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Mother of three (born 1990s), from South-East England

In preparation for the birth of our first child we had been to National Childbirth Trust classes and were aiming for deliveries with minimum intervention. I was keen to have a home delivery, but my husband (then partner) was worried about this, and the midwife and doctors were not keen either, so I agreed to have a hospital delivery. When I thought I might be in labour I rang my husband, then working in London, and when he got home he drove me to the hospital. Our daughter was delivered at about 7pm, within an hour of arriving at the hospital. My husband was there throughout but declined to cut the cord (he is rather squeamish). Uncharacteristically, however, he did consent to watch them stitch up where I had torn (which was the most painful bit of the whole process).

After this quick and easy delivery, everyone was happy for a home birth, and I went into labour in the night. My husband helped me put on the tens machine and for some time I dozed in between contractions (and he went back to sleep), but I got up when dozing became less easy. I woke my husband and he helped me prepare the sitting room for the birth, put on music, held me during contractions etc. The midwives arrived (and my mother who was meant to come to observe the birth, but ended up entertaining our older daughter) and our second daughter was delivered at about 9am.

Our third daughter was also a planned home delivery - this time I went into labour in the early evening as we put our older two to bed. At some point I rang the midwife and she said to call when the contractions got stronger and more frequent. A little while later my waters broke and I sent my husband to ring the midwife again who said she would come right away. The baby arrived first, however, much to my husband's consternation. He told me not to push, but that was not possible, and when the head was born he was anxious for me to push the body out straight away, and I had to tell him that I had to wait for the next contraction and that he should check round the neck for the cord. When the body was born he caught her very competently and passed her to me. Then, of course, he started to worry about what to do next, and to desperately flip through the book to look for instructions. Meanwhile I started to feed the baby and told him we should just wait for the midwife, who indeed arrived within minutes and delivered the placenta etc. I am sure that it was a more traumatic experience for my husband than for me or our daughter!