Monthly Archives: October 2014

Rebecca’s homebirth story

I woke up at 12.47am on Monday to a contraction. Another one followed 8 minutes after.  I was 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant and I thought “this is it, here we go…”

I had a ‘show’ at around 8.30 that morning, and I continued to have irregular contractions all day Monday.  At times they would be regular for an hour or so, and then become irregular again.  We burnt clary sage oil, and I spent a lot of time bouncing on my birthing ball, or later pacing the living room.

For most of the day I was excited and happy but by early evening I began to feel a bit tetchy. I had a feeling things would possibly ramp up once Toby, our son who was almost 2 at the time, went to bed and sure enough, they did.

By 9.30 that evening I was contracting every 3 minutes and my partner Chris started to inflate the birth pool.  I decided to give it an hour to make sure this was definitely ‘it’, before calling the midwives.

At around 11pm I called the radio room, and about an hour later, a midwife P and my case-loading student midwife H arrived.  P read my birth plan (H had seen it a couple of weeks before), and took my blood pressure.  Initially it was high but I was contracting at the time, plus P had taken it using a portable electronic machine, so she suggested H repeat it with the manual sphygmometer and as I expected the reading was then much lower!

I agreed to a VE, mostly out of curiosity, and H declared my cervix to be “2cms and stretchy”. They both left shortly after, recommending that I try to rest or have a warm bath and call them back if I needed anything.

More or less as soon as I heard their car pull away I had my strongest contraction up to that point, and had to grab on to the bookcase for support and moan through it.  I almost felt like running to the front door and yelling “come back!” but felt like I was possibly being ridiculous.

It was clear that the plan to relax, either in the bath or in bed wouldn’t work, so Chris ended up watching cbeebies in bed on the laptop with our son whilst I knelt on the bedroom floor, leaning over the side of the bed, contracting regularly and moo-ing into my balled-up t-shirt.

Time quickly lost all meaning.  I was listening to natal hypnotherapy on my ipod, but the rythym of the speech didn’t match that of my contractions, so quickly began to annoy me.  I switched to listening to the “relaxing birth music” tracks without speech instead, and that was much better.

At some point Chris hooked me up to my tens machine and fetched me a couple of paracetamol and a glass of apple juice.  My friend Emma made her way over and when she arrived she took over from Chris looking after Toby, so that he could go downstairs and start filling the birth pool.

At some point I told Emma that I wanted Chris to call the midwives, and at 2.20am he did. Around the same time, I decided I’d better get down the stairs or I never would, and once down there I found a comfortable spot kneeling on the sofa, leaning over the back.

I didn’t really experience transition as such but I did have a brief period of time where I suddenly felt very hot and then very cold, and slightly queasy, so asked Chris for a bucket, which he put by the side of me, although by then the feeling was gone.  I also got a bit annoyed briefly, because my headphone cables were tangling with my tens machine cables, so in the end Chris put my relaxing birth music on the hi-fi instead.

Most of the time, Chris was busy filling the pool but every now and then I would call him over and he would massage my lower back as a contraction built, but if he was too late and tried to touch me at the height of a contraction I would shoo him away again.

Finally, the pool was ready, but I was aware the midwives were on their way back and that they’d probably want to examine me when they arrived.  I detested the idea of getting in the water and then having to get out so decided to stay put, unaware of how advanced things were.

Chris told me afterwards that he knew things were happening quickly because he recognised the noises I was making from Toby’s birth, and that he was really anxious that not only were the midwives not there yet, but that I hadn’t even taken my pants off at that point.

The contractions were strong and steady now, and took all my concentration but I was still perfectly happy and lucid between each one, and could hold a conversation (arguing with Chris that if I took my pants off, my bare ass would be the first thing to greet the midwives as they came through the door).

