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We had been expecting baby early, as Hetty, our first, was born at 37+5 - but the days (and weeks) crept on.

We were planning a home birth as Hetty had arrived quickly - and I didn't fancy giving birth on the south circular en route to Lewisham. As we approached and passed 40 weeks, talk turned to induction which we were keen to avoid.We did a lot of research, spoke to AIMS and also to our hospital's Professional Midwifery Advocate - and decided that if all else remained well we would decline induction and await labour.


We consented to monitoring on the Friday at 41+4 to check on baby, and ended up in the hospital for 10 hours as my blood pressure was slightly borderline (I had high blood pressure in my last pregnancy). Cue huge pressure from the consultant to be induced there and then, and me breaking down in tears. Luckily the community midwifery matron came and whisked me away, got me some lunch, did more monitoring and dealt with the consultant on my behalf. We agreed that I would go home, monitor blood pressure there (which I was doing anyway) and the community midwives would check on me over the weekend.

All was fine, and I had a 4th (!) sweep on Sunday (was 3-4cm dilated, cervix soft but no sign of any contractions) and agreed with community midwives to go back in for monitoring of baby on Tuesday (42+1). Assuming all well they were very relaxed and supportive of a home birth post 42 weeks. They arranged an appointment, and also let the hospital know I'd be declining blood pressure monitoring as all was well and stable at home, and I was worried that the stress of repeating Friday's experience would cause it to be raised.

Baby was super active through the first CTG and her heart rate was high - the doctor wanted to repeat it so I waited around and had a second CTG after some lunch which was normal. Ultrasound also showed blood flow and fluid all normal. Went back to the doctor to review results and AGAIN pressured to induce there and then (despite normal monitoring). After another full day at the hospital, we reluctantly consented to induction the following day - after agreeing that it would be minimal intervention and we would use the birth centre provided breaking my waters was enough to start contractions.

My mum agreed to come up from South Wales that evening to look after Hetty and hopped on a train. We ordered a curry and I bounced on the ball waiting for her to arrive. At around 9pm I had what I thought was a contraction and by quarter past I was sure so text to let her know the induction might be off. Tim called the midwives, and they let us know they were on their way. I put the TENS machine on while Tim started filling the pool, and the contractions started coming very fast and got very intense.

I took a paracetamol - I declined a second in case I wanted another one later - in hindsight a ridiculous idea!

The curry arrived shortly before the midwives did, and they came in to find me pacing around the house while Tim and my mum ate curry in the kitchen.

The midwives tried to examine me - the contractions were too much and I needed to push so they agreed I could get in the pool. It was very intense and painful - I had enormous urges to push and asked for gas and air, but there wasn't time.

The midwife helped me clamber into the pool and the water felt blissful. I can't remember much from then, Tim and the midwife were nearby and I was clinging to the edge of the pool, overwhelmed by the sensations. I was in the pool (apparently) for about 3 minutes before

suddenly I could feel her head. I reached down and she was there still in the sac. One more push and she was born en caul at 10.26pm in the pool, no time for gas and air.

We had skin to skin in the pool and delayed cord clamping, and I got out to deliver the placenta. My partner had skin to skin while the midwives checked me over, then we had our first feed on the sofa and introduced her to her Grandma who had been keeping out of the way upstairs.

The midwives left at around 1am and we all settled into bed, exhausted but elated. Her big sister slept through the whole thing, and was super excited to meet her new baby sister when she woke up the next day. An amazing experience, we are so grateful for the wonderful community midwives and glad that we had our home birth in the end

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