The decision to have home births for me was an easy one. After 2 natural deliveries with no complications and my dislike for hospitals, I decided to have my 3rd, 4th and 5th babies at home. My partner initially had some concerns about me having a home birth but my midwife reassured him that I was low risk and if any problems occurred I would be blue lighted to hospital.
I was thinking about having a birthing pool with my first home birth but my 3 year old son at the time (who has Autism) had a thing for water and I was worried that he might try and get into the pool with me. A month or so before my babies were due the hospital dropped off my home birth pack which consisted of the necessary medical equipment, lots of plastic protective sheeting and a canister of Entonox (gas and air). It all gets very real at that point and I actually felt a bit anxious with each baby. I’d had an epidural with my first 2 boys so I’d never tried gas and air, and I wondered if this would be enough to get me through.
Jago was born on 13th November 2005. The birth was calm, I’d laboured for 7 hours before he was born at 11.42am. What I discovered during his birth is that I hated the gas and air so I had him without any pain relief. Roma was born naturally with no pain relief on 11th January 2011. Harlow was born on 13th September 2012 again with no pain relief. At points during all 3 of their labours I cried and begged the midwife to take me to the hospital for an epidural. I felt like I couldn’t do it, I was tired and the pain was so intense but I’m glad I pushed through it.
I found my home birth experiences to be very personal, which made them feel more special. My hospital deliveries felt more like medical procedures whereas my home births felt like natural enjoyable experiences. Hospitals make me tense, home makes me relaxed. I also moved around during all of my home birth labours, which I think helped speed them up. My first 2 labours were much longer, this could have had something to do with having an epidural so not being mobile.
Here are my top tips for a home birth:
• Try and get a TENS machine. This will help take the edge off your contractions.
• Have plenty of snacks in the house, you’ll need to keep your energy levels up, giving birth is exhausting.
• Make sure you have paracetamol. They help with early contractions and I’ve always needed them after.
• Have plenty of towels and a flannel available, The towels will come in handy for any mess and the flannel can be used on your forehead to cool you down.
• Make sure you have a free area for the midwife. They need an area to put all of their equipment as well as sit down and write notes.
• Be flexible in your plans. Sometimes a home birth doesn’t go to plan and going to the hospital is the only option.
Giving birth is an amazing and very empowering experience, and ultimately your baby arriving safely is the most important thing but I like the fact that we have choices. Some women wouldn’t even consider a home birth whereas others are all for it. Some women plan to have home births but then have complications so end up having hospital births. I’m glad I’ve experienced both.
Photograpahy: Claire Graham Photography
Hi I'm Leanne. I am a newborn, child and family photographer based in Kent.
My style is simple, organic and timeless and I love creating memories that evoke emotion. Photography for me is an expression of myself and my love of working with children is an extension of my family life.
I have 3 boys, 2 girls, between the ages of 24 and 6. They're all amazing individuals and contrary to people's expectations our house is a pretty chilled out environment which enables me to be creative.
I love cooking, going for walks and appreciating the finer things in life such as a pretty sky or an old building.
I am very excited about writing for Coco Lane and look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you.