keri's birth story
I had a slightly more complex route to choosing homebirth as whilst my first baby was a spontaneous and easy birth in an MLU, my second daughter had to be a section at 34 weeks due to antibodies causing her anaemia and her needing a transfusion.
I was therefore under consultant care for this pregnancy, both due to the repeat risk of antibodies affecting the baby, and due to being a VBAC.
Reasonably early in the pregnancy we were sure the antibodies weren’t going to be a factor, so the VBAC was the only concern. However, my consultant was very keen for me to have a medicalised birth with monitoring in the delivery suite, and potentially an early induction.
I contacted the home birth team – initially to discuss whether use of the MLU was an option for me. Tanya helped me understand my options and talked through all of my concerns, and I made the decision that a home birth would be my preferred option.
The home birth team supported me excellently through my pregnancy – especially as I continued to need consultant check ups and was faced with a lot of negativity about my home birth decision. Almost every possible risk factor was raised to try and persuade me out of my homebirth (my age, VBAC, baby size, specific blood tests needed for the baby after birth, post dates, speed of my first labour etc) so Tanya’s support to stand my ground was very much needed.
I attended an appointment with my consultant at 41 weeks, which resulted in a section being booked for 42 weeks – I was concerned my home birth was not going to materialise after all; it was hard to stay positive with a looming deadline and multiple hospital appointments booked to prepare for the section. I booked some reflexology and acupuncture appointments for the coming days and tried to mentally stay in a positive mindset.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, whilst resettling my daughter back to sleep, I started to have more regular Braxton Hicks. I spent a few hours awake, but decided they were tailing off so returned to bed at 4am. A few minutes later I realised they were actually getting more intense and woke my husband to start setting up the pool.
As we were getting things out downstairs I thought my waters had started to trickle, but realised it was actually blood so I rang the midwife – Jodie was on call, who was comfortable it was nothing to be concerned about. We had a bit of a chat about whether it was worth her coming out yet, as I wasn’t feeling any pain, and could talk happily through the tightenings. We decided she would come and check me over as she could always go back home if I wasn’t close to active labour.
My waters went shortly before Jodie arrived at 5:15 – at this point I was still helping set up the pool and comfortable with the tens machine and walking through any discomfort. Within fifteen minutes everything suddenly leapt up a gear.
Jodie was amazing at helping me as my contractions were very frequent, with barely any gaps between, then Tanya arrived at 5:50, and ten minutes later I was feeling a lot of pressure.
They coached and supported me brilliantly as I struggled with the intensity of transition and the speed of contractions that I was experiencing, and then helped me into the pool. My daughter was born minutes later, at 6:05, within 3 pushes. We spent a magical hour in the pool with my eldest daughters there, fascinated by their new sister.
I had felt doubts about my homebirth decision at times during my pregnancy, especially when faced with so many people who only talked about the risks, and with strong opposition to my choice voiced regularly by my consultant.
I am so very glad that I trusted my instincts, and that I had the support of Tanya to make this experience possible for us as a family.
There is something amazingly special about bringing a baby into the world within the safety and familiarity of your own house, with the support of midwives you know and trust, and to be able to get comfortable in your own bed once it’s all over.
I can’t thank the Home birth team enough as this will be an experience we treasure forever as a family, and without Tanya this birth would have happened in a very different environment.
*birth story kindly shared with consent*