At 3.05am I heard car doors slamming, and knew that P and H were back.  They said they could hear me contracting from the street (oops, sorry everyone!) and asked if they could examine me and check baby’s heart rate before I got in the pool, which I agreed to, although they had to wait for a sufficient gap between contractions for the VE.

Baby’s heart-rate was fine, and P estimated my cervix at 8-9cms so went out to the car to get supplies (I was feeling quite happy at the prospect of some gas and air at this point) whilst H started removing my tens machine so I could get in the water.

At which point I told her to stop, because “the baby is coming”.

Both her and Chris thought I meant in the wider “the baby will soon be here” sense, and were all “yes, yes…we know…we’re getting you in the pool now…” to which I replied “No, I mean, the baby is coming NOW”

H thought perhaps the pressure I was feeling was my waters about to break but she looked anyway and lo and behold, there was a head (told you so!)

Chris said she seemed kind of panicked and out of her depth at this point (he was at my head end, she was at the other, so they were facing each other, but all I could see was Chris’s face and the living room wall behind the sofa) but I didn’t pick up on that at all, I thought she sounded really calm as she told me that baby was being born in his waters, which was considered lucky.  She asked me to “blow” the contraction away.  I shook my head but tried it anyway.

Rebecca and Rudy immediately after birth

Rebecca and Rudy immediately after birth

There was nothing to be done for it though, I understood then what people meant when they’d described the second stage of labour as being like vomiting downwards- you know it’s about to happen and there is nothing you can do to stop it!  P came back from the car and was greeted by a crowning baby, Chris said she didn’t even have time to get her gloves on.  I don’t think I even pushed, there was just one mighty contraction and then there he was- born at 3.16am.  Apparently his waters broke as he was born- I so wish I could have seen it from the other side!  I still couldn’t see him, but everyone assured me he was fine, and then helped me to sit back without squashing him, and we had skin to skin.

P confirmed what she’d read in our birth plan- that I wanted a natural third stage, and I said yes.  H then said she thought the placenta had already detached, and asked me to give a little push.  I did and sure enough, there was the placenta.  The cord had already stopped pulsing so Chris cut it, and then Rudy had a feed.

Just a few minutes after the birth, with Toby meeting his brand new baby brother (although he was more excited by the giant pool in the middle of the room to be honest!)

Just a few minutes after the birth, with Toby meeting his brand new baby brother (although he was more excited by the giant pool in the middle of the room to be honest!)

At some point Emma, who had been stunned to hear a baby crying came down to confirm she hadn’t lost her mind, and Chris went to fetch Toby downstairs as well, so he could meet his baby brother.  Both P and H completed their paperwork whilst me and Rudy snuggled and Toby played with his toy cars on the side of the birth pool (occasionally dropping them in).  There was some lighthearted discussion about what to record the times as, since things had progressed so quickly.  In the end they settled on:

1st stage: 5 hours, 46 minutes
2nd stage: unrecordable
3rd stage: 4 minutes.

Before the midwives left Rudy had his vitamin k injection and was weighed, I was checked for tears (1st degree- no need for stitches, which I was truly delighted about!) and I went upstairs for the obligatory pee and to get a fresh nightie on.

Emma brought me a glass of water and some paracetamol for the afterpains, which I remember thinking were far more unpleasant than the labour itself, and much stronger than I remember them being after my first birth.  Then she had a quick snuggle with Rudy before heading home to bed.  Rudy had a good feed and then at about 6am we all went to bed too.

Rebecca's almost-2-year-old having some fun in the (unused!) birth pool later that morning (we figured someone should enjoy it, after all that time spent inflating and filling it!)

Rebecca’s almost-2-year-old having some fun in the (unused!) birth pool later that morning (we figured someone should enjoy it, after all that time spent inflating and filling it!)

Toby was up a mere two and half hours later and so began our life as a family of four!

