How One to One Midwives helped me achieve the most amazing homebirth
Today I was discharged by my wonderful midwife, Sheridan. Whilst I felt completely ready to be discharged, I also felt a slight sadness that my One to One experience was over.
A friend of mine who had used the service last year told me about One to One when I fell pregnant with my first baby. I visited the website and was thrilled that I was within the catchment area to receive the service – I promptly made contact. Sheridan, my dedicated midwife, phoned me to introduce herself and my One to One journey began. I was twelve weeks pregnant at the time and me and my husband Chris were so excited about becoming parents.
Epilepsy and homebirths – overcoming a difference of opinions
Friends of mine had homebirths and it was something that I was interested to learn more about, however because I suffer from epilepsy, it was something that I thought wouldn’t be an option for me. I liked the idea of being in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by all that was familiar and being able to control the environment I gave birth in. I also knew that the more comfortable I felt, the easier my birth would ultimately be.
I broached the subject of having a homebirth with Sheridan with an open mind but was expecting to have some push-back given my medical condition – however I was met with positive stories about how other women had been in the same position and gone on to have beautiful homebirths. From that moment, I knew that having our baby at home was an option and something I wanted to achieve, as long as it was safe for myself and baby.
I was referred to a specialist epilepsy nurse due to my condition, who met the idea of a homebirth with nothing but negativity. I was actually told that I may die if I chose to have a homebirth and that it wouldn’t be the correct environment for me to deliver my baby. Disheartened and upset about the response I fed it back to Sheridan – she was shocked at how the topic had been approached and encouraged me that everything was a choice, my choice. Sheridan showed me previous care plans of women with epilepsy who had gone on to have successful homebirths and assured me that as long as a solid care plan was in place, a homebirth was something that I could proceed with. Sheridan also told me that she would attend my next appointment with the specialist nurse with me to dig deeper into their reluctance of me having a homebirth, and to ask all the questions to cover all areas. I was also put in touch with other women who had achieved their homebirths, despite pre-existing medical conditions and reluctance from medical professionals.
If the evidence for me having a homebirth had pointed towards it being detrimental to the health or myself or my baby, I would of course have followed their advice. However, they didn’t present me with any evidence that disproved One to Ones approach and actually contradicted themselves on several occasions – saying that it would be most beneficial for me to be at home for a long as possible before my labour and then as quickly as possible following my labour. Therefore, if I could create a safe environment at home for the delivery, why not stay there?
I told my family about the plans to have a homebirth and my mum had some concerns, thinking back to her labour and all the issues that could arise and how they would be solved if I was at home. On one of my home visits by Sheridan, I invited my mum to come along. Even though my mum would have supported me no matter where I chose to give birth, I wanted to alleviate her fears. Sheridan answered all my mum’s questions and reassured her that every situation that could arise in labour is prepared for. Sheridan also talked through birth statistics at home vs hospital and my mum was sold – now thinking that a homebirth was a great option for me to proceed with.
Hypnobirthing and education
I had heard of hypnobirthing and had friends who’d used these techniques in their labour, however my knowledge was limited and it was something I wanted to explore. When I heard that One of One offered a hypnobirthing course both myself and my husband were delighted. We promptly booked on to the course and found it extremely beneficial. Their approach was to teach us about the different elements and pick the bits that you felt would work for you.
I used hypnobirthing breathing techniques in my labour and they got me through to full dilation without any other pain relief other than a TENS machine.
One to One also offered a range of other educational courses and we attended all of them. For us, the education on the birth process got us prepared for each stage, how we could manage it appropriately and not to be fearful, as we understood what was happening with my body and baby. For these courses to be offered free of charge was amazing.
On Saturday 16 June 2018, Tamsin Drew Roberts was born at home, weighing 7lbs 5oz. I can honestly say that having Tamsin at home was the most amazing experience, and of course, the best day of our lives.
I had packed my hospital bag and was open-minded to the fact that I may have to be transferred into hospital if any issues occurred with myself or baby. The fact that I achieved my perfect homebirth fills me with so much pride and joy, and I have nothing but fond memories of it. Sheridan had gone on holiday that day, something which I knew may have been a possibility if I went past my due date. At my 40-week appointment, she gave me a pep talk and assured me that I could totally rock a homebirth! Georgia, Sheridan’s ‘buddy’, who I had met on several occasions, was therefore going to be at the birth.
