The Birth of “N”.

I had the pleasure of working with K and P during their pregnancy with their first child, and they have kindly shared their wonderful home birth story with us. They completed a Hypnobirthing course near Newbury with me, and went on to have an incredible birth of their first baby.

 It is a beautiful read, thank you both for sharing. 

The beginning of N’s birth story starts with Sophie and Stable Yoga with the pregnancy yoga class I attended from 13weeks. From the start of the first class, Sophie spoke about the empowerment of women during pregnancy and labour (and beyond) including the physiological aspects of birth. It sounds so obvious, but it was an approach which didn’t focus on the expectation of pain, medicalisation and women on their backs in stirrups labouring, but instead about hormones, the women’s body during labour and the birth environment.

From here, I was guided further towards the notion of Hypnobirthing and was connected with Daisy, Calm Arrivals and organised a hypnobirthing course for February. In the meantime, listening to positive birth stories, podcasts and learning more from Sophie each week, I began to speak with my partner P about the possibility of a home birth. At this point, we were due to be completing on our house in February 2022 and were hoping to avoid delays as we were ‘due’ 13th May.

My pregnancy up until January had seen a number of different community midwives, until I asked to be put in touch with the home birth team. I received a call from the head of the homebirth team, who agreed to speak with P and myself to answer any questions about home birth. At this point, P was dubious, perhaps conditioned as many of us are into thinking that home births are risky and lack the medical intervention we are so used to seeing, with the main question – what happens if something goes wrong. This is where P’s mindset started to change and mine was reinforced, where Lorraine, my midwife, advised that I had a low risk pregnancy and therefore there was no reason for anything to go wrong. During this conversation, P was reassured, I was further assured and we agreed to go forward with the home birth, knowing we could change at any point.

Come February, we had an incredible, eye opening, one to one Hypnobirthing course with Daisy, where P came away feeling as though he had a role in the birth and I felt as though I wasn’t doing it alone. We learnt about the physiological aspects of birth, relaxation and breathing techniques and committed to practising these techniques including listening to affirmations and relaxations, every night for the rest of our pregnancy. As soon as we got home, we put positive birth affirmations all over the house and each evening before bed, every night until the birth, we practised relaxation techniques and breathing.

By the time 38 weeks + 6 came, babe was fully formed, we had moved and settled into our family home, and on that day I finished work and started maternity leave. I was fully prepared for the baby to be ‘late’, felt ready and educated about induction and the conversations I would have to encounter in order to continue naturally without intervention. The weekend prior I had been running around driving to Windsor and then to the Cotswolds to meet friends, and I felt nowhere near slowing down!

Tuesday 10th May (39+4) I spent the day with my Mum who came over and did some weeding whilst I sat on the front step in the sunshine. It was a relaxed day and my bump had changed; I seemed to have a bit of a shelf. I thought nothing of this at the time and my Mum, though she noticed, didn’t say anything.

9pm came and as usual I couldn’t stay up any later so P and I retired to bed after watching an episode of Fleabag (using humour to keep our oxytocin levels high!). After some hours of trying to get comfortable, having finally got to sleep I woke almost bang on midnight for a wee. I got out of bed to go to the loo and started peeing as I was walking – great, the highs of pregnancy! Until I got to the toilet and noticed the slight sheen of the waters on the bathroom floor. My waters. I then proceeded to actually pee (in the loo) which is when I realised what had happened.

I had a moment looking at myself in the bathroom mirror for what felt like forever, feeling unprepared having expected to carry until 42 weeks and feeling nervous for this new life and birth. I took a few deep breaths as Daisy had taught me and decided, I was ready to do this.

Back in the bedroom, I whispered to P to wake him, ‘my waters have broken!’. I think we were both nervously excited, I started trying to get me and the house ‘ready’ and P called the homebirth team. We were seen by a lovely midwife who came out at around 1am when we then had the dawning realisation that this wasn’t labour and I basically had 24 hours to go into spontaneous labour before i’d need to go to the hospital to be induced. No home birth for me.

