My homebirth journey began eight months ago when two lines miraculously appeared on a pregnancy test and finished at 12.20 yesterday morning when I gave birth to my latest child (of course this was just the start of a whole new journey getting to know my little boy). Although I knew that I wanted a homebirth as soon as that second line appeared, I also knew that getting it would be an uphill struggle. You see, while even those who are considered low risk may well have a fight on their hands to get the birth that they want, there are several factors that meant I was considered high risk. My first risk factor is my age, at 41 I'm considered ancient in the world of obstetrics, as I was informed on many occasions. Then I have a high BMI, although I had lost enough weight before this pregnancy to move from morbidly obese (BMI>40) to clinically obese (BMI=38), I was still very overweight. My final and considered greatest risk is the fact that this was my 6th child and I was now considered a grand multipara. Each of these factors is considered to increase the risk of various complications, the most serious of which is a PPH (Post Partum Haemorrhage).
When I first brought up the issue of homebirth with my midwife, I was unaware of my rights and thought I had to be given permission to birth in the comfort of my own home. This was actually wrong and the opposite is actually true, in the UK a woman has the right to birth at home, although she may not be entitled to a midwife attending. (In practise it is unlikely that a midwife will not be sent out as if anything went wrong there would be a chance of legal action against the NHS trust). Anyhow, I brought up homebirth during my very first, "booking" appointment and was basically told that I was too high a risk and the only way I would be able to get a homebirth would be to wait until it was too late to call the maternity ward. Otherwise I would have to be placed on consultant led care and have the baby in the consultant led delivery suite, which was not what I wanted. Over the next few weeks I tried to come to terms with not having my ideal birth and instead created a birth plan that would allow me to have as close to the labour I wanted as possible within the clinical, hospital setting. While I wasn't ecstatic with this turn of events I was happy enough until I attend my first appointment with a registrar. This was a horrible appointment, where my birth plan was basically laughed at and I was told that I would need an I.V. set up immediately on arrival at the labour ward and would then be strapped to a bed and continuously monitored, which was the complete opposite to the intervention free, mobile labour I envisioned.
After that appointment I started to spend a lot more time researching natural (intervention free) birth in general and homebirth in particular, especially as they relate to my particular circumstances and the risks I personally might face. A fantastic resource for this type of research is www.homebirth.org.uk and on this site I not only found birth stories from mothers who were in a similar situation to me, but also links to various research papers that helped me to make an informed decision over whether the perceived risks were as dire as the doctors were trying to tell me. As it happens I discovered that the risk of PPH that I faced was far lower than the hospital doctors would have me believe and based on flawed data. From what I read, my personal risk was no greater than a first time mother, as I had not had any problems with any of my previous deliveries. I once more became determined that a homebirth was for me and informed my midwife of my decision at my next appointment, to be informed that I would need to speak to the head midwife so that they could be sure I knew the risks. This didn't bother me one bit, I knew what the risks could be and I also knew the advantages, in fact the head midwife was reassured that I was fully informed and I was able to reassure her that I would in no way put myself or baby in unnecessary danger and would transfer to hospital if either of us was at risk. During this appointment my homebirth was agreed and I was informed of who I should call when I went into labour as long as I was over 37 weeks.
Although my homebirth had been booked and agreed by the community midwives, I hadn't finished meeting resistance to my plans. I had another consultant appointment, the the registrar I saw was horrified that I was putting myself at what he considered a horrendous risk. This particular doctor started by trying to scare myself and partner, claiming that unless I had a highly medicalised birth in a hospital setting I was going to die, melodramatic much. When that didn't work and I started to list some of the risks of giving birth in hospital he decided to try and find someone with higher authority to scare us some more. When he couldn't find anyone he informed us that I would have to return to clinic another day to speak to a consultant, book my induction and have more scare tactics thrown my way. I refused that appointment, ending up in tears because as far as I was concerned this doctor thought my body was broken, while I knew that left alone it could work perfectly well. If I hadn't done my research and been so determined that I wanted to give birth in the comfort of my own home then these scare tactics may well have succeeded in forcing me into hospital but they actually made me all the more determined.
The homebirth protocol varies from NHS trust to NHS trust, with some trusts leaving a birth pack in your home from 37-42 weeks of pregnancy. This doesn't happen with my trust, the midwife brings everything she needs with her when you phone to state you're in labour. All I needed to supply was some plastic shower curtains to cover the bed, and we bought a cheap duvet that could be placed wherever I wanted to be. I did also have a TENS machine for (hopefully) pain relief in early labour, a large birthing/fitness ball and some aromatherapy oils (Clary sage and lavender) to encourage relaxation. Many women having a homebirth will also use a blow up pool, but I didn't fancy the idea of a water birth.
As the end of my pregnancy approached I began to feel more and more excited and impatient as I passed 37, 38 and 39 weeks until I hit 39 weeks and 3 days when I woke up feeling heavy and as if I were about to start my period. Although I had backache all day, I thought that it was going to be another day passing without meeting my baby boy and decided to try a little nipple stimulation to see if that would get things going. Um, lets just say that although I had been advised that I would need to do this for a hour, within 15 minutes I was having strong contractions every four minutes and so my partner put the TENS on my back and called the midwife, I was in labour and it was intense. While labour builds up slowly for many, in this case I went from no contractions to intense contractions every four minutes to double peaking almost continuously within half an hour. To say I was grateful that the midwife had arrived with the gas and air is an understatement, I love that stuff. I wouldn't say that it stopped the pain, but it did help me concentrate through the contractions that were now coming thick and fast. Within an hour I discovered one slight hitch to the perfect homebirth, the cylinder of gas and air should have lasted four hours, but with my contractions coming one on top of another it lasted less than an hour. At this point I won't lie, I was in serious pain, but my the combination of the lovely midwife talking me through the contractions and being able to move wherever I wanted in my home did help me get through them. At some point during this time I decided that the TENS was a pile of "cr@p" and ripped it off, before deciding that the only way I would get through the contractions was to shout, swear, give little pushes and sit on the toilet. I was in fact almost ready to push less than 2.5hours after my very first contraction.
