Karen's story

My daughter Olivia Rose was born at home as planned.  From the very beginning I knew I wanted a homebirth.  I knew that would be where I would feel most comfortable and in control. I wanted it to be as peaceful as possible, no interventions, no unnecessary examinations and no time pressure. I prepared by keeping fit and active and using the Gentlebirth app throughout my pregnancy.   

At 37 weeks pregnant, at approximately 7pm on Thursday June 30th 2016, my waters broke at my pregnancy yoga class.  It started with a trickle during some poses and positions, gushing when I got to the toilet. I left the class half way through without saying anything, left my payment on the stairs and began the 25 minute walk home. On the way, I called my sister.  She is always my first port of call! I told her what happened, somewhat bemused, she suggested it would be a good idea to call my midwife, Dan.  I called him next.

His enthusiasm was infectious and I started to get excited knowing I would hold my baby soon and enjoyed some giddiness about the situation on the drive home when John collected me.  Practical me kicked in when I got home though and we spent the next few hours washing baby clothes and building a crib.  At 37 weeks and still to formally finish up work for maternity leave, we had nothing prepared in the house.  No crib assembled, no baby clothes cleaned.  So we spent the next few hours getting some jobs done. Then we both went to bed. 

I tried to sleep, to no avail.  John slept like a log! As I felt  surges intensifying, I woke John at about 3am who then called Dan who arrived at 0445. 

For the next few hours I managed by resting and changing positions, standing, leaning and lying. My second midwife Liz arrived at 0715.  She walked my dog as I was concerned he might be upset and this was distracting me somewhat. She also went to the local pharmacy to get me a tens machine which she showed me how to use to help manage the surges.  At 10am while side-lying, I felt involuntary bearing down and felt I urgently needed to get up from the bed.  Liz and John assisted me to do so. Surges then got further apart.  Dan told me this was the “Rest and be Thankful Stage”. I knelt for a while leaning on a yoga ball.  I stood up again, leaning against the bed. With the next surge my baby’s head was born and at 1055, July 1st 2016, I birthed my daughter, who, two days later, would be named Olivia Rose.

I was assisted to the floor where I had skin to skin with my daughter and then helped to the bed where we were assisted with successfully initiating breastfeeding. It was over two hours before the placenta was delivered, eventually with the help of a homeopathic remedy Liz had. 

Our midwives cleaned up, I showered and all the necessary checks and examinations were done. 
Dan and Liz left us early afternoon, calm and content tucked up in bed at home.  We had a very cosy first evening together, the three of us.  John and I enjoyed an Indian takeaway and for me, a much missed for ~10 months, glass of red wine!

For me, planning a homebirth helped with the enjoyment of my pregnancy and to be excited about the birth, not anxious or scared, I had faith in my body.  Knowing I would be in the most comfortable environment i could be for myself, I expected that I would handle labour well, I had confidence in myself.  My midwives were wonderful, calm professionals.  We had built up a relationship with Dan having had all our antenatal appointments with him in our own home, when he arrived in the early hours of Friday morning it was like having a friend or supportive, confident family member with us. 

I literally have a picture of Liz in my head with a soft glowing aura surrounding her, emitting pure strength and peace. I definitely drew that from her during different stages. 

I am now expecting my second child in July and there is no question that home is were I want to be when the day comes.