I was probably about 30 weeks when I decided on a home birth. For me it was a practical option – my partner didn’t drive at the time and both of us suffer from anxiety, so the thoughts of panicking about getting to a hospital with me in labour and then the anxiety levels rising just didn’t appeal to us.
We were conscious of this throughout my pregnancy but it wasn’t until quite late when I had an appointment to “discuss my birth plan” and I was told “everyone just has an epidural when they’re too tired”. The appointment was held by someone other than my usual midwife and even when I explained I didn’t want an epidural and in fact was quite scared of it, I felt ignored and that’s when I decided that I needed to be in more control of things.
I read a book which also reinforced my ideas. The Positive Birth Book is something I recommend anyone read – regardless of whether they want a home birth or a hospital birth. It gives you a positive outlook on the birthing process and actually makes you feel really powerful and confident.
If you’re at all nervous about birth, this book is a must read in my view.
After reading The Positive Birth Book I made the decision and quickly called my community midwife. I was very worried that I wouldn’t be allowed to have a home birth because of the fact I was “consultant led” due to my BMI.
I explained my choice and I was told I would need to see the lead consultant in the area. They needed to “sign off” on me having a home birth due to being a “high risk pregnancy”. I didn’t understand why they were making such a fuss. My entire pregnancy had been text book. I’d had no issues whatsoever – all the more reinforcing my confidence in my body and my ability to home birth.
The Consultant Appointment
The appointment with the consultant didn’t go very well. She essentially tried to scared me into a hospital birth by telling me that I would likely bleed too much and that the risks are much higher with a home birth (not factually correct).
I left the meeting deflated and was really unhappy. I felt ignored and that my wishes weren’t being considered. I know myself and I knew that I would be more relaxed in a home birth situation and that my partner would be more able to help me and support me through labour if we were at home.
Luckily, I was able to book an appointment with the head midwife in the area and after my appointment with the consultant, I talked through the risks and the benefits with the midwife and ensured they understood I was making an informed decision.
The Decision Was Made
They eventually, reluctantly allowed me to have a home birth. I immediately felt a weight was lifted and I was so happy I could now concentrate on preparing for labour and the birth, instead of worrying about getting to the hospital, how our anxiety would be, would we get there on time, would we be sent away if it was too early etc. There were just so many things I was worried about but once I was “allowed” my home birth, all these worries went away.
I felt in control and I felt so much better about everything.
We are very lucky in that we live in an area with a dedicated home birth team so I was in good hands. I really felt considered and listened to and it was lovely having the remainder of my antenatal appointments in my own home. The home birth team were fantastic and were really supportive the entire lead up to my labour.
My Labour & Birth
I went into labour on the evening of the 13th and had my baby girl in my arms by 8.35am the following morning. The home birth team were incredible and I at one point had 5 midwives in my house (shift changing), all dedicated to me and my birth – talk about special care.
I ended up needing stitches and so after the birth I was taken to hospital (my chosen hospital, not the one in the area) and I was in and out within 4 hours. It was a fantastic experience and even having to go to hospital afterwards wasn’t an issue because I’d managed my entire labour and birth at home. Baby was safe, I was happy and my partner was able to support me brilliantly.
My reasons for a home birth might have been unique and perhaps a little odd to some, but I will definitely be having a home birth for our future children.
Did you have a home birth? Would you ever consider a home birth?