On my way into the bathroom, just as I got off the bed my waters broke and I decided I needed to poo, a bit random but I felt that if I did I would be giving birth immediately after. I wasn't far wrong, I just about managed to get off the toilet and hold on to the basin when I entered the 2nd stage of labour where the baby is pushed out. Only I didn't need to push, all I need to do was relax and allow my body to gently release baby into his Daddy's waiting arms, before sitting back on the toilet to hold my wonderful baby still attached to the placenta inside me. After the umbilical cord had stopped pulsating and baby had received all of his blood, Daddy cut the cord and big brother was brought in to meet his brand new baby brother. Shortly after this I passed the placenta and we all moved back into the bedroom for cuddles and the first breastfeed.
The whole of my labour had lasted only 2.5hours and was the most fulfilling, wonderful experience, far more so than I could have ever imagined. Out of all six of my labours this was the one where I felt most in touch with my own body and the one where I had no interventions, it was the first time my waters had broken on their own, the first time I had had no electronic monitoring, the first time I had given birth without pushing and the first time I had breastfed from birth. It was almost like it was the first time I had given birth rather than the baby being delivered. And even better rather than being stuck overnight in a hospital ward on my own, I spent the night cuddled with my partner in our own bed with my two youngest boys.
Before leaving us the midwife did a few checks and cleared up any mess, saying she would be back the later to do the preliminary baby check up. On weighing my new born son we discovered that he was a good pound and a half heavier than any of my other children, coming in at an impressive 8lb 4.5oz. Due to his gentle entrance into the world he didn't even graze let alone tear me, and as I hadn't had any drugs he was incredibly alert and happy to feed. As promised the midwife returned later in the day and we had a lovely chat about how wonderful the birth was and how happy I was with how everything had gone.
My homebirth experience was everything I could wished for and more, it is something I would recommend to any expectant mother, even those who have been labelled high risk as I had been. But I would add that you should do your own research before coming to this decision, I had confidence in my body (I had already given birth 5 times with no major complications) and my own research backed this confidence, but everyone is different. You should also prepare yourself for a fight and negativity (especially from hospital doctors), the best way to deal with this is again to do your research. Although I will finish off with some of the pros and cons I had found for myself, I will give homebirthing five stars out of five, as it really is an experience that I wish I had had with my older children.
1. Relaxed atmosphere and ability to move around how I want.
2. Less risk of interventions
3. Able to have partner with me all night
4. Surrounded by my own germs rather than hospital super-bugs
5. 1:1 midwife care, instead of having to share care with up to 4 other women
6. No sharing ward with other mothers
7. Eating and drinking my own food.
8. No access to epidural
1. No access to epidural
2. Possible need to transfer to hospital in an emergency
I am very pro home birth - given the right circumstances of course! I was lucky enough to have my fourth child Phoebe in the comfort of my own home, and would like to share my experience.
The week leading up to the birth, I was feeling fed up, and was anxious I wouldn't have everything ready for the (last minute) planned home water birth. I was frantically nesting!
The day before, I'd been feeling pretty rough and had to keep going to the toilet, and by the evening was having random pains which I assumed were just very strong braxton hicks, but must have actually been very early contractions. During the night/early hours I couldn't get comfortable at all and the pains were waking me up, as well as the need for the loo several times in the night. The contractions were quite painful and I struggled to get up for the loo! I was able to sleep between them though, but it was a very broken nights sleep.
The next day (birthday!), I got up for the day at about 8am and continued to have contractions - more on than off though by that time - and I started to think that they might indeed be the real thing. I was in denial slightly as my husband had to go out that morning. I had very fast previous labours (each only a few hours) so hoped it wasn't really happening in case he wouldn't be here. To be honest I was contracting so randomly I couldn't believe it was happening.
My contractions with my third and fourth children started very strong and fast - about 4-5 mins apart from the beginning - and the labours were very quick. This time, they had happened randomly during the night, and when they became more regular they were still only 15 mins or so apart. This made me think that I was in for a long difficult labour!
However, they soon got closer together and by about 11am they were coming every 4-6 minutes (I was using the online contraction master tool!). I rang my midwife to let her know what was happening, and told my husband to start filling the pool. Unfortunately, my midwife had a day off and couldn't come to me as she had her daughter at home. She told me she would ring the team of midwives for me and get someone to ring me back, and that she hoped she could perhaps come out to me later if she could get childcare. After a short while a midwife rang but my husband had to take the call as I was in too much pain to speak. She said she'd be with us within about 15 minutes - which she was, but it felt like a LOT longer. During that 15 minutes waiting I had to go to the toilet again, which was really difficult whilst contracting! I had loads of pressure low down.
The midwife arrived at 12.00 more or less on the dot. But this time my contractions were around every 2 minutes and lasting nearly 2 minutes, so basically continuous. The pool was filled, but I didn't want to get in until the midwife had arrived and examined me, as I knew she'd make me get out to be examined anyway. When she did examine me she found I was 4cm dilated and my cervix was paper thin, my waters were bulging and she could feel baby's head pressing down - so thought I would go quickly from there on.
I got straight into the pool after the examination and the relief from the warm water was wonderful. It didn't take the pain away from the contractions, but the feeling of weightlessness was very comforting and my husband could tell I was much more relaxed and happy. I had a few contractions in the pool, and then the midwife offered me some gas and air, which I took because was starting to struggle with the pain. During the next couple of contractions at about 12.30pm, my waters went in the pool (so must have been fully dilated by that point). I started pushing involuntarily with the pains that followed. The second midwife arrived at that point too.
The midwife couldn't see what was happening when I was pushing as I was knelt up leaning over the edge of the pool, so she asked me to lay on my back which I really didn't want to do (but did because she needed me to). At this point, things became a bit scary as when she listened for the baby's heartbeat it was very slow, and then I heard them mention meconium, discussing getting me out of the pool and calling an ambulance. I heard the midwife on the phone to the ambulance and she started saying my old address which was still on my notes (we'd only moved a few weeks previously) so I yelled from the pool "NO not that address!" - which was lucky as my husband hadn't realised, and I wasn't aware of anything else going on or anything else that was said. I don't know how quickly the ambulance arrived, but apparently it was very fast and had the sirens going (I didn't notice).
Whilst waiting for the ambulance, the midwives told me to get out the pool but I literally couldn't move for the pain, and was very reluctant to even try and leave my cosy pool even though I knew I had to find the strength from somewhere. I was quite panicky and even though I didn't/couldn't say anything I was convinced that baby's head was already out and her shoulders were stuck, and that she was going to die, and that my husband would hate me (as he didn't really want me to have a home birth). The midwives told me "I have to get out for my baby", and my husband ended up lifting me up out of the water and plonking me on the sofa, telling me not to worry about the rug/furniture etc.
