We were luckily enough to be able to have Virginia delivery our first baby at home, and even more proud that the story of our little boy’s arrival made it into Virginia’s inspiring book. When I got pregnant with our second child, we were in a different financial position, and sadly knew that we couldn’t stretch to having Virginia as our midwife again.
My experience of our NHS midwife was that she was hurried, and over stretched by the amount of women under her care. There was only one day of the week I could book routine appointments to see her which frequently caused issue with work. From my first appointment I made it very clear I wanted another home birth as long as my pregnancy progressed normally, as my first had. It was obvious that although this decision was supported in principle, there were no guarantees. It would depend on the availability of community midwives at the time of me going into labour. I knew I didn’t want to be in a hospital to have this baby, so as the weeks progressed my anxiety over this happening grew and grew.
Virginia and I had kept in touch since my first baby, and in September we caught up, and of course I mentioned I was pregnant. She immediately told me off for not getting in touch sooner, and she said she would do whatever she could to support us when I explained our financial situation. As it happened Virginia needed a new website, and being a self employed web consultant I was able to help build her one! And so our agreement to exchange a website for her care, and delivery of my second child was confirmed! It was as though a huge weight had been lifted from me, to know that someone I trusted so deeply from my first labour would be with me again was fantastic. And to know that my second baby would come into the world in an environment where I felt most at ease, and most comfortable was exactly what I wanted.
My first labour had been all a bit drawn out, as they can be, and Virginia had consistently reassured me this time round it would be so much easier. And of course she was right. I went to bed about 11pm, and played on my iPad for too long! By about 12.30 the period type pains that I’d been having on and off for weeks weren’t subsiding like they had been, so I realised this was it! I started timing the intervals and within 15 minutes they were 5 minutes apart so I woke up my husband and told him to start filling the pool. I also called Virginia and my mum. Filling the pool didn’t go so well, the connection to our taps had been hard to find, and whenever we turned up the pressure the hose popped off! By the time mum and Virginia arrived at 3am my contractions were about 2 minutes apart, and there was about 2cms of water in the pool, and it was stone cold!
After struggling quite a bit with a long labour first time, I knew I needed to be better prepared this time! So I went to a brilliant pregnancy yoga class from being 5 weeks, run by Natasha Harding , she has a great book worth reading, including quotes from Virginia! I had learnt to manage my breathing and some great positions. I also read another brilliant book called "Birth Skills: Proven pain-management techniques for your labour and birth" that suggests lots of different ways you can focus your mind during contractions on anything but the pain. Reading it before hand I wasn’t sure which method would work for me, but when it came to it, I found tapping my wedding ring on the metal frame of our bed through each contraction was a fantastic distraction, and with the breathing I felt so much calmer than first time round.
In-between all this, my mum and husband battled on with the pool, but after each of them appeared from the shower drenched from trying to reattached the hose to the tap, we realised the baby would arrive before the issue could be resolved. So on my knees, leaning over my yoga ball, with some gas and air, my second little boy arrived just before 5am. As I was 2 weeks overdue by this point he was a very healthy 9lbs 7! We got straight into my lovely big comfy bed, and he started feeding immediately. We did the same as first time, and left the cord for a good half an hour, and then shortly after I delivered the placenta with no problems.
At 7am, a little voice appeared over the monitor, and my little Freddie had slept wonderfully through the whole thing, and woken to find himself a big brother. Virginia went home for some well deserved sleep, and we started our daily routine, almost as normal, but with our wonderful new addition.
My second labour had been almost perfect! I’d hoped so much to have the baby overnight so that Freddie wouldn’t be disrupted and it had worked out perfectly. Maybe it’ll be third time lucky for me delivering a baby in the water! I can’t thank Virginia enough for agreeing to care for me in return for the work I was able to do for her. I feel incredibly fortunate that both my children have been able to enter this world into her trusted and loving hands!!