21/06/2010 14:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Real Life Story: Two Beautiful Experiences!

This week we are talking to Melanie Gray about the births of her two sons.

You have two sons, James who will be two in September, and Lennon who is almost three months old. Could you tell me a bit about their births?
Yes, of course. My son, James, was born in England at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. I chose to give birth in the midwife-led unit and was fortunate that the birthing pool was available while I was there.

Lennon was born at our home in the US with two midwives present.

What were the medical staff like?
The midwife that I had during James' birth at QMC was wonderful. She was very helpful and she knew when the best time for me to start gas and air was. Having her tell me that I did a great job as a first-time mum was a huge compliment!

The midwives that I had on the postnatal ward were very nice as well and were great at answering any questions that I had. I didn't really talk to them or get to know them though, as I was really ready to get out of there and be at home!

Lennon's birth was a little different since I knew that I wanted a homebirth before I even found out I was pregnant with him. Homebirths are generally uncommon in the US as most women will see an obstetrician for their pregnancy and then go on to have their babies in the hospital.

I knew that if there were no complications with the pregnancy, that there wouldn't be a need for me to see a doctor and that a midwife would be my best option in achieving another natural birth.

The midwives that I had for the duration of my pregnancy and who were there for the birth were (and still are) two of the most amazing women that I know. I had a wonderful time getting to know them during my prenatal visits and I already know that I would love for them to be there for any other children I may have in the future!

What was your husband like during the labour?
My husband was my biggest support for both births. He was very attentive and knew what I needed to be comfortable. We talked a lot before the labours actually started about what sorts of things we should try, what sorts of fears we both had, and what we wanted to happen during the birth. Having him there definitely helped to make both of my births very beautiful experiences!

Did you need any pain relief?
While I was in labour with James, I had gas and air and used the birthing pool and while I was in labour with Lennon, I used a birthing pool that we had set up in our home.

And how long were you in labour each time?
James' labour was pretty quick for a first time labour. I woke up at around 2:00 am two days before his due date. I had some contractions that were seven minutes apart. I sort of walked around and tried to rest through them that morning. I decided it was time to head to the hospital at around midday as they were three minutes apart and were getting very intense.

When the midwife checked me at 1:00 pm, I was 3cm dilated and she told me to walk around and come back to her after either, an hour or after my waters have broken. My waters broke at around 1:30 pm and I got in the pool for some relief. James came charging out at 4:23 pm! So total amount of hours with James were 14 hours, from first contraction until he was born.

Lennon's labour on the other hand, was just crazy fast. I was feeling some niggles the night before so I kind of had an idea that he would be coming soon, even though his due date wasn't for another 11 days. I called one of the midwives to just give her a head's up. Good thing I did!

Labour started hard and fast at around 8:00 am the next morning. Both midwives showed up at 8:30 am and set up the birthing pool immediately upon arrival. I was sure that the labour would take a while so I kept putting off getting into the water because I was afraid that it would stall progress.

Finally, both midwives had to tell me to get into the pool at 11:00 am and Lennon was born at 11:57 am. I was only in labour with him for around four hours!

Much faster! It sounds like you had a really good experience though both times, here in the UK and in the US. You're coming back next week to tell us about your decision to train to be a midwife, so we will certainly look forward to that. Thanks Melanie!