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Jack's Birth

Birth story

 So pleased I got my homebirth! Although things seemed to take a turn for the worst at the end (TW: PPH and hospital transfer), I would not change a thing. I can’t honestly imagine a point where going to hospital during my labour would have worked for me and the outcome would have been exactly the same anyway! Sorry, it’s a long one!


NHS EDD: 12.01.2024 (My EDD: 07.01.2024) 

Actual birth date: 05.01.2024 

Known baby boy 

Planned birth: Home Water Birth

Actual birth: Home water birth (just!) Transferred after for 1.5L PPH and retained placenta 

Pain relief: Hypnobirthing/breathing, Comb, TENS, water, gas and air (just!) 

Risks: Previous PPH, GBS+ 


Previous birth  

 My first labour and birth was super straightforward. 9hours from first surge to delivery, progressed smoothly, got to MLU at 6cm and delivered in water with gas and air 3 hours later. Physiological third stage but 800ml PPH and ragged membranes lead to some intervention following delivery. Things messed up after that due to 2nd degree tear and labial laceration which got infected but wasn’t picked up and caused awful pain. My grandad died the day I gave birth and I got stuck in hospital with feeding difficulties. It was during covid so support was very hands off and I only managed to sort out feeding and get help for the infection once I got home. These were all the reasons I wanted to just be at home and stay there this time. I felt no safer in hospital. 


This pregnancy  

 It wasn’t much of a struggle to get my homebirth agreed in this pregnancy, despite the previous PPH and people being a bit itchy about my thyroid problem and ridiculous SFH measures. My PPH last time wasn’t massive, consultant agreed that my thyroid was well managed and any fool could see the measurements were just inaccurate. A growth scan showed 50th percentile and I was happy so decline all other measures. I tested positive for GBS at 35 weeks and was obviously advised to have antibiotics in labour. I wasn’t happy with this considering my homebirth was based on the chance of me labouring quickly again. I spoke with my doula, midwife, a consultant, outpatient matron and paediatrician and my plans and wishes were all taken, put on my notes and agreed to (plans A B and C). Some of this was also considering how much I didn’t want to be on postnatal ward due to my experience last time. My reaction to the thought of being in hospital shocked even me, I was an anxious mess for a few days. They were very apologetic but agreed that if I transferred after birth, I could have a room on labour ward instead if it was available, obviously not making promises they couldn’t keep. I felt well informed, supported and happy with the plans. 


This birth  

 I woke on the 5th at 2am to my toddler screaming and refusing to go back to bed. I couldn’t get down to her level through discomfort so my partner stayed with her and I got back into bed. I felt a surge, bigger than the niggles I’d had before, which came and went. I relaxed into bed and put on some meditations. A few more came and went and seemed to be around 15 minutes apart. I couldn’t sleep through them so just opted for rest instead with affirmations and hypnobirthing tracks in the background. Eventually by around 6am, they spread right out to 40 minutes apart. I texted my doula (and my partner from the other room), to let them know what was happening and that I felt that we MIGHT be on the way. I got up to start the day as normal, washed my hair, had breakfast and went downstairs.

My partner had blitzed the house and set up my birth space so I could watch a film in it. Resting on the sofa and using my birthing ball, I managed to drift off. Although they were still 40 minutes apart, they were getting stronger. When I could no longer get comfortable, I got in the bath with my comb about 3pm. I stayed there for a while with my partner running up and downstairs with hot water as the upstairs tap decided it wasn’t going to run hot any more! I knew this was the real deal at this point as we were now 20 minutes apart but still getting stronger (plus, instinct!). So we arranged childcare for my toddler overnight (she had been at the childminders for an extra day, thankfully). I wanted to see her before she left though, so my partner picked her up. I had prepped her with books and videos that explained birth and she loved them. Turns out, she didn’t make the best doula in the world her version of helping was to splash water in my face mid-contraction and to shout wheeeee! I gave her a cuddle but wasn’t sorry to see her go at this point haha! Before long, it was impossible to get comfortable in the bath. I’d been peeing through every contraction because the pressure on my bladder was insane and this had kept me in the bath for longer. I got out and sat on the toilet and all of a sudden, things ramped up FAST! I called triage at 5.30pm but with shift change coming at 6, she arranged a call back then. I called my doula who listened to a few contractions, timed them and suggested positions for me on the phone. 4 minutes apart!! She was on her way and I was SO relieved! I put on some postnatal inco knickers and accepted pissing in them instead because the toilet wasn’t comfortable. I went downstairs. My doula arrived just before 6 and helped me get comfortable with my pregnancy pillow and TENS machine while my partner filled the pool.

