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Katie's BBA home birth story

Updated: May 10, 2023

Massive thank you to Katie for sharing her amazing positive home birth story, BBA stands for "born before arrival" as in born before any midwives arrived, how amazing! Over to Katie -

Planned home birth ACTUAL BBA 2nd birth Known Boy - Alfie 8lb 8oz EDD 04/01/2022 (NHS) 10/01/22 (My dates) Actual birth date 31/12/2021 NYE Cramping started for us on 30/12 but I had been struggling with constipation for a few days so never really thought too much of it. We met our doula that morning for an ante natal chat about all things birth and for my 3yo, it was his first time meeting her. The rest of the day was spent with the toddler permanently attached to me, he was like a little barnacle and just wanted to snuggle...I think he knew it was his last afternoon as an only child. Started taking more notice of the cramps that afternoon by making a note of the times they were happening, was sort of every 20/30mins or so from 3pm but irregular and I didn’t feel they were strong enough to worry about. Put the little one to bed and he went down about 8.45pm. By 10pm i had a bit of a show and I was pretty convinced I was starting labour, surges were every 8/10mins (I actually posted in here around 11pm asking what others thought!). Rang triage at 11.30pm to be told there were no midwives available to attend until 8am the following morning and I HAD to go in to be monitored...I had to think of the risks I could be putting my unborn baby at by not going in.... I was told I had to decide what I was doing there and then. I advocated for myself and said I’d ring back later when I had processed the information. Rang my doula...she packed a bag and was here in 15mins. We chatted. She reassured me. Said give it an hour, we have time. I’m sure this news affected my progress as surges slowed and the doula said to lay down and rest to conserve some energy between surges. My partner laid with me, talking to me about our beautiful little 3yo and making me smile from the happy memories we had had, this had such a massive impact I’m sure. Things were ramping up again and surges were frequent and a little more intense by 12.30ish so we rang back and said we would be heading in to the birth centre so could they prep a pool please. This is when we were told they had also closed the birth centre due to staffing and I would have to attend the labour suite to deliver. I was gutted and angry - I told the midwife on the phone that it was Boris Johnson’s fault for ruining the nhs 😂. However the surges were coming thick and fast. We said ok, hung up and my partner started getting ready to leave and organising some family to come to stay with the 3yo and the doula as he’d only met her once. I turned to the doula after the next surge saying I don’t think we will make the 15min drive. She was lovely and reassuring and suggested we start making our way to the door and out to the car. As I stood up my waters burst in the most “tv drama” fashion and I could feel his head crowning, quickly knelt back down leaning on the sofa and I could feel my body telling me to push. I never got to experience this with my first as I had an epidural and lots of other intervention and I clearly remember thinking to myself “wow this is amazing”. Towels were quickly gathered and my partner rang 999 to request an ambulance. The call handler was only doing her job but frustratingly was insistent I lay on my back on the sofa and we get some string for the cord Wasn’t happening. I think I managed his head in 3/4 pushes, quickly followed by his body. I had done it. I have never felt more capable or powerful than in that moment I felt his head be born. Our doula caught him and passed him to me. We stayed knelt on the floor as the paramedics arrived, who, were absolutely fantastic I must say. They were more than happy to hang about for the physiological 3rd stage and there was zero pressure to be transferred by them as they were more than happy that we were both well informed and in good health. They loved our cord tie and one paramedic sat and laid out the placenta so we could have a look and take some photos of it too. The paramedics contacted the labour ward to advise them I wouldn’t be going in to hospital - cue the midwife wanting to speak to me, to explain the risks I was putting my baby at etc (the risks she said were not getting the vitAmin K injection immediately and the fact I had tested positive for GBS in a previous pregnancy - despite being negative this time and my awareness of it being transient and what to monitor baby for). She agreed she would arrange a community midwife to visit later that morning. Half an hour later, another phone call from the labour ward and another midwife, her opening line was “we have a problem, you will have to come in to hospital”.....!!! The problem was that I am rhesus negative blood type and they needed a sample from the umbilical cord to check baby’s blood. The placenta had been bagged and taken by the ambulance crew. It turned out the ambulance was still outside so she asked my partner to go get the placenta and drive it to the hospital! categorically said that was not happening and could they not take blood with a heel prick test?! She said yes, but it’s quicker if we can take the placenta in. She also said that I needed to go in because it was “easier” to complete the registration paperwork and that baby might not be registered if we don’t. Again I refused as we had a community midwife attending in a matter of hours. She was quite annoyed by the end of the call and asked me to confirm that I understood my refusal could be potentially fatal for my baby. I told her she was scaremongering and it was not appropriate to speak that way when I am in a vulnerable position. A complaint has already been logged regarding this specific conversation, supported by the community midwife who attended later that morning. Despite everything, all of the changes, challenges and hiccups, I would absolutely do it all again. I have come out the other side feeling powerful and quite overwhelmed with realising what us women are capable of when we do not allow ourselves to be coerced and controlled. Never in a million years would I have expected myself to be able to birth a baby just by being well informed and in tune with my body. But here we are 💪🏻

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To wrap things up, the presence of a midwife is essential in the birthing process, providing expert guidance and support to expectant mothers. Through their dedication and compassionate care, they help mothers navigate the challenges of labor with confidence and strength.

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