My thoughts honed in on the induction and I started to panic as this really wasn’t what I wanted. P calmed me down and said we’d go back to sleep then have the day watching funny films, nice walks and relaxing to get my oxytocin going. I begrudgingly got back into bed, convinced I wouldn’t sleep when I then started to feel some twinges at about 1.30am.

The twinges slowly became more like period pains and more rhythmic. I kept saying to P that I didn’t want to jinx it but it soon became apparent that my surges had started. Turns out the worries about induction were completely unnecessary!

I decided to stay on the bed, I’d heard about women sleeping through their early labour and thought I could do that too, maybe watch a film a little later on, but that wasn’t going to happen.

By 3am P was downstairs blowing up the pool having run me a bath and left me upstairs. I’d tried the tens machine and just found it felt like rattling in my hips so asked for it off almost as soon as it was on. P was worrying about waking the neighbours whilst I was busy trying to style out the surges. Being back on the bed absolutely wasn’t working, I almost immediately couldn’t be on my back and it was too low to lean on/over.

I made my way downstairs where the pool was up and the fairy lights were on. I still remember the distinct smell of rubber from the pool in the room, combined with the essential oils humidifier, this was my mini paradise. Whilst the surges were ramping up, I had found my way in front of the living room window, girating on my pregnancy ball, breathing as Daisy showed us with my Hypnobirthing playlist on – and sunglasses on! I wanted it as dark as possible, even in the middle of the night with only fairy lights on and thankfully our blackout curtains allowed for this for the remainder of the day.


first time mum homebirth

P was amazing, having blown up the pool, he was running between filling it up (with our old school non-combi boiler!) and me, timing the surges.

I’m still not sure how many times he rang the homebirth team, he kept the calls private and went out to the kitchen each time to leave me in my zone. I later learned that he spoke to the midwife (who I now know to be Donna) who was at the birth of another woman who was screaming in the background. Donna was pretty adamant I would be continuing like this for a long time and they wouldn’t be sending anyone out for a while, particularly as there wasn’t much noise coming from me in the background. We had to look out for 4 surges in 10, over 1 min long which I very quickly began having.

P had perfected the pool and I almost jumped in there I was so relieved to be able to go in. I just stripped off and found a new relief here, surrounded by starry lights with my music playing, just breathing through the surges. I didn’t stop moving once and found the only way through was with movement. I didn’t want to talk or be touched, but I just went inward and focused on my breath. Even Daisy’s audios were too much speech,

I just needed instrumental music and my breath.

By 10am I think P was begging someone to come out. We were well into 60second surges, 4 times in 10 mins, but he stayed so calm with me. He’s since told me that the app he was using to track the surges was screaming at him to get me to hospital as I had progressed so much but he finally got through to someone in the home birth team who sent someone.

Just before her shift started at 11am, in walked my purple headed power midwife – Lorraine. I’ve never been so happy to see her. The hours until this point to be honest were a bit of a blur and they continue to be from here on. I know she was shocked to see me in the pool already and I think from watching me for a short while she realised I really was progressing and she wasn’t going to leave as she might have thought. She respected my wishes for no vaginal examinations but shortly said she would be calling for another midwife to come – a sign that she thought things were progressing into the active stage of labour.

She was amazing with me but barked orders at P, secretly I think he was glad for this as it meant someone else was here taking control and he wouldnt have to deliver our baby! He was ace at constantly bringing me water – I was so thirsty – and trying to feed me smoothies and bits of chocolate for energy.

P kept the pool to the right temperature with a lot of running around and kept the communication with Lorraine away from me so I could concentrate on breathing. I must admit I was gutted when I learnt Lorraine didn’t have the gas and air as I was getting to the point that I needed a little more distraction as I was loosing my breath and beginning to pant a little more. Lorraine asked if I wanted an examination to see how I was doing which I accepted. My whole thing about not having a vaginal examination was about choice and being able to say no. At that point in time it was right for me to accept it and I was 9 cm! Lorraine was right in getting the second midwife to come and I hadn’t had any doubt in my mind about where I was. If anything I did the examination to prove a point as I knew my body was nearing the stage to birth our child! Lorraine gave me a fantastic massage on my lower back whilst I was on all fours on our front room floor, naked. It’s true what they say about all inhibitions going out the door. P carried on the massage and the pressure on my lower back as Lorraine greeted the midwife who had just arrived. The gas and air which came with her, gave me a new high and a rhythmic sound of the gas canister to work with for my breathing, which I took back over to the pool with me.