In actual fact, her head wasn't out at that point (I really thought it was as I'd felt "the sting"!), and as I lay on my back on the sofa I heard them saying that it wasn't meconium after all and was probably part of my show they saw. I was a bit annoyed deep down, feeling like I'd been taken out of the pool and put on my back for no reason! However the heartbeat was really slow still and they told me I really had to push hard and get her out. I think I managed to get her head out within about 4 big pushes (at 1pm exactly), and the rest of her body slithered out with the push and she was delivered straight up onto my chest (at 1.01pm) - total established labour time was 1 hour 1 minute. The cord had been wrapped tightly round her neck - so tight the midwife couldn't even get her finger under it, which is why her heartbeat was slow. My husband said he saw the cord was round her neck when her head came out, and it really scared him but he didn't say anything so as not to worry me. I had absolutely no idea until they all told me afterwards. Her cord was incredibly long too. She did a massive poo all over me as she came out, so I was a real mess! The ambulance had been waiting outside on standby just in case, but once everything looked fine the midwife said they could go again.
I had the injection to deliver the placenta, but it still took a while and several tugs from the midwife to come out. After that, baby had her general obs and vitamin K etc. and we tried to decide on a name for her. The midwives cleared up all the mess for us (there really wasn't much at all - it was all in the bedmats), then the second midwife left whilst the main midwife completed my notes. Then she left at about 2pm to do the rest of the paperwork at the hospital, which she brought back a few hours later.
It was a wonderful experience (despite the scary bit) and I'm so glad I decided on a last minute home birth - I'd recommend to anyone! I was really impressed with how efficient and personal the midwives were, and even my husband was happy to be in the comfort of our own home afterwards. He was also happy I didn't give birth in the pool as it was easier to clean out!
This is a subject close to my heart as I was lucky enough to have my second child, my son Sebastian at home six weeks ago. Having had my daughter in hospital with disinterested staff, a midwife only for the last hour of labour and an awful postnatal experience I was terrified at the thought of having to have my next baby in the hospital again. Thankfully as I had a very supportive midwife and a husband who had seen what the first labour had done to me and was 100% behind me, I booked a homebirth at 16 weeks.
What is a homebirth?
As the name suggests you labour and deliver at home with a midwife, only transferring to a hospital if an emergency occurs. Once the baby is delivered you are left to enjoy your new arrival in your own home.
Who can have a homebirth?
Technically any woman can, but if you are classed as high risk in any way then it is probably not a good idea. I was low risk throughout my pregnancy and having delivered my daughter naturally already then the midwives were happy for me to deliver at home. Some midwives will allow you to deliver twins or breech babies at home but for these and any other medical problems you are generally safer being close to any medical technology you might need.
Why would you have a homebirth?
The biology of birth is complicated but stress and discomfort can often slow the process and make it more painful and difficult. Bright lights, extra people observing, pressure of any sort (such as a deadline to deliver) and unsympathetic health professionals all contribute. Proponents of natural birth such as M. Odent have observed a lower rate of intervention if they provide a relaxing, dark, woman-centred area to give birth in. Birth in hospital can often lead to a cascade of intervention if you do not labour in the prescribed or normal way. I laboured at home comfortably and confidently for 17 hours before entering the hospital at 8 centimetres dilated with my daughter, but once in the hospital in the sterile delivery room, left alone, not knowing how to get anything I needed (even to find the toilet) my contractions got more painful as I got more frightened. The five screaming hours before she was born were the worst of my life and when we finally got an unsympathetic midwife to come and check me (who pressed the alert button as I was about to deliver) I was a mess. The postnatal experience in a dirty, crowded, noisy ward, without my husband and with midwives treating me like a number and not a person combined to give me postnatal depression and made it very hard to bond with my daughter. With my son I pottered around the house, listened to music and had the most amazing delivery on my sofa. After he was born I used my own (clean) bathroom, got into my own bed with my husband and we got to know our new baby, before our daughter got up 7 hours later. Most important for me was the fact that I didn't have to get in the car and interrupt my labour or have the fear of the unknown waiting for me at the hospital. I was also concerned about all the germs and bugs at the hospital, apparently the rate of postnatal infection is 25% in hospital, compared with 4% at home (Homebirth website).
What do I need?
Shower curtains/dustsheets to protect your carpets/furniture
Old sheets/towels (In my pregnancy mania I had them sorted into large, medium and small sizes!)
A birthpool if you want to labour in water (no uncertainty about the availability of the hospital pool if you have your heart set on a waterbirth).
The midwives bring everything else, including Entonox (gas and air), stuff to stitch you up, protective absorbent pads, scales, infant recusitation equipment and a range of injections including the syntometrine for the placenta and Vitamin K for the baby.
What about the mess?
We are living in a rented house with white carpets. When my waters broke my husband gaffa-taped a shower curtain onto the lounge floor and two more on the (cloth) sofa. We then covered this with old towels and sheets and bagged up the sofa cushions in two black bags each. The midwives brought absorbent pads which absorbed my waters/blood which they changed regularly. After my son was born I was in the shower and they bagged up every dirty sheet and towel and put them into clinical waste bags which they took away with them. Once they were gone you couldn't even tell I had given birth in the lounge, apart from the new baby of course!
They even loaded the washing machine with the bits I wanted to keep and started it going!
What if something goes wrong?
An important consideration is distance from hospital. We live 15 minutes away, 5 minutes under a blue light, so I knew if anything did occur then I could be in an operating theatre almost as quickly as if I had been at hospital. Generally though if a woman is low-risk the chances of something going wrong is tiny and as you have a midwife there observing you they can pick up anything worrying very very quickly. I pointed out to my (doubting) mother that anything could have gone wrong with my first birth and it would have taken them much longer to realise as they were only checking me every hour- whereas I had a midwife there most of the time and on the end of a mobile any time I needed her; and another for the baby when he arrived. Midwives can deal with most problems such as shoulder dystocia, unresponsive baby, post-partum haemorrhage etc and can stitch up to a second degree tear. Homebirths have a much lower transfer/intervention/mortality rate than hospital births, probably because the woman is much more relaxed and less likely to tense up. There is more information on this on the Homebirth website, under the 'But what if....' section.
