I laboured and gave birth to my first baby in a pool at the now sadly closed Jubilee Birth Centre at Castle Hill Hospital. Everything was so relaxed, calm and non-clinical, I knew that I wanted the same experience again for any other children I had. Although it had been on the cards on and off for quite some time, I was gutted when it was closed for good. When reading a local newspaper article regarding Jubilee’s closure, I saw that there was a Home Birth Group for Hull and the East Riding so I joined their Facebook group and began to attend the monthly meetings as I knew that I wanted a home birth for my second child.
We only have a small house, so after re-jigging the furniture and dismantling the dining table we inflated the birthing pool on my due date so that we were as prepared as possible. Labour began five days later after a long late morning walk; my son was being cared for by his grandparents on the day.
I bounced on my gym ball watching a film, drinking and nibbling on small snacks till I was certain that the contractions were getting closer and stronger. I called my husband to give him a heads-up and then the Community Midwives at around 2pm I felt I was fine and could manage the contractions, so my husband stayed at work, coming home at 4pm; I said I’d call my midwife (Hannah) when I felt the contractions were getting stronger.
At 5pm I called Hannah and asked her to come and see me. She arrived 20 minutes later and after an examination, told me that I was approximately eight centimetres dilated. My husband went downstairs to start filling the pool. I asked if I could have some gas and air and although I didn’t feel it was as effective as it was at the Jubilee Birth Centre, it did give me a focus during the contractions. Hannah called the second midwife, Sonia to come over. As the pool filled to the right level Hannah checked the temperature; Sonia arrived and as I started to climb into the pool my waters finally broke: this was at 6.20pm. After a quick check, I knelt in the warm water and immediately wanted to push.
As I leant forward towards my husband I had my first ‘pushing’ contraction, with the next contraction I gave birth to the baby’s head and with the next out came our beautiful baby – it was a little girl, in three pushes, amazing! It was 6.25pm. As with our first baby, my husband picked her up out of the water and gave her to me and we sat and held her waiting for the cord to stop pulsing. The cord was then clamped and I got out of the pool to deliver the placenta. As my husband emptied and cleared away the pool, our daughter and I had the usual checks and I gave her, her first feed. Hannah and Sonia filled out the paperwork and as we were all fine, they left at around 8pm.
The pool was back in its box ready to be collected, the house was back to ‘normal’ and we were together in our home with our new baby. We had celebratory take-out meal delivered and we went to bed and all of us slept soundly that night. The next day, my husband collected our son from his grandparents’ home and we introduced him to her; he took to her straight away and she continues to be our beautiful daughter and his ‘tiny baby sister’.