I could see the steam coming off it and it looked amazing. We put on Brooklyn Nine Nine, I got on the sofa and there I stayed for 3 hours! The midwife arrived at 6.30pm and sounded lovely. She looked through my plans and had a chat with me. I’d declined VE’s unless I requested them, she queried my previous PPH and wanted to put a cannula in before I delivered which I declined and we agreed she could monitor baby as required. Sitting with me through a few contractions, I was able to manage them calmly and quietly with breathing and TENS (my doula said I was ridiculously calm).

The midwife called through to labour ward to update them. Then came the offer of a VE, which I declined again. The call she got back from labour ward was taken outside my house… 3 guesses what that conversation was about When she came back in, nothing had changed from the outside. However I was no longer feeling the urge to wee, I was feeling the pressure on my cervix, but I was not prepared to announce this. Another offer of VE came and I explained that I didn’t want to know anything because I felt things were going well. It was clear to everyone that she didn’t believe I was in established labour as that was her justification for wanting to do the VE. Deep down, I knew I was in active labour. I actually thought at this point I was in transition! My doula reminded me it was my choice. I agreed but I didn’t want to know the number, I would know all I needed to know by whether she stayed or left. She requested I lay on my back. That was NOT happening. Every time I rolled onto my back, it was torture. It was like the contractions started and didn’t stop. 3 times I tried and in the end refused to try again. If she wanted the VE it was going to be on my side. She told me I was in established labour and asked if I now wanted to know the number (she seemed surprised and positive, so I agreed!) 5cm! Excellent! A few more animated contractions lead my doula to suggest emptying my bladder. I had been sick twice up to this point and not drank much because of that, but I followed her advice, although I wasn’t getting up the stairs! I peed in a pot on my living room floor with an audience, something I never thought I’d do then it was time to get in the pool.

What. A. Relief. It felt AMAZING! The next contraction, I leaned over the side and with an almighty POP, my waters went and my boys head practically fell through my pelvis. No one believed his head was out (it had been 25 minutes since the VE!). I was able to control it a bit with little pushes but I was begging for the Entonox (fortunately, the midwife was on it!).

She was also trying to get the cannula sorted I think, but I hadn’t agreed to it. 2 more pushes and baby was chilling on the bottom of the pool! I was in shock but trying to let people know he was here. No one was prepared he was passed to me and we chilled in the pool for half an hour just feeding, skin to skin, waiting for the cord to stop. My doula took some more pics and we just took time to drink him in  


Post birth  

 I’d agreed to the injection to hopefully reduce my PPH risk. I was given this when the cord stopped and felt my placenta detach but no contractions. 3 plumes of blood and I was asking my doula “can you still see the floor?” It quickly became “can you still see my legs?” The midwife was now concerned at the lack of placenta and, not wanting to pull the cord hard, asked me to get out of the pool. I warned everyone that this was similar to last time and that I haemorrhaged on the way out of the pool last time. The second midwife had arrived 10 minutes after baby and laid everything out for me to get on the sofa. I laid down, midwife was trying to get the placenta out and it just wasn’t coming, it was just sat behind my cervix. I was bleeding heavily now and, like last time, producing hefty clots (the kind of size that made them question if it was part of my placenta. My doula showed me one and we were both like whoaaaa!). 450mls was weighed and it was still coming fast with no placenta. Time for an ambulance. 6 minutes later, my living room had me, my partner, our new baby, 2 midwives, my doula and no less than 5 paramedics… a little excessive! A few of them suggested putting lights on but there were 2 newer mums also who told them not to to keep me and baby happy I had 3 of them trying (and failing) to get cannulas in my arm, the midwife rubbing my stomach and trying to get my placenta out and my baby trying his hardest to latch again. I was given some iv drugs but it wasn’t helping so I was blue lighted to hospital. The male paramedic who was with me in the ambulance told me that his wife had had a PPH 3 months before and he had struggled to watch but this made me feel in very safe hands. The team at the hospital were incredible. I was put under GA for manual removal of my placenta. He also stitched the labial laceration but yay for no perineal trauma this time! The midwife brought the colostrum I’d harvested from my freezer to give to baby while I was under. They had all been made aware of my wishes to be kept off postnatal ward too and made sure I stayed on labour ward. Baby had his obs for GBS while we were there too and was perfectly fine. With a bit of self advocacy on the breastfeeding front, I was home that evening Baby is breastfeeding well now, I’m recovering well and we have these gorgeous photos to remember the gorgeous birth.

Thanks for sharing your incredible birth journey with me, it was an honour to be in your space and on your team!

Welcome to the world baby Jack! 2024 is off to a beautiful start!

Birth story by Sally-Ann

Photo credited to myself Mama Magic

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