Before having Mila, I read someone’s birth story which said: “I worked hard for my baby’s birth” and I really feel I can relate to this statement. Not just during labour, but more so beforehand. So many people go into childbirth having not done any "work" whatsoever, and what with it being one of the biggest tests your body may go through, I have no idea why anyone wouldn’t read up on it!
Even though it was my second birth, I still read the books and loads of positive birth stories online, listened to the hypnobirthing recordings, had some reflexology sessions, did colostrum harvesting, drank raspberry leaf tea, ate dates, and saw a chiropractor throughout the pregnancy. I think that put me in the best steed for the birth and ensured I was fully prepared for most eventualities, especially with it being the second and having the potential to be different. I was lucky enough to have a good pregnancy- of course it came with all the usual aches and pains, a bit of heartburn, more exhaustion than the first time (probably due to having a toddler to run around after), and a heatwave in my 39th week of pregnancy.
My cramps began in the early evening after having the first cooler day post heatwave where I was actually able to leave the house after midday and not melt! I’d taken Albie out to the library and playground in the morning and then to his favourite playcentre in the afternoon- so quite a lot of walking. Bill was working from home to help me as much as he could with Albie that day, and lucky he was as he’d decided to have some pretty epic leg kicking tantrums! The crampings started just before Bill put Albie to bed, and I didn’t want to read too much into it as I’d started this way with Albie and then had him 39 hours later, so thought it best we kept Albie at home for the night, although our plan was to have him out of the house for the birth.
We went up to bed around 9pm and I slept deeply until 11pm when I woke up as the contractions had started. Bill went to get me a hot water bottle which was amazing when applied to my lower back during a contraction. I was still quite sleepy with it being the middle of the night so was trying to rest between contractions and managed this for about 4 hours until they got a bit more intense. Bill had been running up and down the stairs during this time, getting the living room ready with candles etc, preparing the birthing pool and putting towels everywhere! I kept saying to him to relax and try and get some rest, thinking we’d still have a long time to go.
The contractions were then getting a bit too uncomfortable to lie down for and it took every inch of myself to get out of bed and downstairs when I still felt so drowsy, but the change of scenery and movement really upped things again. The contractions were then coming about every 3 minutes and were too intense to just breath through, so the tens machine and it’s hundreds of settings became handy. Bill knew from first time round that I would get quite hot during so had prepared lots of ice packs which he had wet flannels over which he’d put over my forehead and shoulders.
Bill had taken control of calling the midwifes at this point as I was adamant that I didn’t want them to come too early so kept trying to hold off. They arrived at around 4am and I was in the zone! I barely looked at them but allowed them to check my blood pressure and baby’s heart beat. I vaguely remember looking at the clock on the oven and seeing it was 5am and thinking, I need to have this baby soon or else Albie is going to come downstairs and not know what is happening to his mummy.
I then started to felt the urge to push so pretty much jumped into the birthing pool, which luckily due to Bill’s organisation was filled and to the right temperature. The relief was incredible. My whole body managed to relax between pushes and I was only in there for 10 minutes pushing. Mila was born at 5.28am. She gave us a bit of a shock when she came out as she was unresponsive for a few minutes, but the midwives were incredible and took control while keeping us calm and brought her round. It turned out that she’d had meconium in the waters and they only seen this when my waters broke in the pool when her head came out. They advised we took her into hospital to have 12 hours of observations, which I was sad about as it kind of defeated the object of a home birth, but was equally very eager to do so that we could be certain she was ok.
We had our golden hour at home, I birthed my placenta naturally and then enjoyed some tea, toast and porridge while my mum came over to be ready to help for when Albie woke up. He slept in until 8.45am and then came down to meet his baby sister, although he was slightly more interested in the fact there was a blow up pool in the middle of the room and bin bags covering up the windows! He spent some time checking out Mila- making sure she had all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, and giving her some kisses and cuddles. Mum then got him off to nursery and we got ourselves into hospital where we stayed until 5.30pm and then got released home to enjoy a night of takeaways and staring at our new baby girl!
I would 100% recommend having a home birth if you can, and if you are considering it to do as much research as you can. The main reason being the shocking rates of intervention in hospitals, which are most of the time unnecessary. We can only give birth if we are comfortable in our surroundings, so what better a place to do this than at home…there are countless people who can help you if you don’t feel confident enough- doula’s, private midwives etc. I was lucky enough that my husband was fully supportive of home birth and he was the most amazing person to stand by my side during the birth, and the home birth team at West Middlesex are brilliant, that I didn’t need anyone else. If you would like any advice or a chat about it I would be more than happy to help.
Georgie created "Retreat 4 Your Feet" in 2011. The blog includes fun facts, personal stories, and general information.