On Sunday, 6th June, we went to a BBQ and I ate FAR
too much. I had the most horrible tummy ache. Lots of people joked that
it was Peanut making a move, but it was JUST indigestion. I think.
Anywho, I barely slept at all all night until
about 4.30, and then I managed an hour before I needed to get up (again)
for the loo. I drifted off again just after Norm went to work and I was
dead to the world until he phoned at 10.30. I had to cut him short
though, because I could feel something going and had to lurch/waddle to
the bathroom. My first thought was, “yes! My water’s have broken!”
and my second thought was: “YES! They are clear!” (no hospy for me!)
I phoned him back to let him know and he
decided he’d head home fairly soon, even though I wasn’t feeling any
ctx yet, so he could get some last minute stuff.
Will had been playing in his room (THANK YOU
WILL), so I went through and told him that Peanut was fed up of being in
my tummy now, and wanted to come out.... might even come today! He asked
“Will it be a girl?” I said “I don’t know. We will have to wait
and see.” :-)
I also called Mum to let her know. She was
still in Pembrokeshire (she’d gone away for the weekend), but expected
to be home by mid-afternoon. Things were going slowly, I couldn't even
feel any ctx, so I wasn’t worried.
I texted Alicia to tell her not to buy the
pool liner she was looking at for me. She worked it out (no surprises
there) but I didn't tell anyone else yet.
I really wanted to go for a walk to get
things moving, because if I went more than 24hrs before contractions
started I might be pressured to go to hospital. But every time I moved
there was another gush, and the pads weren’t really helping that much.
Since I was house bound, I undressed again and just wore my dressing
gown, to save getting through 20 sets of clothes. I had to settle for
going up and down the stairs. I WISH I had invested in a birth ball to
I started getting really mild and irregular
ctx, so faint that I wasn’t sure if it was just wishful thinking. I
waited for them to get a bit more definite before I called the midwife
unit. This was about 2pm or so. They told me to call back when they got
to about 7 minutes apart. I borrowed Norm’s iphone so I could use the
contraction timer on it. They got stronger and stronger but I was still
comfortable, I felt them as pressure in my back and my bump.
Norm kept himself busy packing away the dog
kennel and dining table to make room in the kitchen for the pool. He set
it up and inflated it and then we spent most of the day relaxing. I kept
Will home from nursery so we could all be together, just the 3 of us,
for the last time. Norm had bought him some mega blocks on his way home,
when he was in Toys R Us buying a digital thermometer for the pool. We
told his mum I was in labour and she popped round with a cottage pie for
our tea and a Moses basket. (Oh we were so organised!!)
At around 9ish in the evening, the last of my
water went. I could tell, because straight away I had another ctx and I
could feel it grinding the baby’s head down on my cervix. The pressure
in my back and bump got a lot stronger as well, but it was the pressing
on my cervix which was uncomfortable. It was hard to relax through, and
when I tensed up it made the ctx themselves hurt as well... fierce pains
through my belly and back. I experimented with different ways of
managing, groaning, swearing, pacing, rocking.... I found that breathing
them away and leaning over helped the most.
Around 11ish, I called mum to let her know to
make her way over soon. Poor mum had only just gone to bed. Sorry Ma, no
sleep for you tonight!
I also called the midwives again and
described where I was at. I'd lost track of how far apart they were, but
it was pretty obvious (to me) that I was in established labour by now.
They said they would send someone out straight away. There was some
water left in the bath and I got in there and that felt pretty good. It
made me start thinking of the birthing pool. Next time: buy a pool cover
to keep it warm, and fill the thing when labour starts! Norm started
filling it and I let him know that I had called the midwife unit and
someone was on the way.
I was pacing back and forward, going up to
the bathroom, down to kitchen, back to the bathroom...I was basically
shitting myself at this point. I went to get some paracetemol, but then
decided that it had probably gone a bit far for paracetemol to be any
help, so I went back to the bathroom to get back in that water while I
waited for the pool to be ready but Norm had pulled the plug. That was
too much, I sat on the loo and turned the air blue through my next
contraction. That one HURT. A LOT! I pulled myself together just as Norm
let the midwife in.
