#MyBirthStory: What it’s like giving birth at home when you’re NOT expecting to

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • After dealing with a previous three-day labour, the last thing Jodie McGolpin expected was a surprise home birth with her second child.

    In true super-mum spirit, the 34 year old powered through contractions all day, picked her child up from the childminder and waited for her husband to come home, thinking that established labour was possibly days away.

    As part of our #MyBirthStory series – where a group of mums share their own birth stories to prove that there is absolutely no such thing as the perfect birth – she tells us how her birth went from nought to sixty in a matter of minutes, forcing her to give birth at home with no pain relief, but also giving her a sense of empowerment she never expected…

    Two days before my due date, pains started, but I just took them to be Braxton Hicks – although looking back, I’m not sure why!

    That afternoon I continued to paint some bits for the garden, and then went off to pick up my toddler from the childminder. On the way home the pains were getting stronger but I just tried to get on with things – namely keeping my son entertained.

    My first birth had been very long, with contractions that were painful enough to keep me awake at night starting on the Friday, not reaching established labour until the Sunday. With this as my previous experience, I couldn’t have guessed how quickly things would move this time around.

    Around 4pm I rang my husband and suggested he tell his boss that he might not be in tomorrow as things were starting. He asked if he should leave now and I even said “no no, you know how long my first labour was!” Less than an hour later I was back on the phone to him with a drastically changed tune, begging him to “please come home!”

    Luckily a friend offered to come round, which I happily accepted as I grimaced through another contraction whilst trying to serve fish and chips to my little boy.

    With my friend and my mother-in-law around me I started breathing through contractions, which at this point, were four minutes apart and one minute long.

    I thought that I’d better call the hospital, but they told me: ‘you can come in but if you’re not dilated we’ll send you home. You can try a bath – it’ll either intensify things or calm them down’.

    I waited for my husband, who got home just after 6pm and ran me a bath, and within just a few minutes I could feel pressure. I got out and called the hospital to say we were coming in, getting dressed as fast as I could, but before I knew it, my waters had broken and I felt the pressure build even more.

    Could we make it to hospital? I wasn’t certain – so we made the decision to stay at home and asked if a midwife would come to us.

    As I got onto the bed things progressed even further – I didn’t have access to pain relief but I didn’t have time to think about it either! I could feel the pressure, I could feel the baby coming and I was just focusing on what my body was doing.

    I could feel myself gritting my teeth and hear myself shouting: ‘I should be in hospital’ – I think even the neighbours may have heard!

    I knew I needed to push, and even though my husband protested that the hospital were telling him that I shouldn’t and to breathe through it, suddenly the baby’s head had appeared and within seconds she was delivered.

    It wasn’t for another 20 minutes that the midwife and paramedics arrived, as I just lay staring at my little girl. I was completely shell-shocked – I had never considered a home birth, and to my surprise it was an amazing experience.

    I was worried about something going wrong; it never even entered our minds that we would have delivered the baby at home and by ourselves, ever. I always wanted to be in hospital, purely because if anything does go wrong you’re in the right place with the right people around you.

    With my first birth I let the gas and air take over my body, unable to feel what it was telling me. Because I was scared and apprehensive I was just convinced that gas and air was there to help me, and so I was concentrating more on breathing it in than what my body was doing.

    This time I felt empowered and I listened to my body. I didn’t love it at the time but I love it now. I think I was more relaxed because I was in my own home – I knew this was happening and I was just focused.

    It’s weird, but I felt so in tune with my body. I let nature do its thing and although it was painful, I felt in control, which was a brilliant and empowering feeling. My second labour was brilliant compared to my first.

    It’s been eight months and I still can’t believe it happened, but it was an incredible experience and one I am proud to tell.

    Have a #MyBirthStory of your own you want to share? Talk to us in the comment box below!