My Home Birth Storyby Lauren Schaefer
It was the 2nd of September and I was ready to go to my 40-week hospital appointment. Because of the bank holiday, I was actually seen at 40+2 weeks at 9 am. I was strangely excited to have my sweep, I was feeling so many emotions, mostly just wanting anything to start my labour off. I was seen by a student midwife as well as a regular midwife. The student midwife performed my sweep and was happy to report that I was 3cm and it was a really successful sweep.
By the time 11 am came around, I was on a video call with my sister and felt the first, dull contraction pain. I told her I think that was just a contraction, but didn't want to get my hopes up too much in case it was nothing. I started bleeding shortly after, what I think was my show, and sure enough, the pains started to take form and I could start timing them. Just like last time, I carried on as normal, doing the washing up, sorting out lunch as they weren't really painful at all.
I decided to call the midwife team just after lunch to let them know how things were progressing and to find out if a home birth was an option. There are only a certain amount of community midwives on call at any one time, but I was in luck and they were able to offer me the home birth on the day. I sent my daughter and husband off to the playground so I could just relax in bed for a few hours which was nice. I decided to call in for someone to come out at around 7 pm as the contractions were getting closer together, about 3-5 mins apart. My daughter went off to my mum’s house for a sleepover as we had planned that she wouldn’t be in the house during the birth. My midwife arrived and examined me at 7.40 pm. I was 5cm, a little progress which I was really happy with. It was just a waiting game from there on in. Baby’s heartbeat and my blood pressure were monitored periodically, we had lots of chats and cups of tea until my next examination at 11.40 pm. I was still managing the contractions well, and just like last time, I didn’t want to take anything for the pain as I planned to simply breathe through my labour and birth. At this point I was still about 5/6cm, I was thinking we would be in for a long night ahead.
My sister arrived shortly after midnight and as soon as she got there my contractions became intensely stronger. In a way, I think I was waiting for her to be there with me, just like last time. By the time my next examination came around (two episodes of Extreme Cake Makers) I was 8cm! We decided to get the water into the birth pool, which was just waiting in the middle of the living room floor. I was given the option to have my waters broken (as they hadn’t gone yet) but I had the weirdest feeling that I didn’t want them broken. I think I got into the pool around five minutes to 2 am, and within minutes I felt the urge to push as I was calmly floating in the water. I couldn’t believe how quickly this feeling came around compared to last time, Alice took a long time to descend, but this one was going to make a swift appearance! I felt the head move down with each push, nice and controlled.
I could see my sister’s face light up as soon as she saw the head, my husband was behind me supporting my shoulders and arms. I heard the midwife say that he was coming out still inside the sac, and in the strangest way, I was expecting this to happen. An ‘en caul’ delivery happens in 1 in 80,000 births and is said to be lucky. His head and tummy came out in the sac, and my sister was so excited about it I couldn’t help but feel her emotions and be really excited too. As the final push happened and he was lifted out the water, the sac burst and he was placed onto my chest. Welcome to the world Ethan Charlie Schaefer, born at 2.18 am on the 3rd September weighing 9lbs 0.5oz, 56cm long (he was a very big boy!)
I had the perfect home birth experience the second time around, the best midwife and it went exactly according to plan which I am so grateful for. We captured the birth on video, which I love to watch back, and we also took shots as he was coming out too. I am so relieved that he is here, safe, and our family is now 100% complete.