Kyle’s Birth Story
By Deborah Black
Content from: http://www.homebirth.org.uk
Deborah’s third baby, Kyle, was born at home on 11 September 2001 weighing 7lbs 10oz.
Your site was a great source of strength and support when I decided to have a home birth with my third son. I had thought about a home birth with my second son but felt shy and daft to ask, so I let it pass.
The midwives were great from the very start. The minute I broached the subject of a home birth the midwife was excited and said yes straight away. They were all saying “I hope I’m on shift when you go into labour”. and they sincerely meant it. I knew that I would go over 40 weeks as my first pregnancy was 41 weeks and my second went to 42 weeks before I was induced. The midwives said I would probably go over again, but that they were okay with this, as long as my blood pressure and iron count stayed within safe limits.
Note from Angela:
It is understandable that midwives want to keep a close check on your blood pressure levels in pregnancy, as high blood pressure can be a sign of pre-eclampsia. However, the significance of a low iron count is less clear. Sometimes women are told that hospital birth is advised if their haemoglobin count is below a certain level. The concern is that, although you are NOT any more likely to lose a lot of blood if you are anaemic, if you DID lose a lot of blood, the recovery could be more difficult for you. However, it is hard to see how giving birth in hospital should make a difference to this. In the event of a severe post-partum haemorrhage your midwife would undertake emergency measures at home and you would be taken to hospital immediately anyway. See page on anaemia from the Association of Radical Midwives site for more information.
There is evidence that average blood loss is lower for women who have home births, than for women of the same risk level who have hospital births (eg see National Birthday Trust Fund study of home births). Therefore it is arguable that women with a low iron count have more to gain from home birth than others. Many women with low iron counts choose to continue with their home birth plans regardless. Anyway, fortunately Deborah didn’t have to deal with these issues!
My due date of 4th September came and went. On September 10th I took both my sons to the dentist, then drove the eldest to school, and popped to my sister’s on the way home for a chat and a drink. My other two younger sisters turned up later and we had a chat before I left to go home thinking that I was going to have another boring day. My husband was pottering about the house upstairs and I sat back in the chair and ‘pop’ my waters broke. I was completely taken aback. In my previous births my waters had not broken until well into labour. I had no idea what to do – the more I moved, the more water leaked everywhere; it was like a comedy. I let my husband know what was happening (he became instantly anxious – he is not good at childbirth). I phoned my two sisters to pop over and give me a hand to finish tidying up and my other sister advised me to put on my TENS machine. I fell in love with the TENS machine over the next 21 hours.
I called the central number for the midwives and one of the community midwives came out. I had not met her before, but she was in the office when the call came out and she decided to respond to it. I was happy enough to see her, just to be reassured that all this water had a purpose.
Then nothing, no contractions until around 10 o’clock that evening. They were not really strong, but I could not sleep as the anticipation was too much. I got around 2 am and pottered around the kitchen giving it a final tidy. The contractions were beginning to ‘bite’ a bit so I turned up the TENS and breathed through them. I finally phoned the midwife at around 4.30 am and I was only 2cm dilated. I was disappointed as I was hoping for a bit more. She jokingly said that things would probably speed up when she’d gone.
I left everybody asleep in the house and sat in the kitchen and breathed through each contraction, turning the TENS as high as it could go and hoping that I was dilating at a much faster rate. I phoned the midwife again at 6am as I needed more pain relief. When she examined me I was 3cm dilated; my exact words were “All that work for 1 cm.” I was so glad to get the gas and air. In fact I was too quick to whip off the TENS machine and I instantly felt like vomiting. The gas and air was great! But by now the pain was really starting to grip with each contraction. I was grateful that I had opted to get the pethidine on prescription as it came in really handy.
The midwife who came on the nightshift had to around 8 am and they asked the next midwife to bring some more gas and air with her. We all thought that she would not make it in time for the birth; from my previous experiences I felt that the birth was imminent. My younger sister Angie, turned up and asked if she could be with me. I did not mind, as my husband was staying somewhere in the background looking after the kids. After several more strong contractions there was still no baby.
It was somewhere around this time that the midwives told me that the baby had his back to mine, which is why it was taking him so long to emerge (Occiput Posterior presentation – see ‘Get Your Baby Lined Up‘ for more info). It was so frustrating. It got to the point where I just got through each contraction then waited – it felt like the baby was just stuck there. The midwives were great; I stood up and rocked my hips, sat on the toilet, you name it, we did every thing possible to get this baby out. I thought the baby would never come. I ended up kneeling on floor by the bed and I was not there long before I felt this overwhelming pain as the baby’s head finally came down and out. My body just took over and pushed him out.
I was shaking, but relieved all the same. The baby needed a bit of assistance to ‘get going’ after the birth, but he was fine. He weighted 7lbs 10ozs. I opted to deliver the placenta normally, which came out about an hour later. Then I had a rest before the midwives encouraged me to take a bath. I was a bit reluctant, but immediately felt the benefit of the warm wateras it soothed my aching limbs. My doctor turned up after his morning surgery and pronounced the baby healthy.
Baby number three is now doing really well. We named him Kyle and I am really glad that I had him at home. It just seemed a normal thing to do.