My home birth story

Birth of H 23/04/2013

Photography click click bang photography, copyright snowdrop doula CIC
Photography click click bang photography, copyright snowdrop doula CIC

The pregnancy was a complete shock. I thought my family was complete with the two children I already had. I was in a new relationship and we definitely were not planning to have any children between us.
The universe had another idea and I fell pregnant. As soon as we found out I knew the baby was sent for a reason. I believe everything happens for a reason.
I immediately looked into hiring an independent midwife and doula. I couldn’t afford either. I knew immediately that this baby would be born at home and I wouldn’t be induced unless medically necessary. I felt prepared and not scared.
The scan from the hospital out my dates back 2whole weeks. Which I felt gave me breathing time for NHS induction protocol to kick in.
By my dates (i feel ovulation) 40 weeks came and went. By the scan date, 40 weeks came and went. I wasn’t worried I knew things would happen when they should.
On the Monday 22nd April 2013 (43 weeks exactly by my dates) we had a normal day, big 2 at school then we ate and relaxed. We had made some play dough over the Easter holidays so we all played with that making allsorts of things. We had a mini competition, between me and Roger, over who can make the best Yoda. Whilst playing I’d started to feel uncomfy and a need to move about. I had bad SPD and on crutches since about 16weeks so this wasn’t easy. I had been getting the twinges on and off over the previous week so said it’s probably nothing and to see what happens. I said let’s wait for the “flush out” if my body expels then perhaps it’s more. Expecting nothing.
An hour or so later I needed the toilet and yep “flushed out”. Lightbulb went and I knew things were shifting. The surges seem to becoming regularly and with each one I felt a need to go inward. Yet I knew it wasn’t strong enough yet.
Bedtime came for the big 2 and I took them up to bed and tucked them in. I rarely do this as they like to sort themselves out. Somehow I knew this time to do it and cherish the last moments with them before another baby. I said to them, “I think you’ll have a baby brother by the time you wake up so get some sleep.” They were soon asleep which was unusual. As soon as they were in bed things started to become stronger and faster. Almost immediately to the point I went into my bedroom straight away to breathe and go inward. I listened to my body, I felt liberated.
I shouted R (my “boyfriend”) to come upstairs. I didn’t want to time things but I think I was doubting I was actually doing this again so we downloaded a “contraction timer” app and they were very regular. I said perhaps we should phone the midwife, knowing that my previous labour was very fast and the midwives may have to journey from Yorkshire.
They agreed to send midwife over as they knew I was in labour.
Midwife arrived about 45 minutes later by this time I definitely knew I was in labour. The surges felt painful but I was breathing them through and switching off. I think I was finally admitting I was pregnant and another baby was coming. Everything ran through my head and some instinct kicked in. Once I accepted what was happening I thought right let’s do this! Something clicked and I trusted myself and my body more than I’ve ever done before or since. (I really must trust myself) Instincts are a powerful thing and I now know this.
I bounced on the gym ball and rocked bak and forth during the surges. Remembering everything I know about switching off and listening to my body I went further and further inward.
The midwife, Lynn, came in nice and calmly mid surge and said hi to R, winked at me and simply observed. YES! I’d got a good one!
Once things subsided I came back “in the room” gently to talk to her. She introduced herself, asked questions about what I wanted to happen. She asked about me and we chatted about doulas. R was back and forth with buckets of water filling the birth pool up. Took him almost 2 hrs in the end.
My chats with the midwife gradually got shorter and shorter and she and I knew to stop chatting and allow me to move inward.
She asked me if I wanted to be examined. I was curious and ready to ask so consented. 2cm. I didn’t think much of it as I know cervix can dilate quickly and I know mine definitely can. She had also asked if she should do a little sweep too. I said yes, knowing it could get things moving and it was now midnight.
I have no idea if it was that or it did something psychologically but I did feel something change and turn up a gear then.
We called my parents to come and keep an eye on the big 2 so we could concentrate on me and new baby. I was conscious that I was naked but for a blanket I had over my shoulders and that my parents hadn’t seen me naked since childhood and specifically conscious that R and my parents were there. They didn’t seem to be phased by this though. They arrived soon after and quietly arrived, as if they just “knew”. My mum signalled in between contractions that she’d brought food for PN and sorted into freezer and fridge for me. They asked if they should just go upstairs and I said yes. Apparently they put tv on low and sat on my bed.

The pool was now full and R had been rubbing my lower back (seems to be my thing in labour) for quite a while now. I thought about getting in the pool but thought, ” hmm I feel comfy enough doing what I’m doing” and the thought of getting a contraction with one leg in one leg out put me off. I decided to not get in.

Labour continued and I moved on to my knees on the settee with my face planted into a pillow on the back of the settee. R continued to rub my back. My mum quietly came up and down stairs and just sat quietly watching in the corner. We hadn’t previously discussed this but had said that in my previous labour her rubbing my back didn’t have the same effect as my then partner did. Thinking now I must somehow connect with the father of the baby during labour. Her being there in the corner this time felt quietly empowering. She seemed calm and just a “mother/ women” energy. Something quiet ancient and primal. She has since said that it was an empowering experience for her too.

I began howling and growling, swore a little too, but was inward and imagining thing moving and opening. My dad, who was upstairs throughout, said my sounds were very different to those my mum made and were very animalistic and primal.

As things were getting closer I felt an urge to kiss R and he felt it to. He said there was something quite attractive about it all. (This is a man who never wanted children, let alone watch a birth!) we had a “moment” as I felt baby descend. This I can only describe as semi orgasmic, I didn’t notice anyone else in the room at this point. A 2nd midwife had arrived by this point, who i knew from antenatal appointments. She was now checking heartbeat quietly through contractions. I didn’t mind this and when I felt uncomfortable a couple of times she stopped.

So baby descended. I hardly pushed. Waters now popped. (First time this has happened naturally in my births) Gotta love fetal ejection reflex. I had a panicky moment which I think was me actually realising I was having a baby in next minute and requested gas and air for the first time. The mw went to retrieve from her car. I had one slight puff, which was definitely a psychological thing and baby came out!

I felt the familiar “flop” feeling and he’d landed on the settee. 4:13am on 23rd April 2013 H was born on my settee. Weighing 8lb9oz, he wasn’t weighed for over an hour.

Newborn with skin to skin.  Copyright Michelle Bromley, Snowdrop Doula
Newborn with skin to skin.
Copyright Michelle Bromley, Snowdrop Doula

I turned over and picked him up and immediate he reached for the breast and we stayed there for ages! I don’t know how long. My parents were upstairs by this point and apparently my mum turned to my dad the moment baby was born and said, “oh he’s here, let’s see if we can see.” My dad replied, “how do you know?” She said, “I just do!”. Amazing! They were slowly peeking down stairs (open stair case) not long after. They were again quietly in background. The moment felt wonderful and magical and very healing and cleansing even though I had NO idea I needed healing/cleansing. Wonderful!

I do know that I was in that position for over an hour as we waited just over an hour for the placenta to emerge. I opted for the injection after the hour as I was knackered and just wanted to
go to bed. I had a drink of water and some biscuits R had made the day before and went off to bed. I will never forget the experience. Amazing, magical, wonderful. I truly felt like a goddess for months afterwards, the high wouldn’t leave and when I think about it I still smile and feel all tingly!
I am Woman, Hear me Roar!!