Mild contractions had begun on Thursday evening, but I didn’t want to get too excited, thinking it may just be Braxton Hicks, even though I was five days overdue. I woke up on Friday morning with the same light tightenings but felt absolutely fine. My best friend came across for lunch and the tightening’s had become slightly more intense. I let Chris know but told him to stay at work, as I was fine and happy on my birthing ball. My friend left at 6pm and the tightening’s were the same, however when Chris got home an hour later they ramped up – lots of oxytocin (the love hormone) was released seeing Chris! I then realised that I was in early labour and we’d soon be meeting our baby girl.
I put the TENS machine on at about 8pm and found this to be a great distraction when I had a contraction. At this point I didn’t feel like I needed Georgia, however we informed her that I was in labour. Chris rang Georgia an hour later, at 9pm, and informed her that the contractions were becoming more regular – she advised us to count them for an hour and then give her a call back. An hour and a half later we contacted her and told her that I was ready for her to come over. Georgia arrived at around 11:15pm and I was using my hypnobirthing breathing techniques with Chris guiding the breaths. The birthing pool was inflated, and Chris had started to fill it. I got in the pool at around 11:45pm and my contractions were coming thick and fast. I continued to use my breathing techniques but decided that I wanted to try gas and air to help me through them. Five minutes later at 11:50pm, I started to have the urge to bear down (push). Listening to my body, I started to down breath and knew that we would soon be meeting our baby. Fifteen minutes later, at 00:10am on Saturday morning, baby Tamsin was born.
I had delayed cord-clamping and remained in the pool until I delivered the placenta at 00:35am. I then got out of the pool and Tamsin received her vitamin K injection. Georgia and Jo, who had arrived just as Tamsin was born, examined me to ensure no trauma had occurred in the birth – I was lucky and didn’t need any further medical assistance. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, so Georgia oversaw me feeding Tamsin for the first time – it was magical. I then went for a shower whilst Georgia and Jo cleared up and Chris held Tamsin close.
Three hours after giving birth, me and Chris were sat on our bed with Tamsin in between us – we couldn’t believe it! I wolfed two rounds of toast and fell asleep. Had I really just had the most amazing homebirth, that was everything I could have hoped for? I sure had and was smitten, proud and completely and utterly overjoyed and in love. Sheridan rang me from her holiday in Turkey to congratulate us and tell me how proud she was of me – it was so lovely to hear from her. When we awoke the next morning you wouldn’t have known we’d had a baby in the house.
A couple of hours after leaving our house, Georgia returned to check on me and Tamsin. Tamsin was thriving, and I was feeling surprisingly OK after the birth. Once Sheridan returned from holiday she came to see us and assumed her position as our midwife. It would have been amazing for her to at my birth, however it was out of our control and Georgia was great.
I had been introduced to Sarah, the Maternity and Midwifery Assistant (MAMA) when she ran one of the courses at One to One. Sarah was an amazing support, ensuring myself and Tamsin were breastfeeding OK and just generally checking on our welfare. Sarah visited on a number of occasions the following weeks after Tamsin was born – usually after I had had some questions about one thing or another. What another amazing service to be offered, on top of everything One to One had already provided us with.
One to One – giving women the power to make informed choices
I cannot imagine my pregnancy without the support of One to One Midwives throughout. Everything I was offered and provided with exceed my expectations and led me to have wonderful homebirth. I will never forget Sheridan and all the staff at One to One.
For me, Sheridan went over and above her role as my midwife, to ensure I could achieve my desired homebirth. Tamsin is now twelve weeks old and is our complete world. We have a montage of photos from our homebirth in the exact spot where Tamsin was delivered. It is an experience we will never ever forget, and something that I hope to do again in the future.
I would recommend One to One Midwives to anybody planning a pregnancy – whether you wish to have a homebirth or hospital birth, you will be supported every single step of the way and feel completely liberated. Every woman should feel like they have a choice when it comes to their pregnancy. This is often not the case and many women don’t even realise they have options and can say no to healthcare professionals – it was only through education, expertise, evidence and reassurance from One to One that I felt I was able to say no to options (or lack of) given to me by my consultant, and make an informed choice to proceed with the birth that I so wanted to achieve.
If I could sum up One to One in one word it would be ‘Wow’. Thank you to all the staff that supported us throughout and I look forward to seeing you when we hopefully have baby number two!