You have to have midwives in your house. Mine was not very sympathetic and it was only when she left that proper active labour kicked in-but because it was my house I could encourage her to leave.
You can't have any stronger pain relief than pethidine, which has to be ordered in advance and certainly not an epidural. Midwives bring Entonox and you can use TENs, water, massage etc.
You can feel like a failure if you have to transfer for any reason, such as failure to progress, or stitching after the birth.
Its not a good idea if you are high risk
People often think you are crazy/dangerous even though you have a trained medical professional with you-what IS crazy is freebirthing where you give birth unattended.
My waters started leaking at 4 am and as I was experiencing mild contractions I put on the TENs machine and called the delivery suite. My husband prepared the lounge for the birth, we called my mother to look after my daughter and I got on the birth ball and started rocking. My daughter wandered in and out, giving me cuddles as I laboured and drew pictures of me on the ball. After 17 hours of labour I was still at 3 centimetres dilated and getting slightly discouraged, so I lay down for a rest and had a cry on my mother. Twenty minutes later contractions were coming thick and fast and I was groaning gently in pain as my husband rubbed my back and my mother rubbed my stomach. My mother-in-law was called to take the place of my mother in caring for my daughter and she sat in the kitchen and waited with my mother's partner (eating pizza!). Suddenly it felt like my pelvis was being pulled apart and I lost control, moaning and crying, leaning against the sofa and my husband.
After some tentative pushes I realised the pain stopped when I pushed so I climbed on the sofa and with my mother on one side and my husband on the other I pushed my 9lbs 6oz son out. It took just three minutes (thank-you raspberry leaf tea) and the midwives left me alone totally until I called them over to deliver the head. It was an astonishing experience after my previous birth, I was painfree and in some primal place deep inside, I didn't need to make any sounds.-except when my husband tried to show my mother how the TENs machine worked and electrocuted me! My son was placed on my chest and I felt that wave of love that all the books tell you is supposed to happen, but sadly didn't with my daughter. The midwives told me later it was a perfect gentle birth and they immediately started trying to persuade my husband to write about it to encourage other husbands to let their wives birth at home, which was a bit surreal at the time to be honest. I had a tiny tear which was stitched there and then before I had a shower and sat down to feed my son before he was passed around the gathered family. He latched on perfectly and fed like a pro which was astonishing to me as my daughter would not feed at all from the breast (pethidine administered twenty minutes before birth made her sleepy). Once we were all clean and settled the midwives left and we all climbed into bed. Wonderful. My mother did not intend to be there at the gory bit but I am so glad she was...and my mother-in-law too, as it brought us all together. Needless to say they are all now passionately pro-homebirth!
For more information the best place is :
Having a home birth was one of the best experiances in my life so far.
i am a mother of three, and had my first two babies in hospital and had a home birth with my third.
why did i want a home birth?.....i didnt have bad or horrible experiances having my first two daughters in hospital, there are a few different reasons why i decided to have a home birth first one being.... i just dont like hospitals!
i remember when i was younger i fainted in one visiting my sister and every snce then i have always felt uncomfortable and nervous.
My first two births were about 6 and 7 hours long, everything ran smoothly and i had gas and air and then i got to the last stage and felt exhausted and worn out and the so called 'easy bit' (pushing!) was the hardest bit for me.... i left hospital within a few hours afterwards.
when i was expecting my third baby i decided i wanted a birth that would be just like the others but when i got to that hard bit, id be more relaxed and ready... i thought a home birth would do just that.
My midwife was happy for me to have one, she ran me through everything i needed to know including what would happen in an emergency. This put me at ease and the only thing i had to do was convince my other half who was not keen.... and abit worried.
It took a while but he started to understand my reasons and a chat with my midfwife put him at ease.i had a huge box with everything the midwives would need delivered to my house and then had to wait for the labour to begin..
i had labour pains all night but managed to get lots of rest between them. i kept my self busy all morning, preparing for my other two daughters to go out with friends for the day... i did some tidying and remember folding washing and pausing between contractions...(i laugh about that now!) i was relaxed and almost say busy! by the time the midwives came an hour after i called them was well on the way.... baby was born in the living room (lol!) two hours later and then i could lay on the sofa, have a bath and a chinese before going to bed!
if i didnt have a home birth im not sure it would have been such a great birth... the atmosphere was so relaxed, i mean the midwifes were drinking tea and watching neighbours 10minutes before baby arrived.
afterwards 30mins later the midwives had gone and they took absolutely everything away.... you would never have thought my living room had just been a labour suite!
i would reccomend a home birth to anyone, as long as the midwife thinks its safe to do so. and id definatly have another if i was mad enough to have more kids!
With my 1st being nervous about the whole experience I opted for a hospital birth despite being given the choice, good job I did as went into labour a month early and had him 6hours later. Thorughout the labour the care was poor and the aftercare was none existant to the extent I didnt see a midwife for 12hrs after moving down to the post natal ward. It was then I asked for help breastfeeding to be told they were short and were some bottles in the fridge. I felt so let down.
Even before I fell pregnant with my 2nd last year I had decide I wanted a homebirth, I had the same midwife and she was really supportive as was very pro homebirths, although we did agree we would have to see how things went and if I went early again it would no longer be an option.
The pregnancy progressed and I was very ill as had Hypermesis Gravidium so could not eat or drink anything without being sick. But the further I went along the more determined I was to have a homebirth. From around 24wks I started getting very big to the point at 28wks I was measuring 12wks bigger then I should be and remained to do so throughout. Worry then set in as I was tested for diabetes and had to have several growth scans, at which point I was beginning to think all was going out the window.
My midwife was still very supportive and spoke about what complications there could be, but it was still a case of waiting. She told me I would have to be 38wks for a homebirth anyway which was a worry, but I had already done research and knew they couldnt refuse me one after 37wks, which she was quick to agree to.
At 36wks I had another growth scan and appointment with my consultant as was measuring huge. Deep down I knew it would be bad news. The consultant just came in and said a homebirth is out of the question as poses to many risks and simply wrote all over my notes no homebirth before walking out. I was absolutely devasted, she could of treated me as an individual and explained things better. I then saw a different midwife that day as mine was on holiday who said we would sort it and told me my midwife would come and see me on the Sunday as she was back on call that weekend.
