Birth stories: my unplanned home birth

Amélie from France never made it to the hospital when her son Baptiste suddenly decided to be born on the sofa at home. 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 maternity ward on the evening of Monday 25 September 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 invited to go to the delivery room and have the epidural, which I refused because I wanted to try giving birth naturally. I was then offered the “natural room” where I’d be able to relax and take a bath – and to this I agreed. 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 but irregular contractions. 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. Yannick suggested we go to the maternity 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 the previous evening.

Then I suddenly realised that we wouldn’t even have time to get to the maternity ward.

Fifteen minutes later, at 9.20pm, my waters broke in the bath. I told Yannick and began to get ready to go to the maternity ward. 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. He lives 20 minutes away, so we had to wait for him.

However, five minutes later, I told Yannick to call a neighbour – we didn’t have time to wait for my father. Then I suddenly realised that we wouldn’t even have time to get to the maternity ward, which was also a 20-minute drive away. My husband called his fellow firefighters, and then helped me onto the sofa. My father arrived to look after our two-year-old daughter, and seeing what was happening, realised I was going to give birth at home. 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 moment shared with my husband. Our son, being very much in a hurry to meet us, was born in 25 minutes at 9.45pm on Tuesday 26 September.

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

Looking back, I realise how lucky I was – my husband had been there for the big event. 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 honour of being the first birth in our village for over 30 years…

Text: Amélie Guédon

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

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BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Birth stories: our unplanned home birth
Photo: Private

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.