Neighbourhood midwives were the reason behind me choosing to have a home birth. I met my midwives, Cheryl and Corina, when I was around 10 weeks pregnant. So by the time I came to having my baby we had formed a great relationship, I completely trusted them and they had filled me with so much knowledge about the benefits of home birth that I knew it would all be fine and was the right decision. Knowing and trusting your midwives is hugely important when you are having your baby!
Firstly, when I went on maternity leave (2 weeks before my due date) I decided to put all my energy into everything and anything to try and make my baby come naturally and on time. I did many of the classics including eating pineapple, long walks and drinking raspberry leaf tea. My midwife, Corina, also told me that eating 6 dates a day was supposed to reduce your time in labour. So I had a look online and it said that it can make you dilate quicker and therefore have a faster labour so I made sure that I ate 6 dates a day from then on. (I made smoothies as I don’ like dates!!) I was also told about hypno birthing by my midwives and thought I would give that a go during my maternity leave. (although you are supposed to start this earlier on, I just made sure I did it every day). I figured anything was worth a shot to make labour quicker (eating the dates) and to make me more relaxed (hypno birthing). I think these 2 things (along with having a home birth!!) really helped with my labour and birth.
When I made my birth plan with Cheryl and Corina they asked for Josh to be there. It was really nice to have Josh there as he could ask any questions he had and he knew exactly what the plan was. He knew how to help me in early labour, when to call the midwives and when to set up the birthing pool. The four of us were a team!!
So 1 week after my due date I had an appointment with Cheryl and I decided to have a sweep to see if we could get this baby moving. Then later on that evening is when it all started..
At around 9pm, the night before baby came, I started feeling slight pains that felt like period pains. I had heard from others that this could be a sign that things were soon going to start happening, so as advised by my midwives in a previous discussion, I went straight to bed as I thought if this is the start I need to get as much rest as I can now!! I kept waking up every hour with the same period pain feelings but kept going back to sleep. At around 1am I got up and woke up my partner, Josh (who had also met my midwives several times and knew what his jobs were for when it all started.) I still wasn’t sure if it was the start of labour but I was hungry so I ate a bowl of cereal – I remember my midwives advising me to eat, so I thought I better just incase it was the start! Then I went back to bed. Then I woke up another hour later at 2am. Woke up my partner and I asked him to put the TENS machine on me and it seemed to help at this point. I still wasn’t sure if labour had started as it still felt like period pains, just stronger ones.
Then I went to the toilet and this is where I think I had had my first contraction because it was stronger and it stopped, so I decided to time and see if the feeling came back in a little while (then I would know for sure they were contractions!!) So I timed it and they seemed to be a minute long with about 2/3 minutes in between. I went on my birthing ball and started trying different positions which I had been taught and I told my partner to ring Cheryl (although he was not convinced I was in labour at this point!!). He rang her and then I spoke to her and she said that it sounded like I was in early labour and to call when I couldn’t speak during a contraction. My contractions started getting stronger from that point and I told my partner to start getting the birthing pool ready and i decided to run a bath. The contractions continued to be about a minute long and about 2/3 minutes.apart. I got in the bath while my partner set up the pool and it helped me to relax in-between contractions. I then got out the bath and tried all different positions for each contraction, I made sure I kept moving around and tried to keep up right as much as possible (as advised by my midwives previously) It wasn’t easy to keep active as the contractions were very strong but I just kept doing what I had been told to do by my trusted midwives. Also at this point I had my show.
It was around 5.30am by now and I told my partner that Cheryl needed to come. He rang her and she was here within 20 minutes. When she arrived I was on all fours as it was the best position for the contractions and my partner had set up the birthing pool. When Cheryl arrived she examined me and checked both mine and baby’s heart rate. I was 5cm dilated at this point and I asked Cheryl for gas and air. I was then on all fours still on gas and air. Cheryl kept monitoring mine and baby’s heart rate but I barely noticed as she did it around whatever position I was in. Josh was very helpful, he knew how important it was to encourage me through-out and when he wasn’t getting the birthing pool ready he was by my side holding my hand.
Around 7am Cheryl said I could get into the birthing pool, which I was very happy about as I thought it meant my labour was progressing well (and it was nearer the end!) I was on all fours in the pool leaning over the side still using the gas and air with Josh on the other side holding my hand. This was the point where I kept saying that I couldn’t do it anymore but both Josh and Cheryl encouraged me. Josh also lit candles and put the hypno birthing CD on (it was so good Josh was so involved as he knew all the helpful things he could do). I remember Cheryl telling me it was important to eat during labour to keep up your energy levels. Josh made me some honey on toast and fed my little bits at a time in between contractions, I didn’t want to eat but I know it was beneficial for me to. By this point my contractions were very strong but in-between I relaxed completely, thanks to the hypno birthing and the pool! (Josh says that I fell asleep between some contractions!)
