Sharon Matthews's Home Birth Story

Sharon's second baby, Sam, was born at home after a straightforward hospital birth for her first, Kate.

When I had my 12 week booking in visit from my midwife Ruth she planted a wonderful idea into my head - what about a planned home birth? The thought had never crossed my mind until then, I didn't realise this was an option. But, the birth of my little girl - Kate went well (at hospital, and not too much intervention!), and I was classed as a 'low risk pregnancy'. I also wanted whatever felt right, and natural for me and our baby. I was very lucky to be pregnant again, as I had an ectopic pregnancy before this baby was conceived. Although it was a while before I convinced my husband Stuart that it was a good idea. But, once he had a chat with Ruth, he could see how good it could be, and that no midwives would ever take any risks with the mother or baby.

Stuart was away the night of Sunday the 13th of June (he's a train driver and has to spend a night in Penzance every few weeks), he phoned late at night as usual to say goodnight. I told him I had had a restful evening because I had a tummy ache, and we joked about if it happened then he'd miss it! At 3:30 next morning I had very slight tummy ache every 10 - 15 minutes. As it was very faint I wasn't too worried, but I phoned Stuart to tell him. Half an hour later it felt a bit more definite, so I phoned him again so he could make arrangements to get home, and I phoned Ruth.

Ruth got to my house just after 5:00am, and my mother in law Linda came over at 5:45am, to look after Kate - who was already up and about and very excited. We all sat downstairs for a while chatting, and joking that Stuart would miss it, I didn't actually think of the possibility that he actually would miss it!

By 6:30 - 6:45am it started getting quite painful, so Ruth phoned for the second midwife to bring the Entonox. We went upstairs to my bedroom. I had already put the plastic covers and my mum's old sheets on the bed and surrounding floor earlier. Ruth examined me, and although I still wasn't very dilated, she said it wouldn't be long before we saw some definite action! Within five minutes of her saying this the contractions became very fast and painful. The second midwife, Margi arrived with the equipment, she was just as lovely as Ruth. She said as Stuart wasn't there she'd do his job! This included a lot of back massage and encouragement, which she done brilliantly.

I only used the Entonox when it was very necessary, and then I only moaned that it tasted disgusting! For most of the contractions I breathed my way through them, with Ruth holding my hand, and Margi rubbing my back. I think the main reason I managed so naturally was because I was so relaxed being at home. It was a totally different atmosphere than being in hospital. After a couple of extremely painful contractions (I did use the Entonox then) my waters broke. Straight after this I felt the need to start pushing. All the way through this we kept phoning Stuart on his mobile to find out how much nearer he was getting. At this point he was still stuck on a train somewhere.

As all was going well, and I didn't mind at 9:00am Margi phoned her student midwife, so she could come and see the birth - as students don't get many opportunities so go to home births. As she was on the phone, Ruth told her to not bother, the baby was on the way NOW! At this point I felt fantastic that it was going well, and I would soon meet my baby, but I was devastated that Stuart wasn't there.

After 10 minutes and a few good strong pushes our beautiful baby boy was born. He was delivered straight onto my tummy, and all I kept saying was 'he's so small, he's so tiny'. The placenta was delivered quite soon, and only took 5 minutes.

Linda had heard the excitement and came up with Kate. It was a lovely warm atmosphere, which just wouldn't have been possible in hospital, and Kate was able to see me and the baby straight away. She wasn't sure what to make of it all, but she was impressed that the baby had brought Mr Potato Head with him just for her! I phoned Stuart straight away to tell him we had a gorgeous son, and we agreed his name would be Sam. He was happy that it all went well, but felt terrible that he was stuck on a train and missed it.

Linda took Kate and Sam downstairs so I could have a rest for a couple of hours. Stuart got home at 11:45am, then after some time just the four of us it was time for all the phone calls.

After a bath I got dressed, and went downstairs to wait for the hordes of people that come round to see Sam. I felt exhausted, but wonderful.

It was a fantastic experience having our baby born at home, everything was very natural and relaxed, and I was aware of everything, and how I felt. Whereas with Kate's birth, although it went well, and only took about 6 hours in all, I had Entonox and Pethidine, so I was quite fuzzy, and I don't remember it all. And, I'm quite nervous of hospitals anyway, so that couldn't have helped. Although it's just not an option for many people, I'm glad it was for me.

It was a day that will be always be very close to my heart.

Sharon Matthews

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