Mum of three, Sarah Eberhardt, gave birth to two of her children at home. Her second child was born at home two days early.
She said: “I was completely convinced I wouldn’t go into labour until I was very overdue, as this happened with my first child. So when I first felt slight cramps not long after 5pm, I was sure it was nothing.
“I bounced on my birthing ball while my husband put our daughter to bed and as the cramps continued, I texted family and friends to be on standby for childcare. We thought we might need them the following day or even the day after. Once that was sorted, I went upstairs to rest, thinking there would be hours to go.”
Sarah’s waters went when she was crouching next to her bed, and then she had an urge to get into water.
“We’d been told not to fill the birthing pool until the midwives arrived so my husband ran a bath and we called the midwives from there. I was so sure I was in the early stages of labour that I told them not to rush. At the same time my husband called a friend to come and collect our daughter.
“Before anyone could arrive, our son was born about 10 minutes later, as I crouched above the bathwater. I didn’t feel as though I was pushing, at least not consciously. He effectively delivered himself, which was a huge shock but also a huge relief as I’d been convinced there were still hours of labour to go.”
The midwives arrived and enabled Sarah’s husband to cut the cord, and then helped her and their baby to move out of the bath. Sarah said: “Within three hours we were all in bed and had the house to ourselves again. Our two-year-old daughter slept through it all and woke up in the morning to learn she was a big sister.”
Sarah’s third child was four days overdue. She gave birth in the birthing pool at home.
She said: “This time round we were keen not to make assumptions about labour being slow. As soon as I felt cramps in the early afternoon, I called friends to arrange childcare and called the midwives to say labour was beginning. I then spent several hours bouncing on the birthing pool, whilst my husband started inflating the birthing pool and rearranging furniture.”
Around 6pm Sarah’s contractions got stronger and she found it difficult to talk through them. Sarah rang her midwives again and they arrived at 7pm.
“I started using the TENS machine which I found really useful in my first labour. It took me a little while to adjust to having the midwives there and letting the monitoring happen. My husband massaging my lower back enabled me to get through each contraction.
“I got into the pool at around 8pm and it felt amazingly relaxing in between contractions. It was slightly surreal floating around in my darkened living room with an audience. At around 8.30pm there was a shift change and then there were four midwives in the room. I was sad the first two were leaving and I suddenly started to feel incredibly exhausted, but things continued to progress and I got accustomed to the new midwives.
“Things started to get overwhelming and when I asked about pushing I was told to let my body take care of it. I remember seeing that the midwives both had aprons on and it seemed the birth was near.
“At around 10pm I gave two or three big pushes and our son was born into the water. It was completely exhilarating. We stayed in the water while we waited for the cord to stop pulsating so my husband could cut it. The midwives were amazing at letting us take our time so we could really enjoy the moment. It all felt so relaxed, down to earth and straightforward.”
If Sarah’s story has made you want to learn more about homebirth, see our website and get in contact with our community midwifery team. As part of the NHS 70 celebrations we are also hosting a homebirth event on the 5 July for anyone who is considering or interested in learning more about homebirth. If you have had a homebirth or were born at home then we would love to hear from you, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.