Updated: Nov 15, 2021
🌅 Positive birth story - all birth preferences came true
👶🏼 Second baby
💙 Rory - 19th Feb 20:31
🏠 Planned home birth
⏳ Fast & spontaneous labour
🥳 Zero “interventions”
🧘♀️ Breathing & Hypnobirthing techniques, zero pain relief
🌊 Home water birth (caul birth)
⚖️ 9lb 12oz
💥 4-5 hours total labour (including 3rd stage) the second midwife didn’t even make it in time!
📆 14th Feb nhs due date - 18th Feb my own estimated due date
Following our first “traumatic” experience I am not going to lie, I was scared of birth number 2! Prior to our first we had gone to hypnobirthing classes, I had done all of the “homework”, listening to mp3s, affirmations etc, but all of this didn’t seem to make any difference when the medical professionals intervened, sadly.
My amazing friend Carys who was a hypnobirthing instructor and she knew how tough the first experience had been for us. She offered to help us talk through the first experience, how we were feeling and what we hoped for the next one. Not only because she is my friend, but because of her knowledge, we were able to discuss all of the options through thoroughly. This is where she suggested a homebirth. To me, this concept was completely alien! I had never even thought about this, I had never heard of anyone actually having one. I wasn’t sure but decided to be open to the idea, hence joining this and some other lovely groups to learn more. We then found out one of our neighbours had just had a a lovely homebirth experience. They offered to talk it through with us (including some husband to husband words of wisdom “get the pool ready early on”). This was brilliant as in combination with these groups, and my friend, we felt we finally learned about what it could, and should, be like! Cue me doing a U-turn to my community midwife and asking her to do a “home assessment” at my next appointment and frantically ordering a birthing pool.
At my next appointment with the community midwife (this is where I know we were very lucky) it was clear she loves home-births! She is the senior midwife for the area, super experienced and had literally delivered over 1000 babies. Any concerns I had about being “at home” immediately evaporated. I discussed my birth “preferences” with her and discussed in brief the amount of interventions we had with our first. She said she would be here only when we needed her and not intervene.
So fast forward a few weeks, I’m “overdue” and have a morning appointment at home with the midwife at 10am. She does all the usual checks and then asks what I’d like to do (I’d previously mentioned sweeps if I went overdue). After reading more about sweeps however, I decided I would wait a bit longer, as would prefer zero intervention. Midwife was again supportive and said she would plan to come and see me again in 3-4 days.
It was late afternoon on the same day; it was one of the first days I had taken time to do something for myself, painting, which I love. Midway through I felt some tightenings but didn’t really think much of it. Over the next 30 minutes these ramped up quite a bit to the extent I had to stop what I was doing and concentrate on breathing techniques. With my first my water broke and I had awful pain in my back (baby back to back) so I was kind of expecting something similar. I thought it was maybe braxton hicks, not the real thing! My mum was staying with us and she had just returned home with my husband. They both saw I was having to stop speaking to them in order to breath through a “surge”. Both agreed we needed to call the midwife. It was 16:45 and she was due to finish at 5pm. She agreed over the phone something must be happening and, as she had to pass our house on the way home, she would call in. My mum also told my husband to get the pool ready. I thought this was rather hilarious because I was in complete denial this was actually labour!!
This is where I lost all concept of time! The midwife came and said all had started and that she would like to stay, potentially at least until the evening on call midwives could come over later. At this point the surges were getting very powerful and intense, multiple within a 5-10 min period. My mum cooked food for herself, my husband and the midwife, they tried to encourage me to eat. Sadly, and annoyingly, I felt horrifically sick during this time. This was also exasperated by me trying a tens machine. I know it works for lots of people but I thought I was going to be sick the second it was on during a surge!
The midwife never once asked to do any internal examinations (as requested). I know she must have checked the heart beat, as I agreed to this, but she did this so well and not in any way invasively, I didn’t even realise! Between surges I was feeling tired and sick, but was otherwise feeling happy and shocked all must actually be happening. Next thing the midwife suggested to me and my husband that I should get in the pool. I thought this was laughable as felt like I had sooo long left to go. Surely I would be in the pool for ages, I’d laboured for literally days with my first, this was only a few hours and my waters still had not gone. I was hesitant as I was also feeling really cold, but I undressed and hopped in.
Immediately the water helped as the surges were so intense. I had not realised the water could be so soothing. It had only been a few minutes and I thought I felt/heard a pop. The midwife came in (she was so supportive and keeping out the way, but listening in). I told her I thought my water broke but she said no and not to worry, follow my instincts. I know she also must have checked the heart beat etc, but I was in the zone and didn’t realise. She then left the room (or at least was no where near us). Immediately on the next surge I felt the urge to bear down which was so intense, empowering and terrifying at the same time! I shouted to my husband and the midwife I needed to push. She asked if I’m sure and if it felt that way, do what my body wanted me to on the next surge. Suddenly I was pushing out the head! I remember actually shouting “holy shit” and the midwife and my husband laughing as I hadn’t really spoken much, let alone swore until this point. The midwife was checking everything with the mirror but she asked me to move and told me she needed to check the baby. She explained the baby is still in its sack which is fine and I needed to try panting and not push until the next surge. I found this soooo incredibly helpful as, even though I thought I would not want the guidance, I trusted her to know what to do and stop me tearing! On the next surge I tried to push, the urge was so strong, but the baby did not move. I felt the midwife checking my tummy etc but I knew something wasn’t right. As soon as the surge stopped, she looked at me and told me I had to stand up. Even though the head was out, I knew I had to do as she said! I stood up in the pool with the help of my husband and the midwife. Baby was still not coming. Midwife told me to lift one leg, she was trying to get a grip on baby and my tummy at the same time but she explained he was still in his sack so she needed to pull some of it away to check him. As she did this, my next surge approached, she told me to push and pressed down on my tummy, out he flew into the water! Literally entering the world in a breathtaking splash! I could not believe it, as a crouched back down in the water to pick up our beautiful boy, I could not believe what the female body can do! With no pain killers, with no intervention etc my body knew exactly what to do and a breathed our baby out!
I appreciate some might say the midwife did intervene in the end, but to me this was 100% necessary and in no way took away from all happening naturally. He was a big boy and clearly got a little stuck! The midwife even hilariously apologised for telling me to push at the very end as she knew I wanted to “breath” the baby out. Bless her, to me, she was amazing and we had our beautiful baby boy.
As per our preferences, the cord was left until it had completely stopped pulsating and was white. This was a good 8-10 minutes.
As we were waiting for the placenta, the second midwife appeared. Apparently it was only 8:40pm and they, we, hadn’t expected it all to be so quick. 5 hours total if you include waiting for my placenta. This took 30-40 minutes after baby, but I had near to zero bleeding so was allowed to wait this out (yay again midwife). All the skin to skin contact we hoped for and all baby checks done with baby on dad, or myself, except the weighing of course.
Once all delivered and I was checked out, midwife confirmed zero tearing! She said I had a slight “graze” but nothing else. She said she thought it must be the fact that he remained in his sack that helped as he was very long and rather big haha! This also goes back to the mantra I had in my head, read and heard on these groups, plus my husband said it right before I delivered our son, “your body is made to do this”. I firmly believe now that your body will only make a baby the size you can deliver. My first baby was smaller (9lbs 1oz) but I had so many problems caused my hospital intervention. This birth was blissful and all I could hope for; birthing at its best.
It is key to note the amazing support I had from the North Herts community midwives. Not only the amazing senior midwife who was with us for the birth, but the whole team whom I met at appointments pre/post birth. Hands down amazing and we know how lucky we are to have them as our local midwives; thank you!