The next 4 days were a nightmare, I was such an emotional wreck especailly know I had got to the magic 37wks so knew I was allowed a homebirth. I did a lot of research into my rights and although I was still desperate for one my partner was now dead against it and I was starting to worry. My midwife came and she came as a friend and not a prefessional and told me what I needed to hear off record. She made me aware of the dangerous and we both agreed they were slim and the likely hood was that I wouldnt go a lot further so if had her soon would be an average size as opposed to a huge size if full term.
After being refused a homebirth at 36wks due to the huge size of my bump, after a lot of emotion and talks with my midwife we agreed to go ahead when she came over on a sunday to see me. The following day she phoned to say all had been passed and was all go, so we rushed about and got the few bits we needed. The homebirth box was to be delivered the following day along with the consent form I needed to sign. I was the happiest I had been all the way through as knew things were finally going right. Midwife was on duty that night, but was only 37+3 so not to worried, that was till she rang back at 6pm to say she had been mistaken and was off call, but I wasnt worried as had had no signs. Then just after 9pm my waters broke unexpectantly, phoned the midwives straight away as it was a different town and was a 40min drive away. I was really calm though and although contractions were constant immediately I just felt relaxed and calm, 50mins had passed then an hour and felt like I needed to push, but no midwives. i then felt the baby head crowning and panic did set in, but then I realised how much more in control I felt this time, I staggered back to the bed and got on all 4s ready, by then I heard the door open and as soon I heard the midwives on the steps, I pushed, followed by another and they arrived just in time to catch her.
I cant really comment on the labour care as was none existant but the care afterwards was fab, although felt slightly let down I had midwives I didnt know and was looking forward to someone I know and trusted being there. None the less they were real friendly and great they weighed her and did all the checks etc, but still making sure we had the time and space we wanted. I then went for a shower to come back and find they had stripped all the bed and put clean sheets on and apart from a bin bag in the corner was no trace of a homebirth. They left about 11.30 about 1.45mins after the birth and we were left to cuddle in our clean bed as a new family whilst my son was still asleep next door.
The folowing morning my normal midwife came to check everything, followed by my gp visit later that day and the service was great. My partner is now the biggest fan and had me booked in there and then for the next. Im due again the 1st may and will definately being having a homebirth providing all goes well as the service is so much better and more relaxing.
My first birth at Frimley Park hospital was traumatic. Dont get me wrong, it was pretty much textbook as far as the actual birth was concerned, no complications, just a really long 3 day labour. Apart from the overwhelming pain of childbirth which, as a first time mother I had not prepared for, I was also treated very badly.
My midwife (whom id never met before) was hardly at the birth, she seemed to wander in and out to check the machine she strapped me to, didnt really ask how I was feeling or offer me any encouragement, advice or support. I was left sucking on gas and air till I demanded to have an epidural. I was not made aware of when I was able to have one which is what id asked for in my birth plan and consequently was told that not only was no anethsnatist available but that it was to late (this was followed by a smirk from the midwife) I was freaking out and after the birth was also treated badly on the postnatel ward where I was told to "use my common sence" when asking how to change a nappy, I wasnt offered any water or food either.
So when I became pregnant again I was filled with fear and just wanted a c section. After talking with a specialist I realised that most of my fear stemmed from the hospital and how I was treated rather then the actual birth and it was then that I began looking into home births.
My home birth turned out to be one of the most positive experiences of my life. It wasnt any quicker or less painful but I learnt how to cope with it better. I wanted to remain mobile and walk around and use different positions. My husband massaged my back every time I had a contraction which could not be done if I was being monitored at hospital. I was told coping strategies and got to know the midwives (you get two with a homebirth) on a personal level which I also would not have been able to do at hospital (due to them always being needed somewhere or doing mountains of paperwork I have since been told) I was able to eat what I wanted when I wanted enabling me to keep my strength up, and afterwards I could sleep in my own bed instead of a noisy hospital ward.
But what if something went wrong I hear you say, well, the midwifes are with you right from the start of contractions (unlike a hospital birth when you are told to come in when your contractions a 2 mins apart) so had there had been any complications, these would have been picked up on sooner giving me more time to transfer had this been necessary.
The amusing thing was that the midwife who had been horrible to me on the postnatal ward was actually the one who ended up delivering my second!!!. I never told her this, as when she turned up I thought I would see it through and it would be good therapy for me, (my husband would have killed her if id told him at the time) and it was, I got to know her and she was nice, very direct. but nice. I'd also found out that she qualified 2 and a half years ago- exactly when I gave birth to my first so she was probably tired and stressed herself.
Im no longer terrified of giving birth and feel sad that I considered and elective c- section to begin with but Im very glad it turned out the way it did. Consequently Jacob, my little boy is a very calm baby, unlike my first!
Id recommend a homebirth to anyone
In March 2008 I was wakened by the telephone at 1 am. My daughter needed me to come and watch my two grandchildren, it was time for her to go into the hospital as her contractions were coming thick and fast. My daughters other two pregnancies had gone over and were long labours and she stilL had two weeks to go. I arrived at her home at 1.20 a.m, her husband was on the phone to emergency services and my daughter gripping to her bathroom sink and breathing and panting. I was handed the phone as her husband wasn't allowed in the bathroom by her order, she was a little grumpy but still smiling.
I tried to get her to her bedroom but she would not leave her bathroom, (told me later she didn't want to make a mess on the bed), so I managed to get her on the floor and made her as comfortable as possible with pillows behind her back. I talked her through her breathing and as it was her third child she knew the pain was normal.
A wonderful woman on the other end of the phone kept me calm and focused and kept asking me to check for the head and I just kept preying that the ambulance at arrived soon and reassuring my daughter she was doing fine and to keep up her breathng, we breathed together and we laughed and my daughter was remarkably relaxed.
At 2 a.m we had a head and a baby ready to be delivered and still no ambulance and the woman on the phone told me how to use my hands and on the next contraction with my head holding the phone in my neck, babies head was delivered and on the next my new grandson was delivered. I cleared his airways and rubbed him with the towel and he cried his first cry. My daughter and myself cried we were so happy and my daughter was so relaxed with her new son lay on her all wrapped up and her counting his fingers and toes.
Two ambulances arrived at 2.10 and my daughter was taken to hospital with the baby as she needed to go to theatre as they placenta had not been delivered and spent a few days in hospital but this was due to the time it had taken for the placenta to be delivered.
