What an exciting few weeks it has been in the baby world – many of our own BabyNatal teachers have welcomed their own little arrivals recently (including Kate in Kettering, Mel in Wales, Hazel in Bedford and Sarah in Edinburgh!) and no one could have missed the news of the arrival of the royal Baby Prince George this week. At Natal HQ we are awaiting our own little arrival, and at nearly 40 weeks now, trying to be very patient.
This is baby number three (and our honeymoon baby no less!) and we are aiming for a family-friendly home birth. Our dining room has been transformed into our own special birthing room, and it is my favourite room of the house at the moment! Set up with our lovely heated birth pool from local Peterborough company Barefoot Pools, giant beanbags (attendees from our antenatal classes might recognise those!), birth ball and many goodies to help create a lovely relaxed atmosphere (candles, scents, music, ceiling light projector, etc), we are all ready to go.
I know some people worry about investing in equipment for home birth in case it doesn’t happen – but I can safely say that I feel like we have already had such massive benefit from having set up this pregnancy/birth space, than even if we didn’t get to use it, it has been worth the investment and effort. I have been using the pool to relax in most days, which has been brilliant for my SPD and also for having a bit of well needed wind-down time at the end of each day. Using it in this way also means I have become really anchored to the room as my safe space – so much so, that each time we have had a bit of a false alarm, its instinctively been the place which I have felt I have wanted to be. How perfect that I have been able to practice regular relaxation in the room, with the very equipment that I will use to birth – when thinking about it from this point of view, its just SO valuable for building birthing confidence.
This is our first home birth – our first two births were hospital water births, and looking back at birth number two, in retrospect, I realise how much more comfortable that one would have been at home… However, at the time we felt hospital was where we felt safest to birth, so at the time, it was the right decision for us. This time around, being at home with our other children feels right and we know that the option to move to hospital in the (possible but unlikely) circumstance that we need a little more help is always there, and we trust in the midwives to highlight if they see any signals which might indicate we need a little more support.
At 36 weeks, our community midwife brought our home birth kit – their big box full of things they might need, plus a list of other things we should have handy (plastic sheeting, lots of towels, a bowl, etc). The visit includes a discussion about what circumstances a transfer to hospital might be recommended and a chance to talk through any particular preferences in advance about the birth. Our birth plan is very personal to us and really explains to the midwives how we approach the birth and how we want them to be involved – so much more personal and useful than some of the tick box ones which are part of the back of maternity notes!
As we approach the 40 week point, we are all feeling the usual combination of excitement and nerves. Our daughter (just turned 4) asks every morning when baby is coming and prods my belly to check he is still in there! Both she and her brother are showing incredible patience (given we told them about baby at 6 weeks!) and accept that baby will come when he is ready better than a lot of adults would! We are getting a lot of ‘warm up’ signals at the moment (often at the rather annoying time of the middle of the night!), but whether he arrives close to his estimated due date or not, we know its not too long before we will meet our newest addition and are really looking forward to being able to share our own birth announcement!