The Pregnancy Diaries: 30 Weeks (On Planning a Home Birth)

The Pregnancy Diaries: 30 Weeks (On Planning a Home Birth)

Because I’m now very, very much a pregnant lady with people touching my bump, guessing the sex (genuinely don’t mind either) and being asked if I’m ‘ready’ (I’m not) I thought it was time to switch up my pregnancy diaries to a slightly different format. So for each week until the birth I’m now going to be focusing on one aspect of my pregnancy. It’ll be relevant-ish to the week in question, but hopefully a little easier for me to write and for you to read.

The Big Birth Plan

Officially you really don’t need to worry about a birth plan until week 34 which is when my notes tell me I’m supposed to firm it up with my midwife. But I’ve actually known what I wanted to do from day one — I just haven’t told anyone until now. Which might seem a little weird as I’m announcing it to all of you on the blog, but whatever — most of my family don’t actually read the blog so it’s no big deal 😉 Also, it’s not really something you are asked, or particularly want to talk about over a brew you know? It’s just not that simple a topic to mull over biscuits, so it hasn’t really come up too much. But when it has, I haven’t received a universally positive response (which I was warned might happen).

Because Oli and I are planning a home birth. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew innately that’s what I wanted to do, and I sought out information and birth stories from others who’d done the same. Luckily for me, a very close friend has had two home births so gave me stacks of advice and guidance. But I still decided to keep it fairly quiet.

Home vs. Hospital Birth

Although my decision to plan a home birth (it might not happen this way, so there’s no point being too precious or rigid) was intuitive, I have read up on it since and spoken to people who’ve had home birth experiences — whether it worked out or not. And after the reading, and chatting to Oli (who was not initially keen at all!) I still want to plan for a home birth.

But the reaction from other people has been a little strange, to say the least, and I’ve found myself having to defend my choice or concede it “probably won’t work out.” Although I don’t actually feel I need to justify my choice to anyone, it is quite a nice f@@ck you to share some of the reasons why I’ve chosen something seemingly unconventional and dispel a few myths, even if it’s just for my own ego.

Home births aren’t dangerous

That’s the first statement I want to make. I’m really lucky in that my hospital actively promotes and supports home births, and because of that I’ve had a 1-1 midwife who works as part of the community team, and comes to see me at my flat. On the day of, that also means I’ll get two dedicated midwives from the community team as well (hopefully the two I know, but nothing is guaranteed).

Before you start reeling off a list of things that could go wrong, and how having a home birth is foolhardy — I want to tell you that the NHS only promote home births for those women with low-rish, healthy pregnancies. Which is me, at the moment. If there was any medical reason why I might need to have extra care — I would be advised not to have a home birth and, of course, I wouldn’t.

Home births aren’t messy

This was Oli’s main concern! And, to be honest, we are just about to have a new carpet fitted so I also started to worry a little about my impending mess-fest. Because surely, it would be super messy right? It always is on Call the Midwife! But when I spoke to my midwife, she emphatically told me (before I’d asked) that home births are NOT messy. She’s pretty straight talking, so I trust her implicitly when she says it’s a ridiculous myth.

Either way, I don’t really care as long as the baby comes out healthy and happy. And hopefully without staining my new fluffy carpets too…..

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Why I'm planning on having a home birth, and why you might want to as well >> the pregnancy diaries, my home birth plan.

The benefits

I’m not a midwife, so I can’t talk to the science of which birth is best. In fact, obviously,  the best birth is one where the baby is born healthy, right? So however it gets out — and it will come out — is fine. BUT, we all have a choice, and it’s nice that we are able to state a preference as to how we push our babies out. And my preference is to do it at home, but why?

I don’t know many people who feel happier, and calmer when they’re in hospital. Some do, especially when it comes to the great unknown that is pregnancy and labour. But you get what I’m trying to say right? And one of the most important things in labour, is oxytocin. Did you know that, because I didn’t?! The worst thing, is adrenaline.

Basically, adrenaline will slow the labour down, and oxytocin will progress it. So whatever you can do to stay as calm and happy as possible (it will hurt regardless, let’s be real here) will benefit you. For me, that’s being at home, in my own environment where I can binge watch Girls, drink endless cups of tea (and probably gin towards the end!) and have a bath if I want. For you, that might be the birthing centre in a pool, or on the labour ward. Everyone’s different right?

Anyway, at this stage we have no idea what will happen — the baby could be breach, in which case a home birth would be out anyway (although in France it’s totally different – have learned a lot from my French midwife Agnés).

So, there you have it. Get the hot water and some towels and pass me some gin.

L x

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  1. 27th February 2017 / 6:06 am

    Good for you Luce. I know zero about home births but it sounds like you’ve done your research. Do what works for you. 😊

    • Lucy
      1st March 2017 / 10:47 am

      Thanks Roma! Yer, it was a total gut thing but the research came afterwards. I guess mostly to validate my decision to others more than anything else – which is crazy!

