Guest post from What the Redhead Said
The other day I was pursuing my blogger buddy’s site, What the Redhead Said, and saw that she had had two home births. I’m a sucker for a home birth, if you ever read my post about where to give birth at home or the birthing centre, you’ll know that I was very keen on the idea of home births. So, I got straight in touch with Donna to ask if she would share her home births with us as part of the Giving Birth Series. She has kindly agreed…
Two Home Births
Before I was pregnant, or even thinking about children, I’d heard so many horror stories about birth – About how you should ‘leave your dignity at the door’ and how it was a necessary evil of life. I had never heard anything positive about birth at all until friends of ours had a baby. We went to see them when the baby was a few weeks old, stayed an hour and heard about the birth, what a lovely, beautiful bonding experience it was. Their birth sounded perfect. Their baby was born at home.
From then I knew that home births would be something I’d like to do when I had children and two years later Hubby and I found out we were having a baby and I knew that we would at least try and have the baby at home. Even when I was pregnant I found myself having so much faith in my body – I was growing a baby, women were made to grow babies. Women were made to give birth. I wasn’t nervous or scared about the experience at all. I was apprehensive of the unknown but I was looking forward to welcoming our baby into the world.
Home Births: Baby No.1, Little Pickle
During pregnancy I researched home births and tried to be as informed as possible. I knew that only 2.5% of babies were born at home – Most first time home births end in a transfer to hospital because of a need for pain relief, panic during the transition stage or sheer exhaustion. I knew that anything could happen but I prepared myself and planned a home birth.
We bought a birth pool, thinking we could use it again for another baby if all went well, we bought cheap shower curtains to protect the floor and washed all the old towels we had in the house. A hospital bag was packed ‘just in case’ and I spent the whole of the pregnancy focusing on the baby being born. It really couldn’t come quick enough for me.
My due date, 25th August, came and went and each day after that seemed an eternity. I saw my midwife the day after and she said my blood pressure was high and I’d get a visit from a midwife at home a couple of days later to check my blood pressure again. I joked that I’d read a high blood pressure could be a sign of impending labour and who knew – I might have a baby that weekend. The midwife shrugged me off and said I’d be lucky and we parted with an appointment booked for sunday, two days later.
I took myself off shopping, as you do the day after your due date. I bought a baby bath and picked up my free Boots change bag. Random the things you remember. I then spent the rest of that day and the following day bouncing on my birth ball, watching rubbish on TV, eating my body weight in junk and playing computer games. It got to late Saturday afternoon and I felt exhausted so went to bed. I woke up a couple of hours later feeling awful from the not quite long enough sleep and realising Hubby would be home soon and I hadn’t sorted dinner. I lay in bed looking at takeaway websites on my phone and realised after a while that I was having pains every so often – Nothing regular really but every twenty minutes or so.
When Hubby got home we ordered a take away – Dominoes pizza and watched X-Factor on catch up. I told Hubby I thought the baby was on its way and we enjoyed our evening – Eating, chatting and a pain every so often. It got to about 11pm, I was on my birth ball, still watching TV and the pains had got to about every three minutes. I decided to ring the hospital to let them know I thought I was in labour.
I spoke to the central delivery suite who said they’d get our on call midwife to ring me back, which she did fairly soon after. She said I sounded like I was coping pretty well, to take some paracetamol and try and get some sleep. I was told to ring her back when the pain was unbearable.
I took some paracetamol and tried to sleep but that was impossible so I left Hubby in bed and carried on bouncing on my ball downstairs but within a few minutes I was shouting for Hubby and a bit of an emotional mess – I’d been sick and needed him to help clean me up! Bye bye pizza and paracetamol!
For the next few hours I bounced on my ball and watched The OC on DVD whilst Hubby dozed on the sofa. I was breathing through the pain and focusing on the each half hour on the clock, willing myself to make it to the next half hour. In the end I made it to 3:30am before I had to ring and she said she’d be straight over. Unfortunately she got lost on the way and got to ours at 4:30am. By this point everything was a bit of a blur as I was in so much pain.
The midwife turned up, examined me and seemed confused. She asked if I minded her examining me again and then told me I was already 8cm dilated! Hubby quickly started filling the birth pool and I carried on bouncing on my ball with the help of a tens machine and some heavy breathing. By 6am the pool was full and at the right temperature so I was allowed in and started on the gas and air.
The pool was amazing, the water felt fantastic but before long I had the urge to push. Another midwife arrived from the local hospital and I started pushing. I pushed for an eternity but didn’t seem to be getting very far. It got to 8:30am and the midwives got me out of the pool and made a makeshift bed on the floor. I hated the idea of laying on my back and it hurt like hell but the baby was getting distressed and they needed to get it out. I was given a couple of chances to push. The first time and nothing happened. The second time the midwives told me if the baby wasn’t born this time I’d need an episiotomy… I pushed with everything I had and our Little Pickle was born on that push – 6lb 4oz of perfection. It was an amazing experience and something I couldn’t wait to do again.
Home Births: Baby No.2, Little Man
Less than a year later we found ourselves pregnant again. We hoped to have another home birth and planned for the grandparents to have LP when I went into labour but the baby had other ideas! 16 days before my due date I woke up to already regular pains and by 2am they were already 5 minutes apart. Hubby’s parents were in America, arriving back two days later and we had no childcare options – LP would be around during labour.
I rang the hospital at 11am when the contractions were every 3 minutes apart and lasting 40 seconds. They sent our local midwife, trainee midwife and supervisor of midwives out immediately as it was our second baby and I was in denial that we were having a baby that day – The baby wasn’t due yet!
Hubby started filling the birth pool, LP watched a zoo documentary on the TV – she loves monkeys – and the midwives sat around drinking tea and looking through my wedding album. The whole time I sat on my birth ball breathing through contractions and joining in with the conversation where I could. The whole thing was so surreal but so natural and completely perfect all at the same time.
I got in the pool at 1:30pm and the water was perfect. I was 8cm dilated and couldn’t wait for the baby to be born. I went into my own world in the pool, breathing through contractions until 2pm when I started on gas and air. At around 2:45pm I started to get the urge to push just as LP woke up from her nap. One of the midwives went and got her, sitting quietly on the sofa with her. I pushed with the next contractions and my waters went. With the next push the baby’s head was delivered and at 3:03pm with the next push our Little Man was born! The midwives pushed him up between my legs and I cuddled him in the water.
Before long the midwives realised he wasn’t breathing quite right. I delivered the placenta, got wrapped in a towel and got dressed whilst the decision was made to transfer to hospital to get him checked over. In the end we were in hospital for three days whilst he had antibiotics and blood tests to rule out infections but the only thing that was wrong with him was the quick delivery – His lungs hadn’t cleared properly during birth and he had mucus on his chest. This cleared within a few hours and he was perfect – weighing exactly the same as his big sister!
Two home births, both so different but both experiences I would have again tomorrow! I loved our home births and can’t imagine giving birth anywhere else.
Thank you Donna!!
Once again I really want a home birth! Maybe next time…
Has this made you love home births too? Or would you rather be in a hospital or birthing centre?
Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
If you would like to submit your birth story for the Giving Birth Series, please get in touch by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!