Charlotte McAuliffe, 25, a music teacher, gave birth at home to Poppy in April 2017
“I was determined to give birth at home with my second baby because I’d felt out of control during my first labour – I was induced in hospital and ended up having both diamorphine and an epidural. This time around I really wanted to do it myself at home, without any medication. When I first mentioned the words ‘home birth’ to my husband, Ollie, he thought it was a terrible idea! But we only live 10 minutes from the hospital so we knew we could rush straight there if anything went wrong.
“As it turned out, having a home birth meant Ollie could be much more involved. He just seemed to know what I needed and we both felt so much more comfortable and relaxed in our own, familiar environment. When my contractions became quite intense, we stood together in our bedroom and had a lovely, calming hug. With each contraction, Ollie took all my weight in his arms. It felt so wonderful and peaceful to be alone with him.
“Then my body started pushing without me really knowing it! I did a kind of standing squat and then with three pushes Poppy was out! The midwives, who’d been waiting downstairs, came up just in time to take the baby as she popped out! The midwife suggested I climb up onto the bed and then she passed Poppy up to me. It felt so lovely, lying there in my own bed, cuddling Poppy skin to skin.
“Within an hour, my mum brought our two-year-old, Felix, home and he sat with his new baby sister on his lap. He couldn’t stop smiling and kept saying ‘Baby tired’ because he could see her eyes were closing. It was such a cute moment to see how happy he was to meet his little sister – and all in the comfort of our own home.”
Top tips from Parenting Club’s midwife, Emma Mills…
Home birth tip
• Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand for you, your birth partner and for the midwives, too. This birthing business is hungry and thirsty work
• Prepare yourself for a change of plan in case you or your baby encounter any difficulties, as it’s possible that you might have to be transferred to hospital. Pack a hospital bag and have family on standby to look after any older children just in case.
• You can never have too many clean towels! You need a good supply to hand because both you and your baby will need them after the birth (because: bodily fluids).