A Home Water Birth Story
After a tough few weeks with my babies’ erratic sleeping and feeding habits I thought I would revisit my birth story in an effort to cheer myself up. I feel extremely fortunate to have had a positive birth for my second baby. I do hope you enjoy reading it.
I was 40 weeks + 4 days pregnant and I went to bed feeling ‘weird’ at about 10.30pm. I think I must have known I was going to have the baby as I had a bath and washed and straightened my hair.
I was having dull pains on and off whilst sleeping but I did manage to get some rest. I woke up at around 2am and they were getting stronger. At 3am I couldn’t lie in bed any longer so my Husband put the TENS machine on me and he went back to sleep. I woke him 30 minutes or so later telling him I was going to phone for the Midwife as the contractions were regular and intense (3 minutes apart, 45 seconds long). The community midwife had told me to call as soon as I felt strong contractions and that they would come straight away as it was my second baby.
So it was time to get the Birth pool ready. We had done a ‘dry run’ a few weeks before by inflating the pool in the living room. Around my due date we set up plenty of towels and candles in the Dining room ready for the main event. We had assumed that our dining table would easily fit out of the door to make way for the Pool. But as it happened there was no way the table was shifting so my Husband, in a panic, threatened to saw it in half. After seeing sense, he (with me assisting) managed to carry the table up the stairs, and also had to remove our bedroom door to squeeze it through. In the drama I stood on a picture that had fallen down and broke the glass. Luckily my mum was staying with us so she helped tidy up and went to wash last night’s pots!
Having spoken to the on-call Midwife we were all excited that things were now going to plan. However, she then called to say she couldn’t find our house (despite having Sat Nav…) so my Husband offered to go and collect her from half a mile down the road. Luckily by now the pool was inflated and I managed to fit the liner inside it in between my contractions so it could be filled up with water when he got back.
The Midwife arrived at around 6am and examined me and said I was 2-3cm but not fully effaced. She hurriedly made some notes and went to the hospital to collect the ‘Home birth’ equipment (including 4 canisters of Entonox).
As soon as she left things stepped up loads and I was gagging for the gas and air. Luckily she came back within the hour and I literally grabbed the gas and air from her.
My little boy Austin woke at 7.30am and my mum dealt with getting him breakfast and shipping him off to the Childminders. We kept him upstairs and then when he was leaving I hid in the bathroom as didn’t want him to see me in pain. Apparently he said “Daddy, there’s something in my house…” when he saw the huge birth pool where the dining table usually is.
Then it was time for the midwife changeover at 8am. My lovely community midwife (who had also delivered Austin) with her student arrived – I was delighted to see her. I was handed over to her and bounced on the birthing ball in the front room for a bit, whilst everyone drank coffee and ate biscuits (bar me of course). I remember feeling distinctly calmer after seeing my midwife. I couldn’t believe it was all going to plan so far. I think the gas and air was helping with the feelings of calmness and I tried to relax and focus on meeting my little boy.
The Midwife examined me at 9.15am and said I was 4-5cm dilated and could get in the pool. I remember thinking great I have got a few more hours of this but he must arrive before Austin comes back home.
So I got into the lovely pool which was perfectly warm (my Husband was ace with his skill of getting the right pool temperature!). Then things picked up even more. I must have been in ‘transition” at about 9.45am as I remember saying I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I was on my knees with arms over the side of the pool and recall hearing the midwife asking if someone had a clock nearby to confirm the time. She also telephoned the hospital to ask for the second Midwife to come (as there should be 2 qualified midwives present at every birth). Surely this meant that the baby was almost here – I couldn’t believe how fast it was coming.
A few minutes later I pushed just a few times before the head was born. After his head had been delivered, the Midwife told me to catch him on the next contraction. As I felt that coming I went onto my knees and reached down to catch his body coming out, and slid onto my bum cradling him in my arms. I think that means I delivered my own baby!
I was amazed at how tiny he was – my perfect little boy. He was later weighed at 6lb13oz (quite a lot smaller than his elder brother who was 8lb3oz).
We had skin to skin in the pool for about 20 minutes before the cord was cut by my Husband. I then got out as the placenta was taking its time. I got onto the couch and had syntometrine injection for the placenta to come out which was then examined on my living room floor. It was very strange having this done where we would normally sit and watch CBeebies with Austin. The midwife had covered the sofa with my old towels and massive maternity sheets so there was no mess at all. I had a second degree tear but didn’t need stitches. The second midwife arrived – about 20 minutes late which shows how quickly he did arrive.
We cuddled on the sofa for a bit and I phoned my Dad who works abroad to tell him we had named him ‘Elliott Brendan’, his middle name after his Grandad. I then went up for a bath and to get into bed. My Mum came up with tea and toast whilst my Husband pumped out the water and tidied up. The midwifes left just after midday leaving us on a high with our newest little man.
Austin arrived home later that afternoon from the childminders. He appeared to quite like his little brother but was far more enthralled about the walking dinosaur that his brother had bought for him.
So I couldn’t have asked for a nicer birth experience, thanks to my Husband and the midwifery team. I would urge anyone thinking of a home birth to go for it as with the right support it can be very positive. I had one or two negative comments from people who thought we were weird to want to have a baby in our dining room. However, we loved it.