Ice and snow, but born at home, despite no NHS Midwives available!

andrew_joseph We decided to have a Home Birth as I really wanted to give birth naturally with as little intervention as possible and felt that being in my own home would be most conducive to this outcome. We booked a home birth with the NHS and our midwife was very encouraging and supportive of this. It was mentioned to us that there was a chance that, should there be no midwives available to come out, we might have to go into hospital – however we did not focus on this outcome, choosing to believe instead that we would get the birth we expected.

We made all the preparations for the big day including installing and testing out our birthing pool. It all started with my waters breaking at about 5pm on the afternoon before my due date. Not long after that contractions started and we rang our doula to get her to come around and then rang the hospital to let them know labour had started and that we’d need a midwife at some stage. It was then that we were informed there were no midwives available, as they were busy at another home birth and that the soonest they could send a midwife out to us would be when the next shift came on at 8am the following morning, due to the fact that the midwives would be too tired to come out to us straight after finishing with the birth they were busy at. At first we thought this would probably be okay as 1st stages of labour can often take a long time anyway.

However by about 9pm it was clear that things were progressing pretty quickly as my contractions were already very regular and following in quick succession. We started panicking thinking that we’d have no choice but to go into hospital – which was the worst possible outcome in my mind, and my husband started rushing around trying to gather all the things we might need to pack a hospital bag. Our Doula then suggested that perhaps we should give Yorkshire Storks a ring – having met Chris Warren and some of the other midwives from York Storks at the Home Birth Support Group meetings in York, we hoped there was a chance they might be able to come out to assist us at such short notice.

roxanne_josephMy husband was able to get hold of Chris and she mercifully agreed to come out straight away. It was a freezing cold night in December midway between Christmas and New Year and she had no doubt been snuggled up warm by the fire and just about to go to bed – so the fact that she did agree to come out was wonderful!

I will never forget how pleased I was to see her when she arrived at our house about an hour later – as my contractions were incredibly full on and I was feeling like I needed to start pushing soon, and until that point had been feeling a bit panicky at having been without a midwife! I instantly felt safe and confident that things could now go as they were meant to. I got into the pool straight away and was able to relax and let go of any panic which had been building up.

It wasn’t long before I entered the 2nd stage of labour and started bearing down. Chris just let me get on with what my body was telling me to do – and her allowing me to do so gave me more confidence to keep trusting my body and “going with the flow”. I didn’t have someone telling me when I could or couldn’t push, etc or interrupting my contractions or breathing to do foetal monitoring and this meant I could just tune inwards and listen to my bodies needs and concentrate on my breathing and relax when I needed to and focus on pushing when I needed to do that.

Chris just stayed on the sidelines observing so discreetly I was hardly aware she was there, but just knowing she was actually there made me feel I could do it. Every now and again when I needed her she was magically there to give that little bit of support or an encouraging word. I was not constantly monitored and had no internal examinations – but Chris somehow knew exactly at what stage I was at and how I was doing.

At 20 past midnight with a big push my daughter was born underwater and delivered straight onto my chest in exactly the way we had hoped. We felt elated that with the assistance of Chris at such short notice we had been able to achieve the birth that we had dreamed of with no intervention or drugs.

I will forever be grateful to Chris and to Yorkshire Storks for stepping in at the drop of a hat when the NHS were unable to provide. Should we have any more children I will definitely book my midwifery care with Yorkshire Storks right from the start as I believe it is the only way to truly be sure of getting the birth that you want.