Within minutes of being born he had shared so much joy not only to me, his mum and dad and uncle but also his big brother and sister.
The 999 lady on the phone was wonderful, my daughter was amazing and the whole experience a lovely memory to cherish forever. My daughter says if she was ever to have a baby again she would defianetly choose to have a home birth as it was so much more relaxed though I hope she chooses the bed and not bathroom floor.
One last note, I used bath towels and lots of them but I never used the hot water they always ask for in the films. I can only guess it is actually used to drink the gallons of coffee you have afterwards to try and calm nerves.
I had a home birth for all three of my children. I did have complications with the birth
of my third child and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance but I would definitely
have my next child at home (if there is another one). I know everyone has the right to
a home birth but I think it depends on how helpful your local heath service is as to
whether you get one. I was lucky and my midwife was really supportive right from
the first baby. I wanted a home birth because I know other people who have had them
and found them very beneficial to the whole experience. Personally I felt very relaxed
at home even during my first labour, my longest labour was four hours and I always
felt in control. I didn't feel that I had to have the baby in the bed or that I had to lay
on the bed at all. I was free to walk around and go to the bathroom or sit in the bath if
I felt it would help. I didn't use any pain relief apart from a TENs machine with my
first labour. The whole experience was very calm and relaxed and tranquil. I had got
to know my midwife very well and she felt like a guest in my home instead of a nurse.
After the baby was born I was in my own bed surrounded by my own things. I wasn't
on a ward with other mothers and screaming babies and I could have the comfort of
my own bedding and bathroom. After my third child was born I bled very heavily and
was rushed into hospital and I ended up spending two days there. While I was on the
delivery ward I received great personal care but once I was moved it was disgraceful.
I spent hours on an empty drip waiting for someone to remove it and practically had to
beg someone to take a blood test as they kept telling me they were too busy! I have
been told that if I was to have another child I would be advised to give birth in
hospital as a precaution but I would rather take my chances at home.
Fantastic! When I had my eldest son 3 1/2 years ago i was induced due to having pre-eclampsia. The birth was traumatic, they talked me into having an epidural when I didnt want one and then to top it off had to have epidural twice as the first one did not work. Also when I had given birth i was not allowed to have a bath and nobody came to clean me. I had to threaten going home before they sent somebody to give me a bed bath. So, when I finally caught on with my second, i knew that there was no way at all unless me or the baby was in danger that i would go to hospital. When I was actually in labour i waited until the pain was unbearable before calling for a midwife to come and when she arrived she examined me to tell me i was only 6cm dialated. She said it could be hours yet and I knew that i couldnt last another 2 mnutes let alone 2 hours so we agreed that i would go into hospital and have a water birth. She called the other midwife and told her not to come, rang the hospital and asked to fill the birthing pool and also rang an ambulance to transfer me. As i stood up i knew the baby was coming and within 5 minutes my gorgeous baby boy was born weighing 8lb 10oz - only an oz smaller than his older brother at birth. Even though in the end I had decided to go to hospital it was only because i was in transition. It was amazing too when 20 minutes after he was born all the grandparents were at ours to meet the new arrival. I found it the best experience of my life - so much more relaxing and less stressful. I just watched saturday night tv right up until the birth! Would definately recommend a homebirth to anybody who has had a bad experience in hospital. Although I dont think I would like to have a homebirth if it was my first pregnancy. Also being able to go upstairs and have a bath and get into my own bed was bliss. I would say that it is only suitable if you are in good health. I had to see consultants quite regularly to monitor whether I could have one due to my pre-eclampsia with my previous pregnancy.
I think home birth can work really well if you are relaxed and comfortable with the idea of it. If you are more comfortable with the idea of a hospital birth and would worry at home, then you'd miss the benefits. Here is my birth story, we had a wonderful time (High Peak community midwives, Derbyshire)
Ever since I can remember I have always wanted a home birth. I find hospitals a bit intimidating, and was concerned that they would make me anxious and it would make labour worse. I feel secure at home, and to me birth is a natural process that shouldn't need hospital intervention. Furthermore, where I live I'm nearer to a consultant hospital if I needed to transfer than if I'd attended Corbar. I am fortunate in that the midwives in High Peak are very supportive of home birth and were able to advise well on practical aspects as well as helping me feel supported in my plans.
On 8th May I woke about 4am with regular period pains. They were coming about every 15 minutes but I could easily sleep between them, and often through them. The following morning I got up, had breakfast and went to feed my horse. I was feeling increasingly certain that this was the real thing. My husband had an important meeting in Sheffield which I sent him off to, promising to call when I needed him. After that I logged onto my computer and started to reply to e-mails I'd had recently, and posting on a forum I used. I looked up the contraction master website and used it to time my contractions which were now coming every 10 minutes or so. I found clicking over to the website, pressing to start timing and stop timing a contraction was a good distraction. The pain was completely manageable, and actually less than period pains I'd had previously, although all in my lower back and hips. I knew it was important to keep hydrated and drink plenty, and also made myself eat some toast mid-morning as I knew I'd need the energy later on. I also tried to sleep between contractions.
At about 1pm I felt I needed my partner to come home soon, so I called him at his meeting and he got home around 2pm. Around this time I started to feel nauseous too. He helped to put my TENS machine on and got me a bucket in case I was sick. I found myself a comfortable position on the sofa where I could remain upright but could also nap between contractions. Around 4pm, I stopped being able to nap between contractions, though this may have been because I'd had plenty of sleep earlier in the day. My husband had been able to leave me to rest by myself and tidy the house up a bit, but around this time came and focused on me, and keeping me distracted. I had started to be sick with some contractions, so he found me some mints (which we luckily had got in for treats for the horse!) to try and take the taste out of my mouth and reminded me to drink regularly. He helped rub my back a bit, and chatted to me to keep me distracted, which along with boosting the TENS machine made the contractions not seem too painful. My midwife had advised me to ring the Midwife Led Unit before the end of the day to ensure that whoever was on call that night could take home the equipment so I called at 4.30pm and told them that I was in labour and that I may need them later on. Since I was coping fine, they were happy to leave me. At about 6pm I decided to get a hot water bottle to use during contractions as well as the TENS. Later we played a game of scrabble, and while playing, at around 8pm the contractions seemed to become a bit worse, although I could still talk through them (and spell for my husband in scrabble). I needed to have my TENS on quite high to ensure that they were manageable, and focused very strongly on my breathing and relaxation techniques within them. I lost the scrabble game, by about 100, but my husband said it was still a "good game" rather than bragging that he'd won! Between them I continued to have conversations with my husband and at about 8.45pm we started to watch a film on the ITV catchup service that we had watched the first part of at the weekend. The contractions were coming closer together and became more intense. I knew I should be timing them, but needed also to focus on my breathing and relaxation techniques, so couldn't.
