Home Birth Reference Site

Two Homebirths, by Denise Tupman

I was 22 (1987) when I had my first son in Hospital, he was two weeks late and ended up being induced. I had three pessaries inserted over 24 hours which did not appear to do an awful lot. In the end I became somewhat hysterical, so the midwife offered to break my waters. I na´vely said yes OK.

Then proceeded a very fast and rather painful labour flat on my back in a labour suite. Matthew was born three hours later and weighed 8lb 3ozs. I tore rather badly which resulted in a lot of stitching. I stayed in hospital for a week (you could back then!) I was discharged on the Saturday, but readmitted on the Sunday evening after passing out at home, with Retained Products so had to have an emergency D&C.

I was 25 when I had my second son, also in Hospital, I laboured at home for 6 hours and only went into hospital when I did because my husband insisted on it. Christopher was born 45 minutes after getting there.

After his quick arrival the midwife suggested that I have a homebirth next time. I didn't realise we had a choice I said, "oh yes it's becoming more popular again now", she said smiling.

So... now to my homebirth. This was on 31st July 1999 when I was 34. I must admit that this birth was most certainly planned. Both my husband and I work full-time as Registered Childminders. Many of our parents are teachers so don't need us during school holidays. So... the best time for us to have a baby would be during the Summer Holidays.

Previous to this I went to see my GP, who was new as my old GP had left. I was not even pregnant at this stage, but explained that we were planning a 3rd child and probably wanted a home birth this time. She was not terribly impressed and although she did not actually say as muc,h her body language spoke volumes. So I made up my mind there and then that I would need to change GPs if I intended to get the birth I wanted.

In order to get the maximum time off, when it would not affect too many of our parents I needed to conceive around the 25th October. Not wanting to pressure my husband too much, still he came up trumps and did his duty!! My due date was 3rd August 1999 - I worked this out myself. I did not go to see my GP because I'd done a home test, so did not see a need to get it confirmed.

I then went about finding myself a new GP; eventually I found one who did not bat an eyelid when I suggested the notion. I promptly registered the whole family with his practice. By now I was 11 weeks pregnant.

I had my booking-in with my midwife at 12 weeks. She had already been advised by my GP that I'd requested a homebirth. She did not seem at all worried about this prospect. Although she was a little concerned about the fact that I had needed stitching previously, she was not very experienced in this and said I might need to be transferred to hospital in order to be stitched. I pointed out that this rather defeated the object of having a planned homebirth, and suggested quite strongly that if she was not capable of doing sutures that she would need to find somebody who was.

I was booked to have my scan at 16 weeks, although for some reason my previous consultant was mentioned on my scan booking form. I contacted the hospital and queried this. I explained that I was booked for midwifery-led care not consultant, so why did I have an appointment for my scan during the consultant's sessions. The receptionist apologized and explained that my GP Practice had not informed them I was having midwifery led care. However she went on to assure me that this was not a problem and to come along for my scan anyway.

I was also quite large for my dates, which my midwife queried but I assured her that I WAS RIGHT. However she was still worried about my size and asked if I had a history of twins in the family. Yes I replied LOTS,I'm one, plus in total I have 11 sets of twins in my family over four generations. At this stage she became a little quiet and suggested that if it turned out I was having twins I would have to rethink the homebirth plan. 'We'll see', I said.

I duly turned up for my scan and was immediately informed that I was only carrying one child, a boy. I was actually a little disappointed, as by this stage so many people had told me I was quite large that I had convinced myself I probably was going to have twins. I was asked to go back into the waiting room, strange I thought.

I was then called by a nurse to go and see the consultant!! I queried this and explained I was having midwifery led care and why did I need to see the consultant. This conversation was held outside his door. The midwife was a little ruffled, when I refused to go and see him anyway! I declined and went home!

I informed my midwife what had happened, she was very very apologetic.

