Jenny's story - Nell's birth in water and a great 'birth wishes' letter for midwives

Monday evening 10.30pm I felt a pop in my groin. With my first birth I can’t remember my waters breaking so didn’t know the I you do! I had had lots of Braxton Hicks for two weeks so I thought she’d be early.

Luckily my husband suggested we get the pool pumped up and start filling. Within about 5 mins of waters breaking I had a contraction so I got my lavender pillow. I found it really helpful the first time. It's like a soother that helps me focus my breath. I turned the lights off in the room and got my bolster and snuggled in to bed.

The midwife came within 30 mins. She was the one who had done every appointment so knew my birth plan really well. It's how it should be really, as that made me feel safe and secure. She checked the baby very discreetly and whispered ‘ all you need to know is that you are in labour and baby is doing exactly what she is meant to do.’

And then she left me to it. The contractions built quickly (a lot quicker than last time) and more intensely and within an hour I needed the pool. I didn’t see the midwife until that point to bring me down to the pool but she had come in to check baby (without saying a word). The second midwife was in the kitchen as I came down and was all very quiet.

My lovely husband had made the lounge so tranquil with some candles and a lavender oil lamp. He had a cold flannel waiting which I loved and used it a lot. Within around 10 minutes I felt the urge to push. I doubted my self. It seemed too soon to be pushing but the midwife simply said “ go with your body” so I did. I lost my breathing at this point so she stepped in and said “ just stop..breathe..and remember how to push” within two contractions baby was out and midwife said “Grab your baby” as I had put in my plan that I wanted to be the first one to hold Nell. I had no tears, grazes or bleeding. Everything was completely in tact and I put that down to the privacy I was given - I was completely undisturbed so there was no tension. My body could completely relax into the sensation without resistance. I'm so grateful to my midwives for respecting that, as it was exactly the same with my first birth. 

I had delayed clamping and some skin to skin in the pool before relaxing on the sofa next to the pool. The midwife suggested I go to the toilet to deliver the placenta naturally (which took about a minute on the toilet) and then we spent the next couple of hours feeding Nell,making sure she and I were ok. 

I had a lot of anxiety before the labour because my last labour at home and was so lovely. I'd had a doula but this time she wasn't available. She said it would be fine, that my body would know exactly what to do, just as it had the first time - and she was right.

The Milton Keynes Home Birth team were absolutely fantastic,especially Laura - a wonderful midwife and someone who focuses 100% on your wishes. They said they really liked my birth plan so I've attached it here, in case it's of use to anyone.

Dear Midwives

My plan is to stay at home to give birth. I'm very glad to have you alongside supporting me - please make yourself comfortable and at home. 

My birth partner is my husband. He'll make you a space to write your notes on the kitchen table and do ask him for a cup of tea if you fancy one! We don't have shoes on in the house, so would really appreciate if anyone coming in could take shoes off. 

I would like the kitchen to be the base for any discussions, or writing of notes. I only want one person checking in on me at a time so when the second midwife arrives, I'd really appreciate if she could keep a low profile until the baby arrives. Even then, I want the atmosphere to stay exactly the same as for the labour itself - dark if it's nighttime, or low lit if it's day...and very very quiet and calm so that I can meet my baby and take her in. I'd be really grateful if anyone coming into the room could be sensitive to that. 

I had a wonderful, straightforward birth with my first child, and would like the exact same care and environment to give me the best chance of having a positive experience again.

I would like lots of peace and quiet and as much privacy as possible. If at any point I become unsure or unsettled, a word of encouragement would be very welcome or a suggestion of how to get more comfortable. 

Overall I'm confident in my body's ability to give birth and how to cope and my husband knows what to do to keep me feeling good. Even so, your presence and support will be very reassuring.

I understand that you need to do intermittent checks, and by all means carry these out without feeling you need to ask my permission ie blood pressure, foetal heart check.

I don't want any vaginal examinations (unless there is obviously no progress or a medical decision needs making). If you are unsure as to where I am, by all means ask if I'm feeling change - that was the best measure last time. 

I definitely don't want any updates as regards time or progress or how or when to push. I especially want total quiet at the point of delivery as well as minimal observation. I appreciate that you have to keep an eye on the baby's emergence, but I absolutely do not want a torch flashlight and mirror used with every single contraction or to be told when you can see the head.

Please go my body and sounds to assess where I am, and when you do need to look can you be as unobtrusive as possible. When my baby is born, I'd prefer to find her myself (eg if she is between my legs) so please don't pick her up and pass her to me. If I'm in water, I'd prefer to pick her up and take her onto my chest myself, but understand if you need to do that for me. I would like delayed cord clamping. 

Thankyou for your support. I really appreciate it.