Penny is born in our kitchen

4.02pm  –  Monday 6th October 2014

When we found out we were expecting our third baby, the thought of another hospital birth scared the hell out of me.  I’ve spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals during my adult life and I can honestly say I hate them.  I understand their purpose and when I’ve been ill, the NHS has been an invaluable resource, however I am a horrid patient (just ask my mum and husband).

We had hoped to deliver in our local birth centre and up until around 33 weeks that was the plan.  All until I made a call to set things up and take a tour only to be told that my BMI was too high for them to ‘allow’ me to birth there.  A midwife I saw recommended that I contact our Senior midwife to discuss my options and threaten a home birth in the hope that they agree to the birthing centre as a happy medium.  When she called me back, I was informed that I still wouldn’t be ‘allowed’ (I hate that word) to birth at the birthing centre and made us an appointment with a consultant at the hospital.  By this point myself and Jonathan has discussed the possibility of a home birth.  We attended an active birth workshop and came out of it very sure that this was the best option for us.  Then I hit the internet looking for as much information as I could find about the risks and benefits of birthing at home.  People thought we were mad.  Some even suggested that we didn’t have our baby’s best interests at heart and that we were being selfish for not wanting to be surrounded by a medical team.  After our meeting with the consultant we were even more adamant that a home birth was our best option.  We knew the risks involved, but agreed that as long as my BMI was the only cause for concern, that we would go ahead.

On the morning of her birth (41+1) I went along to my midwife appointment to be told that baby’s heartbeat was a lot faster than normal and wasn’t coming down, so I was sent to the hospital to be monitored. While I was there there was all sorts of talk of induction etc, however while in the waiting room I noticed some twinges much like belly ache, but they were only lasting about 20 sec and 1 in 10/15 minutes, so I just figured it was the same thing I’d been having for the 2 weeks previous. After an hour on the monitor, the midwife was happy for me to go home as baby’s heart rate had come down. I was concerned that my midwife attending at home would panic at the heart rate and transfer me, but figured, go home and sort out the kids, cat etc and see what happens. In the car on the way home my pains were coming 1 in 4 minutes and were a lot stronger, but only lasting 20-30 seconds.

It felt strange driving away from the hospital in what I now knew was actual labour. When I got home I called my midwife and while on the phone the pains came faster and were suddenly lasting closer to 1 minute 30 (Thankfully my mother in law was there timing). In the mean time hubby was running around inflating the pool etc. The midwife arrived and instantly called for the second midwife. She luckily had a student with her on her first ever home birth, who was invaluable when it come to helping Jonathan fill the pool with me in it. My mother in law left to collect my older children from school, and my mum arrived with 20 minutes to spare. My candles went unused as it was day time, and my playlist ended up on repeat but there was no time to change it. (Brian Littrell- My Answer is You) Baby was so keen to arrive after only an hour and a half active labour. My waters went after Penny’s head was delivered which is where they discovered she had poo’d. They estimate that she must have gone the day before, due to her cord being green and the placenta also and would explain the rapid heart rate.
I was in the shower when my Mother-in-law returned with my 13 & 10 year old.  Due to my kitchen looking as my husband put lovingly ‘like a scene from a horror movie’, he asked that they go and grab some food while he cleaned up and they met Penny for a few seconds at the front door.  Then came the frantic bucket dash to empty the pool.  When the children returned we had a lovely 4 hours at home with our older children and close family, before myself, Jonathan and Penny spent the night at the local birth centre so that Penny could have observations for 12 hours. This wasn’t ideal, but it is a 10 minute walk from our home, so didn’t feel like too much of an invasion on our bonding time. Although not as planned, and way faster than anticipated I will cherish this birth experience always.  I did it. No pain relief this time and I just did what my body told me to do.  After years of being told that I’d not conceive again after chemo, and that my PCOS would also stop me I proved them all wrong.  It was a long road and a not so ideal pregnancy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and if I can convince Jonathan to agree, then you never know…. watch this space :p
Some photos taken by Jonathan. It was all so fast that the camera wasn’t set up properly which explains the blur. I’m still glad we have them though 😀


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