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  • Writer's pictureEmma Armstrong

UNPLANNED FREE BIRTH AT HOME WITH POOL!

👶🏻 Third Baby 👩‍🦰Known Baby Girl - Harmoni Elizabeth Farrow 🗓 Due 29th Jan 2023 🗓Born 6th Feb 2023 (41+1 nhs dates 40+2 my dates ) 🏡 Plan - Home Birth with birth pool 🏡 Actual - UnPlanned Freebirthed with pool at home with paramedics and midwife attending late. 💊Pain relief - Comb only ⚠️ First Degree Tear, Physiological 3rd stage, blood loss. TW - mention of contractions (not a bad word for me) previous mention of induction.


Finally it was our turn! My previous children were induced at 38+2 due to my PGP being so bad I couldn't face it anymore! I also have a clotting condition which apparently made me high risk so I was under consultant care. This also meant I had to have blood thinning injections for 6 weeks post natally. I was very uninformed about birth so very much went along with what they suggested or told me I could and couldn't do including where to give birth, how I would deliver my placenta etc. I was very much told I had to be on labour ward and I wasn't allowed a water birth because I was being induced, so I never made a birth plan because there didn't seem any point! During both labours I was very frightened and despite birthing in under an hour both times from transition I don't remember understanding much of what was happening.


My second daughter I panicked so so much I don't even remember giving birth to her. Both my active labours were fast lasting 68 minutes and 27 minutes so I was aware that any other babies subsequently would be fast. After my marriage ended I didn't think I'd ever have anymore and here we are 💕 Harmoni. I was getting pretty fed up if I'm honest. I was determined not to be intervened with this time. I was under a different NHS trust after moving to a different county and they advised me my blood condition wasn't putting me at any further risk than anyone else so no blood thinners needed I was over the moon! I had never looked at any other birth locations and suddenly I felt supported that I could choose what I liked. My initial thought was a birth centre as my best option, having been so medicalised before. I initially didn't think I would be comfortable being at home, but the more I researched and thought about it, the more it made sense. I have plenty of animals and my other children, also my partner is autistic so would struggle in a hospital environment so it would save a lot of stress as well as the benefits I had researched. I advised my midwife that this was what I wanted to do and she was super supportive and said there's absolutely no reason why not and was very helpful advising me of all the practical risks rather than trying to put me off.


We bought a second hand pool and we were prepped after my home birth assessment at 36 weeks. We had lights up ready and an oil diffuser and after the hypnobirthing course I felt like I might just not panic this time! At 40+5 (friday) I was getting a lot of tightening across my lower abdomen around 6pm, so I got my ball out and they were pretty consistent for a while so I started timing them. I went to bed around 10pm to get some rest incase it developed and sadly nothing came of it. I woke at 1am for a wee and they had completely stopped. I spent Saturday so miserable, my pelvis was sore and I'd got my hopes up but I went for a little walk with my fiance to cheer me up. He reminded me I needed oxytocin so we went to look at plants and for a bit of lunch.


Sunday we went for a walk with the dog at a slow pace ha! My other children were due back from their Dad's that evening and one wasn't very well and we said you can guarantee I'll go into labour because she's got a temperature! Went to bed Sunday night no problems.


Here We Go!


I woke Monday morning at 2am for a wee and was totally normal. 5am - I awoke with pain all across my abdomen and went for another wee. I struggled to sit on the toilet because I had so much pressure in my bum and stood holding the sink to sway a bit as it was coming in a wave. I went back to bed and thought these pains were quite regular. I woke my partner at 6.10am and said I think we are having a baby today. He got me up and downstairs and made sure my ball was fully inflated (slow puncture aghhh). I couldn't use it though the pressure in my bum was too much. 7am - I started timing and I was already getting contractions about 4 mins apart and so I rang my mum to get my children at about twenty past to take them to school. I was OK talking then but when pain kicked in I was struggling.


They were downstairs eating breakfast, but I remember explaining to them that I'm alright this is totally normal and I have waves of pain. I think explaining to them each pain brings her closer to coming out helped remind me as well. 7.48am - my partner rang labour ward to say I was struggling who then advised they would ring back but they are on shift changeover....! He reminded them I birth very quickly and we needed a midwife ASAP. We agreed he should start filling the pool which was already up in preparation. Mum arrived at 8am to get the children and could see I was struggling so she offered to stay and support my partner..I didn't know what was best at this point I remember asking her to reassure my children (they are 8 and almost 6) and remind them about what I'd prepped them for noise and pain and mummy is fine. She settled them upstairs with a film and they were totally not bothered apparently ha!


