My Home Birth Story
On Saturday 24 February 2018 @ 17.15 we welcomed Jack Ross Coleshill into the world. It was an amazing experience. Reinforcing to me why I’d been right to trust my instinct and have a home birth. I’d had amazing support from my midwife Kay. I’d been lucky enough to have Kay for all my appointments apart from one. Kay was so supportive about home birth this too made me confident in my decision.
I think i’m in labour…
I’d not slept amazingly well the night before but unlike my first pregnancy this time round I hadn’t been sleeping great. I suffer from terrible indigestion during pregnancy right from the word go but this time round it was even worse. Causing me to wake several times a night. I didn’t think too much of not sleeping great but I was a bit achy which made me think it could be the early stages of labour.
Even though I suspected labour I went off to my lovely pregnancy yoga class, held by the fabulous Muriel who runs MuMuYoga. Just perfect a yoga class to put me in a truly relaxed body if labour was imminent. It was a lovely class although I did notice a few of the positions I was finding uncomfortable reinforcing to me that something was going on. This didn’t stop me going to meet one of my best friends, Kelly for a coffee and pastry though after yoga! In hindsight I wish i’d had a full on lunch!! Kelly did look slightly alarmed when I turned up and said I think I might be in labour. Kelly was the first person I said to that I thought it was happening.
The drive home after my coffee was slightly uncomfortable. My breath work came into play for the tightenings. My son Oliver had stayed with his Grandparents the night before so I went to collect him as in my mind I wasn’t sure how many hours it would be before established labour. When I arrived he was fast asleep so I left him and drove home. I’d not said I thought I was in labour as didn’t want to panic them nor be told I shouldn’t drive home! As soon as I knew I was on my way home though it was amazing how the body responded. I just wanted to be home as the tightenings felt stronger and I labour was happening. I was excited to meet my baby and hopefully have my home birth.
The real deal
I got home just before 2pm and the moment my husband Jamie opened the front door my whole body relaxed and that feeling of ahhhhh I’m home came over me. My safe place. I said to Jamie I’m in labour. As you can imagine he looked slightly surprised seeing as I’d been out and about! Jamie got to work inflating the birth pool we’d hired and getting it filled. He called my parents to ask them to keep hold of Oliver as I was in labour. They must have been thinking we only saw her 20 minutes ago!
From the moment of getting home my surges came on very quickly. I was anticipating a build up and had been told to call the hospital when I was having 1 surge every 5 minutes. This never happened for me they came straight in at every 2 minutes lasting around 40 – 49 seconds. I had been recommended a TENS machine which worked as a great distraction tool. I used this as soon as I could as I’ve heard a lot of women say they tried to use it too late.
Call the midwife
Jamie put a call in to the labour ward and two midwifes, Komal and Lisa arrived at around 14.30. They explained they were in the area but due to go off duty at 4pm but wanted to make sure I was okay. I wanted to be examined and was around 5/6 cm dilated – music to my ears. As I was in established labour the midwifes said they would stay until my assigned midwife, George, came on duty at 4pm.
The midwifes, Komal & Lisa were amazing. Lisa was a trainee midwife and was fantastic. I was her first home birth. I’m an advocate of trainees so delighted she got to experience my home birth. When Komal & Lisa arrived they filled me with confidence immediately. They told me that Kay had briefed them on me as she thought I may go into labour that weekend when she wasn’t on duty. This filled me confidence in my team as I felt they knew me already. It also made me feel very cared for that Kay had taken the time to do that therefore further increasing those oxytocin levels.
Being at home allowed me to not seek permission. I trusted my body and being in my own environment was just amazing. I stood up through all of my surges and used my breath work as it gave me the most relief. I’d wanted to be as active as possible during labour but my body took over and didn’t allow me to be anything other than active.
Birthing in water
George arrived not long before I wanted to get in the water. Immediately I felt a connection with George which was great. At this point Komal & Lisa could have left. They decided to say as Lisa had never been present at a home birth. Lisa facilitated most of my birth and she was brilliant. Even though I had 3 midwifes present I never felt that I was being observed. They were totally respectful.
I couldn’t wait to get in the pool. It must have been for around the last hour I laboured in the pool. The warm water felt amazing. The water taking my weight. The feeling of buoyancy allowed me to be active and move around as needed. This part of my labour passed very quickly. I never had a steady transition phase. I went from breathing through surges to feeling like I had an overwhelming urge to push. In my head I knew I had to use my breath work rather than push and to go with my body. Through every surge I kept my body relaxed, not tensing my face and using my hypnobirthing down breath which gave me a great focus.
Jamie was a great support as were the midwifes. Personally I like interaction during labour and encouragement and was looking to them to know all was okay. I can remember asking them a couple of times was I doing okay. My midwifes were so respectful of hypnobirthing that it threw them slightly when I wanted to talk.
