Monthly Archives: February 2015

Top tips for childbirth from Birth You In Love

Kati's homebirth on BBC1

Kati’s homebirth on BBC1 Childbirth: All or Nothing

Kati’s home water birth was featured in ‘Childbirth: All or Nothing’ on BBC1 last Tuesday. Here she talks to us about the response she’s received from people all over the country and what she plans to do next to help bring normal birth back to the forefront of womens’ consciousness.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response and feedback. It seems that the importance of mental preparation and planning wasn’t lost on the placenta smoothie sensation!”

“I did lots of preparation for my birth to ensure I maximised my chances of things going well. I have a PDF that explains all the preparations I did. I researched a lot in journals, books and forums and I am happy for all birthing mamas to read it.”

PDF Download Birth Top Tips from the ‘Birth You In Love’ project (Revised) 629k PDF

“I would love to be able to get the ideas contained in this PDF made into a series of bitesize films that I will put for free on YouTube. I think this will be the most accessible way to get the message out to show what I did and help other birthing mamas be more prepared.”

“But I need the money to get it professionally edited and so, I have created a Crowdfunding project on Indiegogo to do this. I need to get the home birth community behind me in order for this to happen.”

“I have footage of both my births. The facebook page ‘Birth You In Love’ Project explains why. By showing the footage of my first birth, I hope to be able to empower first time mums too.”

indiegogo“Please help support the ‘Birth You In Love’ Indiegogo campaign by donating and sharing.”

“If anybody would like to be entered into a prize draw to win my beloved Oscha Braid Norse Wrap size 5, please Like the Facebook page and comment why ‘The Birth You In Love Project’ is a good idea! I will choose one lucky winner at random. I love my wrap but I want this project to happen more!”

Oscha Braid Norse Wrap

Kati wearing her Oscha Braid Norse Wrap

Antonia’s homebirth story

It was Tuesday lunchtime one week before my due date and I started to get strange one sided pains on my tummy. They seemed to get stronger and more regular but then stopped abruptly later that night. I had no pains all the next day so decided to go shopping for some Christmas bits and pieces, I was achey but nothing significant.

On Thursday I had lots of irregular pains all day and throughout the night and by Friday morning I was tired grumpy and I put my tens machine on as the pains were regular and getting worse. I started to make preparations for my son to be looked after and then all of a sudden they stopped! Bang just like that! I felt so disheartened and started to doubt I would ever go into labour, silly I know as I wasn’t even past my due date yet!

I decided to try some spinning babies techniques after asking for advice from ladies on a lovely birth group on facebook because I was losing heart that I would ever get my home birth. I spent most of the afternoon crawling around the lounge playing and doing inversions in between periods of sobbing because I was so tired and napping when I could get my son to sit and relax with me.

I rang my husband around 4.30pm to ask him to come home but explained it wasn’t because I was in labour but because I just needed his emotional support. Looking back this was a sign that labour was well on its way! An hour later I was still feeling emotional and he wasn’t home so I called to see where he was and he said he was in the back of a police car because he had driven in the bus lane and would call me back in a few minutes! My well timed phone call convinced the police man my husband was telling the truth about his wife being in labour and he let him off without a ticket.

At around 6pm hubby still wasnt home so I decided to get in the bath with some lavender oil (and my toddler) to try and relax and go with the flow and I started getting pains again. These pains were getting more regular and painful but because of all of the false starts I didn’t want to believe this was it so didn’t put my tens machine on and just tried to breathe through the worst part of each surge. When hubby finally arrived home he asked if I had been timing the pains to which I said I hadn’t as it might not be it.

My mother and father-in-law called round for a brew and after having to stop mid conversation three times in ten minutes hubby started timing the pains and suggested I put my tens back on. The pains started to get closer and stronger and I had a show so finally believed this was it so decided to time them for the benefit of the midwife but didn’t ring her as I was still able to cope with the pains.

Around 9pm the pains were around 90 seconds apart and getting to the point where I needed something more than my tens machine so we decided to call the midwife, by the time she arrived at 9.40pm I was beginning to panic due to the pain. When she arrived she asked me to lie on the sofa which really hurt and was something I didn’t really want to do but I decided I would choose my battles as she didn’t know I was having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) after a large PPH (Post-partum Haemorrhage) yet! She checked and I was at least 8cm dilated (woop!) but she couldn’t tell for sure as my waters were bulging. She asked if I wanted her to break them which I declined (after the first time when they were meconium stained and caused me to transfer to hospital and ended up with an emergency c-section.) She then took mine and baby’s heart rates and temperatures and they were quite high (mine because I’d started to panic and it was bloody hot in our house and babies I think because I was lying down) she was worried that they were too high and wanted to transfer us to hospital. I asked (inbetween contractions) what was the benefit of going to hospital and she said they would put me on a monitor which I didn’t want and do blood tests to check for infection. Now I knew how far I had come in an hour so I knew baby was going to be born within a couple of hours so declined being transferred to hospital. She asked three times if I was happy to stay home against medical advice and I confirmed I wasn’t moving anywhere and as soon as she saw my resolve she was super supportive and immediately rang for a second midwife as I had started to become pushy.

