Reflecting on my unplanned home birth


The publication of the new NICE guidelines Intrapartum care: care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth, which recommend that women with a low risk of pregnancy complications would be better off giving birth at home or at a midwife-led unit, rather than at hospital, has got me thinking about Rosalie’s birth, and what I would do next time around.

If my experience with Rosalie has taught me anything, it is that plans don’t always go, well, to plan! I had hoped to have a calm and relaxing(!) water birth at the midwife-led unit, but when the time came R was either going to be arriving in the car or, as she did, at home on the living room floor.

I haven’t really given a possible baby #2 much thought, but hearing the new NICE guidelines about home births being better for many, did make me stop and ponder whether I would opt for a home birth second time around.

Things that I loved about having Rosalie at home:

  • Not having to trek out in the cold and wet to get to the hospital
  • Being surrounded by familiar things
  • Getting to have a shower afterwards in my own bathroom
  • Climbing into my own bed to ‘recover’
  • Not having to listen to other labouring mothers!
  • Having a wonderful story to tell Rosalie when she’s older

I think speedy labours might run in my family, my sister also had a fairly quick delivery with my nephew, her first baby, back in May; although, unlike me, she did make it to the hospital! My mum also mentioned her first labour, with my sister, being quite fast for a first baby. So with this in mind perhaps a home birth would be a good option – that way we are actually prepared at home.

Things we would be able to do differently with a planned home birth:

  • Jim could be by my side instead of running around the house collecting items as instructed by the ambulance person on the phone.
  • We would have all the blankets etc ready for the baby, so they didn’t get cold like Rosalie did.
  • I’d get in loads of those absorbent sheets to contain the mess!
  • With Midwives present for the birth, hopefully I’d do less damage to myself…
  • Hopefully being planned would mean I’d get better immediate post-birth care
  • I’d be more prepared for skin-to-skin and giving the first breastfeed as soon as possible after the birth.

Obviously there’s no guarantee that I’d be able to have a home birth, or that we wouldn’t still have to go into hospital (as with Rosalie), but at least if you plan for a home birth then you’re prepared, and being prepared always makes me feel more calm.

What about you? Have you had a home birth previously? Would you have one again? Has the publication of the new guidance made you more likely to opt for a home birth next time around? Let me know in the comments, or via social media.

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  • Reply
    Katy F
    December 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Oh I didn't know you had Rosalie at home!! How dramatic! I had planned to have L at home as my labour with G had been so smooth sailing and there had been little point in me going in. It wasn't meant to be though as I was overdue, my waters broke (yesterday last year) and so they gave me 24 hours to have her at home or I would have to go in. 24 hours later she was still hanging on in there and so I went in. 3 hours later she was almost born on the floor in front of the midwife station! Ha! I don't plan on having any more at home but do you know, after almost having her at home I actually am rather glad I didn't. I like that I am near doctors being in hospital should anything go wrong. And seeing as L was born with the cord around her neck I was glad I was there. x

  • Reply
    Jess Eliot
    December 15, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Oh yes, it was quite dramatic!! That's really interesting that you were planning to have a home birth but then weren't able, and now you're glad you didn't.

    I really liked the idea of the midwife led unit, because it would be more homely than a ward, but still close to the doctors. But having had R at home, I think I'd opt for a home birth next time.

    Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts xx

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