Louise’s Home Birth

All I wanted for the birth of my second son was calm. A calm welcome into the world and a mum who wasn’t living on a diet of anxiety and exhaustion.

I wouldn’t have gone for a home birth the first time around simply because of the fear of the unknown. I also didn’t know anyone who had done it.

But by the time I was pregnant again it didn’t seem half as daunting.

I’d had a home birth in the back of my mind but I was only a few weeks pregnant so hadn’t considered it much further. It was the midwife at my booking in appointment who suggested it………she ended up being with me the day Joel was born.

Stood in my dining room trying to visualise this happening wasn’t easy but the more the image rolled around my mind something struck me; if I had the baby at home, I would be at home! I could take a shower in my bathroom, veg out with Netflix on my own sofa during that golden couple of days where the baby actually sleeps. I could eat a good meal and wouldn’t have to put the teeny tiny infant in a car seat to go home. And, my husband would be there the whole time.

It’s a lot to organise. Friends asked all about it, wondering what the set up was, was I worried about being at home? I admitted to one friend that I was imagining a dreamlike scenario in which I had the baby during the day with the sunlight streaming through the blinds while I listened to music. We both decided that it was very unlikely things would go down this way.

I ordered the birthing pool, packed the bag and bought supplies including and maybe most importantly, crumpets for the midwives. I’m also not stupid so made sure there were teabags.

As the months fell away my husband was the one with the anxiety. He was in charge of making sure the hose for the pool fit the tap and that there would be enough hot water. The boiler went on the blink three times…..

My midwife was wonderful, full of advice and tips but straight forward and realistic. She visited me at home to make sure I didn’t live in a pit but also to outline all of the risk factors. It’s a skill to be able to explain what could go wrong without putting the fear of god into someone.

When the time came, I called the labour ward ……………

My son Gabriel was woken and whisked away in the night by very accommodating grandparents. I’d initially wanted to leave him in bed and let him wake up naturally before going off but my husband talked me out of it and he was right. I was making a fair amount of noise by 7am so I was glad he wasn’t around.

Knowing I didn’t have to get in the car was huge relief. The car journey last time, although short, was agonising and contributed a level of stress I just didn’t have this time. I am convinced that helped with the labour as there wasn’t a load of adrenaline kicking in, just lovely oxytocin.

The first midwife arrived and we started to fill the pool. I was having pretty strong contractions from the outset and getting in the pool was a relief. It’s not magic but the warm water helped no end.

With the lights low and some essential oils burning (another tip from my midwife) I was almost falling asleep between contractions which sounds great but I realised my contractions were slowing down. They came back with a vengeance once I ventured out of the cosiness for a wander around.

Even though I know there is the ‘transition’ stage which is when the classic line ‘I can’t do this’ is on repeat, I still said ‘I can’t do this’ but of course, I did and what I can’t say enough about is how great of an experience it was. I’m not going to go down the road of the mother earth blogger in which I just smile, sometimes wryly, through the labour, push a bit and the baby appears before being held aloft while the Circle of Life is played. No. It was hard, it was painful.

Saying that……Joel came out and floated up towards me. I got hold of him in the water and brought him out up to my chest. I don’t say this for effect and it isn’t hyperbole, it was magical.

At the crucial stage of actually pushing Joel out, the midwife guided me with some common sense yet crucial advice which meant I emerged with just a graze rather than the second degree tear I had the first time.

So there I was, with my new baby son on my chest, sat in the warm pool and glow of the sunlight streaming through the blinds while music played. I kid you not.

The midwives had a welcome cup of tea and a crumpet and stayed with us for a couple of hours to carry out the normal checks on me and Joel. They left us in the early afternoon and the three of us had the most calm, low-key day imaginable……….until the toddler came home.