My pregnancy went very smoothly with no problems whatsoever. The only hiccup was the possibility that I might be late and if I was it might be during the week of the eclipse, when the midwives were expecting to have a huge influx of pregnant women to the region who were all going to give birth at the same time!!!!

Still that did not become an issue as I was early. I finished work on Friday 30th July and now had the next five weeks off. The sooner I had this baby the better,as far as I was concerned so that I then had maximum bonding time! Before we started work again in September. But I knew that I had to wait for mother nature to do her thing.

I awoke at 3am on Saturday 31st July, took myself off to the toilet and then returned to bed. After lying there for a few minutes I decided that I was probably having slight contractions. I was not very stressed about this as they were very mild. By 5am they were getting a little stronger and my husband woke up.

He wanted to know if it was time to telephone the hospital to let our midwife know, but I said no, it will be hours yet don't worry. I got up again and went off to the toilet and promptly vomited. Ah maybe I ought to contact the hospital after all....

I waited for a lull between contractions and telephoned at 7.30am. I explained that I was in early labour and booked for a homebirth. The duty midwife was smashing and explained she would let whoever was on duty from my team know. She advised me that the midwife would probably telephone me herself shortly.

The duty community midwife telephoned me at 8.10am. She asked if I wanted her to come out straight away, or did I want her to wait until 9am when my community midwife came on duty. I explained that I was feeling fine, thought it would be ages yet, and yes I would wait until 9am.

However, on stretching to pass the telephone back to my husband my waters went, not big time, just popped. I slid down off the bed onto the floor, and popped by hand between my legs to see what was happening. I was a little bit surprised to feel a head!!!!!!

I shouted to my husband he's crowning! He replied "Oh what do I do dial 999". No I said just press redial. They were engaged, but he got through on the 3rd attempt. He calmly explained to the duty midwife that actually things were moving on rather quickly and we needed somebody NOW. She reassured my husband that actually BOTH midwives were on their way to us, because she realised when speaking to me that I was further on than I realised.

By now it was about 8.45am, my husband then calmly said Oh actually I can see two eyes looking at me. At this point the midwife took charge of the situation and talked my husband through the delivery. This took only ten minutes.

They were both wonderful, It was a little like an out of body experience the pain was not unbearable, mainly I believe because I was kneeling on the floor, leaning onto the side of our bed. The fact that my husband was VERY calm all made a HUGE difference. I was CALM because I knew he was.

Jonathan was duly delivered onto our bedroom floor at 8.55am. My husband wrapped the two of us up in towels and we awaited the arrival of these midwives. They had got delayed and did not appear until 9.15. During this time the midwife on the telephone continued to speak to my husband and was asking for constant updates on mine and Jonathan's condition - she was outstanding!!!

When the midwives arrived they did not know that I'd already delivered and dashed upstairs after being admitted by our 12 years old son. My midwife's face visibly dropped when she saw that I'd delivered (she explained afterwards that she was resigning as a midwife the following week, because she was retraining to become a health visitor and this was to probably to be her last birth, and she had missed it!).

My placenta had not yet been delivered, but it had stopped pulsating. My midwife suggested massaging my stomach to hopefully remove it naturally. This I readily agreed to; it worked within minutes, thank goodness.

Jonathan weighed in at 8lb 4oz - smaller than we were expecting. We had put him straight to the breast, but he did not really latch on and was just snuffling around. He had his first proper feed a hour later. Although our elder sons did not witness the birth, they were able to see him within minutes of it. They were very relaxed about the whole thing, it was lovely.

My GP arrived about an hour later and was lovely, he explained that he'd not seen a baby this young since his own children were born. Jonathan had a fair amount of bruising around his cheek bones and eyes. Due to the amount of time he sat in the birth canal. However the swelling went down very quickly and was almost gone within hours of the birth, stunning really.

I had no stitches this time which was wonderful, and made a huge difference to how I felt postnatally. I looked incredibly well. In fact I had told everybody that I planned on staying in bed for the first week, following the birth. However after two days I was climbing the walls and got dressed!