She wanted to do an internal, and I’d
originally thought I didn’t want any, partly because I didn’t want
to feel like I was on a stop watch (they like you to dilate at 0.5cm per
hour, or go to hospital) and partly because now my waters had gone there
was increased risk of infection. But I was sort of curious, so I decided
I’d have this one but I wouldn’t have any more. I said “I'd better
be 9cms or I will cry!” I lay on the sofa so she could examine me and
another ctx hit. Oh lordy, that was probably the worst one! Nikki held
my hand and helped me breathe through it before she examined me. Looking
back, I'd have probably been made up if I had known that that was it -
the most painful bit was over. I'd got scared, worked through it, the
rest would be fine.
Mum arrived just as the midwife was doing the
exam – nice timing! I was a very thin and stretchy 4-5cms, so around
halfway there, and "far enough along to use the pool". (Ha,
midwife lady, just you try and stop me!) I was aware of people setting
stuff up and making drinks but only vaguely. I think Mum made some fcups
of tea about now. I remember no one offered me one, typical.
I was concentrating hard on breathing away
the ctx – they were getting stronger and stronger and I didn’t want
to lose it like I had in the bathroom because that just made it a lot
worse. I also didn't want to lie down again, any pressure on my back was
bloody agony. Leaning over the back of the sofa helped a lot.
The pool wasn’t *quite* ready and the
midwife suggested I use the loo first. I thought that wasn’t a bad
idea, but then another contraction came and I said “sod it, I can do
that later! I’m getting in now!” That was a mistake... I really
SHOULD have gone to the loo then, because it turned out that was my last
chance. Next time: go to the toilet at every opportunity.
This was about 00.20am. Labour really picked
up from here, the ctx were very close together and very strong. The warm
water felt delicious – I'd have spent that money many times over for
that relief! I experimented with different positions and discovered that
I could NOT sit down in the water. The pressure on my tailbone made ctx
unbearable. Pain = MOVE. I felt most comfy on my knees, leaning over the
side of the pool, so that’s how I stayed pretty much the whole time
after that, kneeling upright whenever a midwife wanted to check
Peanut’s heart rate.
I remember saying I was going to be sick. I
normally hate being sick, I'm a real wimp about it, but I was really
glad about it this time, because all I could think was how much it would
help me dilate, and bring Peanut to me all the quicker. I think it was
Norm that brought the bucket for me. That's true love that is. Then he
went to wash it out and Milton it so it would be ready if he needed to
top the pool up with hot water. Then another contraction started so I
made him leave the bucket for mum cos I wanted to hold his hand (awwww).
I got into a rhythm. I 'd breathe through a
ctx, imagining that I was filling up big red balloons and they were
floating away in a clear blue sky. When it was over, I'd have a drink of
water and relax my whole body, visualising everything opening, or
thinking of a flower opening. I'd rest, waiting calmly for the next
wave, and then breathe again.
Time went a bit squiffy... It was like being
in a bubble and there was nothing except me, my breath, the tightenings
and Norm's hand. I have no idea how long it was before I asked for gas
To me, it felt as if it was very soon after
getting in the pool that I started feeling pushy, and that had been not
long after finding out I was 4-5cm... "You can only push at
10cm" = the biggest pile of bollocks in the world. I remember
wondering vaguely if I should ask for another internal but I didn't
bother. I needed to push, so I pushed. It felt GREAT! It wasn't ARGH
pushing either, it was more breathing down, like the birth breathing
(from Hypnobirthing). It felt just right so I kept doing it with each
The second midwife arrived and at one point
they had both gone into the living room leaving me alone with Mum and
DH. The difference in my next contraction was huge, I’d only been
vaguely aware that there was anyone with me at all, but the moment they
left the room, my urge to push trebled It wasn't an urge, even.... my
body was just pushing and my brain was not invited to the party. I
managed to gasp out "Midwife!", having the vague thought that
someone should be there as my baby came out. They came back, and it
eased off again, not so intense. Looking back, I am wondering if I'd
have experienced the fetal ejection reflex if I'd just kept my mouth
shut and let go.... I wonder if I'll keep quiet next time and just
deliver her into my hands, with no one else in the room except me &
At one point the pain got a lot worse. My
legs re-arranged themselves to get me in a squatting position and I
could FEEL my baby shifting down. The pain eased. One of the midwives
said "that's great, that will really help your baby move
down!" I remember thinking "well, duh!" Pain = move.