At 9.15pm I got an urge to want to go into water, so asked my husband to start filling the pool and to ring for a midwife. While he guided the midwife to us (she had lost the map, and then got lost trying to find us), I went up to the bathroom and sat facing backwards on the toilet. This was a bit more comfortable than the position I had downstairs, although resting my head on the back of the toilet kept setting the flush off. I was starting to feel a bit panicky because I knew that I hadn't managed to keep fluids down for a while and was worried I was dehydrating. Also, I felt quite sure that this was just the start of the established phase of labour and that I had a further 6 hours or so to go, which I couldn't see how I could do without drinking. I started to think that I would need to transfer into hospital to resolve this. I started to feel very hot and slightly shivery during contractions and stripped off my upper body. I didn't feel able to keep sitting any more, so moved onto the floor and lay in a sort of recovery position type pose. I knew I should remain upright but didn't seem able to any more. My husband kept me updated on the progress of the midwife and the pool, but I didn't feel able to or want to communicate. I kept focused on each contraction being one less that I still had ahead.
My husband went out to meet the midwife and show her how to get into our property, and brought her up to see me. While she was doing the normal initial checks (temperature, blood pressure, pulse etc) I had another contraction. She then asked me to move onto my back so she could palpitate my bump. As the aches I'd been feeling in labour were in my lower back, lying like this was awful. I had another contraction before she could do the internal, and had to turn back to my recovery position type pose to get through it. When she did the internal I actually found it quite comfortable and it sort of felt relieving. I remember her saying "haven't you done well". In my birth plan I had asked to not be told the results of internals, but just then I wanted to know, so I could tell whether it was possible to stay at home and figure out how much longer I had to go etc. She told me that I was a good 8cm, but my cervix was very soft and she had been easily able to stretch it to 10cm. She also confirmed that my waters were still intact. I kept feeling gushes and asking if it was my waters, but it must have just been more show. My husband said he'd finally been able to sort out the temperature on the pool, but I didn't want to move. She called the second midwife and went out to her car to get the resuscitation equipment in case it was needed. My husband was still sorting the pool, so I was left alone when I suddenly felt an urge to push. I remembered from my antenatal classes being told that some women had an urge to push at 8cm, and it was too early and to restrain against it. I really felt I couldn't. After pushing through 2 lots of these the midwife came back to me and confirmed I was ok to push. My husband had to go out to meet the second midwife and show her where to park, and I found myself stuck between my instincts - push! and wanting to wait til my husband got back in. I could feel something pushing out and the midwife said it was the sack of waters bulging, which was oddly a really nice sensation. She said that we should leave it for now, and break them later if necessary. Once my husband and the second midwife were back in, the first midwife sent my husband to get the amnihook and then broke my waters. There was meconium in them, I found out later, but there is little that can be done at that point, and at least the midwives carry resuscitation equipment if necessary. After that there were a few pushes (I didn't count) and Bryn was born. He had the cord loosely round his neck. I remember hearing him cry and him stopping when I got him into my arms. We had some skin to skin and tried (unsuccessfully) to feed. I had a natural 3rd stage which after changing position came with one push. I had some minor grazes. We moved to our bed and had more skin to skin, then he was weighed etc and the midwife got round to reading my birth plan (no time before!). Then we were left as our little family for some rest.
After a discussion at the NCT antenatal class we attended, I decided home was where I wanted to give birth. My decision was influenced by the facts that we live only seconds away from the hospital and that everything was progressing well with the pregnancy. I was also realistic about it, that if anything was going wrong, I was perfectly willing to follow the midwives' advice and if that meant being transferred in, so be it. The area I live (Stockport) runs teams of community midwives, about six to a team, and my team was fantastic. They were all so supportive, not one of them questioned my decision, even though it was my first baby. It was "everyone else" who was shocked by my decision, no, more specifically - it was "everyone else" who didn't really know me! Our family and friends were all fine about it, but aquaintances and colleagues suddenly developed knowledge of what I should be "allowed" to do or "the mess" of a home birth. If you are considering a home birth you will have to defend your decision to many people who have no business in it. I gave up telling people and just responded with the name of the hospital instead, it was easier. My labour was long, so I won't bore you with all the details, but it wasn't awful. It was more a question of controlling the contractions than it being painful. I was also able to walk about, have a bath, curl up on our big comfy double bed with my husband and the cats - it was, in a perculiar way, fabulous! The midwives wandered around, checking on me every so often, nipping out the back for sneaky fags, going next door to the chippy for dinner. It wasn't just me that was relaxed, the baby was relaxed, the midwives were relaxed, the cats were relaxed... So it was all going well? Unfortunately not. I was at the pushing stage but he wasn't appearing after nearly 2 hours of pushing. The midwives had tried their best to keep me
at home and encourage me to give birth at home, but it was clear that he wasn't going to come out at home. Into hospital I went, where the situation could not be any more of a contrast. Straight on to monitors, on a tiny tiny uncomfortable bed (in an enormous yet relatively empty room!) and my wonderful midwives who had been with me far longer than they should have were sent home. I'm sure if you go into hospital as a non-emergency delivery then it's not so hideous, but the contrast was what made it so awful. Again to cut it short, I ended up having a caesarian section - he was back to back and stuck, all my pushing was doing was squashing his head (he came out looking like he had a policeman's helmet on!). But I'm so glad I stayed at home for as long as I did, I have an experience of labour that I can look back on with positive feelings - even though the hospital part was not pleasant. I would recommend home birth to anyone, but do be aware that lots of people will be shocked by your choice. Do a bit of research, there are a number of websites that offer advice, support and information that might be useful if you have to fight for your right to a home birth. The NCT in my area run a Home Birth Support Group who also help women get the births they want (pregnancyandbabycare.co.uk). I was fortunate that the important people all supported me - husband, family and midwives. And as for the mess - what mess? The midwives brought lots of absorbent sheets and kept changing them and collecting the dirty ones in their hospital bin bags. You would never know what had happened in there!