The second midwife arrived with minutes to spare as I had been trying my hardest not to push as I had been pushing for a long time with my first before I really needed to so decided I would try and resist the urge to push until my body forced me to push. Maybe ten minutes after the second midwife arrived I said that I couldn’t hold the urge any more so began to push with all my might and again the midwife asked if I wanted my waters breaking. I asked what the benefit was and she admitted it was just because it’s tidier if they’re broken as opposed to them splashing everywhere! I decided to go with how nature intended and true to her word the waters splashed absolutely everywhere with my first push, hubby had been down at the business end watching and the midwife said ‘I wouldn’t stand there!’ seconds before my waters went!

Baby Broderick

Baby Broderick

Once my waters had gone baby’s head was out in two more pushes and I didn’t get chance to crown slowly as his head was born so fast, next push and his body was out in the pool of water that I was kneeling in! I scooped him up and cradled him, I had done it! I was ecstatic! The midwife suggested that I should get off the sofa so that they could clean up the waters from the sofa (we had covered the sofa in plastic sheets, towels and absorbent pads). I just knelt on the floor hovered over a blue tray to catch the placenta.

Halfway through the clean up the second midwife noticed that my placenta was in the tray so started flapping and writing the time down, she was shocked it had come away so quickly. I was oblivious to the craziness around me on a high after managing to birth my baby on my own at home with just a little gas and air and lots of love and support!

Special thanks go to Helen who gave me the confidence to have a home birth after a c-section and PPH, Olga who came to visit me and put me in touch with some amazing people who have changed my life in the last two years. I know it’s taken a long time to write it all down but life gets in the way. I did it and I would encourage everyone to have a home birth. Believe in your body and trust in your mind!

Antonia – Oldham

Helen’s homebirth story

Our son Dylan aka ‘Diddy’ was born very quickly at 40+13 – just about having made the hospital in time. Birthing him felt so natural and went so according to ‘plan’ that the only thing we decided to do differently for number 2 was to miss out the ‘getting to hospital’ bit and to stay home… so here we were, planning a home water birth.

A lovely lady I met via a local homebirth group had given me an unused birth pool in a box a few months previously, on condition we ‘pay it forward’ and donate to another homebirth mama when we’re done with it. We’d had a trial run putting it up at 37 weeks, to check it would fit and see how long it took to inflate and fill – we estimated around 1.5 hours to set up and another hour to empty. Sorted! I needed to give the husband at least that much notice then.

As predicted, my ‘due date’ came and went without any sign of ‘homer’ planning an exit any time soon. I don’t feel Braxton Hicks and there was very little else happening except some backache each night. Strangely enough though on the Friday we’d gone to the garden centre to buy some fresh plants for the backyard (been giving it a bit of a makeover, nesting style as there was nothing left to do in the house!) and I had a real need to get them all re-potted the same day, even though it was absolutely chucking it down and husband thought I was crazy!
The night before Dylan arrived, when we’d exhausted every other avenue of natural eviction method, we just chilled outl and snuggled on the sofa with Disney films. For some reason, on Friday night I had an urge to do it again so we let Diddy stay up late and built a duvet den on the sofa, lit the fairy lights and had a Toy Story viewing marathon. My sister had sent me a text message earlier in the day asking if she might get a new niece or nephew for the weekend (she lives a couple of hours away and was wondering whether to come visit or not). I replied around midnight simply saying “who knows!? nothing happening but then it didn’t before Diddy arrived either” and so we all went to bed.

I woke up around 6am feeling contractions. I lay in bed just counting them and breathing through, realising they were pretty regular and getting painful. I counted 20 in an hour and a half. By 7.30am, I was struggling to lie down any longer and wanted to be up and about so went to the loo, brushed my teeth, put in my lenses, straightened my hair (giggling to myself at the déjà vu from my first labour). Woke up my husband Phil shortly after to let him know I thought we might be meeting Homer today – he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Came downstairs, sat on the fitball, posted a couple of messages online before realising we were at 4 (painful) contractions in 10 minutes. Diddy was stirring and I was nervous it might all stop with the distraction. I texted my mum to let her know things were happening and to see if she wanted to come get the boy (wasn’t sure initially if we’d want to keep him at home for the birth, but it was immediately evident that that wasn’t going to work). He was trying to ‘help’ daddy put the pool up by tipping his tools all over the floor! Turns out mum is in Liverpool & her car is at home, she’s in a hotel with friends panicking and waking up someone to drive her back so Dad comes round instead. I went back upstairs and resumed my position rocking while leaning on the banister rail whilst the husband called the midwife and started to inflate the pool. By now he was stressing with all the multitasking required! Midwife wasn’t answering her mobile so he called the labour ward who had someone ring us back. She ran through all the usual details and questions – contracting close together, waters still intact, no problems… she offered to come round now with the kit, or said we could call back when I felt I needed her. She had a couple of visits scheduled so I said to tell her we’d be fine and would let her know when to come. Typically right about then the pain shot up a notch and 10 minutes later she was summoned! Phil kept shouting upstairs for me to give him a sign I was alright. Every time he got chance, he’d dash upstairs, rub the bottom of my back, reassure me, bring me cold flannel/ice lolly/drink but I was just in my own little world, hoping the midwife wasn’t too far away and the pool would hurry up and fill. It all felt so familiar.