I suddenly panicked and said I can't do it and I think that must have been the transition because they both encouraged me into the pool. 8.26am - still no call back, my partner rang them back as I was now in the pool and 2-3 mins apart and was advised to ring for an ambulance. Ambulance was despatched and the call centre lady stayed on the phone. I was on my knees over the edge of the pool with my partner and my mum at the business end seeing what was happening. I felt my waters go 'pop' and I was told afterwards they were discoloured but I then felt her head very quickly and the lady on the phone was helping my mum and my partner with how to deliver her not too quickly.


I remember thinking really logically internally that I needed to stay calm and that I just had to get her out safely. Mum reassured me if noone came we could get her out safely and the call centre lady was very nice too. I struggled with her head I kept feeling her go back up and when she crowned and I wasn't sure I could get her head out, it felt impossible! I knew she would come and after 4 pushes she did. I remember hoping and praying she didn't get her shoulders stuck and she would be in danger. When she was finally born, Mum brought her out of the water as I forgot to say please pass her through my legs so I could bring her out slowly so I had to turn over lifting my leg over her and the cord to bring her to me. I was just so amazed to see her and it was instant relief. My daughters were creeping to come and see her and so Mum brought them in to see her and reassure them I'm alright!


8.55am - Paramedics arrived and tried to encourage me out the pool as they said baby was cold and they were worried about us all in there. She wasn't breathing brilliantly and hadn't cried but I wasn't that concerned as she was still attached and she had made noises. My midwife rang my partner saying she would be 10 mins and not to let the paramedics cut the cord. They were very good and just did obs on me. I stood to get out the pool and had to get my partner to hold the baby because I suddenly had a contraction which I struggled to stand through. Her cord wasn't that long so we shuffled to the sofa where the paramedics had put all the sheets and pads down. My midwife arrived as I was doing this and sat my partner on the sofa and I was knelt in front of him so he held the baby without the cord being tight.


9.05am - my placenta was born with no intervention (no time for that anyway) which I was so pleased about having had a retained placenta in the past after the injection I really wanted a Physiological third stage. Narrowly missed my partners slippers 🤣🤣🤣 she helped him cut the cord and then I just sat with her and my kids where she attempted her first feed. My midwife was concerned about my blood loss so she called for her manager at this point as she was on her own and paramedics were sent packing as they were happy with our obs. She monitored it as the other lady arrived (with a 3rd lady too who was just back off mat leave and shadowing).


10am - Blood was taken from my placenta to check her blood group (as I am resess negative to double check for anti-d) and they cleared up all the sheets etc. Mum took the kids to her house (they obviously never made it to school that day ha!) to give us some space and let them have some attention and bake cakes apparently lol. I was advised I had a 1st degree tear probably where I had one before which opened up again, but no stitching required. I was offered oxytocin injection to help with the blood loss which I agreed to as I'd achieved my placenta which was really what I wanted and I really did not want to be transferred in so I went with it. I had a wee while my partner weighed her with the midwives and I remember being sat on the loo being told she was 4170g (9lb 3oz) and being astounded I'd birthed her! My other two were 3lb/2lb smaller! 12pm - my midwife left after being happy with me and agreed to come back later in the day to do her newborn checks as apparently they like to do within 6 hours of birth.





I went up for a bath which was the best thing ever while my partner held Harmoni and then I went to bed with her to feed her and he dealt with the pool. After lunch we all snuggled up and enjoyed the bubble. My Mum brought my girls back after their dinner and it was only then we sat down together and thought....wtf just happened h !


I genuinely think if I'd been in hospital (I would have had her in the car anyway I think lol) that I would have ended up being intervened with as I was worried she was getting stuck and I am so so proud of myself and my Mum and partner for getting through it especially as it ramped up so fast and he doesn't cope with change particularly well.


It was perfect really thinking about it and now a week later its like she's never not been here xx


If you want to be as prepared as this wonderful new mumma, then head over to our courses!

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