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Home / Birth Stories / Birth Stories
30 Sep 2012

Calm & In control

He was born at 4.47am on Sunday 30th September weighing 6lbs 14, 9 days before our due date.

I'd just finished work for 2 weeks off before my due date, or so I thought... It was Friday evening, I was lying watching TV, I felt tired and had a bit of a stomach ache but thought nothing of it. I decided bed was calling and as I stood up the flood gates opened, my waters released. It gushed out and I remember being surprised by how warm it was as it ran down my jeans and all over the floor. I felt a little anxious as I wasn't ready, practically I was but I'd looked forward to some downtime before baby arrived, time to mentally prepare myself.

Doug called the delivery suite to let them know about my waters as I was consultant led. We were asked to go in to get checked out so off we went to the hospital feeling excited! I got hooked up to a monitor that showed that I was having surges (contractions) (even though I couldn’t feel them) and our baby was happy. So off home we went. It was difficult to get to sleep, not because of discomfort but because of mixed emotions of excitement and apprehension. We only slept for about four hours and woke up thinking we'd probably get to meet our baby that day!

I was keen to get things going as my consultant had said if I didn't go into labour by Monday they would want to induce me. This wasn't something I'd wanted so I knew we needed to try and get things going! We went into Bromsgrove for a walk and went out for a nice lunch together enjoying some time as a couple before we became a three. I couldn't resist going into Mothercare while we were out, there was a sale on and the shop assistant looked mortified when she said you look like you haven't got long left and I said I was in labour. I could feel that my baby was now very low in my pelvis and there was a heaviness I hadn't experienced before. All this time I was having mild irregular surges but we enjoyed a lovely day pottering.

When we got home I bounced and rocked on my birth ball and we watched meet the Fockers (for some oxytocin building). My brother popped in with my nephew and I felt excited that soon I would be a mummy! My surges started to slow down so we went for another walk and this definitely helped to get things going again.

By 6pm in the evening I was more aware of my surges which felt like strong period pains. I used centred breathing, which really helped me to focus and I also used a visualisation of sitting in a nice warm lagoon. Imagining the water washing over my bump which was really soothing and distracting. I recited positive affirmations to myself which distracted me but also gave me strength and courage. I also found that if I leaned forwards during surges I was more comfortable. I was doing this!

I wasn't hungry but Doug made me some fish fingers and chips (comfort food). I found I wanted to be upstairs in our room and in between surges I played on my mums Nintendo DS, did some crosswords, listened to my hypnobirthing mp3s and chatted to Doug. I seem to remember consuming a lot of biscuits too!

My surges started to get more powerful at about 9.30pm and I found that I talked less to Doug and wasn't really interested in doing anything other than focusing on my breathing.

I naturally changed to using the wave breathing as my surges came in, I was on all fours circling my hips and I was amazed at how effective this was and although the surges were now getting quite intense and sometimes uncomfortable I was able to cope.

Doug used sacral massage during my surges as I was having some lower back pain, this along with a hot water bottle helped me to feel much more comfortable. We had called the delivery suite a few times but in hearing how calm I was they kept insisting we carry on at home and they suggested trying a bath to help with the discomfort. I got in for ten minutes but couldn't get comfortable as I really felt the need to be on all fours so out I got again. By this point I really wanted to be in the birth pool. But every time we rang the midwife wasn't convinced I was ready.

By 11pm my surges were 4 minutes apart and lasting between 45 and 55 seconds, and quite quickly they suddenly increased to over a minute. I knew it was time to go. Doug warmed up the car as we knew it was important to stay warm. I couldn't sit down so ended up kneeling on the front seat leaning over the back of the headrest. I remember sending a panicky text to my younger brother and my dad as I got in the car who both calmed me and reminded me I would meet my baby soon and that our mum would be watching over me. I managed to continue using my breathing techniques on the way which I think helped me to keep calm and focused.

Finally we arrived at the delivery suite where I was given time to settle in, the surges were coming much more regularly now and lasting for much longer, I really had to focus on breathing in order to manage them, at this point I also found myself thinking about surfing the waves as my surges peaked and reminded myself that I would soon have time to rest as the surge subsided.