I am a NHS GP and I am one of very few who still participate in home deliveries, yes a rarity I know. The rewards to GPs are enourmous and well worth the time invested so why do more of us not step forward and become really involved with the most special part of our patients lives? I do not really know. I have heard the well rehearsed arguments about lack of practice and malpractice litigation but surely these are no more if you actually practice. The facts are: Home is the safest place to deliver a normal delivery. Home is the most relaxing place to deliver so pain releif and interventions in the delivery are minimised and home is the place where most women want to deliver. Understanding and acceeding to their wishes promotes listening and trust and in this situation the couple involved are less likely to complain. I guess it is the uncertainty on time constraints that really do turn most GP's off. My comment, therefore, is this. Why have we got to the stage where time has become such an important factor in our working lives. It is no wonder our patients find us too busy to talk to, too busy to listen, and too busy to care. We as GPs need to take stock and realise it is this one fact that leads our patients to lose their trust in us. Let us get back to what general practice should be about and leave the political and legal arguments to the managers and lawyers. Our patients would prefer it and we would enjoy the work again. My plea to GP's is this - reconsider home birth as a way to regain that relationship with our patients.
I would like to advise anybody who is thinking of having a home birth is to go for it as long as there is not any complecations throughout the pregnacy.From the time i found out i was pregnent i decided to have a home birth as i do not really enjoy hospitals. When i asked my midwifes they were all for it,all antenatel appointments were done at home which ment my partner and my daughter were involved all the way through.The morning i went into labour i phoned the hospital who phoned the midwife which it was her day off but she still cam out,when she got to me i was fully dilated but she was so calm and so was i. i had my partner with me and my daughter come and go as she pleased.The midwife broke my waters and before we new it baby willow was born it all happened so quickly.There was no mess no stress no worries everything was so relaxed i had willow by 9:50 am and the midwfe had gone by midday to which i thought what do i do now .it was so nice no one to bother you your at home and i could do what i like so i hope this view may encourage someone to go for it as this is one of the best experinces of my life and i recomend it to anyone
The thought of having a baby at home is something that most people would shy away from. There a couple of big things that would put you off such as: What if something goes wrong? What if I need more pain relief and the midwife doesnt have enough? Well we had the same worries , but talking to the midwife put our worries at rest. After having our first child in Germany and being confined to a German hospital for 4 days , my wife was put off the idea of ever having another baby in a hospital. So we spoke to the midwife and were told that there wouldnt be a problem with having the baby at home! We were delighted. As the time drew closer the midwife came around the house to drop off a box with different things in it to prepare for the birth , such as waterproof sheets, towels and other stuff I never really got a good look at. We had already aquired the pain killer 'pethadine' from the doctor a week previous, so the pain relief was in hand as the midwife was bringing the gas and air with her when the time came. When the time did come the midwife turned up within half an hour of being phoned (this was at 1:30am), carried out an examination and went away telling us not to worry and phone when the contractions were a lot stronger. During this time, as we were at home it was very relaxing, we could do what we wanted and I even got a nice lie down (didnt get one of those in hospital!!) I could make endless cups of tea and even made myself some breakfast, which was nice. When the midwife was called out again she brought another midwife with her and we got the gas and air out. Everything was going really well and within 10 hours of the first signs of labour our 8lb 15oz baby boy was born, in our bedroom never the less!! We found the whole experience to be very relaxing and very comforting, all the worries we had were gone and we were
left in peace till later that day when the doctor came around to do a check . So if you even give homebirth a thought, then its worth thinking about, it may not be common practice anymore, but it was a very good experience for both me and my wife.
A home birth is an option that many people don't consider when pregnant.Many doctors will quote all sorts of horror stories to put you off, but it is your choice as long as you are fully informed. I have had 4 babies, the first 2 in a nice safe hospital, both experiences were missrable to say the least. The other 2 were home births, through choice & one through accident. My third daughter was a planned home delivery, I had only just moved into the area when I fell pregnant & had not met my GP then. I went to see him expecting an arguement, the basis for my request was that the previous birth had only taken 20 minutes & getting to the hospital would be a problem. He just laughed & told me that was immpossible, in his opinion I did not feel the first stage of labour, a view that proved itself correct! The pregnancy was very straight forward & I was cared for my a nominated midwife at home, I still had scans, the best of both worlds. there was no special preparations other than a large sealed box delivered 4 weeks before the due date. oh how that box intreged me! On the big day my waters broke & the midwife was summoned & arrived within 10 minutes, she examined me to confirm that i was in labour. We sat, drank coffee, exchanged jokes for hours, nothing happened, she asked if it was alright to go home for lunch. off she went. half an hour later my GP arrived at 12.30, he examined me & declared nothing was happening & left at 12.45, as his car pulled away, all hell broke loose, the midwife was summoned back post haste, husband was in a mad flap boilng water & screaming instructions that made no sense, I was quite calm. The midwife arrived at 1.03, Lara arrived at 1.04! Mother & baby were fine, husband nearly died of major panic attack. I could have had gas & air or pethidine as both were on hand, not that there was time! Lara has grown up happy, confident & very laid back all of which I attribute to
my feeling of well being, all the way through my pregnacy & the way she entered this world. My son also was a home birth, albeit non planned, I had complications including a twin pregnacy ( not discovered until the day before as only one heartbeat had been heard ) & a transverse presentation which meant a section was planned. In the end the babies moved into a normal postion & Ben decided to be born at home in 7 minutes! Husband this time did not panic, the circumstances were very different & Ben was born as a feet first breech at 32 weeks. my husband did not believe me when I said the babies were comming, one quick look prompted the response of Oh my god there's feet, what do I do! Catch it I said being flippant. All was well in the end but not to be recommended. It was pure luck that things turned out the way they did. My husband made the front page of the newspaper, I wouldn't mind but it was me that did the work! Bens twin was born once I reached hospital, sadly he was stillborn, this was not due to the delivery he had died sometime before. A home birth is not right for everyone. it is only Ok if the pregnacy is normal & the mother really want's it, the doctors co-operation is vital. If your GP is not happy with this option, find another, you do need his/her full support. Having tried both ways there are pro's & con's on both sides but if it is what you want & you get full co-operation from your GP & midwife, home was the best way for me.