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We moved to a new area when I was 34 weeks pregnant with our first baby.

I have always wanted a home birth and I found One-to-One by googling ‘Home birth Colchester’. I self-referred to the service and we were allocated our midwife Ming shortly after.

Having all our antenatal appointments at home with Ming was so calming. Ming was incredibly supportive of my desire to have a home birth. My mum gave birth to me at home and I loved growing up in the house I was born in. I knew from the statistics I would be very lucky to have the baby at home, but I was quietly hopeful and we prepared for that eventuality as much as we could.

As my due date approached the midwives brought over an inflatable birth pool and I stocked up with massage oils, stress balls and snacks and my boyfriend made a playlist of music to get me through labour. My due date came and went, so after a couple days Ming performed a sweep. I’d been having acupuncture to help things along and that evening I started having what felt like mild period pains. I thought it was a good idea that one of us had some sleep, so my boyfriend went to bed and I told him that I’d wake him if I needed him.

Through the night I stayed as relaxed as possible, had a candlelit bath in the early hours and pottered around the house in my dressing gown, bouncing on my birth ball as I felt the contractions getting more regular. I let Ming know what was happening and we stayed in contact over text throughout the night. As the morning came, the contractions were coming regularly and getting stronger, so I woke up my boyfriend to tell him he probably wouldn’t be going in to work that day! For the rest of the day we hung around our house, watching Victoria Wood on Netflix (laughter is the best medicine!) and at some point, that morning I started using a TENS machine to help with the contractions. We were in contact with Ming over the phone throughout the day. It was meant to be her day off but she was an absolute hero and managed to swap shifts, so she could be there for us. Incredible! Just one of the many times when I’ve wondered where else you would be lucky enough to get this service for free?

Ming visited in the afternoon and after an examination explained I was still in early labour so to stay patient. My labour ramped up shortly after she left and when my boyfriend was on the phone to Ming again, my waters broke. She was finishing up at another birth so came straight over. It all started to progress very quickly from that point and by the time Ming arrived I was ready to go! There was no time to fill the birth pool, so our baby boy was born on the living room floor. It was such a rush towards the end that the second midwife didn’t arrive in time; with the help of my boyfriend, Ming delivered him solo.

Having our baby at home meant that my boyfriend played a big role in the birth and never felt side-lined. For most of the labour, it was just me and him working through it together and he was able to help when Ming was flying solo at the end. There’s an alternative career as a midwife if he ever wants it! One to One was a like a private service on the NHS. Continuous care from one midwife in our own home with appointments that fitted around us.

Since our baby arrived I’ve seen Ming every one of the six weeks since and she has been at the end of the phone when we’ve encountered problems at all hours of the day and night. Much of the reason why I’m successfully breastfeeding is down to her and the One to One midwives. Although I’d prepared as much as I could for birth, I hadn’t anticipated how hard breastfeeding would be, but they supported me through feeding problems, slow weight gain and a nasty bout of mastitis. Now, 6 weeks in, my baby is healthy, chubby and nursing well. Knowing that when one day our son asks where he was born that we can show him “Here!” is something I’m incredibly grateful for. Thank you.