I first found One to One Midwives when searching the internet for Hypnobirthing classes, the more I read of One to One Midwives, the more I felt this suited our needs as first-time parents. We had been with the NHS midwives for the first 20 weeks and had seen a different midwife each time and each appointment felt rushed and clinical without the time to really think about and ask all the random questions that you have with your first pregnancy.
After sending an information request to One to One, my lovely midwife Ailsa visited us at home the following week. Her visiting the house was so much more convenient for me and my husband who both work full time and being in our own home was nice and relaxing which suited us as my husband gets queasy in a medical setting and had so far left the room during all the midwife checks so far even just in the children centre which left me nervous about how he would manage during a hospital birth. During this first visit we spoke about home birth which interested me but not knowing anything about it or having really given it any prior thought, I was still planning on using the midwife led unit at Leighton. Ailsa left me with some information on home birthing, the research behind it and benefits to mother and baby.
My decision to have a home birth was strengthened after attending the One to One hypnobirthing sessions, looking at birth as a natural process that our bodies are designed for. This all went hand in hand with having a natural birth and staying at home in comfortable surroundings without unnecessary medical intervention. When discussing my choice with my midwife, she was very helpful in talking through the practicalities of a home birth and a list of things to buy in advance such as sheets, hosepipe adapter and puppy pads to name a few. (See my home birth shopping list below). Having attended the hypnobirthing class and reading the book, I realised I already had the same mentality of allowing the body to do its thing and using relaxation techniques to work through each surge. And not listening to other people’s horror stories that they are all too eager to share when they find out your pregnant.
For the same reason I hadn’t told many people about my plans for a home birth as I found that they were quick to judge and comment how crazy I was for having my first child at home, thanks to their outdated views and lack of knowledge of what this would entail. So, for anyone who asked, yes, I had my hospital bag ready and I would be going to Leighton hospital. I have always thought I had a high pain threshold and zone out when in pain, but having never been in labour before, I was unsure what to expect but I felt confident in the support that I was being given by Ailsa, always feeling that she had the time for me and would answer any questions I had and when the time came, talk me through the wait for baby to start making a move and through the stages of labour.
My baby arrived at 41 weeks plus 4 days, I had a sweep at 41 weeks which was not as bad as I had heard from others, which again may have been linked to being at home in my own surroundings and having a good relationship with my lovely midwife. Two days after the sweep, things started to happen, again Ailsa was so helpful in answering my questions as a nervous mum to be, excited to finally be meeting my little one. My surges developed during the afternoon into a regular pattern of lasting 1 minute every 5 minutes and I was able to start tracking these, they continued throughout the night and into the following day, having my husband and mum on hand to massage my back when the intensity started increasing. Having been awake all evening, I was getting tired and had a lovely warm bath in the afternoon and managed to get 30 minutes sleep in the tub with the surges either calming down to allow me to sleep or the relaxation and tiredness taking over. Looking back now, this nap was just what I needed to help see me through the next 10 hours of labour.
Ailsa was visiting again that evening at which point I didn’t think I had made much progress, with the surges seeming to be staying at 1 in 5, but it was difficult for me to distinguish the start and end of surges at times with lower back pain blending surges together. Ailsa joined us in our living room where my husband, mum and I were just watching TV with me occasionally pacing the room. Just from observing me for a while, Ailsa suspected I was further along than 1 in 5. We discussed another sweep and when examining me, found that I was already 6cm dilated! This was around 6pm and was the cue for my husband to get the birth pool set up in the front room. This was a lot less hassle, mess and clutter than I had expected and there was still the homely relaxed atmosphere with scented candles and a relaxation playlist on Spotify. My birthing partners and midwife soon came to learn the tracks that I disliked and would skip these for me. I had the pool set up in the front room. We had some foam jigsaw mats and plastics sheets under the pool and later had puppy pads on the floor when I got out of the water with my little one. The midwives had their bag of stuff in the room but other than that, this was all we needed and had lovely low lighting with candles and relaxing music. Being at home allowed our lovely cats to be around us too which I think has helped in them accepting the change and the new arrival.
The next few hours seemed to pass without me noticing as I was in my own zone and used my birth partners to squeeze their hand for an extra release. When in the pool, I wasn’t always comfortable as I’d gotten used to having pressure applied to my lower back which was more difficult whilst sat in the pool. Time seemed to pass without noticing, even when the urge to push came and things stepped up a gear, I worked my way through each surge and told myself the positive birth statements and visualised each surge bringing my baby one step closer to being in my arms. Once baby’s head was crowning, the intensity stepped up but again I took each push gradually, really letting my body do the work to ease my baby’s head out. I believe this helped to achieve a natural birth without any perineal tearing.
Baby Logan was born at 12:31am with my mum being the one to reveal baby’s sex to me and my husband. I am so happy to have shared this special experience with my mum and I know how much she enjoyed being a part of this with us. Logan was so calm and alert as soon as he was born, something I put down to the relaxed and drug free arrival that I was able to give him, just as I had wanted it. I stayed in the pool holding my baby boy for about 20 minutes whilst his cord pulsated, we used a lovely handmade crocheted tie for the cord instead of the chunky clips. After the cord was tied and cut, Logan was wrapped up and passed to his daddy for first cuddles whilst I tried to pass the placenta.
I had stopped having noticeable contractions, so it was suggested that I get out the pool and try sitting on the toilet. This is where the puppy pads came in handy, to make a path to the downstairs toilet. Sure enough, within a minute of sitting on the toilet, out came the placenta. No pain at all. I then returned to the sofa, wearing disposable knickers and a dressing gown. I’d recommend going for a large size knicker! Pre-pregnancy I was a size 10-12 and bought size 12-14 knickers but should have gone for 16-18. Also, the big ‘granny knickers’ that go over your tummy are a good investment for the first few weeks of jelly belly.
Logan had his first feed within an hour of being born and took to the breast straight away, finding his own way to the nipple from lying on my chest. I was lucky enough for him to naturally have a good latch which has meant so far not having any sore nipples! We then sat with a lovely cup of tea and biscuits, well deserved all round. I sat holding my precious baby whilst the midwives completed their paperwork. It was a very relaxed and happy atmosphere regardless of the time and the midwives having had very long days themselves. It is incredible how hard they work and the passion they have for the job. Very highly recommended by all the One to One mums that I have met! After his first feed, Logan went to Ailsa for cuddles and to get him dressed for bed whilst I had a quick shower and daddy began to drain the pool which was nice and easy with the pump provided. I was tucked up in my own bed by 3am with Logan sleeping happily next to me in his Moses basket whilst daddy finished off tidying downstairs. I could not have asked for a better birth experience which has started off my journey into motherhood in the best possible way. All of which would not have been possible, or even crossed my mind to consider home birth had I not have found One to One.
My home birth shopping list:
All this comes to about £50 but you might have some stuff already such as hosepipe, foam mats or yoga mats.
Finally, I just want to say again how happy I am with my experience with One to One throughout pregnancy, birth and the follow up care I have received from my lovely midwife Ailsa and MaMA Sammy.
I am due to be discharged from their support this week and am really going to miss them popping in for a brew and catch up as this is how each visit has felt, like a friend popping in! I will definitely keep going to the regular Bumps to Babies mornings to keep seeing them and meeting up with fellow local mums and babies.
Very highly recommend to everyone and I share my lovely birth experience to anyone who will listen! Lots of love from Laura, Ian and Logan xxx