In England and Wales, just over 1 in 50 pregnant women give birth at home. With more and more mums wanting to have their babies at home, we were excited to hear Samantha’s story about her home birth. A heartwarming journey, Samantha gives us a glimpse of what it means to give birth at home, not just for her but her family too. Over to Sam.
My first thought when the midwife called me to tell me I’m an ideal candidate for a home birth was ‘what kind of woo woo hippy stuff is this?’ But then I met the team of midwives who would be looking after me, I did some of my own research. I found the more I learned about having a home birth, the more it felt like home was the safest place physically and emotionally for us as a family. Our middle son Archie has ASD so I knew that bringing a new baby into his world could have some negative repercussions and this was one of my initial fears. This had a huge impact on my decision to have a home birth.
A few years previous, my eldest son had an accident and broke his leg. He ended up being in hospital for a month. Archie was with us when it happened but then got taken to friends, so in his terrified 2 year old head, his big brother and mummy just disappeared. He didn’t really see us for a month. These events triggered some terrible anxiety for him, something that he can still really suffer with now.
‘It was perfect for our family’
I was so concerned I would end up disappearing for days again. How would he cope? In the end I think I picked a home birth because I thought it would help him. He would go to bed at night and wake up the next morning to a new baby brother and luckily for us this is exactly what happened. Having a home birth is something I’d never thought I’d do, but it was perfect for our family.
As we started sharing our decision, we would get a lot of raised eyebrows from family and friends. Some people would try and hide the shock. Others wouldn’t bother hiding it. A particular family member would constantly ask what if something happens? I think they felt I wasn’t concerned for my babies welfare. But ‘something’ could happen and sometimes that ‘something’ does happen, even in the hospital. There is no such thing as a risk free life! The statistics were always on my side, two previous low risk pregnancies, two uncomplicated births, great transfer plan and close proximity to the hospital. I had no worries whatsoever.
The home birth.
There were some great positives that came with a home birth. As a mum of two already, it became very convenient having all of my antenatal and then postnatal appointments at home. I didn’t have to travel anywhere, fight for a parking space or arrange childcare. The appointments were always much longer than with my previous pregnancies, to me it felt more thorough as there was no rushing. We would be chatting about all sorts! I was getting to know the women who were going to support me at my most vulnerable. They became part of the family; the boys would look forward to the appointments as well. They would get them to help take my blood pressure and the excitement on their faces when they would hear the baby’s heartbeat was wonderful to see.
The continuity of care made such a difference to me. I felt that knowing the midwives who were on their way to me in the throes of labour made me instantly reassured and excited. They had also got to know me, which I felt was hugely important. They understood my fears and anxieties and how I wanted things to go if everything went to plan. The level of care I received completely surpassed my expectations. These women were caring and compassionate beyond any level I had previously experienced. I found them to be empowering and inspiring and the endless support throughout the pregnancy and labour was so lovely.
‘To pretend giving birth wasn’t terrifying would be ridiculous’
To pretend giving birth wasn’t terrifying would be ridiculous. Even third time around, I didn’t know if I could actually do it. But it was also beautiful and empowering. Just being at home surrounded by my own things, familiar smells and happy memories made me feel confident. More in control somehow. Scented candles and my meditation music took the place of a fetal heart rate monitor and epidural. I was that woman birthing like a lioness in a pool in her lounge. But in all seriousness, it was a calm and peaceful experience. My husband by my side throughout, he even helped lift my son out of the water. It was utterly perfect and my only regret is that I won’t get to do it again.
Home birth isn’t for everyone and to be honest a few years ago it probably wasn’t for me either. But maybe that’s because it was never really explained to me. That’s why I’m sharing my story with you to make you aware that it could be an option for you. You have a choice on how you birth your baby. Every woman should be able to choose where they birth their baby regardless of their circumstances. First time mum or third time mum, whatever your social status. It’s the mothers choice. Ultimately wherever you choose to birth your baby is right if it’s right for you, let’s support each other in whatever we choose!
If you would like to keep up with Samantha and the little ones, you can follow them on instagram
How do you find parenting ? Do you worry about giving birth? Have you changed your habits for the good of the planet? We would love to hear from you. Contact us with your story.