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Claire’s Story – Home Birth

Claire shares her experience of having a home birth and how much it meant to her and her family.

I had planned to have a homebirth with my first baby (now 3.5 years old) but it didn’t work out, so it was a tricky and last-minute decision to try again second time round, but I’m so glad I did.

My contractions started around 5pm in the afternoon but as I was only 38+5 I wasn’t sure if it was just false labour, so I carried on the evening as normal, having dinner and putting my daughter to bed.

I rang the homebirth team around 8pm and asked for someone to come out and take a look. I felt like I was managing fine and still wasn’t convinced I was in labour as timings seemed a little sporadic. I headed off to a warm bath to rest. Sophie from the homebirth team arrived around 9pm and after a quick check she told me that I was around 6cm dilated and that she was going to ask my husband to start filling the birth pool. That got him moving fairly fast and I also called my sister to let her know what was going on as she was also coming to help.

I spent the next hour in bed breathing, listening to my hypnobirthing CD and using the TENS machine – everything felt totally manageable. At around 10pm I moved into the pool and the second midwife, Emily arrived. Things were getting a little more intense but I still felt very happy and in control. Around 11pm things really started to kick up a gear and I was listening to the hypnobirthing CD on repeat and forcing everyone to rub my back through each contraction! At 12.50am Stanley was born calmly into the water. We spent the next couple of hours doing skin to skin and feeding before being helped up to bed with a cup of tea.

It was so fantastic to be in my own space and feeling really relaxed. My daughter slept through the whole thing and woke up to her little brother in the morning. I can’t say enough how great the midwives were – they really let me do my thing but provided a reassuring presence and helped to sort us all out afterwards. I’m so glad I chose to have a homebirth and I wish everyone could have such a great birth experience (wherever it happens!).

Megan’s Story – Home Birth

Megan shares her experience of having a home birth and why it appealed to her.

I had my first little boy in hospital in 2012 and had a really positive experience, but I just knew that I would have been more relaxed and comfy if I’d have stayed at home to give birth. The worst part of the whole labour was travelling to hospital and having contractions in the lift! When I got pregnant again in 2015 I started reading about homebirths and the idea of not having to go anywhere to give birth really appealed to me. I got referred to the Homebirth Team and they were so incredibly supportive about birthing at home and birth in general that I felt totally reassured.

When I was a week overdue I felt I was probably going to be the first person to be pregnant forever! I went to bed feeling pretty despondent and when I woke in the morning not having gone into labour (again) I was very annoyed. As I got up I felt a little trickle of water and noticed that my waters had started leaking. I made my little boy his breakfast and as I was doing so I started getting quite mild contractions. My husband was still in bed and as I went to wake him up the contractions started getting stronger so that I couldn’t think while they were happening. I called the midwife and said that I thought I was in labour but it was still early and she probably didn’t need to come out. The midwife said that as my waters were leaking she would come out and see me anyway, and I’m really glad she did! I thought I’d better start recording the time between my contractions and I was really confused when they seemed to be about 3 minutes apart, I’d only been in labour for about 30 mins, surely that couldn’t be right!

I went upstairs as I couldn’t cope with anyone being around me and just needed peace and quiet. Soon the midwife arrived and when she saw me she said she was going to call for the second midwife and that I wouldn’t be long. My husband asked if he had time to take my little boy swimming as we’d planned, and the midwife said, best not to.

My husband started setting up the birth pool with my little boy’s help, while he arranged for him to be collected by a family friend. I knew he would be too much of a distraction for me if he was in the house. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together and the midwife stayed with me upstairs.

Once my little boy had been collected, I went downstairs to where the birth pool was. Unfortunately it wasn’t ready in time and as I suddenly needed to push the midwife made me a little spot next the pool and I got down on my knees and started pushing. The second midwife arrived in the middle of my pushes and she knelt down in front of me and was so lovely and calming, I just held onto her.

After a couple of minutes Toby’s head was born and then one push later his body came out and I scooped him up to my chest. It was absolutely incredible. I don’t think you ever forget that feeling of catching your own baby. After a couple of minutes we both got into the pool to deliver the placenta which was still attached to Toby.

Once we were all sorted I went upstairs and found the midwives had made up my bed with a waterproof mat and an old duvet for us to sit on. As I needed some stitches, the midwife did them for me on the bed and it was such a lovely relaxed and chatty atmosphere. The whole labour was about 2.5 hours from start to finish and my favourite bit was the fact we were just at home and relaxed for the whole thing. I think if I’d planned for a hospital birth I would have given birth in the car!

Kirsten’s Story – Home Birth

Kirsten tells us about her experiences of having two home births.

Josie’ Birth

We’d gone to the pub with some friends to see a friend who lives in Columbia and was visiting Leeds for one night, the night before my due date.  We’d told him beforehand that if the baby was early he’d get to meet it, but if it was late he’d only meet the bump. By 10.30ish I was ready to go home so we started the 10 minute walk home. Halfway back I felt a painful ‘pop’ sensation and my waters broke standing in the street!  I waddled back home with very wet jeans and joked to my husband about my boots being full of amniotic fluid as we excitedly started getting ready to meet our baby.

My contractions started as soon as my waters broke and were every two to three minutes lasting about a minute each time. My husband started getting the pool ready and I walked around the house stopping to lean on something and breathe deeply at each contraction. We called the midwives and they asked if I could feel the baby moving, I couldn’t at that point so they said if I hadn’t felt any movement within an hour then it would be best to come in to the hospital for monitoring. We hadn’t thought about going to hospital at all and so rushed around in between contractions getting a hospital bag sorted just in case. After the hour was up I still hadn’t felt any movement so we got in the car and made the 10 minute drive to the hospital. Just as we arrived at the car park I felt the baby kicking, so we turned round and went straight back home!

