Amanda and Mark

Our birth story starts back in May 2008 when we began our Hypnobirthing course. After being empowered by that experience we realised that giving birth at home would go hand in hand with the wonderful skills we had learnt. We found an NCT Home Birth meeting in June, just around the corner from where we live, and it was there that we met Sarah & Liz.  Little did we know at that point, that both of them would become so important in our lives!

At 32 weeks pregnant we arranged to meet with Sarah at our home having done our research, as we felt the personal touch we would receive would enable us to have the relaxed and special experience we wanted for the birth of our daughter.  Having had a good experience up to that point in the NHS system, rather than being just a number and name on a list, suddenly we were in the comfort of our own home, drinking tea and getting to know one person who would guide us through the remainder of our amazing journey.  We chatted easily and I immediately felt comfortable in the knowledge that Sarah was going to be with us from now on.  My husband was made even happier when he realised Sarah was a fellow Liverpool supporter!  Supporting Manchester United myself, I was outnumbered, but knew I could live with it!!

Our appointments at home were something I looked forward to, not only to find out my progress but also just to have a good natter.  Sarah quickly became a good friend who I could chat to easily and have a laugh with too.  We ordered the pool, and Mark and I had fun putting it up for a trial run, whilst trying to keep our cats out of it!

I was keen to do everything naturally on the day, but Sarah recommended we had back up just in case, so we ordered some drugs from the doctors, and knew Sarah would bring gas & air with her as well.  We didn’t write a birth plan properly as we knew Sarah knew exactly what we wanted, and understood how we hoped to do things on the day.

At just after 38 weeks, on a hot summers day, Mark and I sat in the garden eating lunch and I was enjoying an alcohol free beer, when I realised I was having more Braxton Hicks contractions, and as the day went on I realised they were becoming slightly more uncomfortable and regular, and started thinking this could be it.  The next morning I woke knowing things were really happening as I’d had regular contractions throughout the night.  At 6am on the 28th July 2008 I had a show, and we rang Sarah who was very excited and told us to try and get some sleep and take paracetemol.  I tried to sleep but the contractions were more uncomfortable lying down, and it felt good to be upright and mobile.  Mark got the pool blown up and I changed into a bikini as it was another hot day!  One of our cats started fussing around us a lot, as if she knew something was going on!

After having reassuring chats with Sarah throughout the day, we spoke to her at 6pm, as the contractions were becoming more intense and asked her to come over. It was wonderful being able to wander about the house, bouncing on my gym ball, eating an ice lolly and watching what we wanted on TV.  I felt so relaxed and in control of the birth I wanted to have.  When Sarah arrived it just made me relax even more and excited knowing the birth of our daughter was getting closer.  We chatted & laughed and I leant on Mark a lot standing up (his poor back!!), during each contraction.  It was lovely to do whatever felt good and be in our own surroundings.  Sarah stayed with me whilst I had some of the contractions sitting on the toilet, and helped me whilst I was sick at one point.  At about 11pm I got in the pool and it felt so good to be in the warm water.  Liz arrived around this time to help Sarah and went for a sleep in our spare room, so she could be fresh to help Sarah during the birth itself.  Again we knew Liz already, so it felt like a bit of a house party!

My waters broke whilst being in the pool, but being in the water started to slow things down as I was so relaxed, even the baby went to sleep!   I felt so empowered by going through this amazing experience and using the hypnobirthing skills we had learnt, that I didn’t once think about asking for any pain relief.  We were all working as a team, and I always felt at ease with everything that was happening.  It was very intense as time went on, but being relaxed at home with people who knew me worked fantastically.

Sarah & Liz decided I may get things moving along by sitting on the birthing stool, so Mark sat on the sofa behind me and immediately the contractions started to have more of an effect, and I started to breathe and push my little girl out.

Whilst I was stretching nicely, my daughter decided to enter the world with her hand up by her face (thanks Emma!), so on the next contraction Sarah made a small cut, and out she came!!  Mark could see everything in a mirror, and Emma was born at 3.15am on the 29th July 2008, and placed on me immediately.  She felt so warm, it was an amazing moment.  We had Il Divo playing in the living room, and Mark and I now can’t listen to one particular track without blubbing with happy memories!   Mark and I sang our special little song to Emma, that we had sung when she was inside me, and Sarah & Liz shed a few tears, showing again that even though they do this over & over again, they love their job, and each birth is special and unique.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before Mark cut it, and I held Emma whilst I delivered the placenta naturally.  Being at home it was all so relaxed, after she was born, and the time just passed as we enjoyed the special time together.

As Sarah was knackered after the long night, she thought it would be a good idea to have the stitches checked, so an ambulance arrived to take us to the local hospital.  Even that experience became part of the exciting time we were having, and I mean that!  Sarah came with us, and it was reassuring to have her there, whilst they checked me over.  We laughed & joked at the fact I had been flapping around organising everyone to get to the hospital hours after the birth, so much so the ambulance lady had to tell me to just get in so they could leave :o)  I chatted away to the staff in the hospital and made sure they got Mark a cup of tea!!  By this point, after being the best support I could have asked for, he was looking a bit pale just with being so overwhelmed with the emotion of how wonderful it had all been.

We smirked when I was offered gas & air to have the stitches checked when I’d been through everything at home with nothing!  I’m so proud of that :o)

Within a couple of hours, we were back home sitting drinking tea and eating toast.  Sarah then settled me into our bed, and Emma was tucked into her Moses basket, and we had a sleep whilst Sarah also went for a well earned rest in our spare room.  It was such a comfort to have her there and felt so cosy to be in our own bed.  When we were all rested, Sarah helped us to bath Emma to make her feel nice & clean.  She checked us both, we had some lunch and then she left for the day, knowing she was on the end of the phone if we needed her.

Sarah then visited daily in those early days, and helped with breastfeeding, and it was so reassuring to have those visits, and to chat over a cup of tea.  Sarah continued to come and see us as much as we wanted for weeks afterwards, and when those visits came to an end, it was a sad time to know we wouldn’t be seeing her so much.

The birth of a child is such a special & personal experience and I look back and think how amazing it all was.  I do not have any negative memories of the birth, only wonderful ones.  We not only had the birth we wanted at home, we also now have a very special friend who was with us when Emma came into the world, and will be part of all our lives in the future.

We have sipped champagne with Sarah and Liz months afterwards, and relived the special day and Sarah came to Emma’s christening.  We shall be seeing her again soon for tea, cake and chatter (which I’m sure will include the latest status of our football teams!), and Emma is now 7 months old, and we know she will also be with us to help Emma blow out her birthday candles, maybe not at 3.15am though!!

Having a home birth and Sarah gave us the most special experience ever, and we recommend it to all our expecting friends.

We have perfect memories and a friend who shared those intimate moments with us for the rest of our lives, what else could we have asked for?