Our Home Birth Story: Introducing ‘Beetle’

So it happened! We had (another) baby and are now responsible for two little humans. Joining The DADventurer family is a little lad called ‘Beetle’. Well, obviously that’s not his real name, but L has called him that for the last four or so months, so it’s kind of stuck as a nickname. We still don’t know where it came from (the name, not the baby), but it’s kind of cute so this will be his moniker on the blog.

‘Beetle’ was born at 38+5 gestation on Tuesday 6th February a little before 5pm. With jet black hair and weighing 7lb 5oz, he felt like a right gripper in comparison to the 5lb 14oz L when she was born 3.5 years prior. Just like last time, everything went as smoothly as can be when you’re pushing a human out of your nether regions and it only took an incredible two hours from waters going to him popping out.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, we wanted to have a home birth and I’m pleased to say that everything went to plan. Being at home was a brilliantly relaxed experience and we’re both really happy that this is what we plumped for. Below is a full and unabridged play-by-play of our home birth story:

The missus and I were sat downstairs watching TV when she suddenly made an agonised noise around 2.50pm. She said that she’d felt a ‘pop’, then had a pretty severe contraction. She went to the toilet to check and our inclination was correct – her waters had broken. We stood around for a few minutes discussing whether this meant that labour had started, but were then rudely interrupted by another contraction.

That could just be a coincidence though, right? So, we decided that if she had one more, then labour had officially started and it’d be time to call the midwife. At this point, for some reason, I decided it was the perfect time to trim my beard. A bit weird, I know, but I think I was looking for something to distract me for a bit – plus, I remember never getting around to shaving when L was unexpectedly born, so I had a bushy beard for all of the photos!

This manscaping never quite materialised though – partly because the missus had another contraction when in the shower around 10 to 15 minutes after the second, but also because our sink was blocked! I decided to ring the midwife to tell her that labour had started. She informed me that she was currently at a home visit, but would then come to us after that – around 1 hours time. As the missus dried herself off, I did what any sane man in a crisis would do – kept myself busy by unblocking the sink!

The missus had started to feel a bit sick and light-headed at this point – I put it down to labour, but it could have been the drain cleaner fumes. She went into our bedroom to attempt to get comfortable on the bed, whilst I started to get things in order – we’d planned for the birth to be downstairs, but found ourselves upstairs which required a bit of tidying and sorting.

It was now around 3.30pm – 10 minutes after ringing the midwife and 40 minutes after her waters had broken. Then the doorbell rang – that’s when we remembered that we’d arranged for a Tesco delivery to arrive between 3pm and 4pm! Talk about bad timing. I hurried downstairs, opened the door then dumped everything in the kitchen.

I ran back upstairs to the missus who was on all fours in a fair bit of pain. Contractions were now very close together, so I rang the midwife to update her – she was just leaving her appointment and said she’d be half an hour ish. I also text a friend to see if she’d be able to pick L up from nursery and look after her for a few hours.

As the missus wasn’t going anywhere soon, I went back downstairs and quickly put away the stuff that needed to go in the fridge and freezer – I didn’t fancy dealing with gone off chicken that the dog had attempted to eat. The missus was in her zone, so there was very little conversation – I’d learnt the first time that my witty quips were unwelcome, so just held her hand whilst peering out of the window willing the midwife to turn up.

It was at this point when I wondered whether I’d have to deliver the baby myself. I wasn’t scared and would deal with it if I had to, but I was praying for the midwife to appear around the corner and for the missus not to tell me that she needed to push. Every minute felt like five, particularly as we approached 4.10pm which was the midwife’s ETA. 4.10pm became 4.11pm, which became 4.12pm and then 4.13pm. At 4.19pm, a car pulled up outside of our house – the sense of relief was palpable.

I led her upstairs, diverting my eyes from the ‘action end’ that was in direct eyeline as you entered the bedroom. The midwife introduced herself, took a look at the notes and began assessing the situation. Her presence definitely calmed me and allowed me to focus on just being there to support the missus. Things were starting to ramp up and the midwife confirmed that the missus was in phase 2 (active labour).

At around 4.40pm, a second midwife turned up and took over from the first – she’d arrived just in time, because 12 minutes later, ‘Beetle’ had arrived. Pretty much two hours from when things had started and half an hour after the midwife arrived.

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' mum dad and newborn baby on bed

The missus had done brilliantly. Both midwifes commented numerous times about how controlled she was and I couldn’t have been prouder. She was moved onto her back and the baby was placed onto her chest for delayed cord clamping (not cutting the cord until pulsations had ceased).

The midwives were a little worried about blood loss, so gave Hay the injection to speed up placenta delivery. Once delivered, they then examined her but nothing needed doing. I then cut the umbilical cord and operation clean up began around us as the little one breastfed. I then had some skin to skin with the little lad a bit later.

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' newborn baby on chest

The midwives checked the baby and filled in the copious amounts of paper work. We just lay on the bed taking the whole thing in. Considering that a baby had been born, the atmosphere was so chilled and relaxed thanks to us being in our own house. There was a slight concern than his body temperature had dropped, but once we got the heater switched on and some warm towels off the radiator, he reached the right temperature.

The midwives left us around 7pm and said that someone would come and visit us tomorrow. With that, I decided to go pick up L from our friend’s house as timing meant that she could be back at home and in bed for her normal time. It couldn’t have worked out any better! She was very excited about meeting him, but also a little apprehensive – totally understandable for a 3.5 year old.

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' baby in moses basket with sister L

After L met her little brother, the missus decided to have a shower. In reality, this wasn’t the best of things as I think she pushed herself too soon – probably because she was at home. A combination of a too hot shower, not eating anything and a very recent birth meant she had to sit down in the shower and we *think* black out for a few seconds.

Walking in and seeing her doubled over surrounded by blood was a pretty scary thing to see. I rang the midwife who advised me to get her back into bed, monitor the blood loss and get her to eat something – the Tesco delivery earlier that day meant we had two chicken katsu curry ready meals cooked within a few minutes! Brilliant.

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' chicken katsu curry in bed

After eating, the missus felt a lot better and the blood loss wasn’t excessive – a huge relief. L went to bed a little later than normal, we quickly Skyped with our folks and the missus and I settled down for our first night with a newborn. In among the feeds and nappy changes, we tried to remember what you do and how you look after a new baby. It didn’t seem that long ago when L was born, but it’s funny how you forget certain things!

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' newborn baby on changing mat

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' newborn baby in clothes on bed

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' newborn baby dressed on dad

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' newborn baby dressed

Our Home Birth Story Introducing 'Beetle' baby and mum

So that’s our home birth story. A quick and eventful experience, but one that couldn’t have gone any better, particularly as it was so relaxed at home. The icing on the cake (or curry on the rice) was that it happened on a Tuesday when L was at nursery – something we’d joked about would be the best possible thing logistically.

FYI, it’s taken me longer to write this post than it took the missus to give birth.