The contractions were getting gradually stronger and more intense and I felt like I was getting to the end of just being able to breathe through them. During each one I kept saying to myself “3 2 1 relax” and trying to remember all the visualisations from the hypnobirthing cd I’d been practising. My husband rang the midwives to ask them to come with gas and air. They took quite a while to come and I just stayed very focused and kept breathing through each contraction. When they arrived they did an examination and told me I was 4 cm – I was really disappointed as I felt like I’d been labouring for ages and it felt like it was getting more and more difficult to cope with the contractions. They gave me the gas and air mouthpiece but I couldn’t use it as it interfered with my breathing pattern so I gave it back at them.

By this point I was in the pool and the contractions were getting really difficult to deal with. I kept thinking ‘just one more and then I’m going to have to tell them that I can’t cope with them anymore’. But after each one I managed one more. Then I felt like I needed to push. I asked the midwife if it was ok as it wasn’t that long since she told me I was only 4cm dilated. She said to do whatever my body was telling me to do, so I started pushing and within a few pushes I could feel the baby’s head descending. A few more and her head came out, in between that contraction and the next I felt her twist around inside me and I remember saying to the midwife ‘tell her to stop moving!!’  On the next contraction her body came out and the midwife brought her up into my arms. My husband and I were just amazed that we had a baby and forgot to look at what sex she was for a few minutes. The midwife eventually asked if we wanted to move the cord to check if she was a girl or a boy!  I stayed in the pool for about 15 minutes with towels around me and Josie to keep us warm and then when I got out the placenta came pretty quickly. I had one very small tear, which the midwife stitched for me.  Once all the checks had been done, and everything was cleared up the midwives left and we snuggled up on the sofa with our new baby. She was born at 5.19 in the morning so my labour was about seven hours from start to finish. At around 8am we called our friend who was about to leave for Colombia and he came round before he left the country to meet Josie.

Leo’s Birth

Having had Josie arrive quite quickly (seven hours in total) on her due date at home in the pool with no problems or interventions, I was hoping for a repeat performance from baby number two. I’d had a bit longer off work before number two than I did with Josie and was getting some jobs done and getting the house sorted, expecting that I had at least until my due date… But one week before my due date I’d been looking after my friend’s little boy for an hour and after she picked him up I decided to have a nap before getting Josie from nursery. As soon as I lay down in bed I felt the same painful pop that I had when my waters broke with Josie. I hopped out of bed and into the bathroom and my waters broke over the toilet! I rang my husband and told him that the baby was on its way and could he pick Josie up and get home as soon as possible. He asked if he could still go to his 4pm meeting – obviously I said no!

I carried on with some of the jobs I’d been doing like chopping veg for dinner to keep me busy and my contractions were just like my first labour – every two to three minutes, so I just leaned on the worktop and breathed through each one. I consciously thought about relaxing and opening up at each contraction and tried to remember the hypnotherapy CDs telling me that it was all useful sensations and tried to just go with it rather than tense up and fight it.

By the time Jimmy got back with Josie the contractions were really intense and I was on my knees leaning on the hallway stairs in front of the door – they had to climb over me to get in the house! They started setting up the pool and Josie stroked my back and brought me a cushion for my knees. By the time the midwife arrived at 5.30pm the contractions were really intense and I hardly had any time in between each one. I remember hearing her say to Jimmy that she wasn’t sure where everything was in the bag and me thinking that was a bit odd, but I was just concentrating on breathing so couldn’t say anything. Within 15 minutes of her arriving I felt like I needed to push. At the same time Jimmy said that the pool was ready so I quickly got in. Josie had got bored of waiting for the baby by this point and was watching Charlie and Lola in the living room while Jimmy made her a cheese toasties. I’d not been in the pool long before I could feel the baby coming, I tried not to rush pushing and just let it happen as I didn’t want to get a tear again. The midwife called through to Jimmy in the kitchen that he’d better come in if he wanted to see his baby being born and at 6pm Leo was born. We spent a bit of time in the pool cuddling with me saying over and over ‘that was such hard work! I think I’m in shock it was so quick!’ The placenta came soon after I got out of the pool and then the second midwife arrived. It turned out that the midwife who was there for the birth was actually a hospital midwife as all the home birth team were already out (which is why she didn’t know what was in the bag).

The midwives had left by 8pm and Jimmy put Josie to bed, then we sat on our sofa and ate pizza before going to bed with our new baby.

Emily’s Story – Home Birth

Find out why Emily decided to have two home births for her two boys.

Emily, a mum of two boys, and a midwife on the home birth team at Leeds, tells us why she opted for a home birth for both of her boys.

Emily tells us what she considers to be the three main advantages of having a home birth, including the plus point of being able to snuggle up in your own bed when its all over!

Jimmy’s Story – A Dad’s perspective of home birth

Jimmy, a dad of two and a member of staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, tells us why he and his wife decided to have a home birth with both of their babies, and discusses the joys of being able to eat Jelly Babies in the comfort of his own home after the arrival of his daughter. 

Jimmy, a dad of two and a member of staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, tells us why he and his wife decided to have a home birth with both of their babies, and discusses the joys of being able to eat Jelly Babies in the comfort of his own home after the arrival of his daughter.

Jimmy shares with us his top three advantages of having a home birth – including quick and easy access to food for both mum and dad during the process!

Jonathan’s Story – Home Birth

Jonathan talks about why his wife wanted a home birth, and the calm experience of being at home with their other children who could meet the new arrival immediately.

Jonathan, a consultant obstetrician at Leeds Teaching Hospitals and a father of two (soon to be three),  tells us why he and his wife wanted a home birth.

Jonathan tells us what he considers to be the top three advantages of having a home birth