Well that's my homebirth, wonderful. We will have one more child in three of four years time and yes it will be a homebirth again. However we will call the midwife in much earlier this time!!!

===============

Well where shall I start.....

My 2nd Homebirth 09/12/03

Monday 8th December was a bit of a manic day for me, what with the printer not working on DH's laptop, and the school photocopier jamming on me and then the washing machine flooding the kitchen big time. Which resulted in my having to use every single towel in the house to mop up the floor (thankfully my 16 year old son Matt came in from school and sorted out the mess). These being the towels I'd washed at the weekend all ready for Andy's impending birth. Anyway sad sad cow that I am I just had to get them all washed and dry before I went to bed, which I think was at about 11pm.

I had a few more tightenings during the day mainly when I was crying when I was mopping up the kitchen floor. Looking back I had also had a lot of white discharge during the course of the day as well. It was not a show, no blood but obviously something was happening I just had not twigged. Anyway just setting the scene for you all there girls:-)) Stop reading now if you don't want to know all the gory details!

I woke up at 3.00 am, I thought that my waters had gone because I felt a bit wet, but when I padded off to the shower-room to look I decided that I'd actually just wet myself a little as it was the wrong colour,ahem.

I was having tightenings across my pelvis and lower back and a few low down inside. Anyway I sat on the loo and went to the toilet.

Got back into bed and told hubby Phil it was starting but to go back to sleep as it would be ages yet!!

Anyway got up again at 3.30 am and went to the toilet again, hmm decided to go downstairs and do the dishes from last nights tea. Boys had all had a huge pizza but I had just had a can of soup and some bread, as that was all I'd fancied. Anyway not to go into too much detail girls I ended up having to grab one of the kids potties and filled it, took it upstairs and flushed it away and told DH actually I'm going to page the on call midwife now as I think I'd be happy with her here sooner rather than latter, even if it means she just sits and talks to me for a couple of hours.

This was at about 3.50 am. At this point DH was still in bed upstairs and I was kneeling on the floor in our lounge rotating my hips whilst crawling around the floor on my hands and knees putting away our four year old son Jonty's Bob the Builder Duplo which was all over the floor!!!

I had planned on having Andy on our bedroom floor again as Jonty was, my second choice was in our very large shower tray. But in the end as we had left the lounge fire on all night have done for the past few nights it was warmer and quieter to stay put.

At 4.10 things were starting to hot up a bit and I shouted for DH to come downstairs and page the midwife again for me as I didn't know where I'd put the telephone. Walk around phones are a brilliant invention until you loose them, tee hee.

Phil paged her again and they are supposed to telephone within 15 minutes. I only know this as DH was reading it off the instructions pinned to the fridge. So it was now 4.20-4.30 and nobody had called us back.

Phil came in and brought me a bowl as I felt sick and he also bless him cleaned me up as I'd passed a bit more poo. I was busy apologizing he was a sweetie and just laughed and said that after 18 years together he thought he could cope with a bit of poo. Gosh I love that man. Anyway I made him take off my two chains with crosses as with me kneeling on the floor and bottom swinging in the air they kept on getting stuck on my chin!! I then made him go and get me some socks as although I was starkers right in front of the fire my feet were freezing, LOL. Bossy, aren't I!

I got him to rearrange the shower curtain over to in front of the sofa and put two pillows onto the floor, because I wanted to lean onto the sofa as my arms were starting to kill me, I guess I'd then been on all fours for almost an hour. At 4.40 ish DH telephone through direct to the local hospital and spoke to the duty "hospital midwife". I caught half the conversation. But it appeared that my team of community midwives were out attending another homebirth literally two doors away from me!!! I heard DH say ahhh in a very calm voice and wondered what was going on.

It seems that they were sending another midwife whom I'd never met before from about 8-10 miles away. Hmm. she telephoned Phil almost straight away and he gave her directions to our place. This was at about 4.50am

During all of this I was busy swinging my hips and really starting to moan rather loud in the lounge. I think at this point Matt appeared on the landing and asked if everything OK, once he sussed it was he went back too bed. Jonty also appeared on the landing and sat at the top of the stairs, although he could only see my front end I'm fairly certain he sat there through the rest of the birth, with a huge big grin on his face.

