Birth stories: My unplanned home birth

Amélie from France never made it to the hospital - her son Baptiste suddenly decided to be born at home on the sofa. Read this thrilling story about an unplanned home birth.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Birth stories: Yannick kisses Amélie on the forehead after her unplanned home birth.
Amélie had no plans to give birth at home, but never made it to the hospital.
Photo: Private

Here is the story about my unplanned home birth

Pregnant with my second child, I was 10 days from my due date. We were at a raclette party with friends when I suddenly had painful contractions. My husband Yannick, who’s a firefighter, took me to the hospital in the evening of Monday, September 25, 2016.

One hour later my contractions had calmed down, so I went home.

My contractions were regular and my cervix was open 2½ cm, so I was told I could go to the delivery room and have an epidural, which I declined because I wanted to try giving birth naturally. I was then offered a spot in a special room for natural childbirth, where I’d be able to relax and take a bath – which I gladly accepted. One hour later my contractions had calmed down, so I went home.

Read Emma’s birth story about giving birth in week 26

The next day I was still having painful contractions, but they were irregular. In an attempt to speed things up, I did some housework and, towards the end of the day, we went shopping quite close to the hospital. My husband suggested we go to the delivery ward because of my painful contractions, but I refused because they still weren’t regular (15 mins, 8 mins…). We went home and I took another bath to see if the contractions would calm down like they had the night before.

Then I suddenly realized that we weren’t even going to make it to the hospital.

Fifteen minutes later, at 9:20 PM, my water broke in the bath. I told Yannick and began to get ready to go to the hospital. The contractions had intensified and were now constant. I couldn’t even walk. Yannick called my father so that he could come and look after our daughter, but he lives 20 minutes away so we had to wait for him.

Five minutes later I told Yannick to call a neighbor – we weren’t going to have time to wait for my father. Then I suddenly realized that we weren’t even going to make it to the hospital, which was also a 20-minute drive away. My husband called his colleagues, and then helped me onto the sofa. My father arrived to look after our two-year-old daughter, and seeing what was happening, realized it was going to be a home birth. He took our daughter to her room.

Anna: “As this was my first baby, everyone kept telling me that I should expect to go over my due date.”

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Birth stories: Her living room became a hive of activity during Amélie’s unplanned home birth.
Firefighters and paramedics turned up a few minutes after the home birth of Baptiste.
Photo: Private

I could feel my baby’s head and had a strong urge to push. Yannick had just enough time to bring some towels. After two-three pushes, our son was born. My husband’s colleagues arrived three-four minutes later, followed by the ambulance. It was a wonderful experience to share a home birth with my husband. Our son, being very much in a hurry to meet us, was born in 25 minutes at 9:45 PM on Tuesday, September 26.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Birth stories: Little Baptiste is wrapped in aluminum foil after his home birth
The home birth of Amelie’s and Yannick’s son on their sofa took just 25 minutes.
Photo: Private

Looking back, I realize how lucky I was – to have my husband by my side for a home birth. Even though he’s a firefighter, he’s never actually assisted at a birth before. He’s very happy to have brought our son into the world. As for our son, he holds the honor of being the first birth in our village in over 30 years…

Text: Amélie Guédon

Another good read: Birth stories: a dad’s view

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BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Birth stories: an unplanned home birth

Amélie Guédon

I live with my husband, Yannick, and our two children, Alice 2½ years and Baptiste 6 months, in Pas de Calais, France. Not a day passes without me reliving the dramatic arrival of our son. We wouldn’t hesitate to opt for another home birth should we ever have a third child, but preferably with the help of a midwife next time.