Our first son Edward was born by emergency caesarean section, which with hindsight, was possibly a result of too much intervention. My husband, Greg and I felt "robbed" of decision making and the whole experience left us feeling frustrated, angry and over whelmingly sad. What we hoped would be "magical" ended up being "medicalised" and rather impersonal.
We went down a completely different route when I was expecting our second child. A friend had told us about her independent midwife and it seemed like an ideal choice for us. I couldn’t bear the thought of being continuously strapped to a monitor again and we wanted our baby to be born naturally at home without the time restrictions that hospital seemed to impose. Peter was born a day before his due date, weighing a healthy 8lbs, 2ozs (compared to "overdue" Edward who was 6lb,11ozs!). It was wonderful to be at home supported by Greg and our midwife who we'd come to know and trust. She was with us for hours and gave us support and care throughout the birth and afterwards, not leaving until she helped bath me and seen me settled comfortably in my own bed.
We decided to employ an independent midwife for our third (and last) baby; hoping for a home birth again and not hospital, unless needed! The whole home birth experience was a much happier one all round and we wanted to stay as a complete family if possible, depending on what time I went into labour!
We couldn’t have our previous midwife so looked at various independent midwife profiles to find someone whom we felt we could be comfortable with. Eleanor stood out as someone with lots of experience, who also looked "open and approachable". On meeting her we were delighted that she agreed to book us as we live on the edge of her catchment area.
Eleanor's care was very good throughout pregnancy and we were well informed about various choices. She took time to explain things clearly and was very accommodating about fitting appointments in where possible so that Greg could also be there. By the time I went into labour we trusted her completely and approached the birth without anxiety. We also decided to try a water birth this time as it seemed a more natural environment for the baby to be born into and would hopefully ease the pain for me! It was also re-assuring to know that Sharon (Eccles) would be arriving as back up midwife. It was lovely to have met Sharon previously as I didn’t feel like a stranger would be appearing at the birth. The timing of baby number three's arrival was perfect - Edward (5 1/2) was at school and Peter (3 1/2) was at pre-school. Mild contractions started in the early hours and as the pains became stronger I managed to "get through" them without showing my discomfort too much in front of the boys. They were very sweet trying to "look after" me with their soft toys and Edward read a story to me, as I sat on the birth ball downstairs. Whilst Greg sorted them out with breakfast I retreated upstairs to the bedroom and was relieved when the boys were collected by friends for school and pre-school, as I was in a great deal of pain by then. Greg rang Eleanor at 7.45 am and she arrived at 9.15 am just before Peter left, by which time I was in strong labour, Eleanor had also called Sharon as she was about an hours drive away. I'd had a couple of sips of water prior to Eleanor’s arrival which promptly made me sick, this had happened during my previous two labours, so I was very reluctant to eat or drink but had felt very thirsty. Eleanor gave me an anti sickness jab which really helped and enabled me to sip water throughout labour and drink and eat immediately after the birth.
I continued to find the birth ball (gym ball from Argos!!) useful as Greg constructed the pool and worked hard getting everything ready. I came downstairs to find an unrecognisable living room with the pool in the centre and sofas pushed to one side with sheets, towels etc all laid out! I was helped into the pool at 9.40 am and it provided immediate relief, being lovely and warm and soothing and much deeper than I had imagined. Despite the pain becoming increasingly excruciating the pool certainly helped enormously with the weightless feeling and lovely freedom of movement it allowed. I made use of the entonox which also helped and gave me something to focus on.
Greg and Eleanor gently encouraged and supported me though my powerful contractions, being joined soon after by Sharon at 10 am. Eleanor and Sharon were
wonderful, not at all invasive and very calm and confident. I felt totally safe and reassured in their hands! It helped to be reminded to trust my body’s instincts and with their guidance and Greg’s
love and support, baby Tim was born at 11.36 am weighing 8 lbs,11 ozs. Comfortably lying back on the sofa with Tim feeding contentedly, I enjoyed drinking tea and eating biscuits. I felt so happy and
Greg was on top of the world too, saying it had been amazing to watch little Tim being born into the water. I couldn’t believe how quickly it had all happened compared to my two previous births, and
how lovely it was to be in the middle of the day with the sun coming through the windows. The boys arrived home later in the afternoon to greet their new baby brother; it couldn’t have been more