Alison Hagon, 32, from Harold Wood in Essex, had her second child, Noah, at home - and got a bit more than she was bargaining for in the weight department.
Why did you decide to give birth at home?
I had my first child in hospital but I wasn't satisfied with the experience. When we got to the hospital I was already 6cm dilated. After a couple of hours I felt the urge to push but was told not to as the midwife was at lunch. I was constantly told to lie down even though I wanted an active birth.
In my birth plan I stated I wanted the cord to cease pulsing before it was cut but the baby passed meconium as he was born so they whisked him away with a tube down his throat. I was left lying on the bed in agony and waited a further two hours for my placenta to deliver. It took four unsuccessful attempts to put a drip in my hand and there was discussion of medical intervention but fortunately it didn't happen. So I was very keen for a home birth second time round. I knew I would be more relaxed and physically prepared.
Did you have any pain relief?
For my second child I wanted a home birth with as little intervention as possible. I had a TENS machine and gas and air in case I needed it. I ended up using the TENS machine and only half a canister of gas and air because the nozzle on the spare canister didn't fit!
How close to your due date did you give birth?
I gave birth three days early. I had told everybody that I would have the baby on Father's Day. True to word it happened even though I went to bed the night before and there wasn't even a twinge. When I felt the contractions I knew it was the real thing.
How did your labour begin?
I woke up in the night at 3am with some twinges - it felt like cramp in my lower back. They increased and I went to the toilet and had a 'show' so I knew things were progressing. The contractions came faster and faster and when they were about four minutes apart I phoned the labour ward. Twenty minutes later a midwife appeared on my doorstep. Labour lasted about six hours in total.
Where did you give birth?
I decided to give birth in the downstairs living room. I didn't have a birthing pool. I liked the idea of it especially the idea of having a paddling pool under a marquee in the garden but I didn't get round to organising it. So I gave birth on an air mattress that I'd bought from Tesco. It was a terrible idea. My husband, the midwife and I were sliding all over it and the plastic sheets kept getting stuck to me.
What was it like to meet Noah for the first time?
It was amazing. Especially as we were convinced we were going to have a girl! Noah was massive. I was astonished that he weighed in at 9lbs as his older brother, Olly, was only 7lbs3oz. I delivered the placenta within 15 minutes. I had slight grazing but didn't need any stitches. After it had finished I got up and made myself a cup of tea and had a Mars Bar. We then sat on the sofa and I gave my baby his first feed. The midwife stayed with us for about two hours. When she left at midday my husband, the baby and myself went up to our double bed and bonded. We lay Noah in-between us and congratulated ourselves on how clever we were.
And how did Olly take to his baby brother?
My first son was being looked after by his auntie while I was giving birth. He came back later that afternoon to meet his brother. He was two years old then and more interested in the presents his newborn brother had bought him.
Congratulations on being pregnant with your third child! Are you planning on having another home birth?
I'm planning to but I have to see a consultant beforehand as there might be complications. I've got a low-lying placenta and if it moves then I can have a home birth. If it doesn't I will have to have a caesarean.
Would you recommend a home birth to other pregnant mums?
I would. Definitely. It really helped that my husband was totally supportive of my decision to have the baby at home. He also felt a lot more involved, whereas in hospital he had felt quite sidelined. It was so much more relaxed. At one point in my home birth I had four midwives. When the next two midwives turned up to change shift halfway through my husband cooked them all breakfast. I had lots of medical attention and they had a good feed.
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