Photo credit: Rebecca Barclay Photography
My first realisation of being ‘in labour’ started when my waters broke with a pop at 21:45. on 20th September (37+2), after a bath and just as I was getting into bed. In hindsight I had probably been in early labour for the two days previous….I’d had mild irregular cramps that felt like period pain but was convinced it wasn’t labour so had gone to work!
We called our doula Sarah Marsden straight away once waters had broken. Becca went downstairs to set up birth pool, luckily she had done a practice run filling and inflating it earlier that evening so it was still pumped up, whilst I chilled out upstairs. At 22:40after the house was ready for the birth, we called the midwives, just as a storm started outside.
I started on the TENS machine to manage the contractions. I couldn’t find any comfortable positions so didn’t want to listen to actual hypnobirthing tracks that were asking me to get comfortable! However, all the principles we learnt at the course and from listening to the tracks previously helped me stay calm through contractions and to trust my body knew what it was doing. We also had affirmation cards we made around the house. I kept returning to a story of a lady who had given birth in a coma in 4 hours, showing that if you let your body take control it can do everything for you.
Contractions continued to get stronger so we called Sarah again as we were ready for her. Our midwives Christine and Louise arrived around 23:30. They took our birth preferences in to another room and went through it together. Throughout the birth they really respected everything we put on it (no vaginal examinations, no offering of pain relief).
Sarah arrived sometime after midnight and immediately calmed both myself and Becca. At this point the surges were causing me to projectile vomit. Sarah helped with keeping me comfortable and generally kept us both calm. Her presence gave Becca a chance to chat to the midwives and keep the pool at the right temperature.
I got into the pool around 02:30 once the TENS was insufficient to manage contractions. I was immediately able to relax as the support from the water allowed me to get comfortable. Midwives mainly sat in the other room, coming in periodically to check on us.
By this point the storm was raging outside, we wondered whether the roof would come off the house as I was giving birth! Buckets of vomit were thrown out into the storm and then at some point I became very calm and apparently fell asleep in the pool. After this period of calm, contractions became more intense, and I held Becca and Sarah’s hands and breathed through them. At this point I asked why no one had brought me gas and air yet as contractions were becoming very strong; Becca and Sarah got the midwives to bring it in. Sarah also gave me a scarf to pull on during contractions, which really helped. There was a period of increasingly intense contractions, however they never got really close to together. There was another period of calm and then at around 04.45 a final wave of the strongest contractions. My body started pushing of its own accord, it was like an involuntary spasm I had no control over. Becca joined me in the pool once she could feel Minnie’s head. The only conscious push I made was to get her body out once her head was out.
Becca and the midwife caught her (we were very nervous about fumbling her and dropping her back in the pool!) She did half a cry but wasn’t breathing regularly so the midwifes cut the cord quite quickly and took her to the other room with Becca and called an ambulance. I was in the pool still and tried to relax, my instinct told me she would be ok and she was with her other mummy Becca. The midwives used a bag and mask to help her breathe and I heard her crying. The ambulance didn’t take long and Becca went with Minnie, I went in a separate ambulance. The paramedics were lovely and very chilled. Minnie was fine in the ambulance and Becca was sending me photos of her. Becca and Minnie went to A&E whilst I went to the labour suite to deliver the placenta. After over an hour I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer for the placenta but wasn’t in the mood for any pushing or contractions so asked for the injection to deliver the placenta. They checked me over, no need for stitches, yay!
By this stage, doctors were happy that Minnie was OK and we were reunited 2 hours after she was born for her first feed. We were kept in for 24 hours of observations but we got a private room and Becca was allowed to stay.
Although the transfer to hospital whilst not ideal it still was a positive experience, all the staff were great. Overall we really enjoyed the whole experience. We feel that having the birth pool, the hypnobirthing course, our doula Sarah, and a respectful midwife team were all central to our positive experience and are so glad we chose a home birth for our first baby.
Thankyou to Georgie and Becca for sharing their amazing birth story!