Following an overdue chat with my husband we surprised an incredibly helpful midwife on our due/guess date that we wanted to change our birth plan location from midwife unit to a home birth. A home visit and the arrival of our birth pool happened within 3 days.
Cue several daily phone calls in the following days asking if I wanted to arrange sweeps and inductions (I had obstetric input due to being the wrong side of 40 and having had 3 early miscarriages, so had been advised to have an induction at 41 weeks) which were firmly and politely declined.
At 41 weeks, 4 days before lockdown, while watching Chef (grilled cheese sandwiches can induce oxytocin right...?) after a late lunch, my contractions started properly, and my husband and I were asked to head to the midwife led unit. I was 4cm at 4.30pm and my husband left to pick up our nearly 4 year old from nursery, and I set up the living room (pool, fairy lights, diffuser and birth affirmations etc.) as I hypnobirth breathed through the surges. I got into the pool around 7pm, which was utter bliss, and my family had dinner in the next room.
A midwife arrived at 7.30pm and I was fully dilated. I was pretty zoned out but I remember my husband and daughter coming in and stroking my arm and saying lovely things as I breathed through surges. I felt like a really sturdy canoe in white water; completely safe but not in control of my body at all. The midwives were brilliant, topping the pool up and very respectful of our visual birth plan stipulation to be as hands off as possible.
My strongest memory of labour was touching the hair on the baby’s head between my legs and being incredibly relieved. Jack was born at 9pm, and I was so dopey that I needed prompting to pull him out of the water. I ugly cried (a lot) and kept saying,”My baby!”. My husband and daughter had gone into the room next door to read a story but came back in and my daughter was the first person to declare it was a boy. My husband cut the cord, and after not feeling surges for a physiological 3rd stage, my placenta luckily fell out of me as soon as I sat on the loo.
I did have a 2nd degree tear which needed stitches, but as Jack was 9lbs 7oz I think I was lucky not to need more (hurray for perineal massage).
Lockdown has been really tough for us, but we are so lucky to have Jack and that I was able to give birth with my nearest and dearest just a room away. The midwives were wonderful, and the Positive Birth Movement helped me to believe in my instincts. This baby factory is now emphatically closed, but I’m grateful for having had the chance to have had such a positive birth experience.