Pre-warning, this post will contain details of labour and birth.
Having reached my due date with no indication that anytime soon we will have a baby I resigned myself to the thought that I would be overdue, again. How much overdue was another story, with my first H, I was 10 days over. With my second M, she kept us waiting till induction day at 12 days over. Honestly I wasn’t expecting anything earlier than 41 weeks.
If you missed it you can read the last pregnancy update for this pregnancy in 40 Weeks Pregnancy Update. Despite not using much of the stuff inside it (except the babies clothes, a couple of towels and the torch) you can read about what I packed and prepared for my home birth in What’s In My Homebirth Box?
MY LABOUR STORY.
On Sunday 7th July it started like any other day, just general aches and pains and discomfort. We were planning on staying in that day so the older 2 helped wash the car, and I sat watching while sitting on the birthing ball. I remember sitting there thinking I felt a bit off, but nothing that I could have been concerned about, just a bit different.
As the morning progressed I started to get very light period type aches (like pressure and groin ache, like you’d get before a flow), around my belly. They kept coming and going throughout the day, (some hours I wouldn’t have anything) so all I thought was maybe my body was preparing itself for something in the next few days. Other than that I hadn’t thought anything was really happening yet. I did feel worn out and I managed 2 naps through the day, again I just put that down to a bad sleep the previous night.
By the evening they had become a little more noticeable but still just like a period cramp, (possibly something I would have taken a paracetamol for just to take the edge off) I wouldn’t have even said they were contractions as I was just constantly achy.
We put the kids to bed like normal and came downstairs for the evening, at about 8pm I started to feel some back pain, which had been different to anything I’d felt all day. Although not painful I noticed it felt different as it started in my back and came round to my sides and then eased. I had a few like this consecutively enough to make me wonder. So I got out my phone app and thought about timing a few to see if there was any sort of pattern.
I continued to bounce on my ball while timing, still not believing anything was happening as the pain was very slight. The only reason I timed was because they appeared to be coming and going and to me that was enough to make me curious. Other than curiosity I still did not think it was happening.
Just as it got to 9pm after timing on and off for a while my phone app had told me a couple of times to go to the hospital. Honestly I didn’t believe that was right, how could it be? I had barely any pain, we were talking about mild period cramps here. So I dismissed it. They were definitely coming and going in waves and I still wanted a little more of a sign. TMI warning – I then went to the toilet after I wiped I had the smallest amount of a ‘show’. Barely no bigger than my little finger nail, had I not been looking I would have missed it entirely. However regardless how small that was as my previous labours have gone I do not get a ‘show’ until labour has started. So that was enough to convince me that things were happening now, despite a lack of pain.
Over the course of the next 30 minutes my contractions (as I knew for sure now) were getting more regular although the pain wasnt getting stronger. Because of that I thought it could be still hours away. Just incase (as I didn’t want things to really be happening when we may have had to get H ready for school) we arranged for the children to go to my mums. Luckily she is only 2 minutes down the road. So at 9.40pm we woke them up and Chris took them to my mums.
They were both so good when they left, neither made a fuss. Despite being woken up after not being asleep for very long and then being shipped off to someone else’s house. I was so proud, as they left, then the reality of what was happening started to sink in.
Chris was gone for maybe 20 minutes, just so they were ok and while he was gone the pain I was feeling had got more noticeable. I wasn’t doubled over in agony but it was now getting stronger. I was starting to sway through some of them and having to concentrate on my breathing. Again I timed on my app and it said leave for the hospital. I still didn’t think that was right, surely I had hours to go?
Just after Chris got back I had a couple of really painful contractions, they took my breath away because it came out of nowhere. The pain level just increased dramatically out of no where. At nearly 10.30pm I admitted that I needed help I phoned the hospital and they took some details and said they would contact the midwife that will be sent out to me.
My home birth was officially happening.
Once I had phoned in I just had to wait for the midwife to contact me. So I sorted my playlist and we dimmed the lights in an attempt to set a more relaxing atmosphere. By now my contractions were getting much stronger and I was struggling to manage them. I was no leaning over the birthing ball in an attempt to help.
Everything out of no where massively intensified again and I was really struggling. I was now struggling to manage the pain and I could have definitely done with some gas and air at this point. At each contraction now they were really intensifying and at 10.50pm the midwife contacted me, just before that I had had a slight urge to push. Not going to lie here but that scared me, because it seemed to come from no where. Surely I wasn’t that far into labour? She said to me on the phone that she was 20 minutes away and that I was to keep her updated. If it got really bad I was to call an ambulance. Yep, its only been an hour and a half so far.