  2. 27th February 2017 / 10:35 am

    Thank you for sharing this 🙂 I also want a home birth, and I’ve been so surprised how many people dismiss it out of hand because it wasn’t right for them. I get why many people feel ‘safer’ in a hospital, but I have a terrible medical phobia so hospitals are particularly stressful for me – which is not how I want to feel if I can avoid it! Paul has also been a bit reluctant (partly due to safety and concern for me, and partly due to mess – so maybe I’ll just show him this!) so I’m hoping he comes around to the idea. Obviously I know not everything goes to plan for many people, but there’s no harm in setting everything up how you’d like it to go, even if your best-laid plans are foiled at the last minute by baby having other ideas! I especially like the idea of having some gin on hand, just in case…

    • Lucy
      1st March 2017 / 10:55 am

      It’s really hard when you feel like you need to convince others of your choice – which is why I went with science to shut people up. To progress your labour, you need Oxytocin. Quiet, comforting places filled with love and chocolate help you produce that, hospitals (for most people) don’t!

      No midwife will let you plan a home birth unless you have zero risk factors, and nothing is ever set in stone – so even if you suddenly think f@@k it, I want to be in a hospital now – you can always do that too. My midwife went through all the different things that could happen (accidental breach, muconium, me falling ill or bleeding loads etc etc) and what would happen in each eventuality and it was a little scary – but for each case, I felt comfortable that I’d be okay, as would the baby.

      I guess it helps my hospital is 1.1 miles away too! L x

  3. kate
    1st March 2017 / 8:38 am

    Best thing is, when it’s all over, you and your little baby will be able to snuggle in your own bed, tons of skin to skin, where you feel most comfortable and daddy will be able to provide even more tea!

    It’s so great you’re promoting home birth, as you rightly say, for women who have had normal pregnancies. I couldn’t imagine adding the stress of getting to a hospital whilst in labour, but it seems a lot of women don’t even consider it.

    I feel so strongly that the scaremongering and fear associated with home birth should be dispelled. Some women feel they have to share their negative birth stories with others, and I have no idea why! It’s not like you go to someone’s wedding and talk about your divorce…

    What’s more sad is that women that go through these awful birth experiences believing that no other outcome could have been possible, when this is not true. They think child birth is just an awful experience to get through and survive. And ok, i’m not saying for me it was pleasurable, but I certainly don’t feel scarred by it! Just some reading about the ‘cascade of intervention’ will educate mothers into knowing they can have some control and say over their babies experience of being born!

    Well done you for helping to educate women that they have choices!! xxx

    p.s Some great research by my lovely midwives might help others to learn there are a lot of myths about the risk of homebirth – http://www.kentmidwiferypractice.com/heartbeat-monitoring-in-labour/

    • Lucy
      1st March 2017 / 11:04 am

      Well, as you know – you’ve been my primary source of support re: home birth! I honestly thought I wouldn’t be allowed to have one, and when i started reading about it – I also couldn’t believe how empowered we should be during pregnancy. It is SUCH a shame people resort to scaremongering, or shaming — the wedding analogy is so perfect!

      Ultimately, whether I am able to stay at home or have to go into hospital I do think planning the birth you ideally want is part of the positive birth process too. Getting your head in the game, as it were, is super important & I have to say – I’ve actually started telling people to shut up when they start recounting horror stories too!

      L xx

  4. storm
    3rd March 2017 / 11:42 pm

    Before commenting, I just want to make it clear that I am in no way against home pregnancies. In fact, it sounds quite appealing to me personally!

    My mother gave birth to her twins, accidentally, at home. Maybe it was because of them being twins or maybe it is just quite a messy process, but she recalls the carpet being absolutely flooded with blood and bodily fluids, to the point where my father was genuinely cupping the fluid in his hands and then into a bucket, to desperately try to “clean up” in the moment! Again, maybe it was because of having twins, I dunno! She said that the birth was actually very easy though, so who knows.

    As long as there are lots of precautions in place, I’m sure your flooring will be fine 😀

    Well done for not feeling pressured into what people generally feel is the “right” way to give birth. It’s your baby after all – your decision!

    • Lucy
      4th March 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Oh no! What a nightmare. Yes, my husbands Mum also gave birth accidentally at home and it was a little messier than expected. I mean, I guess you never can be too sure – but thankfully, the carpets are bleach proof and I will be able to skip the cleaning and get someone else to do it for me 😉

      Thanks for your comment! L x

  5. 4th March 2017 / 9:59 pm

    Good for you! I find it fascinating how your instincts take over with things like this and you know what’s right for you. My main thing for both my births was that I wanted to be at home immediately after I’d had them. I didn’t mind actually having them in the hospital but within an hour I wanted to be at home and in my own environment so I get where you’re coming from. If all goes to plan, it will be lovely for you to spend your first night at home with your baby and Oli and not in the hospital. I had c-sections both times and actually discharged myself from the hospital after one night because I wanted to be at home so badly!

    • Lucy
      13th March 2017 / 9:18 am

      I think I would be exactly the same! If i have a c-section I know I’ll wanna get home asap too – there’s just no way you can recover as easily in a busy, loud hospital. Not for me anyway…..if I end up having a c-section I’m gonna be hitting you up for advice 🙂 x

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