At 5.05 I felt an immense burning sensation and realized that Andy was starting to crown. I thought I'd passed more poo and put my hand down and realized that my waters were just bulging at the rear of me.Phil wanted to know if he should break then and I said no as they were working as my airbag and stopping me tearing.

Almost immediately I felt more burning bearing down contractions and just let my body take over. I put my hand down again and thought I could feel thick hair but was confused as I was feeling this head through this springy bag of waters which was very slippery as well! I said to Phil is that his head and he said quite shocked ahh yes it is!!. Seconds later I had another huge contraction and out he came.

Phil said it was all in slow motion he thought for a split second that Andy's foot was up by the side of his face and was thinking oh s##t I'll just have to pull him out, but in the next second he realized it was a hand and then out he slithered. This was at 5.20 am So that's 18 minutes from start to finish.

He was well slippy and Phil had a bit of a juggling act turning him over onto his tummy to help drain him out.I then sat up onto my knees and we had a bit of a comical to and fro trying to wrap him up to keep him warm while I was trying to stay knelt up as I seemed to be losing a fair amount of blood, plus the cord didn't seem to be very long which did make moving about a bit awkward. I remember it seemed quite long with Jonty and we had plenty of room to move about and get comfy waiting for the midwifes last time!!!

During all of this I was busy jotting down on the back of an old raffle ticket the times of my contractions which were as follows:-

3.00
3.15
3.40
4.05
4.15
4.25
4.28
4.33
4.38
4.50
4.55
5.02
followed by another three on top of each other!!!

5.30 we heard a car pulling up outside and DH went to the door and let her in. She was fab especially considering we had never met, she didn't know my history let alone have time to read my very brief birth plan etc.

She asked quickly if I wanted a physiological third stage to which I said yes. The cord had already stopped pulsating as far as I could tell, so she clamped and cut the cord and gave Andy a very quick once over and then came back to me. She asked me to let her know when I was having my next contraction and just said when I do to just push the placenta out.

This I did, it was a most odd sensation as I could feel it coming away, most odd. Anyway it did look a bit tired and she asked how late I was and agreed that yep Andy had definitely chosen the right time to be born as the placenta was most certainly looking tired.

Phil went and woke our 13 year old son Chris and let him know his brother had arrived. Anyway at this point I took myself off to have a shower and between Phil and the midwife they managed to get him dressed, but I think the babygrow I'd put out for him was a bit snug. I was sat in the shower on Jonty's toilet step as I was shaking rather a lot.

Phil was flapping as he wanted a hat for Andy as he had such a lot of hair and it was thick with vernix. The midwife was worried about him losing body heat.

I went and got myself into bed having arranged a load of disposable bed pads onto the bed for us to lie down on. Phil brought Andy up to me and we had a bit of a cuddle. I did try and get him to latch on but he was having none of it; he would not open his mouth wide enough for me to get enough breast in.

At this point I sent Chris off to get a bowl as the after pains were making me feel sick and I knew I was about to vomit. (never done that before with any of the three, so I was a bit surprised.)

Phil came up with a cup of tea and some toast and then he midwife came up and announced that Andy weighed 9lb 2ozs. I was stunned because I didn't think he looked that big, oh and she'd given him an apgar of 9.

Anyway they both went back downstairs and left Andy and I too it, but I ended up calling Phil to take Andy away because I was having rather unpleasant afterpains and was worried I was going to vomit on the poor lad.

I was sick again and then went off to the loo and passed the most massive wee, didn't think I was going to stop weeing, went downstairs and told the midwife.

Silly really as I was feeling so pleased with myself for having this big wee. But having only managed a tablespoonful at a time during the past few weeks it was bliss (no maybe I am mad after all, tee hee).

