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Registered nurse Lizzie's positive home birth story

Updated: 6 days ago

woman skin to skin with newborn after a home birth

"Almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant I had a strong instinct that I didn't want to go into hospital to give birth.

I am a registered nurse and I knew that the hospital setting would feel too much like being at work for me to relax. At the first midwife appointment, my lovely, very supportive midwife gave me some information about different birth options and the idea of a home birth became really concrete for me.

A work colleague had had two home births and was very positive about the experience and encouraging of my plan to give birth at home. Others, however, were keen to tell me how 'brave' I was and how they couldn't do it. The midwife team were great, though- my midwife came to the house and talked us through all the risks and also gave us lots of tips for preparing, including buying carpet-protecting sticky-back plastic for the sitting room which was where we planned for me to give birth (more of which later). I was beginning to get a bit anxious though because my bump was measuring big- I had been for an extra scan and was told that the obstetric team recommended induction at 40 weeks which would have forced me to have a hospital birth.

On the day my daughter was born I woke at about 4.30am. I felt slightly damp and I wasn't sure whether this was urine or my waters.

I also had some tightening's. I was 38+2 that day and I was keen for baby to arrive before 40 weeks because of the threat of induction. I rang the hospital because it was too early in the morning to ring my midwife. They asked me to come in to be checked, which I did at 8am as requested, having enjoyed a cuppa and breakfast in bed! When I was checked, my waters were intact (felt very silly at this point but was assured it happens all the time) but I was having contractions and was offered a sweep which I accepted to get things moving more quickly. The sweep was grim and painful but I could immediately tell that my contractions were slightly more intense. The midwife wished me luck and hoped I got my home birth and sent me home.

At lunchtime, my husband Pete made me some toast which I ate between contractions which were becoming more intense. I coped with these by leaning up against the sofa and using hypnobirthing breathing techniques and visualizations of places that signify calm and quiet for me. We had printed out pictures of some of these places to put around the room to help with this.

I rang the midwives at around 1.30pm- a midwife and a student arrived at about 3pm. I tried to relax on the sofa but was getting increasingly uncomfortable.

They suggested a bath (I didn't have a pool- I think a lot of people think they go hand in hand with home birth but I hate my hands and feet going wrinkly so knew it wasn't for me!).

This helped for a while and when I got out I went straight into our bedroom. Needless to say there was no sticky-back plastic in here! We did have some 'puppy' pads, so laid them on the bed.

At around 6pm I started to use gas and air as I was beginning to find the pain of contractions was making me feel panicky. Two different midwives had arrived while I was in the bath because the day shift finished at 4. They were on the late, meaning they were supposed to finish at half 8. There was a discussion around the time I started gas and air about me transferring to hospital as my cervix was only about 6cm dilated. They called for an ambulance but then decided by the time it arrived that I was making quicker progress than they thought! So the ambulance men went away again (not before swapping the gas and air canister for their full one, hooray!).

At about 8pm I felt strongly that I needed to push. I was in an all-fours position using Pete and the headboard to brace against.

Pete told me afterwards that the midwives were getting concerned that I had been pushing for a while and seemed to be tiring but I missed all of this- I was in my zone. Pete kept talking to me and encouraging me. My waters burst fairly spectacularly as I pushed, all over the bed and duvet but in that moment I felt elated- I was nearly there!

newborn baby after a home birth in nottingham

Francesca Peggy was born at 9pm

(by the clock in our room so that is the least accurate birth time ever), head and shoulders all at once, with one last big push.

Pete was brave and had a look at her crowning head just in the nick of time. The midwives encouraged me to pick her up- I was surprised, having imagined they would pass her to me (too many episodes of Call the Midwife). I had a tear, but was totally oblivious.

The feeling of cuddling Frannie in our own bed, with tea in our own cups, was magic. She tried to latch almost straight away, and nearly had the midwife's finger off when she checked her palate! I lay their feeling like super woman and ate a whole packet of jelly babies and two bags of mini cheddars.

In the end, I was transferred to hospital for my stitches because the midwives thought it might be third degree- it turned out to be second degree. We got home at about 4am and got into the spare bed (our bed was a write off!) and snuggled up together.

I would definitely try for another home birth if we were to have another baby. I felt safe, calm and in control throughout. I also feel like was able to follow my instincts a lot more because of my familiar surroundings. Pete still sometimes refers to our bedroom as the labour suite, and yes, the duvet did come clean."

I loved how Lizzie used her Hypnobirthing techniques, and breathing to keep her calm and in control. It's also fab to read about healthcare professionals having home births, as there is definitely a misconception that home birth is 'brave' and only for certain hippy dippy people! The other notable thing here was the decision not to have a birth pool, I think people think water birth is synonymous with home birth, but if you don't like water/can't get a pool or just don't want to, then a pool isn't necessary at all! You can still have a fabulous home birth on dry land like Lizzie did!

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