I hope you enjoyed reading my home birth diary last week. If you like the idea of a home birth, but you’re not quite sure if it’s for you or not, here are my top tips and hints to help you along with your decision.
Get informed –
There is an overwhelming amount of information available – use it! Empower yourself with information. Speak to your community Midwife, do online research, talk to people who have had a homebirth. We found it very helpful to attend specific groups for those considering a homebirth. There is a very informative and positive homebirth group that meets regularly out of the Parent and Pregnancy Centre in Edinburgh – can’t recommend this highly enough.
Be Prepared –
We attended our NHS antenatal classes and also decided to do a private active birth workshop with Elemental Birth Yoga, which was money well spent. When it came to it, my contractions were so intense that I forgot a lot of the things that had seemed so important to us during the pregnancy. Luckily our Doula encouraged us to write a really detailed Birth Plan. This avoided any confusion or misunderstanding and took some of the pressure off of my husband to have to advocate on my behalf during labour as our preferences were clearly set out for everyone to see.
We also prepared by having our birthing pool inflated and ready to be filled from around our due date. We had a few practice runs at filling it so we knew roughly how long it would take and we could plan accordingly.
I had been recommended to get a homeopathic labour kit containing arnica, this along with a TENS machine and Gas and Air were adequate forms of pain management for me. All worth doing some research on to decide if they might benefit you
No surprises I didn’t feel much like eating when my labour was coming like a train. My husband and my Doula kept me hydrated and regularly offered me nibbles on fresh fruit and high energy snacks to keep my reserves up.
I think that undoubtedly much of the birth experience is affected by forces that are outwith our control. By choosing a homebirth we hoped to minimize these forces and try to keep a positive and open minded outlook on how things might go. I knew instinctively my body knew what to do, my mind however, was another matter. The biggest obstacle would be switching that part off. I tried to keep my thinking in the moment, in each contraction, reminding myself that each contraction was one closer to holding my baby.
Do whatever you need to do to feel safe and supported, for us that was having a Doula. For you it may be having just your partner, or your mum or best friend there. It’s entirely up to you!
Reflecting now 6 months on, had the outcome been different and our son was born in hospital it would not change one bit of the love we have for him. All that matters is that he got here safely. We spend so long (9 whole months!) preparing for this moment, and yes it would be nice if it went exactly how we imagined it would, but rarely does life work like that, so it seems to me the thing to focus on is that we have our babies, however they arrive! We are so blessed.
My last and biggest tip
We spend so much money on the perfect this or that product for our baby. Consider saving some of that money to use towards a budget for some help AFTER your baby arrives! In whatever form best suits you. Perhaps ask parents or close friends for vouchers or funds towards getting some help in weeks following your baby’s birth. Despite 16 years of professional experience, by week 3 of breastfeeding a baby with a clinical diagnosis and feeding issues, I was absolutely exhausted and an emotional wreck. I’ve never appreciated the value of rest more. Luckily for me I had the benefit of a really hands on, supportive husband, and the wealth of knowledge and experience of my Baby Matters colleagues to reassure me that I wasn’t going crazy, I was doing everything “right” or at least as best I could. That kind of support is priceless.