Anyway by 7.00 am the midwife had left and Phil was downstairs giving the boys their breakfast and Andy and I were having a cuddle, did try a few times to get him to latch on but he was not interested.

Phil took Jonty off to nursery at 9.00 and Matt left for school at 8.10 am he was keen to let his mates know his mum had had a baby, cool eh!! Chris had gone back to bed and I telephoned school to let them know he wouldn't be in today. Phil rushed back home as we were expecting my new DELL PC to be delivered at some point during the day and there was no way I was getting out of bed to answer the door.

At 10 am my GP arrived bold as brass and did the baby checks which were all fine, he was most impressed that we had named our baby after him!!! Yer right. Oh and he also thought I was very brave for having yet another unassisted homebirth. Phil just quipped what braver than having a baby born in the back of an ambulance on the way to the local hospital or in our local hospital, bearing in mind all the germs they seem to have (this being the day when the news story had broken about the huge numbers of patients dying from bugs they had caught whilst in hospital)

Anyway I spent the best part of the day in bed and was sick more times than I care to remember, was having awful afterpains never had them so bad with any of the other boys. At about 7.00 pm I passed a very large blood clot would easily have sat in both hands!!! After that the afterpains decreased significantly and although I still felt sick I wasn't, phew.

During all of this I had half-heartedly tried to get Andy to latch on, but he seemed very snuffly and had spent a lot of the day bringing up phlegm etc. Phil turned him onto his side and he then spent the rest of the evening bringing up what I'm assuming was amniotic fluid and sneezing lots. I finally got him to latch on for the first time at around 2.00 am on the Wednesday morning so he was 22 hours old. Although at no point was I stressed because at the end of the day at 9lb 2oz I knew he could probably last a couple a days without a feed.

On the Wednesday my midwife came out to see me and apologized for not being available. She was a little concerned that Andy had only had the one feed in what was now a day and a half. She thought he was beginning to look a little bit jaundiced.

Now for those few of you who have met my husband you will know that my sons don't look jaundiced they look like their bl##dy dad. The problem was Andy was just not interested in opening his mouth. He was doing lots and lots of snuffling around at the nipple but that was all. Anyway she left having said that if he had not started to feed by Thursday morning she would insist he was admitted to hospital for jaundice!!!!

So......... after she'd gone I looked at Phil and burst into tears I'd breastfed three sons for goodness sake what was the matter with me. Anyway DH gave me a cuddle and went and got our NCT Branch Newsletter passed me the telephone and told me to call a breastfeeding counsellor. Which I did, basically what she suggested I do was express off 25-30ml of milk and put it into one of my Ameda Baby Cups (which she knew I had bought from NCT Maternity Sales) she said if I could get him to lap this up this would raise his blood sugar levels which were probably starting to dip a bit now and then about 20/30 minutes later I should try and get him to latch on again.

Anyway I did exactly as she said and within 45 minutes I had him latched on and feeding for England, well for an hour actually!! Then later that evening we did the same again and he's been feeding well since.

Midwife turned up first thing on Thursday morning to find me sat downstairs with Andy well and truly latched on and sucking for England and me with a very very smug look on my face.

So there you are - our family is complete, Phil, Matt & Chris keep walking up to Andy's Moses Basket and cooing over him which is rather sweet. I must admit I'm feeling a bit tired today, but I went out for a Christmas Lunch today with 25 ladies from my local Hospital League of Friends it was our Christmas Dinner, Andy was very well behaved and coped remarkably with being passed around for lots of cuddles and just kept blowing bubbles at everybody.

Jonty has been most impressed with his new brother but he has been a little bit dizzy shall we say. I shall try to give him a bit more attention tomorrow because although we have tried very hard he has been overlooked a bit in the past few days, bad mummy. :-))

      Denise & Phil Tupman, Registered Childminders Since 1991
       Mum & Dad to 4 sons Matt 17, Chris 14, Jonty 5 & Andy 18 months
                    http://www.graftonchildcare.co.uk/

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