Looking back, in my mind I had the turning point Daisy spoke about, the doubts about not being able to continue with the labour!

I then, consciously realised what was happening, realised that this was my bodies way of preparing for the final stage of labour and decided to voice my fears to P, Lorraine and the other midwife. They gave me words of encouragement and I found my breath again with the gas and air, which for me, was certainly putting me on a bit of a cloud.

For a while I had been feeling the urge to poop. I told Lorraine again about needing to poo, and before even telling her, knew what this would mean. Like the moment in the mirror I had been almost clenching, holding off the urge to push as I just didn’t know I was ready yet. But once I’d voiced this, Lorraine said to just go with my bodies urges and so I did, I was ready.

P was always around, not crowding my space, but there when I needed, forever keeping the water the right temperature and keeping me hydrated, though by this point I must have drunk 3 litres without a wee! I was still moving, the secondary midwife kept doing checks on me and the baby and I just kept moving the whole time.

Gradually I started the process of pushing, it wasn’t so funny at the time but Lorraine was very disappointed that we didn’t have a mirror for the pool (the rental hadn’t come with one) so P grabbed the one from our dressing table. It’s certainly got a different meaning to it now! Lorraine was amazing at giving me positions to try pushing in, I was mainly squatting whilst bouncing holding on to the sides of the pool. The midwives suggested I come off the gas and air at this point so I could focus, however I could slowly feel myself running out of energy and my surges began to reflect this. They were starting to grow further apart and not be as strong.

Lorraine took the initiative to suggest a different pose with my leg up on the step in the pool in a side squat with a little bouncing. Gradually this got things moving. With one push the babies head was out and I was given the chance to feel the hair on their head (or little hair like Daddys as Lorraine remarked!) and with a second push came the rest of their body.

It was like time stood still

I just saw this babies body, floating so peacefully to the surface of the pool from my body. It turns out the cord was wrapped around their head, so the majestic first cries didn’t happen but I was still in so much shock I hadn’t come to terms with that. By the time my brain caught up with my body, Lorraine had ruffled them around and put them on my chest with a towel over us still in the pool. P cradled us from behind and we didn’t care what gender they were, as with the whole of our pregnancy, we just knew they were here safe and they were crying loudly. Our little girl, born at 2.58pm on May 11th.

The next bits that followed weren’t so majestic, but I made sure to ensure delayed cord clamping and over the next hour she stayed on my chest whilst we tried to breastfeed. She eventually got weighed and had more skin to skin with Daddy whilst I took a break to naturally deliver the placenta – I declined the injection. With one push in a squatting position over a bowl on our compost bin, I birthed my babies lifeline on our living room floor.

We struggled with breast feeding but persevered until she was latched, and thankfully checks showed I only had a 1st degree tear without a need for stitching and N was happy, healthy and a bonny 8lb 13.

Due to my high pulse we ended up being transferred to hospital for the night and that experience showed me that having a hypnobirth at home was truly the right thing to do. In hindsight I wish I’d had a little more fortitude to decline going to hospital as I knew I was ok and my body was just running on adrenaline, but we made use of the stay to get help with breastfeeding.

Months on, I still stand holding N by our dining table where I birthed her, so amazed that we worked together, the three of us. Our work to get her positioning right in the lead up to her birth, her amazing efforts and turning when she needed to, and my breath and majority of the time calmness supported by P on that day and the practice of relaxation for the months before which hopefully passed to her, giving her a gentle arrival to the world. I feel so proud and in love with our daughter.

Congratulations to K and P on their beautiful homebirth, and the arrival of baby N. 

hypnobirthing teacher Daisy sitting on sofa

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