Sally's story

I wasn't necessarily an obvious candidate for a home birth having had a previous caesarean with my first daughter. But, the first experience had taught me that my best chance to have a baby would be somewhere I felt comfortable and I wanted to avoid the whole 'when to go into hospital?' conundrum and the fairly hideous car journey to get there in the midst of contractions.

I did lots of my own reading and research to ensure that I felt confident in my decision to have a home birth. I also discussed it - but only with people whose views I trusted and respected. I valued the excellent support and advice from the clinical team at Kingston Hospital. 
As I drew towards my baby's arrival, I felt confident, relaxed and prepared.

As with my first daughter, I went into labour on a Thursday night, following an active birth yoga class. I had a feeling things were imminent - I even tidied up the kitchen when I got home in anticipation of the midwives needing a cup of tea later.

My husband and daughter were already tucked up in bed when I made my way upstairs and decided to have a long soak in the bath. It was just coming up to 11pm and as I stepped into the bath, a small amount of my waters came out, which I chose to ignore and I got into the bath and read a book. Even more of the waters emerged when I came out of my bath probably nearly an hour later. I texted my doula to let her know things were starting and that I was going to make myself a hot water bottle to try and get some rest overnight. 

However, as I sat myself down on the side of my bed with my hot water bottle to get some sleep, I had my first contraction. And, unlike my first labour, it didn't start slowly, but went straight to a fairly strong and intense contraction. Enough that I could not lie down but felt that I needed to be in a more active position.

As my husband and 3 year old daughter were fast asleep in our bed together and I didn't want to disturb them, I took myself off to the nursery for the first part of the labour. It was actually a very special time as I was on my own in the dark just focused on the exciting reality that I would meet my new baby soon.

After about an hour or so, I could feel things were picking up a pace and so I went downstairs to start making sure things were in place as I was going to have the baby in our basement room. My waters starting to come out in more like gushes now with each contraction and I was leaving puddles on our wooden floor. I also started to feel a lot of pressure and wanted to go to the toilet.

At this point, I decided I needed to get my support team in place so I went upstairs and woke my husband (warning him there were a lot of puddles downstairs he needed to go and wipe up). I texted my doula to ask her to come in and my husband called the midwives to ask them to come out to us. I then got into our shower and just stood with my hands against the wall and the hot water on my back which I found really helped as the contractions got more intense.

My doula arrived first and when the midwife arrived we moved down to the basement (somehow my 3 year old daughter who was about 3 feet away in our bed slept through all of this!).

Our beautiful baby girl arrived just after 4am following a short but intense labour. It was the most wonderful experience. At no point did I feel scared, unsure or unable to cope. I felt completely supported, nurtured and weirdly in control. At no point did I feel the need for additional pain relief or intervention, it was amazing to feel my body being left in the most optimal environment to deliver the baby. It all felt completely instinctive.

It was so amazing for our little girl to arrive into such a peaceful and comforting environment where she immediately just latched on to feed beautifully and cuddle. I am sure this has had an impact on her being the contented little soul that she remains, 4 months on. 

Having a cup of tea and some toast after the birth, cuddled up with my baby, in my own home was brilliant and then to top it all off, at around 7am we went back upstairs to our bedroom and I got into bed and lay the baby next to me. My 3 year old was asleep on the other side of the baby and then she woke up and looked at the baby, looked at me, and just said 'thank you'! She kissed the baby and said 'I love you'. It was the most amazing way for the two sisters to meet and my husband and I will treasure it forever. 

It took me 2 years after my first birth to feel ready to have another baby. I was talking about baby number 3 just after I had delivered my placenta this time round... I think that says it all!