Soon I got the urge to push. I told Cheryl that I felt that and she said to go with by body and if I felt like I needed to push then I should push. So as the next contraction came I pushed as hard as i could (as i figured the harder I push the less contractions i’d have to have! Not sure if that really is the case!!) I was then pushing for a little while and my waters popped out. It looked like a water balloon! That relieved a little pressure. I asked Cheryl how much longer there was to go and she told me I could feel for the baby’s head if I wanted to, so I did. HIs head was about 4cm away as I sort of measured with my finger and Cheryl said that I was doing well.
Soon after, Cheryl asked me to turn around in the pool so I was facing forward so I did. I had a few more contractions with me pushing like my body wanted me to and at this point Corina arrived. I then had another contraction and had the urge to move my leg up, so i did, but then I naturally went to move it back again, I remember Cheryl saying, if your body wants you to move your leg then move it, so I moved it again and during this contraction as I opened my leg the head popped out!! I was very happy to see the head as I knew the hardest bit was over.
On the next contraction, at 7.58am, I pushed again and the whole body came out, Cheryl swooped him up and put the baby straight on my chest. Then that was the best feeling ever, me and Josh both just cried as I held our little baby. He was very calm and quiet and Cheryl said look what you’ve got! For that moment it hadn’t even crossed my mind what the sex of the baby was and she held him in front of me and we saw he was a boy. We then cried a bit more!!
Then Cheryl told me to hold him up closer, however I had a short umbilical cord and as I went to pull him up it gave the baby a little yank and shocked him so he decided to stop breathing. He went a little bit limp and I knew Cheryl had to take him, so she swooped in very quickly with Corina, cut his cord and gave him a few puffs of air. Then he started crying and she put him straight back onto my chest.
I had also said I wanted to deliver my placenta naturally, at this point I really didn’t fancy having to have any more contractions but I thought I’ve got this far sticking to my plan and doing it all naturally then I may as well. So Cheryl asked me to move onto my sofa (which was covered up with many layers!!) Parker (what we names our little boy!) was now on my chest and as I laid on the sofa and he was suckling my breast which then brought on the contraction to deliver my placenta. It was delivered within 2 contractions and Corina said I had a healthy looking placenta. ???? (which is always nice to hear!)
Then finally the last thing to do was for Cheryl to check if I needed any stitches. I had an inside tear which she stitched up while I was still on the sofa. She used anaesthetic so that I didn’t feel anything.
Then I washed myself down in my shower, put on my dressing gown while Josh got to have some skin on skin time with Parker. Then I had some tea and toast on my sofa with my baby laying on my chest while I phoned my parents and brother to tell them the good news!
Cheryl and Corina kept checking my heart rate and blood pressure and unfortunately by heart rate was high. It didn’t come down for a while so I had to be transferred to hospital as they couldn’t leave me at home with a high heart rate. Cheryl and my mum came with us to hospital where they just double checked me over and everything was fine. The raised heart rate was probably due to a bit of shock as it all happened so fast as my whole labour was 5 and a half hours. But after it settled all was ok ???? and it was better to be safe and go in to hospital just to check everything was ok.
Then Cheryl or Corina came every day after Parker was born ,which is amazing when you have just had a baby as you always have a million questions to ask, and who better to ask than your trusted midwives! They then continued to come up until Parker was 6 weeks old. In this time they were very supportive with breast feeding, particularly in the early days when it is surprisingly difficult, at helping me get the hang of it. It’s important to have support through breast feeding as there will be difficult moments where you want to give up and I’m so glad I didn’t as I love it (and so does my baby!!) Due to having a home birth and no interventions my recovery seemed pretty quick. After about 2 weeks I felt back to normal (just with a couple lbs to lose!)
I can’t thank Cheryl and Corina and Neighbourhood midwives enough for encouraging me and educating me on how to give birth naturally at home. For me, having my baby boy naturally, at home (pretty much exactly how I had planned) and in 5 and a half hours is by far my biggest ever achievement. Labour is certainly not easy but I couldn’t be happier with how it all went and how great my midwives (and josh!) all were.
I hope to see them again for baby number 2 ????.