Sister of the month for August is my absolutely brilliant friend Izzy, for sharing her homebirth story with us!
When Iz told me she was having a baby I was over the moon! When she told me she was planning a homebirth I was ecstatic!!!
I'll let her story speak for itself...but what Iz very modestly plays down here is that when the midwife first came to check her at home, her cervix was 2cms dilated. The next time the Midwives came was when she was pushing! Iz did the whole thing at home with her mum Jan! What a woman! What a team!
It probably helped that Iz is a sturdy dairy famer's daughter and the eldest of 5! And her mum Jan, who had a couple of Homebirths herself, was undoubtedly invaluable support.
The Arundell women are a force to be reckoned with!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted a home birth. I think this was for two reasons: being a nurse, giving birth in hospital would feel a bit like having a baby at the office. I had also experienced 3 of my siblings being born at home. I really liked the idea of being in my own environment and not hampered by the unfamiliarity and routines of a hospital ward. I could labour my way.
When I first mentioned this to Jodi, she instantly suggested that I should have an 'experienced woman' there too, as well as my boyfriend (now husband) Indi. A very well meaning chap, but you know.
So, after one false start, my mum dutifully made her way up to London on the 17:05 train from the west country, 2 hours and one gin and tonic later she arrived. This was after I told her, and the on-call midwife that I was DEFINITELY in established labour. Of course I wasn't, but after a day and night of 'mild' contractions I was sure the baby must be ready already. And of course my boyfriend was sure this must be the case too.
When my mum Jan arrived she broke it to me gently that I had a long way to go, and things were only going to get harder. When the midwife arrived, she also confirmed this. So, when she left, it was just my boyfriend and mum to get me through the contractions, which did start to come thick and fast. I needed my mum especially, to help me to stay mentally strong. I think I can only describe it like running a marathon... You just have to keep going.
Being at home allowed me to rely on all of the things I would usually do when my body is under strain; have the odd shower, and A LOT of pacing. Being in my own environment somehow gave me the confidence to follow my body. The midwife was very keen for me to have a rest- but I just felt that in order to cope with the contractions I needed to be upright and walking round.
So, the night progressed. My boyfriend Indi scoffed a lot of twiglets then had a long nap. My mum stayed dutifully at my side. I had the space to really focus on the contractions. Of course, there were moments which needed sheer endurance, but luckily I had the support to do that.
My waters broke (though I hardly noticed) in the early hours of the morning and contractions became more intense. By 8 am I was ready to deliver. Two midwives and a student came to support me, just when we needed that fresh energy. They coached me through the delivery, and after a couple of hours an 8 pound Henry was born!
Being at home, we could all snuggle up on the sofa with cups of tea, and focus on getting Henry to breast feed. I couldn't believe how 'normal' everything felt- I could fully relax and bond with my baby.
I was really lucky to be able to give birth where I felt most secure, and for lots of people this security comes from being in a more medical environment, ie a hospital or birth centre. And its absolutely right that they should labour there. I think the most important thing is to have the right emotional support whilst in labour, from the immediate people around you, whether that's a doula/mother/partner.