My family are very nature-minded and not in favour of hospitals or modern medicine, so it was always my dream to have a baby at home. No doctors taking control, no unnecessary medical interventions, just letting nature take its course.
When I had my first midwife appointment and she told me that homebirth was an option, I was overjoyed, I couldn’t believe my luck. My mum and dad were super excited and said they would support me and be with me all the way through. Luckily, my husband agreed with the idea although his family thought it was crazy. The sweetest thing was my siblings were delighted with the idea that baby will be born in their home.
On the back of my mind I knew and was told that there is a chance I will end up in hospital. I really didn’t believe I would actually succeed in giving birth at home but we all kept positive, and hoped for the best.
Lots of my friends thought I was crazy and that I would regret it, but I persisted with my decision and told them to wait and see.
My due date arrived, but no sign of baby. Ten days later I lost my mucus plug at 5am and had a very slight cramping, but went back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I knew it was happening!
I was having slight contractions all day and at 2pm the midwife arrived (because I was due for a visit as she was going to discuss induction) so she made an examination and gave me a sweep. I was 2cm dilated. Yipee, I was so excited and positive! The day went on and contractions started getting stronger but I was still managing on my own. I was using the ball and a TENS machine to help me cope with the pain. Thankfully, I was surrounded by my amazing family, husband and three little brothers, which was definitely taking my mind off the pain. Then they blew up the pool, and dimmed the lights to calm down the atmosphere.
Once it was 11pm I thought to call the midwife again to tell her that contractions have started getting stronger and more frequent. She came and examined me but unfortunately I was still at 2cm. I was absolutely devastated and burst out crying. I couldn’t believe that after a full day of labour I’m still only 2cm open. How am I ever gonna get there? Midwife said I should try to get some sleep and she’ll come back in the morning. But to my surprise, a minute after she left, my waters broke and then things started getting much much more intense. It was midnight, the house was asleep, but I was wide awake with my little sister and mum. We sent dad to a different bedroom to catch some sleep.
It was so amazing labouring with my sister and mother at my side, in and out of painful contractions, but with the best company ever, we were even joking around, and enjoying the time together, although contractions were really strong and I needed help to ease the pain.
By 2am my sister got tired so she went to have a little nap. So now it was just me and my mum. She was amazing, so calm and encouraging. She was the best person I wanted with me. She has nine of her own kids, so I trusted her one hundred per cent and felt safe.
By now the pain was unimaginable. After every contraction, I fell asleep but woke up a few minutes later with a huge shock of pain from the next one coming in. My mum told me to try catch sleep between the contractions, as I will need the energy, but I was so scared to fall asleep because I knew what was coming when I wake up. Still, she was great, rubbing my back, and pressing me where I needed (I had very strong back labour). The pain was starting to get lower and lower into my back, literally into my backside, so my mum said the baby is definitely on its way down. It was also reaching a point that I couldn’t cope with the pain so I told my mum: ‘Call the midwife, if this baby is not out soon we need to go to hospital and have an epidural, I can’t take the pain anymore!’ She said let’s wait till 5am. Finally, we called the midwife and decided to go downstairs to the dining room where the pool was set up, by now my mum was super tired so my dad offered to take over.
It was the best thing ever because the pain was so excruciating that I needed those strong big manly hands to press on my back as strong as possible. When midwife arrived at 6am she said I was 6cm dilated, this was encouraging for me because I knew that I’ve progressed.
But now the pain was on a new level, I was literally not in this world anymore, I was screaming at the top of my lungs, even though I was aware of my screams, there was nothing I could do about it. Even the gas and air was not good enough, I didn’t have the strength to hold it in my mouth. The only thing I could do is scream and scream.
My father was unbelievable, he was so calm and kept on telling me how amazing I was doing. By now, more midwives arrived, the family started waking up… But everything that was going on around me was muffled and dark. I was not on this planet. Finally, I was fully dilated and transitioning. I kept on saying: ‘I can’t do this anymore, I caaaaaant!’ And my mum said: ‘You can, you can do it!’ I didn’t believe that this baby will ever come out.
I was in the pool for the last two or three hours, but when it was time to push, the midwife wanted me out of the pool because there was some meconium and she wanted to monitor properly what’s going on.
She got me to crouch down on my legs with my back by the couch. My mum and sister was supporting me from either side and then I started pushing. At this point, even though the pain was still intense, I stopped screaming, it was a relief to me that the end was near. I also felt the baby slowly coming down and with every push I felt like I was ripping open more and more. But it felt good, I finally felt like something was happening.
Finally, the head was visible and I heard my mum and sister quietly sniffling and sobbing. The next contraction came and I used every drop of energy that I possessed, and even though the pain killed me I pushed with all my might and plop, her head was out.
I can’t begin to explain the relief I felt at this point. It was indescribable, and yet with another big push her whole body came sliding out. Suddenly, all the pain came to a stop, I felt like I just came out of hell and into paradise.
At 9.13am a beautiful perfect little baby was placed in my arms. The calm, the joy, the relief, no words! Everyone was crying, by father my mother, my husband, my sister, my brothers. It was an amazing emotional scene! I was the only one not crying, I was hyper. Couldn’t stop hugging and talking to my brand new sweet angel!
After she was born we had to go to hospital to get some stitches, as I had a second degree tear and they felt it was best to get it stitched in hospital as they would do a better job there.
But I felt like a superhero! I actually managed to give birth at home. No pain relief, no doctors, no medication! Just natural!
So to all you women out there. You can do it. God created us with the power to reproduce, and give birth, and we can all do it! Yes it’s hard, yes it’s painful. But it’s the most rewarding thing you can ever do.
My baby is now five months, and every time I look at her, I still can’t believe she was born at home. We named her Miri (short for Miriam) and till this day, I call her my Miri Miracle! I feel so blessed and thankful to God that he gave me this wonderful opportunity.
Shevi is 24 years old, she lives in Barnet, London and works with special needs children. She also gives music lessons and is a music therapist. Her baby girl was born in January 2019 in Hackney.