This was my second pregnancy and it was all pretty straightforward until my baby was still breech at 37 weeks. I’d spent the last 4 weeks doing every trick under the sun from the Spinning Babies website to try and get her to turn and unfortunately to no avail 🙄 I spent more time on my birthing ball during that period than I care to admit and I’d even tried Moxibustion, where my husband Edd had to burn a Moxa stick next to my baby toe twice a day for a week. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s quite effective but unfortunately it didn’t work for us.
So it was at 37 weeks that I was invited to the hospital for a scan to confirm breech and discuss options. Due to Covid, I had to attend alone and as I knew they would, they confirmed my baby was still bottom down. I had a consultation with a doctor and we went over the options which I’d already researched pretty extensively myself ahead of the appointment. I used the B.R.A.I.N tool and decided to give an ECV a try and was booked for later in the week.
I won’t go into detail about my ECV here as I’d like to cover it in a separate post. But briefly, ECV stands for external cephalic version and it’s where a doctor manipulates the position of the baby from the outside. I had a very positive experience and it was successful.
This meant I felt on track for my birth plan A which was a home birth. I’d chosen this because I felt it was the best place for me to get the Oxytocin flowing. All I had to do now was wait to go into labour.
My “due date” came and went. I tried to keep busy and enjoy time to myself when my son was at nursery. At my 41 week appointment my midwife suggested getting my induction booked in which I declined. There’s nothing like a looming deadline to put the pressure on!
Time was starting to drag at this point but I was really determined to go into labour naturally. When I reached 42 weeks, I was invited to the hospital for monitoring and to discuss where we went from there.
This happened to be the first day where birth partners were allowed to appointments which I was really glad about as I’d attended so many alone and it was nice to have the support.
During the monitoring, some tightenings were picked up. I had been feeling them but I hadn’t wanted to get my hopes up. We then had a chat with the consultant who said she wanted to induce me there and then. I was not willing to consent to this at that point but I did take the opportunity to ask lots of questions about the induction process. I also decided to ask for a sweep at this stage as I had declined it previously but by now I was in considerable discomfort from back pain and could barely walk. I felt it was starting to take a toll on my mental state and on balance (using the BRAIN tool), it seemed like the right timing. This was on the Friday and we agreed that if I hadn’t gone into labour over the weekend that we’d discuss further on Monday.
As we were leaving the hospital we discussed what to do for the rest of the afternoon. Our son was having a sleepover at his Nana’s house to give us some chill time in the hope that it might get things going. We decided we would go out for lunch. However within 5 minutes of being in the car I started to get quite a lot of cramping. I put it down to the sweep but I did decide that I didn’t fancy going to a cafe after all so we grabbed a McDonald’s drive thru.
By the time we got home around 1pm, I was getting what felt like proper surges. Still, I dismissed it as just some cramping from the sweep as I didn’t want to be disappointed.
We decided to put a lighthearted film on (Hitch with Will Smith) while we ate our McDonald’s and I sat on my birthing ball. I’ll note here that I have no concept of time from here on in.
During the film the surges really started ramping up and it got to the stage where I wasn’t really watching the film any more. I was leaning over my birth ball and using my up breathing technique to get me through the surges. At this point I began to believe that I was in labour and told Edd it was probably time he started preparing the area for my planned home birth set up.
Edd started by taping heavy duty bin liners to all the windows to make it properly dark and then setting up a mixture of real candles and battery operated tea lights.
We ummed and ah-ed a bit about when to fill the pool as we didn’t want to do it too early. But around this point, we decided to go for it.
While Edd was getting everything set up, I continued to breath through the surges and I was kneeling on a sofa cushion on the floor with my torso on the sofa. I was listening to a lovely relaxing playlist that I’d prepared interspersed with some Hypnobirthing scripts. I had a lovely essential oil room spray that I’d been using at bedtime for the past few months.
My surges were regular and it seemed like I was in established labour but still we ummed and ah-ed about whether to call the hospital. This is probably based on my experience from my previous labour where it seemed like I was in established labour but then the surges had spaced out again. However things seemed to be going well this time so I asked Edd to make the call.
He was told that a midwife would be with us within an hour and he continued doing his set up and I continued with my thing. I was really in the zone.
The midwife arrived at some point and was met with Edd holding my birth preferences document. She had a read before doing anything else. She pretty much let me get on with it but as Edd was STILL faffing with the pool so supported me through a few surges and reminded me of some of my affirmations.
At some stage the second midwife arrived. There was a bit of commotion with getting the pool to the right temperature. I remember asking if I could get in the pool yet and when the yes came there was no stopping me. Edd jokes that I did a run and dive in 😂
The feeling of the warm water was like nothing else. It was amazing. At the same time, I felt the urge to push with the next surge. After a couple of surges the midwife tried to listen in to the baby’s heartbeat but couldn’t find it. Very soon after the head was out followed by her body in the next surge. I reached under and lifted her up to my chest.
She was absolute perfection 🥰
We had some skin to skin in the pool but I started getting cold so moved to the sofa for the third stage of labour. I had asked for a physiological third stage in my birth plan however after some time I asked for the injection as I was starting to get a bit uncomfortable. I then had stitches for a second degree tear.
I then had a lovely warm shower followed by the obligatory tea and buttered toast.
A few things came up at this point as we debriefed the birth with the midwives:
💛 The reason they couldn’t get a heartbeat on the Doppler was because it was too late, the baby’s head was just about to crown
💗 I didn’t have any pain relief. I had said I’d assess gas and air at the time in my birth plan but no one mentioned it and it worked out as I didn’t need it.
💛 The midwives who attended weren’t supposed to be working. The on call midwives for the home births were already at a birth. Apparently this never happens because there are so few home births in our area. So one of the midwives had stayed on past the end of her shift to attend and the other came on her day off. Grateful doesn’t cover it. They were absolutely amazing and I felt so incredibly thankful for everything they did for me 💗
💗 Baby A was born at 17:45, just 5 hours or so after we’d got home. What a whirlwind!
Looking back, it would have been nice if Edd had been able to spend more time with me (I’d been looking forward to some massage!) but with all the Hypnobirthing tools, I felt really confident, I’d managed pretty darn well on my own and I really couldn’t have asked for a more positive birth experience.
positive home water birth