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Home birth after PROM

It's my great pleasure to share the story of Sophie & Emily's son Alfie's birth; Sophie experienced a LOT of coercion at their local hospital in the North East after experiencing 'PROM' (prolonged rupture of membranes - which means her waters having gone for longer than 24 hours).

In this honest account of their experience, Sophie shares with us that despite not being an 'easy' birth (a stressful hospital visit, long labour and longer pushing stage) she's so proud of their experience, and for her wife's support without which she felt they wouldn't have had the beautiful home birth they'd been planning.


Sophie and her wife Emily joined me for an in person group birth prep & hypnobirthing course here in Northumberland - their gentle assertiveness with a fabulous 'wink' of dry humour when it came to their birth rights and plans will always stay with me :-)


In Sophie's own words:


"At about 3:30 in the morning my waters went with a pop and serious gush. Emily and I got up and started to prepare for the little ones arrival, by blowing up the birth pool and tidying the house, however soon realised that it wasn't going to be imminent.


We went back to bed and rang the hospital on Monday to let them know. Our community

midwife rang and made an appointment to come to the house on Tuesday morning if baby

hadn't arrived by then. She discussed the NICE guidelines and asked if we would be willing

to go to the hospital for monitoring if baby hadn't arrived by the next day, but was supportive and relaxed about us choosing to wait.


She advised me to take my temperature regularly and told me what signs of infection to look out for.


We agreed that we would attend the hospital on Wednesday if there had been no change.

She went on annual leave after Tuesday which was a shame as it meant we didn't have a

community midwife to discuss with.


Tuesday night I had some tightening which got my hopes up but they stopped when I went to sleep.


Wednesday came and still no sign of baby so we travelled the hour journey to the hospital. I

laughed and cried at the irony that I'd spent the past 9 months refusing to tell people a due date as baby would 'come when they're ready' and now we were on a clock and considering inductions.


On the way there I had several tightenings. We went to the maternity ward and initially spoke to a midwife who did all the usual checks and put all the monitors on. She asked if I would consent to a VE and swab to confirm it had been my waters that had gone.


I stated that I was sure it was my waters and that I did not want any kind of swab or VE due to the risk of infection. She disappeared and then a registrar came in to discuss the risks of PROM and that she would really like me to have a swab done. I again said I would not agree to have a swab or VE.


At this She became quite abrupt stating that 56 hours had passed and the risk of infection was high. She talked about induction and reassured me that if I gave birth in hospital they'd follow my birth plan. I wasnt reassured by this considering how she wouldn't take no for an answer about having a swab so had no faith in them actually allowing me to birth naturally!


She left and we waited for the monitoring to finish.


About 15 minutes later a senior charge midwife came in and said she had been asked to

explain the risks of PROM to us again. Again she wanted to do a swab or speculum to check

it was waters. Again I reassured her that it was definitely my waters that had gone, I'd

flooded a towel and filled 4 pads with water. They took my blood pressure and said it was

high, which wasn't at all a surprise to me given the situation.


I reassured them that it had been normal when it was measured yesterday at home and I was sure it was being in hospital that was raising it. They took it again a few times but kept taking it while they were trying to persuade me to have a speculum so it stayed higher than usual.


After the senior midwife came a consultant, again saying the exact same things and asking

to take a swab. Again I said no, I was sure it was my waters. She told me that she'd had a scare when she was 29 weeks but it had turned out to be pee. Apparently the fact that my

fundal height had gone from the 90th to the 40th centile wasn't enough of a clue either!


All of this time baby was looking well on the monitors which was a relief to know they were happy, and the only reason we'd come in the first place! The consultant finally realised I wasn't going to change my mind and asked if they could do a scan to check for water levels and check placenta was OK.


I was happy to have a scan, which showed there was a small amount of water still in there, and placenta and baby were looking healthy so all was well.


We went back to the consultant and said we were going home and would discuss options

tomorrow if baby didn't arrive that night.


When we got home we did all we could to get the oxytocin going, I had a nice hot shower,

we got the fairy lights on and watched a comedy while I bounced on my birth ball. The

tightening continued randomly.


I went to bed early thinking I should get some sleep in the hope it would start that night. Sure enough the tightening got stronger and I couldn't sleep through it.


I went downstairs with the tens machine on and put Jessica's beach hypnobirthing

track on and breathed through them as they got stronger. About 11.30pm I got Emily up as I

needed her to squeeze my hips through the contractions, which helped so much as well as

putting the tens on boost.


