I have 4 children. This is my birth story for my 3rd child, Fiona. She is now 4. I call her our miracle baby as she was born after me being given a 10% chance of falling pregnant. After the first 2 children were born, I was sterilised. I had the sterilisation reversed when I was 40 years old. A year before Fiona was born I had a miscarriage, it was a very difficult time. Myself and my partner were struggling to cope. With that 10% we thought we had lost our only chance and assumed we were about to lose another one.
So, we looked into hiring an Independent Midwife to help us through it, and we really wanted a homebirth. So, Eleanor May-Johnson entered our lives. She helped us to come to terms with the miscarriage and as time passed we accepted that this baby could actually be born. Eleanor was fantastic and instantly became a very dear friend. I am feeling very emotional as I write this, it's hard to believe that 4 years have gone by. Because my first 2 babies were born early I advised that this one could be different. But, I always had a feeling she would be early. When the head engaged at about 32 weeks I knew. And I was starting to feel very uncomfortable from about that time. If I had gone with the NHS I would not have been allowed a homebirth before 37 weeks. Eleanor said she would attempt a homebirth from 36 weeks, depending on how we were coping. That comforted me as my first baby was 4 weeks early and my second was 10 days early.
Labour started on the Sunday afternoon. I had been having Braxton Hicks on and off and these were no different. But I decided to go and have a lie down at 2pm and had a contraction. I fell asleep and was woken up by another one. I happened to notice that the clock next to me said 2.20pm . I dozed again to be woken up at 2.40pm. Uh oh, 3 at 20 minutes apart! I stayed awake and just watched the clock. I had another at exactly 3pm. I rang Eleanor who calmed me down, assured me that I had 4 weeks to go and to carry on as normal. "Text me if you need me" she said. So, I carried on as planned and we visited family. We were actually out walking the dog at about 11pm and the pains were becoming more intense and were around every 10 minutes. I didn't tell Eleanor because I was worried about waking her up and assumed they were nothing. Part of me had also decided that I couldn't text her until after midnight, because then I would be officially 36 weeks so she wouldn't send me to hospital :- )
We were driving back home and it was 10 past midnight. I text Eleanor and she said to go home and try and get some sleep but call her if I needed her. I showered and tidied up and went to bed at 2am. I slept until the morning but was aware that I was contracting in my sleep. My partner wanted to go to work but I was nervous so I asked him to stay home. I rang Eleanor in the morning and she came to see me, around 10am. She asked me lots of questions and said that I could be in labour. She didn't want to give me an internal examination to see if I was dilating in case that stimulated labour, if I wasn't in actual labour, especially as I still had 4 weeks to go. She left. As she left she said "have you got everything you need for the baby?" clothes, blankets, etc. Plastic sheeting for the birth. I said "NO!!" She said "I suggest you go shopping, then." So, we heading up to Sainsbury's, 5 minutes from home. I remember just throwing stuff randomly into the trolley and leaning over it in agony on a regular basis. We were heading for the checkout and I said "stop, let me just have this quick contraction first" Ouchy that hurt. We quickly paid and left. We wanted to head for B&Q but went home instead. I needed the loo. My partner wanted to go back out but I said "I am not going anywhere" as a wave of deep contractions made my eyes water. I rang Eleanor and talked her through what happening. She said "Would you like me to come now?" I hesitated as I didn't want to drag her out for no reason. During that mini hesitation my baby told me to say "yes." She said "we're on our way."
Eleanor arrived 20 minutes later with Sharon Eccles, the back up midwife. She is lovely, too, and we met during my pregnancy. It was about 1.30pm. By the time they arrived I was having contactractions every 2 or 3 minutes and they were getting quite intense. I can't remember if I actually made them a cup of tea or if I just tried to. I know I walked around a lot to help with the pain and walked up and down the stairs. That seemed to help, keep moving, keep upright. And do things to take my mind off what was happening. There was a lot of activity upstairs and lots of running up and down stairs by the midwives and my partner as they set things up. The gas and air, resuscitation equipment, etc. As we didn't make it to B&Q we didn't have the plastic sheeting. So, we had to make do with a roll of bubble wrap!! It was 6 foot long and it was unrolled along the bed and on the floor. I sat on the downstairs toilet and had a show, the mucus discharge down below. Sharon called me and asked if I was ok and I told her. she said it was best for me to come upstairs now. She said if I left it any longer I wouldn't be able to get up there! I walked upstairs with no problems and squatted on the floor, leaning on the bed. The bubble wrap had been covered with towels but you could still hear the popping sound. It would have been funny if I wasn't in so much pain! I was offered gas and air and had a few puffs of it but it was too late by then for it to have any real effect. I didn't really need it, my body was coping well with the pain and I wasn't panicking.
I felt safe.In our birth plan we wanted my partner to deliver his own child, if possible. He said he had delivered sheep before so this would be no different! Eleanor handed him a pair of gloves to put on but they were too small. He struggled. I struggled. I could feel the baby coming and told him to just get them on! He forced his hands into the gloves, just in time to catch his baby. His daughter.I remember it being very hot but being told to put the heating on as the baby would need to be kept warm. I was sweating as I was so hot and Sharon gave me her hair band as she could see my hair sticking to my face. My partner saw that she was a girl first and he cut the cord. After I had passed the placenta naturally I sat up on the bed on bubble wrap and held our daughter to my breast. She had a hot water bottle as well as having the heating on!
Very soon after that both of the grandmothers arrived with McDonald's and we all tucked in, while I made some phone calls. Fiona's elder brother came home early from work and met her when she was an hour old. Fiona was born at 2.30pm, at 36 weeks weighing 5lb 10oz. I was 41 and a half. We defied all odds to have Fiona and have since had 2 more miscarriages and another baby, Bradley. He was born when 3 weeks before my 44th birthday.