Sarah's first baby, Rohan, was born in hospital after an induced labour with an epidural. Her second, Nayt, was born at home, three weeks after his due date. Before having children, Sarah had "assumed that women who had babies at home naturally probably needed psychiatric help for wanting to inflict unnecessary pain on themselves, when there are perfectly good drugs on offer"!
Our first son Rohan was 7 months old when we discovered I was pregnant again. I suffered mild morning sickness, and apart from a serious Nacho craving (I'm talking daily consumption for lunch and dinner (at its worst)), my pregnancy went pretty smoothly.
Rohan's birth was the most amazing experience of my life, but having been induced I experienced a dramatic onset of labour, and ended up needing an epidural, and Rohan was born back-to-back (occiput posterior), leaving me with a deep tear and painful stitches that took weeks to heal.
We decided early on that we would like to be considered for a home water birth, and my community midwife was fine about this until I got to about 32 weeks. At this point she informed me that I would not be able to give birth in a birth pool as planned, as there were not any midwives experienced in this, and that if I insisted, I would be doing so at my own risk. This obviously didn't make us feel very confident, so we found two independent midwives Laura and Jane from the Independent Midwife Association's website, who were experienced in delivering babies in water at home, and with whom we built up a great friendship with, and felt extremely safe and confident within their care. My only worry now was that within a few minutes of labour, I would be begging to go to hospital for an epidural.
There was a big question mark over my due date, and when I got to 3 weeks late (by my NHS scan) I could take it no more and booked a hairdressing appointment for the next day, as my roots were about 3 inches long by now! I had tried almost every known method of induction including eating curries, pineapples, sex, hot baths, long walks, and two sweeps....but he wouldn't budge. I hoped that being confined to the hairdresser's for 3 hours might do the trick.
The next day at the hairdresser's I had a few strong braxton hicks whilst my head was wrapped in bits of foil, and the hairdresser joked about having hot towels, and boiling kettles! We popped into my father-in-law's later that day, and went home for the evening. My husband Gareth went out for the evening and it was at this point I realised that I had left my mobile phone behind, and had no other means of communication. It was a sign!
Laura had given me a homeopathic kit for childbirth, and I had taken a few remedies in the week to help bring on labour, which obviously had not worked, so I had given up with it. I decided to get the kit out again, and having mentally spoken to the baby and told it to please come out (was quite desperate at this point!) I started taking two remedies every fifteen minutes. One was to start contractions, and the other to make them stronger.
I had a few contractions, and at 9.30pm decided to make a record of them. They appeared to be every 3 or 4 minutes, and were not too painful. Gareth came home at about 10pm, and I called Jane who advised me to fill the birth pool, and that she would be over with Laura by midnight. The Big Brother final was on, so we watched that instead (I was not convinced I was even in labour, so didn't feel any need to panic at this point). At 11.00pm I had a bath as I thought this would get labour going, but it seemed to slow it down and by the time our midwives arrived, I was only having contractions every 8 or 9 minutes!
Jane and Laura went out for a bit of air, and it was at this point that my contractions started to get very painful, and getting comfortable was becoming impossible. Within half an hour we had called them back, and Gareth had filled the pool (firstly removing the inch of dust that had accumulated over the five weeks it had been waiting, not to mention the toys chucked in by Rohan, and bits of biscuit & crisps etc). At almost 2am I had an overwhelming urge to push, which I tried to fight as I felt it must be too soon.
As internal examinations were not performed unless really necessary, I had no idea at this point how dilated I was, if dilated at all. I was desperate to ask, but worried in case I was told I was only 2 cm! At 2am I was helped into the pool, which was really warm and comforting, and helped me cope with the pain much better. Thinking I was only about 5 cm at this point, I decided not to ask for gas and air, in case the pain got even worse, and I had nothing stronger to take later.
Things happened quickly and the urge to push was suddenly much stronger, but I felt in control and focussed, and I was able to listen to Laura's instructions and relax my body and breathe Nayt out slowly, rather than shoving him out quickly in a panic. Suddenly my waters broke, and baby Nayt was born shortly after at 2.16am into a quiet darkened candle-lit room, weighing a healthy 9lb 2oz. Gareth and I leant down and brought him to the surface, where he cried for a second or two, before resting against me with just his head above water. He looked so peaceful, almost as if he hadn't realised he had even been born.
It was half an hour later before the cord stopped pulsating and Gareth could cut it, and an hour after that before the placenta was delivered naturally. I had a bath shortly after, and once the midwives had left we slept and waited for Rohan to wake up, and be one of the first to be introduced to his baby brother Nayt.
The whole experience was truly amazing. It was so calm and soothing, I hardly felt like I had given birth at all. Nayt came into the world so peacefully, we couldn't have asked for a better birth experience. I suffered no ill effects, lost no blood, needed no stitches, and was out and about within a day or two.
Before having any children I would never have thought that I would have a homebirth. I always assumed that women who had babies at home naturally probably needed psychiatric help for wanting to inflict unnecessary pain on themselves, when there are perfectly good drugs on offer (for free!). However, I found the whole experience far less painful at home than in hospital, as I felt relaxed, confident, in control, but more importantly, I felt complete trust in my midwives and my husband. I can't thank them enough.
homebirth_antispam.SARAH.CALVERT@NTLWORLD.COM (remove homebirth_antispam. to get the correct email address).
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Big babies - what are the issues for a planned homebirth?
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