As I write this, my baby boy is eight months today and fast asleep (bliss). He is my first. To say we got off to challenging start would be about right. (Challenging for us, I’m aware many families go through multiple hardships and tough times).
I had a great pregnancy and only had three bouts of morning sickness overall. I had good energy throughout and was doing pregnancy yoga right up until a week before my due date. Ah, the “due date” more on that to come… I decided to have a homebirth fairly late into being pregnant, I was around seven months and myself and my husband took a hypnobirthing course at St. Thomas’ hospital. I had read all about hypnobirthing and the benefits of having a natural birth, using breathing and visualisation techniques. The course also seemed to indirectly promote homebirth and it’s many benefits for mother and baby. I was hooked.
Up until this point, I was set on being in hospital at the ‘home away from home’ centre. Upon completing the course, I said how much I loved the idea of having a homebirth, to which my husband agreed and fully supported.
Once my due date of 28th September arrived, I was showing no signs of baby arriving anytime soon. My homebirth midwife had mentioned the induction process and asked me to consider being induced, beginning with the sweep. I wasn’t keen. After all, baby will come when baby is ready was drilled into my mind from multiple sources!
I formally declined induction, to which I was advised to have a formal meeting with the head of midwifery at St Thomas’ Hospital to explain my justifications for not proceeding with an induction.
The first week of October, me and my husband had no idea what to expect of the meeting, we turned up for what I assumed was a casual chat. It turned out to be more of an intense grilling as to my reasoning behind not wanting to be induced. After making it clear (as I felt absolutely fine and was happy to wait for baby to arrive in his own time) the midwife checked me over and stated I was measuring big for dates and sent me for an ultrasound which confirmed baby to be large, macrosomic. The scan measured him to be 10lb 6oz.
This came totally out of the blue and was never mentioned nor picked up before this. Then it was suggested I had likely had gestational diabetes throughout my pregnancy which went undetected.
The head of midwifery then proceeded to plant the fear of god in us a she discussed the array of critical issues that could arise should we have proceeded with the birth at home. She also tried to pressure me into a decision there and then as to whether I would agree to an elective C-section.
Myself and my husband said we needed to think things through and go back to her within the next few days. All of a sudden, what I thought was baby being a tad ‘overdue’ (although had learned during hypnobirthing that most first time babies arrive on average two weeks after the elusive due date) was now considered a high risk pregnancy/birth and would need to be hospitalised. As you can imagine, this was a massive shock. I had been practising every single day my breathing techniques and visualisations along with reading about positive thought during pregnancy/birth and the difference it can make.
Desperate for a clearer picture of things, I had a private scan done the next day who measured baby to be 10lb 1oz. We decided against an elective C-section, as I felt as fit as a fiddle and all of babies checks and scans were perfect.
Just to note, I am 5’10 and of medium build and my husband is 6’2 and medium build. We thought it made sense that we were going to have a larger baby. We proceeded with the homebirth, against midwife’s advice.
This decision was not supported. My midwife who had been coming to my home for the past eight to nine weeks was not present at the birth for unknown reasons. We had two different midwives whom I hadn’t met before, arrive late – slightly unsettling but you roll with whatever when you are contracting.
To cut the long story short, our beautiful baby boy arrived on the 11th October 2018 at 8.26pm where I delivered him on our bed. I lost my mucus plug and had subtle contractions begin at around 9am that morning and by 3-4pm everything had ramped up. I am pleased to say I birthed him using hypnobirthing breathing techniques exclusively. After hard work, pushing, a painful tear and breathing until I was blue in the face, Quincy was born at 10lb at 41+6 days gestation.
He didn’t scream straight away and appeared unresponsive for a slight moment before he belted out a scream that continued for a few hours. He was large, pink and loud. He certainly made an entrance after a brief moment of silence. We like to think he was preparing his lungs for the scream that was to come!
My advice for anyone considering homebirth is to make sure it feels right to you. I knew my body and what I felt I could do. Yes it was hard and yes I doubted myself at times, but ultimately, being in hospital would have meant an entirely different experience for us.
It wasn’t the water birth I had planned, although I did do most of the pushing and hard work in the pool we had set up in our living room, the midwives needed to see better so advised me to move to the bedroom – very messy, yes indeed! Worth it – absolutely! Would I do it again? Perhaps! But if I had known in advance Quincy was going to be large, I may have made a different decision, who knows?! By this point, I was too far gone and felt I could have given birth at any moment. I also felt strong and confident in myself and baby, that together, we would work as a team and he would be birthed into this world the way we had planned for him.
A few weeks later, Quincy and I both contracted infections which meant an overnight stay in hospital for him with antibiotics and later, a set of antibiotics for me.
Ultimately, do what feels right for you! We were thrown a massive curve ball that could have gone either way but the main thing is Quincy is a healthy, strong and beautiful boy, who helped me birth him.
Charlotte, aged 32 based in Bermondsey, South East London is a creative; a freelance singer/songwriter, Hatha yoga teacher and can now add stay at home mum to the list. Charlotte and Quincy enjoy going to swimming classes, sensory/soft play, baby cinema and love spending quality family time together taking park walks and pub lunches. Quincy was born in October 2018.