That’s right – we have decided to go for a home birth. Obviously anything could happen and that might not be possible but it’s what we’re planning for and so I thought I would just share the how’s and why’s of choosing to home birth.
Some people just don’t get it and all they see is the mess and all the things that could go wrong (my husband has a foot in this camp). I’m trying to remain positive. After three uncomplicated births (one on a bed and two in a birthing pool), using only gas and air, I know I can push a baby out so I don’t see why this birth should be any different. Of course, all births are different and if things do go belly up I’m only 20 minutes (if you put your foot down) from a hospital.
We have hired a birth pool from a company called Mermaid at Heart and it was only £99 (this isn’t an advertisement by the way) for the pool and all the bits and bobs needed to fill and deflate the pool. As I said, Matt wasn’t keen on the whole birth thing but he seems to be coming around to it; especially now we have the pool booked. After all, I will have everything at home I had when I laboured and birthed with Elsie; a pool, gas and air and a midwife. We currently don’t have the pool but it’s due to be delivered this week as I am now 36 weeks pregnant and getting lots of signs labour is on the horizon.
Your midwife, and a lot of people who have had a home birth, will tell you that you shouldn’t have a home birth just to solve child care issues but there is no denying that child care was causing me major anxiety. All my babies have been born during the evening and the thought of leaving Elsie to wake up to someone unfamiliar was making me feel uneasy. No-one except Matt or I know her routine, what she likes and what she doesn’t like, what time she eats, sleeps or anything. In terms of family we only really have Matt’s dad, who isn’t a spring chicken, and Matt’s sister close by. I want to go into labour feeling relaxed about everything, not panicking about all the other kids.
Last year, when I went into labour with Elsie, we had to wait for someone to come and sit with Florence (she was in bed) before we could leave. Elsie’s labour and birth lasted just over an hour and I spent 20 minutes in hospital before delivering her. The rest of the time was spent waiting for family and travelling to the hospital. Had this been during the day I really don’t think we’d have made it in time.
Combining all these facts together has basically led me down the home birth route. I can begin labouring (or delivering if need be) at home whilst Matt is on hand to manage the kids until the reinforcements, in the shape of family and a midwife, arrive and then he can focus his attention on me and the baby. I definitely do not intend on having Matt flitting between me and the kids.
In an ideal world baby will give me some kind of sign she is on her way early evening and I can birth over night whilst the kids sleep through it all but we all know fairy tales aren’t real!
My next job is to pack a home birth box and a bag in case me and/or baby need to be transferred to hospital. It feels like there’s a lot of stuff I need to gather together but actually, there isn’t. I have dark towels for myself once I leave the birth pool, I have a number of soft, clean towels and blankets for baby, I have maternity pads, underwear, a clean night dress and nappies and clothing for baby. I also have a hot water bottle in case baby needs warming up following birth.
I intend to set the birth pool up in our kitchen/family room as it has a hard (wipe clean) floor and is within a few paces of the downstairs toilet. I need to buy a few shower curtains to place on the sofa so the midwife can examine me post birth and also on the floor to make a gangway to the toilet. It’s not pretty after you get out the birth pool and, with Elsie, I had to make my way to the toilet at the hospital to pass the placenta as the sitting position seemed to allow it to pass through easier than kneeling in the pool. I also have a lot of those pads that soak up fluid to sit on post birth.
The thought of being at home following birth is just amazing. Babies usually sleep pretty well after their first feed following birth so I fully intend on making the most of this time and relaxing/resting as much as possible. As lovely as our local birth unit is, it just isn’t comfy to sleep or relax in and you have to pack up and leave at some point. We were awake for around 24 hours with Elsie before getting any sleep – not ideal when you have months of sleepless nights ahead.
The more I think about it the more I wish I’d done it before as the positives seem to out weigh the negatives by a long way. Following Elsie’s birth, assuming she would be my last baby, I was annoyed we didn’t have a home birth as it was all such a rush and panic in the middle of the night.
I’d love to know if you’ve had a home birth and what your experiences were. Also, if you have any tips please do share them in the comments section below.