Warning, following post is the "birth story". I will try to keep the details to a minimum :)
Well on the 9th of June I was feeling a bit out of sorts. In hind sight it was obviously my body gearing up for the big event that night! Of all the odd things, I had this really bad need to clean my running shoes. This was an excellent idea as they have now had several days to dry out! I was weepy and spaced out for most of the day and my tummy felt very uncomfortable.
The night before I had been awake for several hours worrying about various things and had stayed awake all day trying to set myself up for a good nights sleep that night.
About 9:30 I dragged myself off to bed and was lying there thinking: "Boy and I going to have a fantastic sleep tonight!".....or not. About 20 minutes later there was this really perceptible "POP". Thanks to a friend, and her birth story, I knew it was my waters breaking, not just a really huge kick from the baby.
This caused me to go into shock really. I couldn't believe that A) it was time and B) that DH wasn't going to make it at all. Off to the loo and a huge gush of amniotic fluid confirmed that it was all on and so I went to inform my mother. My sister had come up with the weekend with her partner (poor guy), so it was fortuitous in that respect. I called DH who was due to go to Narita that night to stay before taking his flight the next evening. He decided to drive down straight away and hoped that his hotel had decent internet access. I have no idea how he managed to drive the 3 hours there and concentrate on the road!
About 20 minutes later the contractions started. They were about 6-7 minutes apart right from the start, so I knew this was probably going to be over fairly quickly and wondered if I could beat my mother's record of 3 hours when I was born.
After about 2 hours I was in full on labour and the midwife arrived to see how it was going and asked me if I would like head off to hospital. I knew what my options were for having a home birth and my sister and mum had prepared for that eventuality whilst I was concentrating on getting through the contractions. At that point I knew that I was not going anywhere. Getting in a car, driving 5 minutes down the road to the hospital transferring to a hospital room just seemed impossible. The quiet darkened room down the hall with an airbed and tarpaulins looked much much more inviting. Was I worried about what would happen if something went wrong? Well our house is only 5 minutes away from the hospital so I felt confident that given everything had gone well with the pregnancy and my midwife was confident I could do it, that we wouldn't need any medical interventions. My midwife also travels with everything that a birthing suit has anyway, so I didn't feel worried about that.
3 hours after labour started we got to Stage 2 which is where you push. By that time I was already tired. I wondered how women who have 20-30 hour labours get through it. For 2 hours not very much happened. My midwife says that it was me biding my time till I had the energy back for the last part. She gave me some drops of some kind of homeopathic remedy which I forget what it was called but about 10 minutes after that I was all business and about 15 minutes after that Amelia was born. Unfortunately she had her arm up by her head as she came out, but she came out all the same, cried immediately, looked around at me and started sucking about 5 minutes later. DH managed to get on skype just after she was born and was able to see her.
After 2 hours of skin to skin and the all clear from my midwife I was able to take and shower and get into my own bed with Amelia in a basinett next to me. It was 6:30 in the morning. Amelia was asleep. I tried to go to sleep but was wide awake or awake every 20 minutes to check she was still breathing! Which of course she was. The next day I felt tired but pretty good really considering what I had done the night before!
Would I recommend a home birth? Certainly. It's not just for hippies, which was my own personal image before I did the research on it. Of course it helps to have a good and multi-talented midwife and a few support people you trust to be there to help you stay confident that you can do it without the drugs - cause there won't be any drugs to be had when you really really want them. When I got to that point, all I needed was my midwife's firm hands on my shoulders which calmed me down and helped me to be less scared. The best part for me was not being left in the hospital afterwards by myself but at home surrounded by my family.