Megan's positive home birth story in her own words:
I didn’t decide I wanted a home birth until my third trimester. In fact, I think early on in my pregnancy if you had asked me what I thought about homebirths I wouldn’t even have considered one. The reality was, I knew nothing about birth and I had always imagined giving birth in a hospital.
Just after halfway through my pregnancy I attended a sling workshop run by local doula, Sophy Yildirim (I was so excited about baby wearing!). She planted the seed that home birth was an option. I went away and did some reading online and followed some wonderful Instagram accounts. The more I started weighing up my birthing options the more convinced I was that a homebirth would give me the birth I wanted. I felt confidence in my body to birth my child that confidence only grew as we attended the hypnobirthing course. We could discuss options, pros and cons and it was reassuringly evidence based and informed. It was a great forum to air concerns and ask numerous ‘what if…?’ questions.
I went to bed the night before my due date feeling an unusual flutter of excitement - it felt the same as going to bed on Christmas Eve, but knowing I’d just love the present! I had anticipated that as a first-time mum I would be likely to go overdue so I planned to go for a nice countryside walk with the dogs. As I swung my legs out of the car to start my walk I felt my waters go in a big rush. I felt absolutely fine and after speaking to Sophy my doula, I did my dog walk which took just over an hour in the beautiful sunshine. I headed home excited to start making my oxytocin bubble and asked my husband to pick up some bits for lunch on his way home from work. We ate lunch, watched some TV and then I went up to bed for an afternoon nap with the dogs. I still only felt the most mild of cramps. Adrenaline and excitement made it hard to sleep but I listened to my favourite music, turned the lights down and just rested. As my cramps turned into more obvious surges, I felt I couldn’t lie down comfortably anymore and moved downstairs. I spent lots of time in the dark bathroom, my back against the hot towel rail, I tried a shower and the tens machine. Time just blurred! It was night time when I got into the pool and it was a lovely relief. The midwives arrived and set up camp in the front room and would periodically come through to do an observation. This is when I really did lose track of time as my world shrunk and became me, my body and the contractions.
My labour slowed in the pool so I got out and power stomped through my house for a while. I tried resting in bed but the surges made it very hard. Then came a point where I started to wobble mentally. Could I do it? How many more surges would it be? I definitely declared myself done with labour at this point and demanded an ambulance, c-section, and all the pain relief drugs. Looking back I recognise this as relatively common for transition! I got back in the pool and the midwives arrived with gas and air. This helped so much - I had been so tense but the gas and air made me comfortable enough to breathe and change position and ready myself for the next phase. The final part of my labour was the best bit. With each surge I felt a strong involuntary reflex to push (the only way to describe it is how it feels when you’re being sick!). I relaxed. I let my body do its thing. I counted the duration of each surge reminding myself they never last more than 60 seconds and everyone can tolerate 60 seconds of pain! For the final bit I got out of the pool and knelt on my sofa for a land birth.
I picked my baby up from the sofa, brought her to my chest and sat down. We had skin to skin - she was finally here! Just shy of two hours later my placenta was delivered without assistance. I had a small tear stitched and then I enjoyed the most memorable shower of my life! I felt on top of the world almost like a runners high after a marathon but 100 times better. I put on comfy clothes and went back to join my baby and husband on the sofa with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Saturday mornings don’t get much better!
I loved labour, it was exciting and I relished the physicality of it and the task of birthing my baby.