Claire had a C-Section the first time round and was really keen to have a home birth this time. I love her birth story so much – the way she baked a cake for her baby’s birthday in early labour and played trains with her son. Claire used her breathing techniques throughout and was calm and totally empowered. Also – love her tip about watching Magic Mike in labour to speed things up and get oxytocin levels going!
The first sign that something was happening was early morning on Saturday 3rd June, when I started getting some period-pain like tightenings.
I took some paracetamol and went back to sleep. They woke me up again a few hours later and I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night. I took the opportunity to practise the breathing I’d learnt during the Wise Hippo hypnobirthing course.
These tightenings were not very constant or strong so I didn’t bother telling my husband Kev about them when he woke that morning.
They continued very sporadically throughout Saturday while I spent the day at home.
We enjoyed a BBQ in the nice weather. I made a Victoria sponge cake in preparation for my baby’s birth day! My sister, Jenny, arrived in the evening and we watched some comedy to try and get things going. I was expecting labour to start that night.
The pre-labour discomfort stopped me getting a good night’s sleep as I woke up with each tightening to breathe through it and by 2am I got up and went downstairs so that at least Kev could get some sleep.
I tried to sleep on the settee and then around 4am the tightenings stopped. I was a little disappointed and even more so when I had no aches or pains during Sunday.
It was another sunny day so I kept active by walking to the park, crawling on my hands and knees playing trains with my son and bouncing on my pregnancy ball.
There was a lot of debate over the best thing to watch on television that evening to get my oxytocin flowing. We finally decided on Magic Mike and Kev headed off to the study! It was obviously the correct choice as my surges started up about 9pm and after a while I noted that they were coming regularly every 5 minutes!
Kev went to bed about 10pm whilst Jenny and I followed the film with 8 out of 10 cats, Sun, Sex & suspicious parents then Shrek, during which time I had got the TENS machine set up on my back (with tape over the constant button since I managed to somehow break it!).
I started standing up, leaning against the wall during surges and progressed to kneeling, leaning over a chest and walking up and down the sitting room in between.
Jenny made sure I was fed: I had a cheese sandwich and packet of hula hoops along with plenty of water. And she set up colour changing LED lights in the sitting room and turned the main lights off.
By 1.30am I went to get Kev and sent Jenny to bed. He timed the surges and they were about 4 minutes apart so he blew the birthing pool up and put on some relaxing music.
I was really impatient to get to 3 surges in 10 minutes as I felt the early stage of labour had gone on for so long so I kept asking Kev if I had got to that stage.
He got me lavender and clary sage essential oils on some tissues for me to breathe in and I felt that really sped everything up. I got to the magic 3 in 10 at 2.30am and called the home birth team. I was diverted to Triage at the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) as both the home birth midwives on call were with another lady who had been transferred.
I gave some details before a surge started so I passed the phone to Kev. All I could hear was him telling her that we were under the home birth team and ‘no’ we wouldn’t come in, we wanted a midwife to come out to us. I was so happy to hear him fighting my corner and felt empowered during that surge.
Kev then proceeded to attend to the birthing pool and my surges quickly increased in length and intensity. I was kneeling over the settee managing the surges with my breathing and half an hour later I felt that things had changed. I told him the baby was coming.
He quickly called the home birth midwife and after explaining what was happening, she suggested he call 999.
I got very hot, so removed all my clothing and proceeded to follow my body’s instincts, as I could feel the baby pushing down.
My waters broke and the baby’s head was crowning when the paramedics arrived 25 minutes later.
I was humming with all my might and 10 minutes after they arrived, Elizabeth Zoe Margaret was born at 3.50am on Monday 5th June.
I was overjoyed that I had done it! I had given birth at home with no intervention and no pain relief.