza!), and the plastic sheet, which was thankfully put on the bed 30 seconds before my waters broke.
The second midwife, who had to come from Stafford, unfortunately had the mouthpiece for the gas-and-air, but she arrived about midnight and I plugged myself into the bottle. Apparently I rang my Mum about 1am to complain that it hurt, but I don't remember that. I also don't remember saying I'd changed my mind and wanted a kitten instead, but Steve swears it's true!
At about 1.30am I started to feel very odd - I didn't get the urge to push at all, but my body was pushing for me. As everything had happened so fast, there'd been no time for my body to prepare and to produce endorphins, so it was pretty bad, but nearly over (Luckily, as the gas-and-air ran out with one contraction to go!) Unfortunately the baby had decided to do a Superman impression, coming out with one arm up, which was very uncomfortable. I held her in my arms, Steve cut the cord, and I had a natural third stage with the placenta arriving 10 minutes later. Alice Grace was born at 1.55am after less than 3 hours labour.
I'm sure the speed was partly due to not having to think about travel, or being in a strange place, but just concentrating on what was going on. The midwives left us alone with the baby while they went downstairs, made tea and had biscuits, then they put me in the bath while they changed the bed. One of my biggest worries - having to hire a carpet cleaner within days of the birth, as I'd imagined fountains of blood and gore - was unnecessary, as there wasn't any mess at all. Once the midwives had changed the bed, you'd never have known anything had happened, apart from the baby of course!
Some people had said it would be worrying having no help on tap, as you do in hospital, but I had midwives visiting every day, and could ring at any time - and yes, we did ring them at 2am when she wouldn't feed. Having a home birth was fantastic. I didn't have to worry about getting to and from hospital, didn't have to share a ward with other mothers and noisy babies, and Steve could stay with us day and night. It was a fantastic experience, and I recommend it to anyone!
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