So anyone who knows me well will know I am a big old wimp. I cried when the cat scratched me a few months ago and I whimper too much if I stub my toe. My pain threshold was a major concern of mine when I gave birth to Dexter, but I surprised myself by enjoying labour and only needing gas & air to get me through my 4 hour labour *smug face*.
But don’t hate me. Please don’t, because I have the most shitty pregnancies, ever. Sickness EVERY day. Acid reflux. And terrible wind, but that’s more uncomfortable for the OH than me.
Seeing as I laboured relatively easy with Dexter and was out of hospital the same day, I decided to plan a home birth with my second baby. I’m not a hippie, not a weirdo (debatable), I just wanted to be amongst my own things, in my lovely family home and as very quickly as possible in my own bed following the birth.
I’d spoken to my MW during a few routine appointments and expressed my interest at having a home birth. My due date was the 27th December and immediately I didn’t get the response I was hoping for. “It’s Christmas so we might be busy” she said. “But Mary managed it” I said. Cue silence and a very stony look.
I was fobbed off with some blurb about the dangers of a home birth whilst having a latex allergy (so so so mild) so I prepped myself with a speech and armed myself with a bunch of leaflets about the NHS guidelines of home birthing the next time I saw her and I was referred and successfully signed off by an anaesthetist. I know what a bloody palava!!
So then the prep began. And when I say prep, I mean me constantly googling “What do I need for a home birth” and then not actually doing anything about it. I think I was stupidly relaxed about the whole thing and in the back of my mind I was certain something would go wrong and I’d be taken to hospital or a MW wouldn’t be available to come out to me and I’d end up birthing in the MLU.
But then a week before Blake arrived, and only a week into my maternity leave (well in fact it was annual leave, my maternity leave officially started the day she was born), something clicked and I suddenly wanted to get things sorted so I asked the OH to buy a waterproof tablecloth and I bought some gorgeous maternity pads, and that my friends was the extent of my planning. What a lazy cow I am!
The MW and her junior came to visit me at home when I was 37 weeks (the minimum you have to be to safely home birth) and they delivered some catheters and latex free gloves. They were happy with the area I was planning on birthing in and instructed me to have the heating and hot water on when I went into labour and to have a whole host of sheets and towels to hand, warming on the radiators. They also advised putting the baby’s clothes on the radiator so they’d be warm and snug. Ironically when they visited my home I was watching This Morning and they were having a debate about whether home birthing was safe or not. The phone in at the time said 78% thought no. This didn’t scare me, it just made me more determined to prove that you could have a happy and safe labour at home.
On the 11th December I woke up feeling rather crappy with some serious stomach cramps and back pain and was very cranky. I think the OH muttered something about me being a joy to live with. It was Daddy and Dexter’s normal day together and I had this absolute obsession about getting Dexter’s hair cut and my nails done. We headed into town for something to eat, me waddling and contracting as we went. Lunch was consumed, the small boys hair was cut. It was just the nail appointment outstanding. I was contracting about 7 minutes apart at this stage. In all honestly I thought I had until the 13th before the baby would be born but the OH started to get a little panicked and suggested I didn’t get my nails done. What a fool!! So I went and I got nice nails whilst scaring the bejesus out of the beautician. She even offered me a free set if I had the baby there.
I returned home a while later (after getting stuck in rush hour traffic) and suggested that Dexter have a sleepover at Grandad’s. This was 6pm. The contractions were niggling me now and coming along stronger and more regular. The OH picked up on the urgency and packed Dexter off.
This is the bit, in hindsight, when I was a bit stupid. The OH was gone for 2 hours. He put Dex to bed and I sent him to the shops because I thought we needed biscuits for the MWs. What a dick I am. I was alone, sloshing about in the bath, contracting, dilating and I could’ve had my baby right then and there.
I waited for the OH to return before ringing the MW. It wasn’t the normal one I’d been dealing with so we asked her to come round so she knew a) where our house was and b) who I was. It was 9pm when she arrived and I was still managing the pain well. It was all a bit surreal to be sat naked in the bath and a stranger walk into your bathroom and start chatting away to you like you are lifelong friends. She examined me and told me I was 3cm dilated so she was going to head back home and we were to call her if my contractions were longer than a minute, or my waters broke or if it all got too much.
After she left I got out of the bath and planned to watch the last episode of The Fall, you know easy no brainer viewing. What was I thinking? I managed to watch and concentrate on nothing for a few hours whilst alternating my hefty body between the little den the OH had made in the lounge, the stairs whilst hauling my arse up them to the loo every 20 minutes, and the birthing ball I’d only just purchased and inflated. I was also, strangely, trying to keep the noise down so I didn’t disturb the OH who was napping on the sofa because he had a sinus infection. Hormones really do make me nuts as I’m NEVER this sympathetic, ever. Just ask him.
It got to 1am and I was hugely struggling now. I was also very upset as my waters hadn’t broken so I thought I still had hours to go (going from my first labour experience). I woke the OH up and asked him to call the MW because I really wanted some G&A. And also a G&T but knew that wasn’t allowed. She returned back at 1:45am with a junior in tow. I’m always so open to juniors attending as it’s more hands available to help and gives them first hand experience which is invaluable. It also turns out Blake was her first delivery. The MW asked me if I wanted to be examined and I declined because I was too scared she’d tell me I was only 5cm. She gently informed me that the baby was coming now. I panicked a bit as my waters still hadn’t broken and she told me to relax and go with it. I begged for some G&A that was still in her car and the OH was sent out to get it from her boot. (He was most proud of this achievement because her car boot had no light and the streetlights were also off.) He returned with a canister and the junior started setting it. Whilst I was still banging on about my waters and leaning over my birthing ball, the MW told me I’d delivered the head, and my waters were still intact. At 2:25am, and with one more push, my baby arrived. Pop, splash, and my waters burst. And no time for G&A.
My baby was passed to me through my legs and I had a peak and sexed her. Blimey I was shocked to have a girl, a daughter, a mini girlie version of Dexter. The OH cut the cord and we all had a bit of a cry and cuddle. Then we examined the crime scene that was our lounge. Thank goodness we had an entire heap of blankets and towels to hand as there was a lot of mess. Mainly down to my waters. Plus the rug was ruined but this was most definitely planned as I hated that bloody thing!
The horrid bit followed (afterbirth delivery, other “stuff”, endless paperwork) followed by sitting on my own sofa, feeding my brand new daughter. Blissful. Sheets and towels were bin bagged up and within 30 minutes you wouldn’t know what had happened in there. Established labour took less than an hour, I was surrounded by twinkling fairy lights and we even had Christmas music playing on the TV. Exactly how I had envisioned it to be. I was relaxed and calm and by 3:30am we were left alone to shower and go to bed. Us 3.
I would 100% recommend a home birth. Labour is the most natural thing in the world and my body just did what it had to do. It was pretty special to do it all at home and not have any medical intervention. And I’m very proud of myself for achieving this.
Thanks for reading
Mummy over and out