"Thanks to Husband & Darwent Valley Community Midwifes & Hypnobirthing Course"

About: Darent Valley Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

Home Birth complemented with Hypnobirthing

At my booking appointment, my community midwife made aware of my birthing options. I was quite surprised that a home birth would be supported for a first time mother. A home birth became an aspiration from day one and turned out to be one of the best decisions that we have made.

Over the following months, both my health and the health of my little one was actively monitored by my midwife to ensure that it was a safe option. Throughout I remained confident that should our health deteriorate, either before or during the birth, there was a strong infrastructure to support the step up of our care into a hospital and that the midwives in the community worked closely with those at DVH.

Hypnobirthing classes were being launched at DVH and I was fortunate that my community midwife was extremely positively about the techniques. The ethos of positive thinking, visualisation to aid breathing in birth, and preparing yourselves for a calm birth were all very appealing so my husband and I signed up for the first set of sessions. The classes were packed full of useful information about what to expect from your body, which it turns out really does know what it's doing. In the lead up to the birth, I played the affirmations whilst doing the housework and made time to practice relaxing sitting next to. I would recommend this course to anyone who needs to 'make time to practice relaxing'. It was also a good way to get to know the hospital based midwives and gave me much more confidence about going into the hospital.

I also attended a home birth session at our children's centre where I had the opportunity to meet with other mothers who had a home birth locally and pick up useful tips, such as where to hire the birthing pool.

Our LO arrived early. My waters 'popped' at 7pm and at 8pm I called my midwife. The on call midwife was dispatched to ensure all was OK. Whilst we waited we sat down to a roast dinner and then I retired to a birth ball with a TENs machine. The health check proved fine and the midwife left assuring me that should we go into active labour before the following morning she would be back out.

We were all prepared for a long birth. By 11pm surges (contractions) were progressing and by midnight my community midwife started to coordinate with the on call midwife and student midwife. This was above and beyond. When they arrived, I was entering into active labour and felt the urge to push. During all this time, my 'up breathing' had gone from being a relaxation technique to an essential tool with visualised balloons floating down the stairs. Once the midwives arrived and I had my initial examination, I got into the birth pool and began to 'down breath' with monitoring being carried out between surges to ensure everything was going well.

The evening was very relaxed with conversations between surges, no pressure to progress any more slowly or quickly than felt right, and generally lots of support. At 2: 45 am our daughter was born, her daddy lifted her from the pool, placing her on my chest. No complications and a very calm baby. It was only much later that it occurred to me that the only pain relief was the tens machine and the pool. A little later we both had skin-to-skin contact with our daughter and she had her first feed. The third stage took slightly longer than anticipated but by 5: 45 am were tucked up in bed. The midwives who supported my care were fantastic and by the next morning you would have never known they were there.

After care was equally very strong. My community midwife came out to check on us on the afternoon of the birth and for the next ten days we had a range of support including breast feeding observation and guidance.

My husband particularly enjoyed the whole experience having turned from a sceptic about home birth concerned with potential risk to an out right advocate of a calm birth at home. During the birth he said I became a different person, completely in control. Clearly this wouldn't have happened without the excellent community team or my husband.

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Responses

Response from E-Communications Manager, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

Dear VictoriaElizabeth

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter and thank you for taking the time to write this fabulous review at what must be a very busy time for you all. The Maternity Department and Karen Youens (who runs the Hypnobirthing courses) have been notified of your very kind words.

With best wishes

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