• Rachel Cunliffe

Amy's Story: First-time mum with baby born calmly at home, and at just the right time in lockdown!

"I just thought you’d like to know that our baby girl Sloane was safely delivered at home on Sunday morning 14th February just after 7am. The timing could not have been better, as our home birthing team from Croydon had just resumed their service on Friday afternoon, and the last of the snow was melting outside. Baby Sloane made her entrance at exactly the perfect time!



I started having mild surges on the Friday evening which further developed by Saturday afternoon into early stages of labour. My surges were approx 1 every 10 minutes and I managed well using the up breathing techniques, leaning on the birthing ball and I also used a tens machine which I found super helpful. I also had a bath with some lavender oil which was so relaxing and really helped with the surges.


By evening, things were progressing nicely and Dave was using gentle massage along with positive affirmations the whole way through into active labour. He was amazing and made sure I was snacking and keeping well hydrated throughout also. I could feel things were well underway by 11.00pm so we called our midwife and Dave started to prepare the birthing pool.


The midwife arrived just after midnight, and I was having surges every 2-3 minutes at this point. We discussed a vaginal exam at this point so she could assess where we were, I was very happy to consent to this. Low and behold, I was 5cm and that really rallied me! Along with my continued up breathing and the birthing ball I was still managing well but was really looking forward to the relief of the warm water in the birthing pool. I got into the pool at 1am. The surges were still coming in strong and fast and I was really focusing now on keeping my breathing going, with Dave being so supportive throughout.


Eventually I felt a strong pop and realised my waters had broken coming up to 4am. My lovely midwife then called the second midwife to attend, I started having strong pushing sensations on her arrival, but to no avail. I then got out of the pool and tried to have a wee, but was unable to from all that pressure in my pelvis. After a discussion with the midwives, we agreed an in-and-out catheter would help as they felt my bladder was perhaps blocking baby’s head from progressing down the canal.


I used some Entonox at this point, and it helped to relax me into a position for the midwives to do the catheter and examine me. Success! We managed to void some urine and the vaginal exam confirmed I was fully dilated and ready to deliver my baby girl.


I got back into the birthing pool, and now turned my focus onto my down breathing. Although I made some progress in bringing baby down, it was a slow process and I was showing signs of tiring. Again the midwives gently broached other options with me, and we agreed to move from the birth pool to my bed to try a different position. Although the process took time, at this stage I had to dig deep and use every last ounce of my energy - I delivered baby’s head just before 7am, and baby was fully delivered at 7.05am! Welcome to the world baby Sloane! The midwives passed her underneath my legs and I picked her up to my chest, finally seeing her for the first time.


My sheer relief that I had actually delivered my baby the way I had dreamed and wished for, combined with the immediate rush of love on meeting her was indescribable. Dave and I stared at her, kissed and hugged our girl on our bed. It was a very special moment!


The midwives very quickly helped deliver my placenta and assessed me for sutures- of which I did need some for a grade 2 tear. As this was happening I sat back and enjoyed skin-to-skin with Sloane with Dave and just took stock of what had just happened! We had delayed cord clamping also, all of this happened quietly around us and it was all very relaxed. The midwifes then brought some breakfast and tea and proceeded to tidy up around us. They stayed for about 4 hours post delivery, ensured I had passed urine and that Sloane had her first feed and was looking all good. Their level of care and their skill set is second to none, I was so in awe of the job they do!


I just want to say thank you so much Rachel, for all your help in getting us prepared for this momentous day! The skills we learned during our time with you on the hypnobirthing course certainly made all the difference for us in achieving this home birth, and I am very grateful to you!"


Sloane, born February 2021

Tags: homebirth, hypnobirthing, midwife, waters breaking, relaxation scripts, up breathing, down breathing, positive birth stories, first-time mum, pandemic, birthing pool, lavender oil, tens machine, entonox, croydon homebirth team, croydon hospital, birthing ball

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