People think I am joking, or crazy (or both!) when I say that I enjoyed my second labour and birth.  A lot of people ask “didn’t it hurt?” and the answer, for me, is that yes, it was intensely painful.  But at no point did I ever feel frantic or panicked and although the sensations were definitely strong, they didn’t feel wrong.

I knew that each contraction meant my body was working hard to birth my baby and that my job was just to let it and not fight it, which meant that In the whole 26 hours and 33 minutes- from first contraction to birthing the placenta, I never once felt frightened, scared, or even worried.  In fact, I felt very calm, with the exception of perhaps one contraction just before he was born when my tens cable came unplugged and I bit Chris’s hand in panic! (Sorry!)

Baby Rudy fast asleep a few hours after the birth

Baby Rudy fast asleep a few hours after birth

Throughout the whole experience I felt confident that everything was happening as it should, and that both me and my baby were safe, and I think being at home helped massively with that.

I can’t honestly say it was my “dream birth” or even that everything went to plan, as clearly we had inflated and filled a birth pool for a reason!  BUT it was awesome, and in a way it sort of was perfect, because everything just happened, without me needing to think or act- it just was what it was, and I genuinely loved every minute!

Rebecca – Levenshulme, Manchester

Natalie’s homebirth story

My first birth, at hospital, was great. I was fully dilated at arrival with the triage nurse and was comfortable throughout the birth despite a back to back presentation without pain relief just breathing through the surges. After 3 hours of comfortable second stage I had an assisted delivery with ventouse and episiotomy as the consultant felt it best due to position and heart rate dropping.

This time I wanted to be more comfy after the birth and avoid episiotomy. I spent time involving chiropractic care, yoga and reviving my Hypnobirthing beliefs to help prepare me and optimise baby into the best position. This helped keep me significantly more comfortable whilst carrying too.

At 40+2 I woke up at 5:15am ish and had a show, I had some tightenings low down but managed to get half an hours sleep listening to Hypnobirthing MP3s. I text the midwife about 7am saying something might be happening, by this time my daughter was up and my hubby went in the shower, during this time I had 3-4 surges. I had a shower and again had a few surges, but still thought birth could be a while off.

By 7:30am I’d told hubby to carry on getting dressed for work & he could come home if I needed him. About 7:45 am I found myself sat on the loo not really managing to move which made me think things were definitely in motion but still I was quite comfy. I suggested hubby not go to work and just take daughter to nursery.

Things then started to crank up a notch. The sensations were coming thick and fast, quite intense and I felt I wasn’t managing so well, I started to feel sick too. When I said to hubby I thought this was transition he thought I was being a bit daft!

By 8am I managed to get downstairs and kneeled leaning on the sofa, at this point we rang mother in law to collect my daughter and hubby started filling the pool. I was certainly in the zone by one and was repeating the affirmations to myself until hubby played the MP3. He was running round still in his suit doing all sorts bless him!

My mother in law collected the little one about 8:25, by this point I felt my surges had changed, they felt as though I was bearing down and I had begun to make a noise/ moan at the end of each one, it felt good to let some noise out to help release the feeling. My lower back was feeling uncomfy, like there was pressure there, this part was really intense but I felt I could manage happily as I knew this was second stage and baby was nearly here. It still wasn’t painful and I was still calm just going with the flow.

Once my daughter had gone I felt I relaxed a little more. I crawled over still fully clothed to the inflated but almost empty pool worried my waters would go on our new carpet and leaned on the side of the pool, baby felt really low down.

8:40am the midwife arrived, at this point I called out to her that I felt the baby was coming.
She came in, helped me off with my clothes and turned to hubby to say “do you want to see this?.” Baby’s head was just visible! I kept visualising the blossom flower and kept my J breathing going, she helped remind me to relax and breathe baby down.

