I finally got around to watching the Home Delivery programme that was on ITV the other night and I have to say that it was so nice to see such a balanced view of home birth on tv for once. (I think it is still available on ITV Player if you missed it. Well worth a watch!) It brought back so many lovely memories of my own home birth five years ago though.
When I had my first baby almost fifteen years ago, I don’t think that a home birth was even given to me as an option. It’s amazing how much attitudes have changed in such a relatively short time. To be honest though I don’t think that it even occurred to me that I could have him at home, it just wasn’t the done thing. Besides which, I ended up being terribly overdue and had to be admitted into hospital to be induced so I wouldn’t have been able to go down that route anyway.
My second baby was born just fourteen months later and again, I didn’t consider a home birth. My labour progressed stupidly fast and I was taken to hospital in an ambulance with a paramedic who was too busy talking to Mr Mostly about golf to realise that I was about to give birth there and then. After a forty minute labour, I ended up giving birth in the lift of the hospital which was traumatic to say the least.
It was almost seven years before my third baby came along and I had an amazing community midwife during my pregnancy who happened to be my first and only male midwife too! He was really pro home birth, especially given my previous history of having stupidly fast labours but Mr Mostly wasn’t quite as keen and I had to respect that. There was no way that I could have a home birth without his support. I ended up having yet another soap opera worthy labour though that saw us being locked out of the hospital in the middle of the night and if it hadn’t been for a patient sneaking outside for a cigarette and letting us in, I would have ended up giving birth right there in the car park. Lovely.
So when I was preparing to have my fourth baby, there was no question that I wanted to have her at home if I could. My previous labours had been terrifyingly fast but without any real complications. The trauma of being moved when I was so far into labour was not an experience that I wanted to repeat so in many ways, it seemed more risky to me to have her in hospital than it did to have a planned home birth. It wasn’t a decision that I took lightly but it felt like such a relief to take positive control of how my baby would come into the world. Of course, these things can never be planned and I think the best way to approach giving birth is with a very open mind as things can literally change in a heartbeat. I think having a fixed plan in mind can only lead to disappointment as these things are never quite that simple unfortunately. I have to say though that luckily for me, it couldn’t have been more perfect in the end.
True to form, my fourth baby was born very quickly. My labour started in the middle of the night and I didn’t waste any time in calling for the NHS midwives who soon arrived. It was all very calm and I felt so relaxed being in my own home. It is amazing what a difference this made. I know that the midwives examined me when they first arrived but other than that, I don’t really remember much about their presence as they pretty much left me to it. Or at least made it feel that way. They actually commented afterwards that it was the quietest and calmest birth that they had ever attended! Being able to sink into my own bed within minutes of giving birth was just bliss and my baby happily nursed while the midwives left me and Mr Mostly to enjoy those precious first moments. They slipped downstairs to make us a cup of tea and fill out their paperwork then ran me a bath as they tidied up. There is actually much less mess than you might expect though if I’m being honest. But oh the joy of my own lovely bed, Earl Grey in my favourite cup and saucer and my very own bath!
But best of all, while I had been busy giving birth my other three children were of course fast asleep in their beds across the landing. I will never ever forget that morning when they awoke to the news that their new sister was here. All being there at home together felt like the most natural thing in the whole wide world. The midwives had already gone at this point and so it was just the six of us snuggled up in my bed. That was without doubt the happiest moment of my life.
I know that a home birth isn’t the right choice for everyone and I know that not everyone has such straightforward labours. But for me, it was perfect. Absolutely perfect.