Parenthood for us was a very bumpy road and at some point we really thought that we would never reach the destination…Two years after starting to try for a baby in 2013 we still hadn’t had any luck, so me and my wife Caroline decided to have some tests done. We got told that there is hardly any chance we will get a baby naturally. So we put our hope in the fertility clinic and have been very lucky for treatment to work on our second attempt. After that, the pregnancy was uneventful, which made it perfect. I also allowed us to think about our birth plan with confidence.
Having a medicalized conception that was out of our control might have pushed us to have a natural birth. It also motivated us into having a homebirth with a pool and no other pain relief.
With a home water birth in mind, I knew that my role as a partner would be bigger than if we had a hospital birth, and Caroline knew that, too. In order not to be scared, we read two very good books: “Mindful Hypnobirthing” by Sophie Fletcher and “The Hypnobirthing book” by Katharine Graves. These really helped us to “demystify” the birth and to take it as a natural event.
I had to be the focus point, the anchor for my wife. The safer she would feel, the easier it would be for her to release the birth hormones.
On the day of the birth, we were very relaxed, Caroline even managed to make some jokes with the midwife while the contraction had already started!
It all started around 4am, contractions got strong and my wife couldn’t stay in bed anymore but told me she was alright. Then, at 9am, contractions got much stronger. Midwife’s appointment was scheduled at 9.30am. As Caroline was calm and making jokes, the midwife thought she wasn’t in labour yet and that the contractions would fade away. Well – they didn’t!
Unfortunately, around 11.30am we had to go to the hospital as Caroline saw some blood after going to the loo. This was hard for us as we were losing control on our birth choice and anticipating the worth case scenario – C-section. At that point it became difficult for my wife to focus. I tried as much as I could to keep her get into “the zone” but noise and worries were too much for her. The bleeding turned out not to be anything serious. As soon as she knew that herself and the baby were alright, my wife told me: “I want to be at home”.
I talked to the midwives at the hospital, they called our homebirth midwife and we were on our way back home. At that point, walking was really difficult for Caroline. I left her alone in the car so she can take back control of her contractions while I rushed home to get everything ready. Our midwife was waiting for us at the door. I cleared the living room to make space for the pool. Then, I went back to the car to help my wife. People were stopping us on our way to check if everything was alright. We made it to the living room. I helped her to get on the sofa so I could finish preparing the pool, it was around 1.50pm. Ten minutes later, her waters broke on the sofa. She looked at me and said: “Sorry…” I laughed and told her not to worry about it. I looked at the midwife and we mutually decided to forget the pool and stay on the sofa.
Then it was the labour! I was on the floor, holding my wife’s hand and helping her to get back in “the zone” and stay there.
Seeing her controlling her body that way and feeling the power that goes with it was extraordinary. She is a super human, women are super humans!
Fifty-nine minutes later, Isaac was born. It was Friday, 3rd February 2017 at 2.59pm. The sofa was a mess, but our lives got so much happier! Caroline and Isaac were both healthy, the midwife started to pack up and couple of hours later we were on our own as a family!
I’ll never thank my wife (and science) enough for Isaac. Caroline’s decision to get back home from the hospital, once we knew everything was fine, was the best of the day.
Having our baby at home, our safe place, was precious. We spent the first night in our bed, Isaac next to us. Checking every other minute if Isaac was still breathing, we didn’t sleep at all, but we were home as a family!
Homebirth is brilliant – you are in a familiar place, quiet and cosy (and it is cheaper for the NHS, as well). I’d recommend homebirth to anyone. The biggest part is to prepare for it, get in touch with the team of homebirth midwives and accept that birth is a natural event, the rest is all happiness!
Jean-Marc works in marketing and is also a photographer. He came to the UK from France with his wife in 2009 and has been living in Newham for the past 7 years. He is dad to a gorgeous little boy, who was born at home in February 2017.