Jackson’s Birth, 23rd December 2015
As soon as I fell pregnant with my second baby, I knew I wanted a home birth. I had a relatively quick active labour with my first baby, and experienced a not so pleasant journey into the birth centre, fully dilated which I wanted to try and avoid this time round. All the midwives I spoke to were very supportive about home birth and I had done enough research to know I was making the right decision for me and my family. My husband originally had a few doubts (mainly about the practicalities of a home birth such as "is it going to be really messy?") but we discussed it a few times during my pregnancy and he understood my reasons for choosing a home birth. He also chatted to our doula Catrin and the home birth midwife who both put him at ease confirming my research that home birth was a safe option for us.
I had given birth to my daughter 5 days before her due date and inexplicably thought the same would happen second time round so I was quite disappointed when that date (21st December) came and went, and the chances of having a Christmas Day baby grew more and more likely! I woke up on Wednesday 23rd December and decided I needed to get on with Christmas preparations because the baby could well hold on until January. I had a busy morning and then persuaded my husband to take us all out to lunch around midday. Our toddler needed a nap so I said I'd walk down to the pub with her in the sling on my back to let her have a quick sleep (and because I secretly hoped a power walk might set things off!). So I marched down the road, she fell asleep & I was looking forward to enjoying a nice meal. As soon as my daughter woke up and I took her down, I felt achy in my lower back which I put down to the walk. By the time our food came, I was starting to wonder if it was the start of labour because the ache was coming and going and starting to feel stronger. We drove home around 1pm and called the in laws to collect our daughter. By the time they left around 3pm we knew things were happening.
My husband and I spent a while wrapping Christmas presents whilst listening to Christmas music. This really got my oxytocin flowing and my contractions were coming much more frequently. The sensations were all in my lower back so my husband was using sacral massage at the time of each contraction which I found an incredible relief. At 5pm, during a contraction, my waters broke and I ran upstairs to the bathroom! This was swiftly followed by a 'show' and things really sped up.
We started filling the birth pool and then I lay down on the sofa listening to my hypnobirthing tracks and breathing through my contractions. In the time it took my husband to have a shower, things really intensified and when at around 7pm we spoke to the midwife on call, whilst I was on the phone to her I was able to breathe my way through any contractions & she understandably thought I wasn't very far progressed. She told me to hold off getting in the pool because it was too early. As soon as I put the phone down I experienced multiple contractions within a very short space of time!
I got in the pool around 7.30 and knew the baby was almost here. At 7.45 my husband called the midwife back and she said she'd come straight over. At 8pm we had a call to say there were no other midwives available to come out and she wasn't allowed to come on her own. She wanted us to go into the Midwifery Led Unit to be assessed. The thing I'd been trying to avoid the whole time was the journey to hospital I'd experienced with my first birth. I said I wasn't going anywhere and we were told to call 999. They were called and so was our doula. The first responder paramedic arrived just as baby's head was crowning. Catrin arrived just ahead of the ambulance crew (my neighbours must have been a bit concerned with all the blue lights outside!). The baby was born at 8.30pm. What an amazing, empowering, incredible experience it was! I felt like Superwoman and was on top of the world.
Unfortunately, my calm, peaceful homebirth had suddenly been invaded by 3 burly men clomping around my small living room! They still couldn't get a midwife to come out and wanted to take me into hospital but I was insistent that as there was absolutely nothing wrong with either me or the baby, I was staying put! The atmosphere, although very friendly, had completely changed and Catrin could sense this so she asked the paramedics to go into a different room to wait. I waited in the pool for a while, staring at our beautiful baby boy. A midwife was finally able to attend at 9pm and I moved to the sofa (which had been covered in waterproof sheets and towels). My placenta still hadn't arrived so I gave Jackson his first breastfeed to try to release the oxytocin my body needed. I was put on a countdown and told I would have to transfer to hospital if my placenta hadn't been birthed within an hour of baby being born. Even though I teach my clients to be empowered and make their own decisions, I felt extremely vulnerable and eventually consented to an injection of synthetic oxytocin which I didn't really want. The placenta released immediately and after I was examined by the midwife, everyone left. The best bit about having a home birth was that within 90mins of the birth, we were all cwtched up in bed with a takeaway pizza, absolutely overwhelmed with love for our new arrival.
Read about the birth of my third baby, Lyla