Koby just born!

Birth Story of Koby Ohana 

Following the excitement of finding out myself and my husband were expecting our first child, reality soon kicked in with regards to going through labour with the NHS.

Due to my medical background, I knew that my options for giving birth on the NHS would be limited to a medically controlled birth or a planned cesarean, which was something I desperately didn't want. I also wanted a midwife who could provide me with continuity of care throughout the pregnancy and birth, which is something the NHS couldn’t offer. As a result we knew we would have to hire an Independent Midwife.

My husband and I scoured the internet for options and had chosen Eleanor from her website a whole two years before we even started trying for a baby. When we found out we were expecting we sent a long email to Eleanor detailing all my medical problems. She didn’t reject us as we feared she might (unlike the other Independant Midwife we emailed ‘just in case!’). As soon as we met in person, both my husband and I knew that our gut instinct in choosing Eleanor had been right. Eleanor was amazing throughout the pregnancy and even went to the hospital appointments with me to arrange back-up plans in case my opted home birth couldn’t happen. She spent many hours reassuring me that I had made an informed decision in choosing a homebirth, despite the opposition I was coming up against within the NHS.

In the weeks during the pregnancy, we met with Eleanor and had many informed discussions about decisions that needed to be made for the labour and for the baby in the early hours/weeks following the birth. Many of these were things we weren't even aware of, and we didn't know what options were available. Eleanor took the time to meet when my husband was also available and informed us of the NHS way, as well as all the other available options. She emphasised that ultimately it is our choice and that nobody can force us into any one option. What I liked about this was that I felt I had all the information to make an educated choice, instead of a choice based on what was best for the mass market as is common in the NHS.

Eleanor was due on holiday 3 weeks before my due date and so I had been panicking that she would miss the birth, despite her best guess that I would probably be up to 10 days late since it was my first baby. To our delight, and what turned out to be the best decision ever made, Eleanor bought her holiday forward by 1 week. I had a small panic attack when things started to happen whilst Eleanor was on holiday, but the back-up midwife assured me she would be available if the baby wouldn’t wait. The baby did wait until the day Eleanor returned from her holiday, 3 weeks before his due date.

I hadn’t actually realised that my waters had broken early in the morning and instead spent the day wishing I had done more pelvic floor exercises in the pregnancy! By the evening there was no mistaking what was happening so I phoned Eleanor to tell her. She gave me advice over the phone and told to call at any time. She came to visit me in the morning, however nothing had started at that point. She brought my birth equipment with her, including a birthing pool to lend us since the one we had hired wasn’t being delivered for another 2 weeks! Eleanor returned in the evening and we discussed how long we could and would leave it before attending hospital to be induced since my waters had now been broken for over 24 hours. I had started to get twinges in my back so Eleanor told me to go to bed and rest and that we would visit the hospital in the morning for a trace of the baby’s heartrate.

I went to bed, but didn’t get a lot of sleep as I was slowly becoming uncomfortable with lower back pains. At 3.30am I decided to get up and have a soak in the bath. When I went to get out an hour later I asked my husband to call Eleanor as I had simply become too uncomfortable and was debating whether to try and get induced to finally get things started. Eleanor came round straight away and when I asked her if I was in labour her face told me she wasn’t convinced I was. I was still able to talk and laugh through what I thought were contractions but Eleanor could tell I was tired so offered to examine me with the view to making a plan for what to do next. We were all very surprised to find out that I was 7cm dilated and that the baby’s head was very low down.

My husband was ordered to quickly fill up the birthing pool. Eleanor and I stayed upstairs with Eleanor jokingly begging me not to have the baby in the cramped doorway where I had sat and become comfy. I checked with Eleanor that she had brought the gas and air ‘just in case’ (even though it remained unused in the corner of the lounge it was reassuring to know it was there had I of needed it!).  Once the pool was ready and after changing into my swim skirt and top I went downstairs and was relieved to get in. I straight away began getting a lot more pain and pressure, although in between the pains I was enjoying relaxing in the water and making jokes about the sudden ‘animal’ noises I was involuntarily making. I hardly even noticed Eleanor listening to the baby’s heartbeat at regular intervals. The only birth experience I had was from TV where women were ordered to push, and so over the next 30 minutes I was expecting to be told when to start pushing. I was therefore a little surprised when Eleanor suddenly announced that the baby had a lot of hair! The baby’s head was then born and with the next contraction at 7:13am my beautiful baby boy was born. Eleanor calmly told me to pick him up and I slightly panicked when I looked down and saw what appeared a lifeless body at the bottom of the pool. As soon as I picked him up he opened his eyes, sprung into life, and I instantly knew he was ok despite him not crying. A minute later the second midwife, Sharon, arrived just missing the quicker than expected birth.

After getting out of the pool, I delivered my placenta (of which was later taken to be encapsulated). We had decided to delay cord cutting, so baby and I were wrapped in towels and left to cuddle on the covered sofa. Eleanor and my husband emptied the pool and tidied round whilst I was left to bond with my beautiful boy. Eleanor later cut the cord and all whilst I was still holding my amazing new son. He was then weighed at 6 lb 2 ozs.

After struggling to get my baby to take a feed, Eleanor checked his mouth and realised he was tongue tied. She performed a division on him without him hardly noticing. Daddy finally got a cuddle whilst I had some toast, and after dressing the baby for us Eleanor left our new little family to bond.
The whole birth was over so quickly. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and can’t wait to do it again. Eleanor was fab. I had been worried that I’d panic nearer the end of the labour in case something went wrong however I was so relaxed. We were confident that Eleanor could and would deal with any emergency, even when it became apparent that the second midwife wasn’t going to make it. The care Eleanor gave us in the next few weeks after the baby was born was beyond her duty as a midwife and we are eternally grateful for her support. I wouldn't of have got through the pregnancy, birth and early weeks without Eleanor and I sincerely hope she’s able and willing to deliver all my future children.