Around midnight I rang the labour ward to let them know contractions were at 3 in 10 mins,

as I knew some of the community midwives were potentially hours away so wanted to give

them a heads up.


At about 1.30am two midwives arrived. They had read my birth plan which asked them to stay in the dining room when not doing checks and they chatted quietly in between, coming to do the doppler checks, and checking my temp and blood pressure.


I spent every contraction on my knees leaning against the sofa, with the beach hypnobirthing track on repeat and Emily squeezing my hips. I tried to eat little bits like a yoghurt pouch and spoons of honey but was sick 3 times during labour, which made it really hard to keep my energy up.


At about 5.30am Emily suggested I tried getting in the pool, I asked her to check with the

midwife as I didn't want to slow down what already felt like a very slow labour. They asked

Emily if I would consent to a VE and she said no, she checked with me and I said no, which

I'm pleased about as I expect I would have been at 1cm at that point and it would have been

really demoralising.


I got in the pool and it was such a relief, the water felt so soothing and it was easier to get

into a comfortable position- every contraction I wanted to be on my knees but I could lay

against the side of the pool and doze off a bit in between times.


At about 9am the midwives swapped over and a senior midwife 'K' arrived by herself.


She was discussing whether to stay or not as it could be another 10 hours. When she said

that to me I could have cried, the thought of going for another 10 hours when I felt like I'd

already been going for so long, and was so exhausted -it was really demoralising.


I thought to myself that if we lived closer to the hospital I'd have considered transferring in at that point, but I couldn't bear the thought of leaving the lovely pool and being in the car for an hour with the contractions as strong as they were. That was the hardest point for me mentally but I knew going to hospital wasn't what I really wanted, I just wanted it to be over already!


K worked on her laptop in the dining room in between doing her checks, every time she

listened on the doppler she'd tell me how happy baby was, which was lovely to hear. At

about 11am I started to feel my body bearing down and getting pushy, at this point I asked

for gas and air which really helped, I would take a few big breaths when I could feel it coming then vocalise through the push.


At this point it was really frustrating and I was questioning why I was feeling pushy when I could tell baby was nowhere near being born!


The bearing down went on for another 3 hours until finally I could feel baby was getting

closer, I was taking big breaths of the gas and air and roaring as my body pushed baby out.


I felt the head coming in and out which felt like it went on forever. Finally the head came out

and I looked down and saw baby just floating there, I said "the baby!" And the midwife encouraged me to turn so that when the next contraction came it would be easier for baby to come straight to me...





The next contraction was the easiest one and baby popped out at 2.15pm.


Emily caught him and put him straight on my chest. He had his eyes closed and didn't cry, I kissed him and blew a bit on his face, K gave him a gentle rub on the face and could see

that he was breathing and explained that he had a slightly purple head because he'd been in my pelvis for so long but his body was pink so he was fine.


She asked about the sex and I checked and saw it was a boy, which was a huge surprise as we'd been convinced we were having a girl. We stayed in the pool for a while then I was ready to get out.


Once I was out the pool I felt some cramping and K encouraged me to give a little push and the placenta came out into a bowl. We sat on the sofa together for an hour while he had his first feed.


The second midwife turned up and they stayed in the dining room while we had time

together. When we were ready they came to do his checks, Emily cut his cord and they

weighed him, he was 7lb6oz. I needed stitches for a 2nd degree tear as he'd come out with

his fist next to his head.


I am so grateful that we had the midwife we had, she followed our birth plan to a T and didn't seem at all concerned when the 2nd midwife hadn't arrived for the birth.


We had a wonderful baby moon and stayed in the house for a week soaking him in before

having any visitors. He is absolutely perfect and is a dream come true. I'm so happy that we

got our home birth, it was hard work but I couldn't imagine having to go through it all in

hospital, and our son couldn't have wished for a more peaceful birth.


Emily was an amazing birth partner, squeezing my hips during every contraction for 16 hrs while keeping the pool warm and encouraging me to keep going, and keeping the hypnobirthing track on repeat the entire time!


I'm so grateful that I had such an amazing experience and wouldn't change a

thing (well a bit shorter would have been nice haha!)."


Sophie's wife Emily says:


"Our son was brought into this world with love and strength. Thank you so much, if it wasn't for your course we wouldn't have had such an amazing home water birth. Sophie was just amazing, I was just in awe of her. It was helpful that the midwives who came were very respectful of our plan. We are so in love with him, he is perfect."



Feeling inspired and want to prepare for birth with Positively Pregnant? Why not take a look through my birth prep and hypnobirthing course options, both in Northumberland and Newcastle:




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