It got to a point when in my head I thought I can’t do this anymore. I knew this was a positive though and birth was imminent. I felt my waters go at a similar time which was a strange popping sensation! It was at this point that Jamie asked me if I wanted any gas and air. He must have sense the change in my demeanour. So for the last 10 minutes I used this along with my visualisation. Jack was born very quickly it almost felt like he was born in one go. My midwife did agree that there wasn’t much rest-bite between the head and the rest of his body!
My birth plan had requested that the midwife bring the baby out of the water. I know that it must be magical bringing your baby up but I felt happier that the midwife did this for me. We all forgot this was the plan though so after a few seconds Jack appeared. Jamie announced the sex of Jack and we were very pleased Oliver had a brother.
Jack was very calm when he was born and has continued to be since. Hypnobirthing babies tend to be calmer babies who sleep and feed well. Jack is a stereotypical hypno baby like his brother i’m pleased to say.
Just after Jack was born the official second midwife arrived, Zoe. She too was lovely immediately making me feel at ease.
My midwifes set up my bedroom for me where we moved to once we were out of the pool. The beauty of a home birth climbing on to you own bed! I had requested delayed cord clamping which was done followed by a physiological third stage to deliver the placenta. This took 50 minutes. I had had a managed third stage with my first birth so I’m pleased I’ve got to experience both now. In enables me to give a well rounded view of both to clients.
Transfer to hospital
I did have to be transferred to hospital after birth as I had a tear that Zoe wanted assessed upon her examination. This didn’t upset me as I’d been lucky enough to have had my home birth. Its policy that women are transferred by ambulance but as I wasn’t high priority I had a lovely couple of hours in my bed with Jack. The paramedics were lovely when they arrived and transferred me. George came with me in the ambulance and was lovely to chat to on the way. She was amazing during my examinations at the hospital and stayed with me the entire time.
I wasn’t upset or disappointed that I had been transferred as after my tear was sutured I knew I could go home. Once I had been sutured I was given the choice to stay over night at hospital as I’d have to come in for Jack’s post birth checks the following day anyhow. I decided against this as i’d wanted a home birth to be in the comfort of my own home after birth. It was so amazing getting back into my own bed and waking up there.
Reflecting on my experience
It was an incredible feeling to have birthed in my own home. I’d recommend it to any low risk woman. Its wonderful to be able to describe my birth as amazing. A word that people are often surprised that I use to describe birth especially those who haven’t had a baby before. Birth truly is amazing and I wish every woman could achieve a positive birth experience. I’m lucky to have the pleasure of working with many women to help them achieve this.
My team from West Middlesex Hospital were beyond fantastic – midwifes truly are angels in disguise. I felt very lucky to have had a relationship throughout my pregnancy with one midwife. They then ensured that Kay did all my post natal visits too. I know Kay was disappointed to have not been on duty when I went into labour. It was a sad day when i had my last post natal appointment with Kay.
Don’t tell everybody you’re planning a home birth
Unfortunately there is still a lot of negativity around home birth even though the stats show for low risk women its a very safe way to birth. So I decided not to shout it from the roof tops that it was my plan. This way I put no pressure on myself nor have to listen to any negativity about why would you do that when we have hospitals. Normally the negative comments aren’t supported by fact either.
Ignore your due date!
I’d been very chilled during my first pregnancy – taking not much notice of my hospital due date. I worked with the dates I believed were more accurate which meant that 40 week milestone to me actually wasn’t 40 weeks. I continued this approach with my second pregnancy. Having this attitude I believe really does relax the body and calm the mind. I carry on my day to day life as normal as where the mind leads the body will follow. Being stressed about a due date isn’t going to encourage babies arrival – baby will arrive when baby is ready.
Trust your body
I wasn’t at all stressed during labour as it is a natural process. Being in a relaxed body keeps that uterus relaxed and the body not being stressed doesn’t cause it to produce adrenaline. Trust your birthing body.
Write an easy to read birth plan
I used The Positive Birth book to write my birth plan. My midwifes took the time to read my birth plan and respected my wishes throughout.
Ensure your birth partner either contributes to your birth plan or reads it. You want them to be on board with your wishes. My midwifes commented afterwards what an easy to read birth plan it was. I’d highly recommend using a visual birth plan.
Want to know more about how Hypnobirthing can help you through pregnancy and birth?
I teach private hypnobirthing courses around London and Surrey. Areas include Chertsey, Hampton, Hillingdon, Isleworth, Kingston, Richmond, Sheen, St Margarets, Sunbury, Surbiton, Teddington, Twickenham, Weybridge, Windsor.