Victoria sent this message to the Homebirth UK email group shortly after her baby's birth:
Dear Lovely Everybody on HomebirthUK,
thank you thank you thank you for all the support we have had from you over the last few weeks! I had met with some considerable resistance, planning to have my first baby at home at the elderly age of 40 and 5 months, and the strength you have given me has been so great.
Stella Maris Florence Whitworth was born at home at 20:23 on Thursday 24th May, her due date!
I woke up at 1:15 am with mild but insistent contractions and used the exercises from my Natal Hypnotherapy CD to relax though the next four hours or so, with GREAT results. Around 5 they became a lot stronger, and I woke up my husband, warning him this might it might not be the real thing. I had got so set on the idea I would go weeks overdue and have to fight against induction that I couldn't believe it might really be happening!
My friend who had agreed to be my doula was coming round that morning anyway, and was ecstatic when I rushed out as she was locking her bike shouting "Contractions! Bloody show!" loud enough for the whole street to hear. At about 11 my waters broke, and doula and husband got to work blowing up and filling the pool while I wandered round the house groaning like a mad cow.
The pool was great for pain relief (the La Bassine one) and I spent most of the afternoon in it, with the Natal Hypnotherapy CD on -amazingly effective. My contractions were about 5 mins apart by now but it felt like half an hour. I had an inflatable ring in the pool with me and between contractions I was so deeply relaxed I was almost asleep. My doula asked me from time to time if I needed the midwives but I kept saying no. I felt so calm, and everything was going smoothly.
I got out of the pool at some point between 4-5 pm because I was turning into a prune, and things started speeding up, and we decided it was time to contact the delivery ward. They gave my husband some hassle on the phone because it was 6 hours since my waters had broken, and kept asking to speak to me, but he just held out the receiver and when they heard this mad groaning they decided he wasn't wasting their time after all! And then when the midwife arrived she hadn't expected to be on call and had been at an NHS audit, and was beautifully made-up and dressed in a very smart outfit with a white linen skirt. Totally surreal - she spent the first five minutes apologising for her outfit while I groaned away and managed to offer her a spare pair of track suit bottoms in between contractions. (she declined, donned a green plastic pinny, and left as immaculate as she came). She decided I wanted gas and air and sent out for some without checking with me first, but when it arrived I bellowed "NO GAS AND AIR!" loudly for her to believe me! When she read my birth plan she got a better idea of what I wanted and why. The second midwife arrived soon after, having had to come from 20 miles away.
Things were getting fast and furious now, and I was told I had to get out of the pool as it was too cool to deliver in - by the time it was warm enough again I was in no position to get back in. Stella arrived after an hour of pushing, at 20:23. The midwives then told me there was no reason not to cut her cord straight away (contradicting my birth plan), but I was adamant that it had to have stopped pulsing and gone white, and they 'humoured' me. They then told me I had an hour to deliver the placenta before they gave me syntometrine, and (bless it!) it arrived in minute 59 after some rather horrid contractions.
It's ten days ago, and all beginning to blur, but not only was it WONDERFUL giving birth at home for all the reasons I'd planned, there were also all sorts of unexpected bonuses - the presence of a friend who'd popped round to see how I was and ended up staying for the whole thing, the presence of my cat who wandered in and out taking a benign interest, the pattern of the strong sunlight and leaves against the curtains during those amazing last few minutes as Stella emerged...
SO: I'm already making plans for the next home-birth babe. Bigger pool with integral heater. Thicker padding on the floor - I did a lot of labouring on my knees hugging the birthing ball and it took a week for my poor knees to stop aching! Bigger supply of beach towels. All tiny details, really!
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