Obviously Now Surges And Not Braxton Hicks!

This week’s birth story comes from a lovely lady who attended a refresher TCBS Hypnobirthing Course with Beccy Angove of the Beautiful Birth Club covering The Cotswolds including Cirencester, South Gloucestershire, Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful calm birth story of Jasper!

8lb 15oz
Second planned homebirth – First actual homebirth


“I’d been going to bed with a hot water bottle for the last week or so due to lower back pain. Just after midnight at 40+5 I experienced irregular tightening which I dozed in between with the comfort of a hot water bottle, wondering if this is what Braxton Hicks (BH) felt like. From around 7.30am I started timing them still wondering if they were BH… They were every 9-10 mins apart lasting a minute and I messaged both my midwife & doula asking if they thought they might be BH.  I stopped timing them for the next couple of hours so as not to obsess over numbers/patterns and I tried to continue with my day by showering and eating breakfast. Within an hour or two I was using 4-8 breathing to get through what were obviously now surges and not BH!

I messaged my midwife & doula to let them know I was in labour. Unfortunately, it was the one day my doula was unavailable, so a cover was arranged. In the meantime, my husband was down in the cellar trying to fit the liner on the pool which I could hear him battling with. I kept shouting down to him to hurry up and connect the hose and fill the pool as the surges were getting stronger! My midwife, Kelly, wasn’t working that day but offered to attend my homebirth anyway which I am so unbelievably grateful for. She had been the most incredible beacon of support throughout my pregnancy and even did my debrief for my toddler’s birth which had left me with a reasonable amount of anxiety over giving birth again. Until then I’d really struggled to see any positives in the way my previous birth had panned out, but she made me see just how strong & determined I was until the very end of what was a very long and interrupted labour.

I recall her arriving at the house around midday at which point I was facing and leaning against the wall in the living room breathing through surges. Sweat was pouring off my face onto the floorboards and I remember wondering why I was so sweaty?! I asked for the gas & air as soon as I heard her coming through the door and to my relief this was arranged immediately. Kelly knew my birth plan and that I’d firmly stated no VE’s. For my first I’d been denied gas & air until I was well past transition, and my concern was this happening again unless I had VE’s. I felt incredibly safe knowing Kelly – who respected my choices and empowered me throughout my pregnancy – was there supporting me through my birth.

Things were progressing quickly, so the second midwife (Isabel) was called and my doula (Natalie) arrived, although I wasn’t aware of their arrival. My husband was struggling to get the right temperature in the pool so both Isabel & Natalie assisted by boiling water in all the saucepans in the house. I believe there was a lot of commotion running them up and down the cellar stairs. It was a real rush as Kelly felt it was now or never to get into the pool. I was unaware of any of this going on as I was so in the zone!  At some point with all the team effort the correct temperature was reached, and I was helped down the uneven 300+ year old stone staircase into our cellar and into the pool. I remember the instant relief I felt from the warm water feeling incredible.

Having all my hypnobirthing bits and twinkly lights etc was a bit wasted as I couldn’t see anything around me other than the water beneath me. I think it was at this point I realised my doula was here when she asked me if she could do some acupressure which I gladly accepted – I was amazed at how much discomfort it removed from my back/hips during each surge. My husband and toddler were by my side, but I wasn’t really aware of their presence or anyone else for that matter. I’m told my toddler switched between watching me intently to playing with his toys. I was in the pool for about an hour and half and as time went on, I got a little cold and tired so Kelly suggested I might change position to squatting/standing and this is when I really felt the urge to push and felt baby moving down more.

Soon he was starting to crown but he got a little stuck and his heart rate dropped. An ambulance was called at this point as a precaution, but thankfully the paramedics stayed well outside the house! Although I wasn’t aware they’d been phoned initially, I sensed a slight change in the atmosphere around me. Kelly wasn’t comfortable with me continuing in the pool with the drop in heart rate so I was advised it would be best to get out after the next surge. I remember feeling a bit scared and a little confused at this point but trusted Kelly’s judgement. Before I tried to get out another strong surge came over me which I used with all my power to push baby down further. I was then helped out of the pool. It was at this point they realised he was crooked and had his hand up against his face. It was felt he’d take a long time to come out this way if left to his own devices, and with his heart rate being low a decision was made to perform a small cut. Natalie then helped support me and with another push or two he was earth side, scooped up and placed straight onto my chest at 15:20.

I had my golden hour with my baby boy which is something that was so important to me as I’d never experienced this with my toddler. After baby Jasper was born, I felt like I returned to the room again. I felt like I met Natalie my doula properly. She had realised when she saw a photograph of me that we’d met previously at a homebirth workshop when we were pregnant with our toddlers a little under two years earlier. So, it was lovely (albeit it a bit random) finding ourselves in this situation.  Whilst I was sad my own doula didn’t share my birth with me, Natalie really was the perfect fit for our family. When I reflect on my birth, a quote Kelly shared with me during my pregnancy resonates with me – “It is said that women in labour leave their bodies… They travel to the stars and collect the souls of their babies and return to this world together”. I definitely went somewhere else that day and unlike the birth of my first child, I felt mostly undisturbed and unaware of everyone around me. There was very little interference as everyone respected my wishes and entrusted me to trust my body. I am totally at ease with the minor intervention which was required at the end to assist my baby in arriving safely. It was justified and still felt in control, unlike a lot of the intervention which occurred during my toddler’s birth. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who supported Jasper and I – not only during the birth but also throughout my pregnancy. It’s due to the support of my husband, midwife, doula and hypnobirthing teacher I was able to have such a positive home birth experience.”

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