Claire's story - Matilda's birth

It was 1st August 2018 (the day before my due date) and I had a sweep booked in with my midwife at noon - but my baby had other plans.  At 6am my contractions started. I had planned for a homebirth. I wanted to be in a space where I felt safe, where I felt I had some control, where my baby would be delivered by someone I knew and, more crucially, someone who I trusted would listen to me.

At 7am I woke my husband up and told him that our daughter would be born that day.  He was excited, but I was focused on the epic task ahead. As my contractions intensified I made the decision that I would like our son to go to my mother's house for the rest of my labour.  We packed him a bag and my husband set off with him.

Once they left I texted my midwife, Lizzie, burnt some Clary sage oil and put on a calm playlist.  I went into the conservatory and sank to my knees, leaning my forearms on a chair and began rocking back and forth through my contractions.  They were strong now and I knew that this baby would arrive quickly, just like her brother had done 2 years before.

At 9am my husband returned and began hurriedly inflating the birth pool.  I was on my hands and knees now, circling my hips through each contraction - by this point they were 2 minutes long, 3 minutes apart and becoming more intense.  Not long afterwards Lizzie arrived and asked if she could examine me. I breathed through a contraction and then manoeuvred myself onto the sofa “oh gosh you don't mess about do you?” she smiled, “you're 7cm dilated already”.

The pool was being filled now and as soon as there was enough water to cover my hips I flung off my dress and jumped straight into it - immediately the weight of my bump was supported and the contractions became more manageable again.  Every so often Lizzie came to take my pulse and check on the baby's heart rate.

By 10am Carly, my second midwife arrived.  Things were progressing quickly now - I asked for the gas and air and Lizzie showed me how to use it.  

Having something to hold and focus on made things feel more manageable, but even so as things intensified I had a moment of doubt - could I do it?  “Not long now” said Lizzie “You're nearly there!” Minutes later I felt a pressure release and a bubble popped to the surface. My waters had broken.  “Baby will be here soon, if you feel the urge to push you can”. My hand instinctively pressed between my legs to counter the pressure of baby descending and before long I was pushing, two midwives and my husband cheering me on.  Carly held the gas and air for me when I was too tired, Lizzie steadied my leg and urged me to relax. After a few long pushes baby Matilda’s head came out and with the next contraction her body span and emerged into the water where my husband's hands were waiting to catch her.  She was born at 10.45 am.

She was placed on my chest and we stayed together in the warm water for sometime before my husband cut the umbilical cord.  We got out and were carefully guided to the sofa which was protected with towels. Matilda had her first of many feeds on the sofa meanwhile Carly delivered my placenta and checked me for tears.  Fortunately I didn't need any stitches and I was ready for tea and toast while Carly and Lizzie wrote up my notes.

By 12.30pm Lizzie and Carly had gone, leaving my husband and I to get to know our new addition.  I felt so relaxed that part of me couldn't believe that I had given birth that morning. The evening was spent in the comfort of our own home, with a Chinese takeaway, marvelling at our beautiful daughter Matilda.  It was nothing short of perfect