Having been induced with my first born at 41+4 weeks and having always had hospital anxiety I was keen to explore the home birth route for my second born.
I met the homebirth team of midwives at a local event, and it further confirmed my decision to try this route. At this stage I was having a normal pregnancy without complications and so long as that continued this was a viable option.
All my midwife appointments took place at my home, and I only went into the hospital for the routine scans. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to get to know all the home birth midwives (there were 4 on the local homebirth team at that time). This worked well as I wouldn’t know which midwife I would end up having for my actual birth until the day I went into labour (we would be given their on-call rota a week or two prior to due date).
We hired a birthing pool which was originally planned to go in the lounge on the day.
Late morning at 41+2 weeks I started to feel very mild / period-like lower back aches. It was a Tuesday and just so happened to be the day my mum comes over to look after my son. I do think I had a bit of anxiety about what would happen if I went into labour whilst my son was around so maybe having mum there enabled my body to relax and spontaneous labour to kick in just at the right time.
The mild aches came and went throughout the day and I found myself retreating several times to the 3rd floor to be alone and just breathe/ mentally prepare for what was coming (we’d had a loft conversion done the year before which was now our bedroom/ bathroom).
There was obviously something drawing me there opposed to being in the lounge, so we decided very last minute to locate the birthing pool up there for when the time came….
Around 16.00 / 16.30 things started to ramp up and I needed the Tens machine to help get me through the initial contractions (highly rate a Tens machine - such a great tool!). I had been texting my midwife with updates until this point and she advised us to let her know when contractions were 5 mins apart and lasting approx. 60 secs.
My husband was soon messaging her directly as I was no longer able to. At the same time, he had begun filling up the pool.
Full on contractions started about 16.45 and were 10 mins apart but super quickly ramped up to 5 mins apart by 17.15 and by 18.00 only 2 mins apart – I remember thinking this is progressing a bit too quickly and at this point the pool wasn’t full enough and my midwife had not yet arrived (it was a stormy evening and rush hour so there was a lot of congestion!). I ditched the Tens machine and headed into the pool.
My midwife arrived almost as soon as I got in the pool at about 18.15 and it was so reassuring to have her there for the pushing phase. The thing I remember the most is how very little she said and how she left me to focus and get on with the task which I really appreciated. I used the hypnobirthing techniques I’d learned and a playlist by Snatam Kaur (Mantras for Divine Grace) to help get me through both the contractions and the birth. I’d had gas and air for my firstborn’s birth but for some reason didn’t even think about having it this time round which I think is down to the fact I was in my calm space with meditative music and just got in the zone.
Maisie was born in the water at 18.51 January 14 2020. Once I’d delivered the placenta I climbed straight into our bed to chill, and it was literally the best feeling ever.
Another midwife from the homebirth team arrived just after I'd given birth and once the midwives had weighed Maisie, checked us over and completed the paperwork they left us to it. My mum popped upstairs to meet our little lady shortly after they'd left – she said it was one of those very special moments in life she’d never forget. Our son had gone to bed during the birth and we'd planned to introduce him to Maisie the following day once home from nursery.
If you’re thinking about a home birth and would like to ask any questions, please do get in touch. I had such a positive experience and would recommend it to anyone thinking about it!
A few thank yous:
My husband - for supporting me in my home birth decision, staying calm, being the best birth partner, managing the birth pool set up (and the emptying!).
Midwives – Nina and Jill – for being the best on one of the most important days of my life.
My Mum – for being ever present and there when needed
Caroline – for giving me encouragement to explore the home birth option.
Katie – for suggesting the use of a Tens machine. I’d never even heard of this magical bit of kit and used it for both of my births.
Becky – for recommending an amazing zen playlist.