Home Birth Stories…here’s mine!
The thought of a home birth filled me with horror when it was suggested during my first pregnancy. I googled ‘home birth stories’ a few times and decided to opt for a hospital birth. However, following a traumatic 45 minute labour in our local hospital, I was advised to opt for a home birth if I had anymore babies. When a home birth was suggested during my second pregnancy…I didn’t hesitate.
Why I choose to have a home birth…
My hospital experience was terrible! Please don’t freak out if you’re planning a hospital birth as I know loads of people who rave about theirs! Blame a bank -holiday, change-over time baby who decided to arrive in 45 minutes! Anyway, whatever it was it was enough to make me realise that I’d be more relaxed at home! Plus, with the hospital 30 minutes away in the car a home birth kinda seemed like the safest option! I nearly had baby 1 in the car when the midwife sent us home as I ‘wasn’t in labour’…I didn’t want to risk that again! Another big reason I choose a home birth was my toddler, Leo. He would be a few months under two when his ‘bestest brother’ was due to arrive. I was soooo anxious about leaving him home (he was still breastfeeding to sleep and during the night A LOT until I weaned him at 28 months!) He still seemed so tiny and I didn’t want to leave him.
My home birth story…
Having Sebastien at home was magical (as magical as pushing out a nearly 9lb’er can be) It all ran totally smoothly…aside from the fact that the midwife only just made it (as they’d had a record 3 births in 24 hours!)
We’d prepared the spare room a few weeks in advance and decided against a water birth as it seemed a little awkward with a toddler around! I felt really good knowing that I had control over how the room was set up (find out how we got ready for my home birth here!). Every so often I would walk into the room and imagine holding our new baby in my arms.
I went to bed as usual on the evening of the 5th February. I wasn’t expecting much sleep as I was massive and not far off my due date. I started having contractions at around midnight (my bodies weird version of them anyway!) I was uncomfortable and getting in and out of bed a lot. That woke our cosleeping toddler who got really upset that I wasn’t laying next to him. After trying but failing to settle him in bed we decided we’d try a different tactic…we woke him up to play! (a year on and I think he’d sleep through it now!) It worked and he played happily with the new cars I’d bought him in preparation.
When we finalised our plans for a home birth we couldn’t decide where our toddler would be happiest when I went into labour! I’d read home birth stories where the child watched (no thanks!); home birth stories where the partner has the kids (I didn’t want to be on my own!); home birth stories where the children went to someone’s house (getting closer!) and home birth stores where someone came to your house (💙 this). We had a bag packed for him just incase he needed to go anywhere but as it turned out he didn’t. My parents were called and came over to watch him for us. They don’t live far away so it didn’t take long. I paced the kitchen muttering expletives and vowing never to have any more children while Leo played happily in the lounge.
When my contractions started getting really close together I was slightly concerned as the midwife still hadn’t arrived. My husband called for an update and we were advised to go up to hospital if no-one arrived soon. I’m still not entirely sure how that would have happened as we live 20 miles from the hospital! Thankfully the midwife arrived and we went upstairs. Ten minutes later and our baby Sebastién was born!
Apparently, we were unlucky that our designated midwife was at another birth which is why we had to wait for a midwife to get to us from 30 miles away. I actually think we were really lucky as the midwives who came were amazing! I felt so relaxed. When I had my first baby I had no idea what my body was doing. I thought I was in labour but I was told I wasn’t. I wanted to push but was told I was doing out wrong. My home birth experience was the polar opposite! I was relaxed, I was told to listen to my body…the midwife stayed out of it to be honest! She didn’t poke and prod me as they’d done in hospital…she watched me and told me to trust by instincts.
I had a few stitches afterwards which was predicted as I’d torn badly first time round. Then we walked downstairs to introduce Sebastién to his big brother who was still playing happily. We sat on our sofa and cuddled our boys. No cramped hospital beds. No ringing a bell to ask for water. We were home.
Why I’d recommend a home birth…
So, I’m asuming that you’re still here because you’re tempted by a home birth?! Choosing where to give birth is a really personal choice…I don’t want to make that decision for you. What I can do is tell you a few reasons why it worked for us…
- Childcare. If you have other children it can be especially handy to be able to stay at home with them. I was more worried about leaving Leo who was still under 2 years old than I was about actually giving birth. With a home birth, there’s no need for other kids to even leave the house.
- False alarms. No driving to hospital and being told to go home. If you think things are happening a midwife comes out to check you over.
- A home birth felt ‘right’. I’d packed a hospital bag just incase but there was something about having the room laid out ready that just felt good.
- You’re in control. Ok, so I know that no-one’s really ever in control of how that baby’s coming out. But, the fact that a home birth meant that I didnt have to ask and wait for water, painkillers, a bath was awesome. In hospital, I was waiting 30 minutes for a room with a bath and some paracetamol (ha!) by which point I was pretty much ready to push!
- No car journey. Having contractions while sat in the car is horrible! I was so grateful not to have to climb into the car while in pain!
- More relaxed. This is partly due to the amazing midwife I had but also the fact that I was at home. I was pacing in my bedroom not a hospital corridor.
- Carseats! Getting a 12 hour old Leo into the carseat for the first time on a seriously stormy evening with gale force winds and torrential rain was not fun! Sebastien was a few weeks old before he even went out in the car! With a home birth your already home!
- No early hospital checks. Because we elected for a home birth we were visited at home for Sebastien’s first check so there was no dragging ourselves and our newborn to clinic in those early days.
- Really easy to prep. I’ve written more about what you’ll need to do to prepare for a homebirth …but it was super simplesimple!
- Bonding. We don’t have much to compare with as we didn’t have the best experience when Leo was born in hospital (they managed to lock my husband out of the ward for over an hour before he’d even cuddled him!) Having Sebastien at home meant that Daddy and big brother were right there to welcome him! Leo even gave him a toy car…I think he may have been expecting a ready-built play buddy!I
- Five star treatment. Two midwives were assigned to me and they stayed all night. They even cleaned up afterwards!
Our baby boy, Sebastien fed instantly. He laid on me while I had some stitches. Then, I walked downstairs and made the midwives a cup of tea!
With all this said, the most important thing is that mum and baby are safe. So, however you choose to welcome your little one into the world…I wish you the best of luck 😘