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My perfect homebirth

I was always wanting to hear home birth stories and experiences / reasons why people decide on them..... so hear is mine successful experience........

Deciding on a homebirth

After a traumatic and very medical delivery with Elsie I was anxious about labour this time around. I knew I wanted a waterbirth and with as little intervention as possible, but with the LGI being so busy, and filming OBEM, the possibility of a calm waterbirth in hospital was slim. I've always thought the idea of a homebirth was lovely but far too risky and I would never put myself or my baby unnecessarily at risk. However after reading an article in an NCT magazine decided to ask the midwife about it who recommended we attend a homebirth evening at the LGI. Andy was totally against the idea of a homebirth as he said it was dangerous and weird. But he wasn't giving birth, I was. So before it was ruled out completely we went along. It was a great evening and we discovered that it was actually really safe. You are only considered a good candidate for a homebirth if your pregnancy is considered -low risk' at the very end; otherwise a hospital birth is recommended. From very early in labour a midwife comes to your house to see if you are in active labour and how far you have progressed. She can call for entinox and gets a second midwife once you are in active labour (>3cm). Both mum and baby's vitals are taken every 15 minutes and if at any point there is a change in temperature, bp, heart rate etc you are taken straight to hospital - even if there is no real reason for concern. They take no risks whatsoever. Because both midwives are so vigilant the likelihood of a genuine emergency occurring is very very small. You can have gas and air, as well as pethidine administered at home if you need it and a guaranteed birth pool.

This year the Leeds labour wards have been closed numerous times and labouring women diverted to hospitals as far away as Grimsby. In addition, this year 3 of my friends were encouraged to stay at home as long as possible during their labour (due to the wards being busy) which ultimately resulted in them having their babies at home with no medical professional - VERY DANGEROUS!! Both Andy and I decided that the best option for us would be to plan a homebirth and see what happened. We'd have a midwife (more importantly I'd have the drugs!) from the beginning, we could get a birth pool to guarantee me labouring in one, then see what happened; being open minded about transferring into hospital if I felt unsafe or that I wasn't coping.

We decided to keep this decision from most people as homebirths are often considered dangerous and people are often too quick to give their uneducated opinion. We had looked into homebirths a lot and had made an educated decision supported by health professionals.

Birth Story

Sunday 4th September 2011

My due date came and passed and I was getting very impatient. After trying everything imaginable to bring labour on I started to have irregular contractions on Sunday 4th September. I was trying to speed things up by walking etc but in true fashion Elsie got sand in her eye whilst playing in her sandpit. She was hysterical and inconsolable so after 2 hours we decided to take her to the 24 hour Doctors. Of course they referred us to A&E which was obviously heaving and had a 4 hour wait to see a Doctor. I refused to leave Elsie so distressed so sat there in a cramped A&E contracting!!! And no, even though they knew I was in labour they would not see us any quicker!!! Sand removed and home by 11pm. The adrenaline must have kicked in as by the time we'd got home the contractions had stopped! Grrrrrrr.

Monday 5th September 2011

I woke up early and the contractions had definitely returned; though neither painful nor regular. We called the midwife anyway and decided to send Elsie to the childminders. The midwife arrived at 8.30am. I was 3cm dilated but she didn't think that things were truly progressing. Whilst Andy was taking Elsie to the childminder the midwife decided that she would leave once he returned as clearly the baby was a way off yet. However, by the time Andy got back at 9am my contractions felt really painful and I was begging the midwife to stay and let me have the gas and air! She said it was far too early and another midwife was just stopping by to check things over before they left. I was thinking to myself that if this wasn't -real' labour I definitely needed to go into hospital for the epidural!!! The 2nd midwife arrived shortly after 9am and I pleaded for another examination as I knew it wasn't just my pain threshold.... And I wasright; 6cm!!! The midwives started to panic that things were going quicker than anticipated and let me have the entinox! Andy then had a race on his hands filling up the 650 litre birth pool to 37oC!!! So I sat and waited on my old duvet with plastic sheet until everything and everyone was ready!! By 10.30 the midwife advised that I get in the pool if I wanted a waterbirth and as soon as I got in the warm water made the pain so much more bearable. The soft inflatable floor and sides of the pool were really comfy too and the atmosphere was so relaxed. I felt really happy just sat in the front room and really looked after. I had a midwife and Andy holding each of my hands looking after me and another midwife monitoring and watching for the baby. Just before 11am I casually said -I'm going to push the baby out now'. My first push broke my waters at 10.58am; the following 2 pushes delivered the body and head! Florence Rose McArthur was born at 11.05am. I lifted her up out of the water and gave her cuddles. Weirdly the water wasn't disgusting at all!!! No mess!! I got out, delivered the placenta, fed Flo and got stitched. The midwives cleared all the mess up and took it away. Andy put the reversible hose in the pool and put it away and we sat and had lunch! The midwives left and everything was normal again, but with a new addition! We phoned family and friends that afternoon and had a few hours peace. Elsie came home after a good day out with the childminder all excited to see her baby sister. We put the girls to bed, had a dominoes pizza and went to bed ourselves! Everything was so relaxed and felt completely normal. Things couldn't have been more perfect and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I honestly enjoyed labour this time around and wouldn't hesitate doing it again.

Having a homebirth enabled us to truly enjoy the experience in a relaxed environment. I felt so looked after and in very safe hands. The midwives just let me get on with it and do as I pleased; I could eat and drink what and when I wanted, sit where or how I wanted; they encouraged an active labour and stayed with me constantly. This was a very different experience to having Elsie where I was encouraged to lie on the bed attached to a monitor (unnecessarily as my labour was progressing fine - they were just very busy and it was easier to labour me that way) and take pain relief (diamorphine etc). I believe that the medical intervention slowed my labour with Elsie, whereas this time being so relaxed and confident that I was being looked after helped me to progress quicker with no additional pain relief than gas and air and water. It was so chilled after Flo was born also; it just felt like a normal day. Elsie was so at ease with Flo's arrival as it was a normal day for her going to the childminder's, the only difference being that there was a baby in the basket in the corner when she came home. No visits to the hospital or being away from us or her house; she went to bed in her own bed as normal that night. She has taken to Flo brilliantly and I think that having her at home has really helped that. It was really easy to just get up and get on as normal for all of us - just slightly more tired!

We have been so lucky and blessed to have another lovely daughter and her arrival into the world couldn't have been more perfect image


  • Hi Hun,

    What an amazing story! Do you live in Leeds? Do you have the details of where you went for the home birth seminar as I would love to go!

    I live in Pontefract and have booked in for a home birth, I'm only 32 weeks bit so excited already!

    I hadn't thought of a water birth but now you have me thinking! Where did you get your pool from? Was it expensive? Did you buy it new or second hand?

    Congratulations on your baby girl, love her name too!


  • Hi becky I remember you from DIS??? Is that right??

    The home birth talk is the first Wednesday of every month at St James' in the Bexley wing. Ask at reception and they point you tell you where to go. It starts at 7.30pm but phone your midwife to double check. The next is on November 2nd. The home birth team are very good in the Leeds area so you'd be in good hands!!

    I got my birthpool in a box from ebay. It was brand new used and unboxed, but we paid a lot for it still. The 'birth pool in a box' pools are very highly recommended by the midwife team here and by many other sites. We are actually about to sell ours. I am putting it on ebay this weekend - I will put up an additional thread with the details if you are interested x
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