Whilst my experience with my first daughter Alma was an active, natural and positive birth, I wanted to be more involved and have more control over my second pregnancy. A home birth had never occurred to me until a friend had her baby at home and I realised that it wasn’t as scary as I thought! She recommended One to One Midwives, so I went online to learn more about their service and home birthing.
I gave them a call and they were so reassuring and helpful in explaining everything that I signed up straight away at only 5 weeks pregnant.
I was assigned Tammy who was a perfect midwife in every way. With all the appointments at home I never felt rushed and she always had time to answer all of my concerns, queries and worries. She talked me through all the various scans and tests that needed to be done which put my mind at ease. This was in stark contrast to my experience with the NHS where I felt rushed in my appointments with the various midwives I encountered.
I was also able to text or phone at ANY time (once in the middle of the night!) about any worry I had big or small. If I was distressed they would always offer to come out and visit too. The support and guidance was invaluable especially during difficult moments. She answered a million and one questions and gave advice on books to read, hypnobirthing practice, spinning babies and belly mapping. She also spent a lot of time showing me how to feel where my baby was lying which helped me develop a much stronger bond with her.
One of the highlights of my pregnancy was the trip to their office to get my 12 and 20 week scan of Sofia; it was such a different experience to the NHS service. All the midwives in the office were lovely and made me, my husband and our little Alma feel very welcome and at ease. The sonographer was brilliant and spent so much time going through all the aspects of the scan and our baby. So friendly, she made the experience unforgettable for us and not to mention gave us plenty of pictures to take home!
Preparing for the Birth
Whilst I was so happy with the service I still wasn’t entirely sure about having the birth at home. I don’t believe in set in stone birth plans as anything can happen on the day. However, when I was 40 weeks my second midwife Jo came round to drop off a pool and could sense I was pretty anxious, she then stayed and had a long chat about all my worries with me over a cup of tea. I felt she had all the time in the world for me that night and I was so reassured and confident with my body and the midwives that I really felt that I wanted to have our baby at home.
During my due date week and the week after both Tammy and Jo were on annual leave. However, they were so caring and devoted to their job that they reassured me they would be available at any time should I go into labour! This dedication went far beyond their job description and made me feel so happy and cared for that I was ready for anything.
At 41 weeks and 3 days I went into labour after Tammy had done a membrane sweep that evening. I’d been having light niggles all day, my mucus plug had come away and I knew it wouldn’t be long so had a late night bath and went to bed ready to face the birth tomorrow sometime. However, babies don’t like to be told when to come out and I started getting “surges” pretty soon after going to bed! I rang Tammy at 3.30am and she arrived at 4am with Jo not long after to help put up the pool with my husband. I stayed in bed to let my labour progress further whilst my husband, Tammy and Jo prepared our living room with a birthing pool, candles, my hypnobirthing tracks, warmed towels and the curtains drawn – it was like a spa and I felt so relaxed (and overwhelmed our daughter would be born somewhere so tranquil and peaceful!).
I entered the pool around 6.00am and felt extremely comfortable and settled there. Tammy and Jo constantly talked to me, massaged my back and helped me through “surges”. They also gave me plenty of space with my husband. At times, they were quietly observing showing they had complete trust in the natural process of labour. They were non-invasive, monitoring my body’s own natural cues for progression such as “the purple line”. I never once felt they were doing paperwork and that I had their complete attention which relaxed me enormously. It was so calm that we all managed to have a cup of tea, some chocolate cake and a light hearted chat before the “pushing” phase was to begin!
I left the pool at around 9am as my body felt ready to “bear down”. It was a great feeling knowing I was in control of the situation with Tammy and Jo encouraging me to do whatever “felt right”. It enabled me to follow my own natural instincts, something that might not have been possible in hospital. I ended up in a kneeling comfortable position on the sofa letting my body naturally push. A contrast to the NHS with their directed pushing, I felt every single tiny movement of Sofia in my birth canal as she was getting closer and closer to being born. I took my time following my body’s cues and eventually little Sofia Valentine was born En Caul on Halloween at 10.11am weighing 7lb 12oz!
She was so happy to meet us all and didn’t even cry. That feeling of holding her for the first time, her warm body against my skin and her tiny eyes looking up at me made my heart melt. Sofia latched on instinctively to have her first breastfeed and then peacefully went to sleep with a full belly. Tammy delayed the cord clamping and ensured plenty of skin-to-skin contact making me feel empowered and elated with my natural active birth. The experience convinced my husband and I that we would definitely choose home birthing with One to One midwives for our future children.
Soon after Sofia was born I had a heavy bleed but Tammy and Jo took control straight away and had emergency services on standby to transfer me to hospital. This action was not needed in the end as they acted quickly and purposefully under pressure to stop the bleed and I never felt in danger for a second. Tammy didn’t leave till I was happy and settled. She gave me a call late afternoon and came back that evening to check on me and the newest addition to our growing family.
After the Birth
It took no time at all to recover and I was in an extremely positive and satisfied frame of mind afterwards knowing I laboured so perfectly. It left me with an extreme state of euphoria that I will never forget! Tammy came round every week for 6 weeks after Sofia was born and provided extra reassurance and expertise on all my concerns. Tammy was always on the other end of the phone where I could text or ring with any questions or worries I had. This went above and beyond the service I received from the NHS first time around where I was visited only a handful of times by different “strangers”. They never had time for me which meant I couldn’t talk properly, making me feel like a number rather than a person leaving me extremely upset when I was discharged.
I can’t praise Tammy, Jo and One to One midwives highly enough. We have such a happy, placid and content little baby, who has had the very best start to life with her perfect arrival. Without them I would have never been able to experience the joy and satisfaction of having a baby at home. In particular, Tammy is one of the most inspirational people I know and her caring nature, expert knowledge and patience helped me have a pregnancy experience that I will never ever forget. I am so grateful to Tammy and One to One midwives and would recommend them to anybody having a baby!