I spent the whole of my pregnancy telling people quite firmly and confidently that the due date is ‘a load of bollocks’, so you can imagine I was quite surprised when after only an hour in bed, at 11pm on the 14th of January (due date 15th), my waters went in grand movie style all over the bed.
I called the pregnancy assessment unit to let them know and they asked if we’d pop in for a quick assessment. So at around midnight, we put on our coats and hats and ventured out onto the glassy roads. On the way to the hospital, a mere 10 minutes away, I already had 3 contractions. The midwife gave us the all clear to go home, and said given the quick onset of the contractions that we should get the pool filled straight away, wise words!
We came home and Richard filled the pool whilst I breathed through each contraction, finding that I could only really work through them standing up, leaning either on the fireplace or the kitchen worktop for support. We were only home for around half an hour when I knew we needed to let the midwives know I was progressing.
The midwives arrived and shortly after I stripped off, got naked and got into the pool, caring very little about my dignity at this point and reminding myself that they’ve seen it all before! The warm water offered much needed relief and the chance to take the weight off my feet and take a little rest while my contractions became stronger.
From here on in was a bit of a blur. I got myself into a meditative state and couldn’t focus on anything except my breathing and any bodily urges. I have a few vivid memories, like the midwives pointing out that the purple line had appeared on my back and that apparently doesn’t happen very often, but was a good indicator things were moving in the right direction. I remember not allowing Richard to go for a wee unless the midwife took his seat while he went. I remember doing a massive poo and only opening my eyes around once to state the blatantly obvious: ‘it’s light outside, is it daytime now!?’ having absolutely no idea how much time had passed.
One thing I remember is the fact that I could only do what my body told me to. I fully intended on ‘breathing baby down’ as I’d learned in my hypnobirthing course, but when it came to it, I just felt the overwhelming urge to push. This wasn’t something I needed telling or guiding to do, my body just knew it was time and I did it. Through all of this I was still using breathing techniques and by this point gas and air just to take the edge off. I must have been quite enthusiastic because the gas and air sadly did run out, so I had a brief period without, but on call midwives came to the rescue with extra supplies within half an hour.
I could feel the head was nearly there but couldn’t seem to get crowning no matter how hard I tried. By this point my contractions were starting to fade and becoming shorter and less powerful, I suspect exhaustion setting in. This is where my very experienced midwife came in. I needed a lot of encouragement but she managed to convince me to walk up the stairs to empty my bladder and I ended up literally running up the final 4 stairs as I felt another contraction coming. Again all dignity out of the window, baby crowned literally over the toilet. I couldn’t empty my bladder but with a crowned baby, I somehow made it down the stairs and to the side of the pool. The final stretch was done on sheer willpower alone as contractions had just about disappeared and the gas and air had gone out of the window by this point. Richard was literally my rock at this point, allowing me to lean all my weight on him and put everything into getting our beautiful baby here.
With a few more pushes, we delivered a beautiful baby boy, caught by our midwife and passed straight to me to wrap up and have our first cuddle. The first words out of my mouth ‘oh the relief!’
What followed was very unfortunate and I’ll spare the finer details as overall it was a very positive birth experience, but I did need a procedure to manually remove the placenta and an overnight stay in hospital due to a post partum haemmorage. However, my breathing techniques got me anxiety of going to theatre and I knew I had to be here and get well for our baby boy.
I couldn’t recommend having a home birth enough and the hypnobirthing, yoga, NCT course, chats with the midwife and Richard all played a vital role in getting me through and making me believe that even when I had nothing left, I was strong, powerful and I could do it.