Community midwife Pat turned up around 9.30am with her gas and air. I had 2 contractions while she was introducing herself! She had a quick scan through my notes and birth plan and then asked me if I could get on the bed for a quick check over in between contractions. I didn’t want to be lying down so bless her she was quick. Felt baby was right down, heartbeat good, my pulse and blood pressure fine. She offered me an internal but I declined, feeling quite confident we were progressing just fine. When I stood up again the contractions were much stronger. I was still refusing any pain relief as, though I like the idea of Entonox, the surges were making me feel sick and light headed anyway and I needed to stay in control – plus, like last time – I thought it was going to get worse and should be saved for later.

Baby Lily May

Baby Lily May

By now I was groaning with every contraction, feeling very heavy pressure, still leaning over the banister and thinking my waters must surely go any minute (and probably soak the stairs!). As I got more vocal, the pool was finally at the minimum level and a comfy 36 degrees so the three of us went downstairs, I stripped off and climbed in. Phil had dimmed the lights and put on the same music we birthed Diddy to. Pat asked me to tell her when I felt the need to push – the first contraction in the water was very different, very pushy. I’d literally just got in in time. She grabbed her gloves and called Stacey, our second midwife, to come quick. I suddenly needed to move. I had to not be sat down but leaning on all fours over the side. With the next contraction came the most immense pressure, I was shouting “Ow! ow! ow! ow!” I wasn’t sure if this was the head coming or waters about to go – turns out it was both. Ouch, sudden flashback to that heaviness/ring of fire moment! Pat was telling me to get ready to receive baby while Phil reminded me to breathe and out flew our baby all in one big push. I opened my eyes and saw her looking up at me through the water, holding her as her body left mine. Amazingly surreal feeling! Lily May was born at 10.18am, 14th July 2012 (EDD 11th July). Second stage recorded as 2 minutes. We had a quick peek and discovered she was a litle girl! One of each! Just perfect. She was very alert, very calm – just looking around, didn’t cry at all but was clearly unperturbed by the experience. Apgar score 10 at 1 minute.

I opted for delayed cord clamping and a physiological third stage so stayed in the pool having attached skin to skin. She latched on right away, clearly a pro! Had a good long feed while Pat let Stacey in and filled her in on the birth she’d just missed. I couldn’t get over how much vernix there was. She had such a thick layer, it was like lard. Phil put some under his eyes this time!

Relaxing on the sofa while baby Lily feeds

Relaxing on the sofa while baby Lily feeds

By now the pool was getting rather red and murky and I was feeling a bit hot and wobbly. Since it’s harder to monitor blood loss in the water we felt it was probably time to get out of the pool. I lay down on a nest of towels on the sofa, while baby had another feed. Cord was cut after 40 minutes but I had to kneel up and use gravity to get the placenta out. It finally released at 55 minutes post birth. They both had a good look at it, fascinated by my plans to eat smoothie and encapsulate. Turns out the cord was a bit unusual, it had extra blood vessels that didn’t go anywhere and a few random air bubbles in the gristly bits. They said it was probably a very good thing I hadn’t had the syntometrin as there was a strong chance the cord would have snapped with pulling and I’d have needed to transfer for surgical placenta removal. Phew! Placenta was small, about one third the size of Diddy’s mega placenta. Stuck it in a box in the fridge for my mum to deal with later. Stacey checked me over, just a little graze and small 1st degree tear needing no stitches – same as last time but definitely not as sore. Lily was weighed (3.75kg = 8lb4oz), measured (37cm head) and checked over then both ladies left around 12, having taken my blood (and left enormous bruises!), had a cuppa, helped clear up and made sure we were ok.

Phil ran me a bath but every time I tried to get upstairs I almost fainted so we gave up on that idea and he carried me to the sofa where I had a wash, then snuggled up in my jamas with our baby girl while we let everyone know she’d arrived. We cracked open the bubbly and birthday cake and Mum brought Diddy round to meet his sister after lunch. He did a grand job of ignoring the elephant in the room, but was very happy with the new bike she bought him! Mum made me a placenta smoothie which really perked me up (and tasted really good!) then took the rest away with her to dry out and stick in pills for me. They were done within 24 hours and my placenta made 110 capsules. Seem to be working – we have milk within 48 hours.

Lily May is a dream child. A natural feeder, she just seems to instinctively know what she’s doing. Everything is just lovely. Dylan has started asking for boob when he sees his sister feeding, but tandem nursing is helping him to accept her so we’re going with it. It’s the only time he gets close and will stroke her arm, play with her feet etc. and ask me about her. It’s been worth every bit of the feeding journey to get here.

Homebirthing is just fantastic, recommend it to everyone! I feel so blessed to have had 2 easy pregnancies and births, not to mention 2 gorgeous babies.  Might have a little rest now though…

Helen – Rochdale