Baby Matilda Poppy, 15 minutes old

Baby Matilda Poppy, 15 minutes old

I could feel the head coming down and felt things ‘stretching’ again. I tried not to push and relax, my body certainly took over and did its thing. Then I felt some relief as the head emerged. At this point my waters finally went. Two more surges and the body slipped out. No stitches needed but a slight internal graze. Baby arrived at 8:53am! And was 9lb 1oz. She didn’t cry and was calm and alert. I had some bleeding so had assisted placenta delivery. This was the best feeling.

By 9:30am I was on the sofa having a cuddle and a piece of toast. 10:30am I had a shower and we spent the day chilling out having cuddles before introducing big sister to the new addition.

It was the most amazing delivery and I’ve felt so well since. I wish everyone could have an experience like this. I would certainly do it again. Matilda is a lovely chilled bundle of joy calmly breathed into this world at home.

Natalie – Cheadle Hulme, Stockport

Kathryn’s homebirth story

Kathryn and baby Isaac at home

Kathryn and baby Isaac at home

I wanted to share my story of homebirth for those of you who are feeling unsure like I was.
I have to say prior to getting pregnant with my second child I was one of those people who thought that homebirth was a bit out there and hippyish but when I got pregnant anxieties about being in hospital and leaving my 6 year old meant I started to look into it.

I personally didn’t find the community midwives very supportive or informative (probably not helped by the fact I never saw the same one more than once.) So I decided to switch to One to One Midwives care and met my lovely midwife Sarah who spent time going over everything with us and was great at answering questions both me and my partner had reassuring us about any fears we had. She also booked us on to a hypnobirthing course which was a great source of information and a real change from the antenatal classes we had with our first. They focused on the positives of birth and how your body works during the process as well as the hypnobirthing techniques.

We got to 40 weeks and still no sign of baby coming. At 41 weeks I woke with a few niggles and I felt a bit odd. I carried on with my day as normal. At lunch I had the start of my show and had a bath then we went wallpaper shopping. At 5pm I noticed my surges were pretty regular, every 5 mins or so and decided to text Sarah just in case. We got home around 5.30 and got my son ready to go to his grandmas. I was managing everything fine so wasn’t convinced I was progressing and so we went for a walk on the field behind my house just after 7pm. 2 laps and I was done. We went home and my partner pumped up the pool while we timed the surges for a bit to see how often they were coming. I text Sarah to say James (my partner) was filling the pool as I wasn’t sure I could manage much longer with just breathing and rocking so she said to get in the pool and let her know when we needed her.

Baby Isaac Joseph 8lb 12oz

Baby Isaac Joseph 8lb 12oz

I got in the pool and not long later the surges were coming one on top of another even though I was still not convinced things were happening, James decided to call Sarah and ask her to come over. It’s a good job he did! Sarah arrived at 10 pm shortly followed by her colleague Debbie and checked me and baby over while I was in the pool. Not long after she arrived I felt things change. I knew baby was on its way and although I wanted to tell Sarah what was happening I couldn’t talk at all but I didn’t need to, she noticed the change and realised what was happening. I did manage however to say when my waters had popped. Baby came pretty quickly after that with his hand by his head and when I felt like I couldn’t do any more, with the amazing support of the midwives to get me through those final pushes, he came out at 10.34pm, all 8 lb 12 oz and I spotted we had another boy!

Kathryn's eldest son meets his little brother

Kathryn’s eldest son meets his little brother

We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before it was clamped and cut. Baby was passed to dad while I got out the pool to wait for the placenta to come and get warm (I was rather shivery). We had skin to skin and once all was sorted Sarah and Debbie helped me and baby upstairs and we got into bed so my son could come and meet his baby brother.

Being able to relax at home was the best feeling ever and the mess that I was worried about was no where to be seen the next morning. I can’t fault the care we received from the One to One midwives during our birth and will always be grateful to them for being there to support me and enable me to have such a positive birth experience. It’s certainly something we will never forget and for those of you who were like me, had doubts and find it a bit out there, I say embrace your inner hippy – I’m certainly glad I did!!

Kathryn – Davenport, Stockport