After that each contraction now was a real struggle and every other one I was pushing. All I could do now was listen to my body and let it guide me as to what to do. Luckily I’d done this twice before so had some idea at this point that the best thing to do was trust my body. Nothing could have prepared either of us for the fact that I might be well into labour without assistance. Let alone pushing. TMI warning -I had one very large contraction which I pushed through and that ended up breaking my waters. Yep, all over me, all over the carpet, because at this point neither of us thought to get the puppy pads out of the home birth box. While I was still dripping and Chris was attempting to do a speed clean up as best he could I rung the midwife back to tell her my waters had broken and she said she was now 5 minutes away. This was now 11.15pm. As there was now quite a bit of mess on the floor I moved round to the other side of the ball.
Things were really happening now and there was no doubt about it, the baby was coming. I was pushing so hard at this point there is no way an ambulance would have made it.
The details now get a little hazy for me as I spent the majority of the next while with my eyes shut, trying to focus. Chris opened the door after he heard the midwife pull up outside, I was in the zone at that point. I don’t even remember her coming in. She came in midway through a contraction so I was groaning like a wild animal. I still had no pain relief at this point. Chris said she just threw her bags on the floor and grabbed some gloves there was not much time for introductions. She came straight over and checked me, I was already crowning. I had no idea that was happening. I was now focused on listening to her instructions as it gave me something else to focus on. Not much else was working at this point. At the very next contraction the head was out. The next midwife arrived seconds after that. Much like the first midwife she threw her bags on the floor and got gloves on, and barely 3 minutes later and the whole baby was out.
We had another baby girl born on 7th July at 11.30pm weighing in at a healthy 9lbs and 7oz. Wow, I grow these baby girls big.
After this there was a very awkward manoeuvre to enable me to sit down for the placenta to come out. Once the placenta came out there was a bit of a clean up job. I still find that extremely uncomfortable. As far as the actual birth goes I’m not really aware of them being ‘down there’ but after you get your senses back and are aware again its not the most comfortable having a stranger clean you up ‘downstairs’. Let alone 2, with a hand held torch.
Once that was done I sat on the armchair with our new baby girl trying to make sense of what just happened in the last 2 and a half hours. I think I was now in shock about how fast that all happened.
I know I sat there and shook my head in disbelief quite a lot.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that scenario would happen. At one point Chris was mentally preparing to deliver the baby himself. Even now, looking back, yes we probably should have phoned earlier but honestly I still wasn’t convinced I was as far along as I was. I still believed I had a few hours before things got really serious.
By the point that I started to push, I was trying to concentrate so much on managing the pain that phoning for an ambulance never crossed my mind. I never thought for one minute that the midwives would be with us for barely minutes before our baby was born.
Bizarrely though that labour was probably my easiest. I think that was just down to the speed in which everything happened it was better to get it over and done with as quick as possible.
MY HOMEBIRTH EXPERIENCE.
As far as the homebirth experience goes, if you look back over the day I was already in pre labour throughout the day. I spent the whole day at home, doing my normal day to day things. I even managed 2 naps during the course of the day. I couldn’t have planned that part better if I had tried. It was exactly as I planned. To be at home and to stay distracted and rested. It helped of course that I didn’t actually know I was in pre labour at that point.
By the time things were moving along, again for the most part everything was as I imagined. I was able to freely move around and do as I pleased in my own environment. Which is one of the reasons I wanted a home birth in the first place.
Obviously things intensified very quickly and although that part didn’t go according to plan (mainly because of lack of midwives and pain relief), it was more or less as I thought it would be.
Ironically of course we barely touched the home birth box and about 80% of the items in there never saw the light of day.
I think I did find the actual birth experience more bearable and manageable because I was at home. Compared to my second labour it was less painful, mainly because I didn’t have the constant back labour which never filled throughout. I wouldn’t say relaxing because it moved quickly but overall the actual birth at home was pretty amazing. If ever I were to experience it again I wouldn’t hesitate to do it at home again.
For me the best thing about it was the after birth. Just to be at home immediately afterwards. To have a hot cup of tea straight after. To use my own bathroom.
Best of all after the midwives had gone and we went up to bed, just to be in my own bed. That was honestly so amazing. I didn’t sleep a wink because of the adrenaline but that didn’t matter I was in my own bed, with my own surroundings. To have help as well on the very first night when my body feels like its been run over. Also the next day I could do everything as I wanted and I didn’t have to wait hours on end to be discharged.
If you are ever considering it I would recommend it. Honestly it was a truly special, amazing experience.
Do you have any questions about home birth, drop me a comment or message and I’ll try and answer as best I can going on my experience?