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My 2nd birth but first home birth Journey.

My birth story, 2nd baby, 1st born @ home - Annabelle 2011

Let me start by saying this birth was beautiful and empowering. It changed me and filled me with pride and confidence. It may not be the best birth story you have read and doesn't seem positive to everyone, but for me it was and this is my story.

I'm also not very good at writing, my spelling and such isn't very good. I promise I'm much better at being a doula than my English skills!

So back in 2011, full of fear and worry and stress and a huge dislike of hospitals and birth I decided I am having another baby and I'm just staying at home. No Hospital, I didn't even really want to think about how this baby was going to get out, just one day at a time get through pregnancy then worry about that when it happens. I was driven with fear and stubbornness and just the want for another baby.

So this time, I still accepted the tests and scans and did as I was told, but was a little more stubborn about it, sadly I didn't really do that much in terms of education around what I could and couldn't have. I felt things had to be done and I had to be good then I could stay at home as I said I was a different person back then. I did decline GBS testing, but still spent many hours and tears in hospital for bloods, bp checks, scans, glucose testing and monitoring when my BP was not behaving.

I was nearly 42 weeks when my little girl entered the world at home. I was booked in for induction the day she was born, id done everything, all old wives tales all the sweeps and walking, dancing, pineapple, sex, eaten curry, changed the beds, put my best knickers on, bumpy road, clary sage by the bath full. I was also taking raspberry leaf tea at the highest dose and then some. This baby wasn't going to come out EVER, i cried, I laughed and gave up on my home birth dream.

During this time and from I think 36 weeks I was questioned, when are you due?, haven't you had that baby yet?, why haven't you gone to section?, aren't you being unsafe?, a healthy baby is all that matters, think about the stress you're putting on your husband. I can say it was funny when the check out staff would say ahhh are you having twins, and when are you due and you could say no just one I think and 2 weeks ago , their faces would drop and reply with and you're out the house! This was an added stress to me. No one else thought I would birth this baby either.

My growth scans had also given me something to worry about, I was carrying a large baby, how would I birth that! I struggled with the pain of my first birth and expected this to be the same, It wasn't at all.

That night after watching pineapple express and having a lovely evening with my husband I just couldn't settle. Could have been a number of reasons or that it was just time.

I spent the night cleaning, rocking, having a bath , and breathing. I had done some hypnobirthing this time around and the skills I had been practicing all just seem to start happening. My hubby came down to go to work and luckily spotted me on the phone to labour ward ( with a list of timings in front of me) who had told me I wasn't in labour twice and that a bath and paracetamol was all that was needed. I was lucky to have had the same midwife for most appointments and the continuity that provided had a huge impact on me, she was about to go off call, nope I need her she can come, she can tell me I'm not in labour and send me in for the induction. I just knew she was who I needed to see. The midwife arrived and did a VE. I'm not sure how dilated I was but I had a few hours to go let's get the pool up. The 2nd midwife was called but advised no rush. My hubby started pumping up the pool by the foot pump. I felt like I needed a poo I was bent over the sofa on the floor rocking. I couldn't move. My little boy was asleep upstairs and my dad was rung and came to get him. As Soon as he was out of the house I could roar I just let go and become vocal the midwife asked if I was pushing to which I replied noooooo with a roar, I just couldn't control this urge, my water popped and sadly MEC was seen so my husband had to stop what he was doing( the pool wasn't going to be ready anyway) and call 999. This bit was a blur I had some gas and I do remember turning onto my back and being told to push that baby out NOW. Which I did and had a strange out of body experience, either the gas or the pain, I did tear badly on the other side to my scar tissue from last time just from the pure force she came out and the fast labour and birth. She was born a little fast she flew out sunny side up. I couldn't believe it i had done it! Yes it was painful at the end but it was me all on my own i felt amazing! I had done a thing! A real thing, i was a goddess I did it! Born at home on the dinning room floor, the huge weight of 7lb 14oz 7.40am at 13 days past her due date.

My little girl was checked and advised needed to be monitored for 48 hours in

hospital but the midwife knew I wouldn't accept that. That I wanted to stay at home. She was correct.

I had decided to formula feed her as I just didn't want anything to go wrong like it did last time, I also didn't know anything much about breastfeeding. Again I didn't educate myself or really get offered it I just focused on the birth. She was difficult to feed for the first few days and sick with a lot of very nasty coloured vomit but once that all cleared and we could bathe her she was healthy and well.

As a mum I definitely have regrets and things I would change if I went back, but I also find that's not helpful, that is what happened, that's our journey.

She was a happy, content baby, who didn't really sleep much ( this is also sadly a trait of my kids) but she didn't have colic, she learnt skills fast and her brother loved her. I did get some down days but I did enjoy her, I wasn't crying all the time, or having nightmares.

Now she is 10! And has a fabulous king personally, she's a lovely young lady and makes me very proud.

I will be forever grateful to the midwife Dawn who showed me the way and supported my choices. My friends who listened and supported me and my husband for saying yeah hospital was Shhhhhhhocking let's just stay home.

The best thing I ever did was to birth my baby at home, it made me realise what support is needed and how normal birth can be.

So following this myself and my lovely friend set up the home birth support group Northwich to give people a safe space and chat and share home birth stories.

"Continuity of carer is being rolled out throughout England in 2018. Local maternity systems and maternity providers are considering ways of implementing continuity of carer over the next three years." Nhs England.

Being a doula allows me to provide continuity something which both midwives and families are asking for and have been for a long time now.

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