Because I was consultant led and my waters had been released more than 18 hours it was recommended that I get strapped temporarily to a monitor, I was asked to lie down on the bed for this but there was no way I could lie down during a surge. Thankfully they managed to strap it on and get it working while I was upright. Our baby was happy which we were relieved to hear, so the monitor was removed.

At this point I was still hoping for a water birth but due to my waters having released some time ago my midwife was reluctant. While preparing for birth I had decided that I wasn't going to have any vaginal examinations but I was determined to get in the pool and felt that I needed to somehow convince my midwife so I decided to have one examination. The midwife was surprised to find that I had arrived at the hospital fully dilated. I was also amazed by this; I had laboured all by myself (with the support of my amazing husband) at home surrounded by things that made me feel safe, happy and calm. This made me feel incredible and I found a new strength within me knowing that soon I would meet our baby (or so I thought).

There was no time for water now so I knew I just had to get on with it. I continued using the wave breathing and rotations on all fours on the bed. I remember getting a little vocal, it seemed a natural reaction to the intensity of my surges. But I felt powerful.

I could feel our baby descending, sometimes I felt the urge to bear down but sometimes I didn't and this was frustrating. But I focused on my affirmations and visualisation. I used the bearing down breath and various positions for three and a half hours. Our baby was descending very slowly and I was getting more and more exhausted.

The midwife although lovely and supportive, did make a point of going on about time and started talking about interventions. This made me feel cross and anxious. During intermittent monitoring our baby was still happy (quite chilled in fact, his heart rate didn't even raise during surges) and I was still coping. The midwife said the only way this baby was coming out anytime soon was to actively push. My heart told me this wasn't what I should be doing, that we needed some privacy, a chance to get my birth hormones flowing but my head knew that the alternative wasn't on my wish list either and I was tiring.

I felt exhausted physically and emotionally so we decided to try the active pushing to avoid having an intervention. This involved me lying on my back, feet in stirrups pushing with all I had left. Not what I'd hoped or imagined but what we decided was the best choice at the time given the circumstances. It took another hour for him to be born but by this point all I noticed was a lack of energy. There was no pain. When our baby's head was born I didn't feel the ring of fire that everyone goes on about and I was surprised at how quickly and easily his body followed, I remember to this day thinking it was just like a slippery eel.

The moment we had been waiting for.... our baby was here. He didn't cry and the midwife put him straight on to my stomach. Doug looked to see whether he was a boy or girl, and we waited for the cord to go white before he cut it. I decided at the last minute to have the injection to birth my placenta because I just felt exhausted. But despite the exhaustion the overwhelming feeling of love that I experienced right then is something that I'll never forget.

I could not believe I had done it. I managed to stay at home until fully dilated and had no pain relief at all during my birth. I had a 2nd degree tear (which is probably because I pushed him out on my back) but I didn't feel the tear at all and when offered gas and air to have the stitches done I thought I have managed birth with no pain relief so I don't want any now, I focused on my calm breathing and watched Doug holding our new son while the midwives did the stitching. Other midwives came in to congratulate us and commented on how calm our birth was.

I was a mummy! Nothing prepared me for how magical that moment would feel when we met our baby for the first time.

But I also want to share my post birth reality. I was so in love with our new boy but I was more exhausted than I had ever felt in my life. My body ached, I was sore, tired, emotionally and physically I had nothing left. I remember at the time feeling sad that all I wanted to do was have a shower and go to sleep. Doug had to help me off the bed, he had to hold me up in the shower and then dry me. I remember crying, I was completely overwhelmed. So we slept, all three of us needed to recover and recharge. Our journey into parenthood had begun.

And when I look back on that extremely special day I feel proud, strong, lucky and very very happy. And yes it wasn't perfect, it wasn't sensation free and it had some twists and turns but we were ready, we were calm and we totally rocked it!
Ladies your bodies are amazing, get clued up on all things birth, have lots of tools to help you stay calm and comfortable and have a partner who can protect and support you as you enjoy this very special journey together.