Having just done an interview with a local tv station as a parent who is going to have Homebirth I felt compelled to share my reasoning.
My first pregnancy was very straight forward. I didn’t want a homebirth as I couldnt imagine how it would work, but I did want a natural birth. No drugs, no interventions and definately in water. I had been accepted to have it in the birthing centre I had opted for and was finally relaxing that it was gonna happen as planned. Then the day before I had ny first appointment at the centre for my birthing plan, I went into spontaneous labour at 36 weeks. I thought it was braxton hicks and when it became completely obvious tht it wasn’t my daughter just made it into the delivery room where I was for 7 mins before she was born. It was a very chaotic experience with many people in the room and I really felt I had to push for what I wanted. What happened afterwards with the lack of support breastfeeding and the dreadful food in the hospital, I just wanted out of there, when my husband had to leave and I spent my first night in hospital alone and very confused, I vowed I would not go through this again.
When I got pregnant with my second, there was not a chance I was going to go through that again, not to say the least that I almost didn’t make it to the hospital the first time, I was having my baby at home. Then life has a funny way of challenging you and we were moving back home to Hong Kong where Home-births are not the standard practice that they are in the uk. Luckily I found a midwife who is willing to do homebirths and she accepted my plan. Thankfully I did. Due to hospital policy here and from stories I have heard of births in Hong Kong C-sections in some private hospitals here are at 70-90%. In most western countries it is alarming if the percentage is above 15%.
I’m pleased to update that I had my home birth and it almost went to plan, a little compromise here and there. My perfect son is doing well and I can’t imagine it going half as well if I wasn’t at home. My two babies births couldn’t have been more different. Although the active birth part for my son was just as quick as with my first the experience was completely different.
I wasnt expecting going to 41 +5 to be so emotional. To the extent I believed I was somehow failing by going over my due date. I was so consumed with how others felt or how I perceived them to feel about me going over my due date. I kept pushing on. From 37 weeks I had strong indications that labour was round the corner then lost my mucous plug at 38 weeks. Nothing but intermittent persistent Braxton Hicks until 4th July my baby independence day.
Every week I had an emotional purge. I would cry about something, I was releasing my fears, my grief that my mother wasn’t here to meet my son, my guilt that I had everyone on standby, my anger that I couldn’t control the situation and just sheer emotional exhaustion of putting on a happy face. I was using all of the usual natural labour induction methods and some others not so usual. I was taking my Bach flower remedies and they continuously told me to let go and to trust. When my daughter chose to come in when I was at my lowest with a remedy she had picked at random that was for strength I knew I had to let go and just trust everything would be okay. It was.
When I got my show on the 4th July I was excited. Although I just checked and your bloody show still meant anytime but not imminent (with my daughter I got my show an hour before she was born- it had just been Braxton hicks pains until then) we spent the day as planned- took my daughter to her class in tst. After her class I was getting cramps at a level I could no longer ignore. So we went to city super to get food for dinner. At dinner I apologised for panicking (we were meant to be eating out) and we probably could have still eaten out- at that exact moment my waters then broke! It was a few hours after that when things changed (this was 8pm at 11.30 I was still only 2 cm dilated and my son was born at 1.53 am).
After finding I was only 2 cm dilated and still not in active labour I went in the bath to try and space out the contractions and make them more productive. Also to calm down as I was getting emotional that this was still not happening! The suspense of the last 2 weeks and longer was too much! As soon as I got in the bath it was more uncomfortable and trying to space them out was having the completely opposite effect. There was now no break between the contractions and they were getting stronger by the minute- I decided to get out of the bath. It’s just as well I did because the gear change was unreal- this was most definitely it!
My midwife came back and I started to freeze up and freak out a little as there was no breathing space- just wave after wave of contraction and I could feel his head traveling down it was the oddest sensation like a long tunnel- which is exactly what it is. My midwife was wonderfully calming and empowering and I came back into control. I made it to the bedroom (a mere couple of steps through the wardrobe area from the ensuite but what felt like a vast desert away) and onto the bed and the breathing out happened instantaneously. My hubby was a complete rock giving me sips of water with rescue remedy, words of support and physical support also. I remember the feeling of the head traveling through felt like it was taking forever (apparently it all took 15 mins the ‘pushing’ bit. I remember tensing up- it was so different. My midwife git me to feel the top of his head. It was really soft, a very odd sensation! Like a light bulb I suddenly thought- the more you resist the longer you are gonna be doing this. It changed completely- the ‘pain’ was completely different and my breathing changed. It wasn’t long after that the head was out. My midwife told me one big push which I thought was strange as we weren’t using that language. That familiar tension then complete release and gush out he came.
She was asking for the suction and I couldn’t see what was going on as I was on my knees facing the other way and the cord made it impossible to turn round, she was giving him a little shake to get him to respond. I kept asking if he was okay what was going on and he was making noise. Then my midwife said she had to cut the cord and I thought it a little odd she hadn’t given him to me or got me to turn around at all. I knew all her focus was on him and I trusted her so wasn’t worried. This was all a bit in slow motion as a memory, she wrapped him up in a towel and put him in the bed and was just holding the oxygen next to him. I could see him breathing but he was gasping a bit. My first instinct was rescue remedy. Two drops on the crown of his head. My dad came in hearing the crying and was on the phone to my bro! I asked him to wait I still had t held my boy but I was talking to him and stroking his face. He was a good pink colour and my midwife said he had a strong heart beat and was a strong boy! The second midwife then arrived, my midwife was asking if she had ever heard the noise he was making, the second midwife was not worried and they just held the oxygen for a bit longer. He quickly regulated his breathing and I could feel the contractions again we turned at tension to delivering the placenta. Again very odd sensations full on contractions.
Last time they gave me the injection as soon as my first was born I didn’t even have time to think.
After a few mins had passed I started to feed my son to get the contractions to be a bit more productive. He had such a strong latch so quickly another completely different feeling it was such a relief as my first had latch problems for 6 months. Still no placenta. After a big gush of blood my midwife started to get a bit nervous. I think we were all a little on edge after the whole breathing thing. She said it was the injection or we may have to think about going to hospital as that was a fair amount of blood and it had been half an hour almost 40 mins. So I agreed, my birth plan said 30 mins and then I would consider it. I was in no mood to argue and I could tell my midwife was getting a bit worried- I certainly did not want the hospital. I had 2 injections when I thought it might be easier if I get up- gravity and all. That’s all it took, out it came and straight into the bowl ready to consume when my placenta encapsulation specialist arrived. All I needed now was a couple of stitches and my baby to cuddle. It was so perfect doing that in the comfort of my own home. I was able to have something to eat, drink and completely relaxed and shared my baby with my husband and my dad.
Most special bit though was just as we went to bed as the sun was coming up- in came my daughter who had slept through it all- she gasped and said- he’s come out! Family cuddles all round. Priceless!
For a great place to find more about a positive approach to childbirth check out Yogi Mami