Oh god I was tired. Tired, tired, tired. I
distinctly remember taking the gas and air out of my mouth and saying
"Remind me to have a caesarean next time." God, I'm *such* a
I could feel my baby move gently and
gradually down. Nikki (Midwfife #1) asked me to lift up out of the water
every so often so she could check the progress. I remember her saying
that the head was sitting right there, waiting to be born and I was
thinking, “I know, I can feel it, I can feel just where it is!”
I was breathing down with more pressure and
could feel everything stretching and opening to let Peanut out. I could
feel a little burning, stinging sensation which was worse when I lifted
up out of the water. I could feel a bit more burning, and I could feel
that the head was on its way out, so I put my hand down there. That
helped so much because I could feel so much of the head had been born
and I knew I was nearly there! I could feel lots of hair! I stroked the
hair and felt the top half of my baby's face, a squishy little nose... I
remember thinking “dear Christ that feels weird!” I grabbed Norm's
hand again and pulled it under the water. I was trying to tell him that
the head was nearly out, there was loads of hair, it was REALLY COOL, he
just HAD to feel it.... but in my excitement I’d forgotten to take the
gas and air out of my mouth.
I got really excited then, and it was all I
could do to not push down hard, not because I felt like I “needed”
to, but just because I was so close and kind of impatient. I kept
breathing down with the contractions and very soon (not sure exactly how
long, time had gone very strange) I felt an enormous slithery sensation
and I heard someone say “pick your baby up!” I lifted it up to my
chest and told it that it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
This moment is burned into my brain forEVER. I'll never, ever forget it.
Awesome is a fairly over-used word at the moment, but that's exactly
what it was.
It made such a difference that I'd DONE IT.
She hadn't been pulled out of me, no one had told me what to do, no one
had told me to push or breathe or anything, no one had interfered, no
one else had even touched her as she arrived (except her dear ole Mum
I was thinking, “I hope mum has got her
camera out.” I looked up and Mum was there, but no camera. So I
reminded her about what she was meant to be doing and looked back at my
baby. It was all sort of lilac with lots of black hair, and very
obviously perfect. I was rubbing its back and telling it how beautiful
it was. I couldn't believe my baby was finally HERE and had actually
come OUT OF ME. I was even
a tiny bit sad that it was over, a bit like when you get to the end of a
REALLY good book or a lovely holiday..... I'd really enjoyed her being
in my tummy, and I'd really enjoyed her journey out and now that part
A midwife leaned over and squeezed its foot
to get it to cry and breathe. It worked – there was a little whimper
and then the colour started changing straight away. Someone said,
“aren’t you going to look and see what you’ve got?” I had been
looking forward to that moment – finding out the sex myself –
throughout my whole pregnancy and when it came down to it, I’d
forgotten! Wot a ditz :-/ I was very glad they reminded me though,
because the contractions had been so intense when the midwife arrived
that I had forgotten to tell them that was what I really wanted to do.
So I looked, and said “We have a girl!”
waited a little before clamping the cord, but in the end I decided to
let them do it, I thought it would be easier to get out of the pool and
move around if it was cut. I would definitely wait longer next time if
possible. She was born at 2.34am, she weighed 8lb 7oz, her head
circumference was 36cm and her apgars were 8 and 10.
The placenta was very stubborn and didn’t
want to come out at all, even after a second jab of syntometrine (sp?)
and lots of cuddles and feeding, so they called for an ambulance (two
actually, mum and baby get one each :-) ) and I transferred to hospital.
(Next time: try for a physiological third stage!) My temperature
rocketed and I'd gone all woozy just as the ambulances arrived. I
remember thinking, "wow, my first ever trip in a nee nar! I'm glad
they've got the sirens on, how exciting." They did manage to get
the placenta out by pulling on the cord (THANK YOU ENTONOX!! > Next
time: refuse internals if waters have gone.) Then L had some problems
with her breathing and had a short stay in special care.... (Next time:
wait longer before cord clamping.) but even with the problems we had
afterwards, I am still (almost 2 years later) thrilled about the actual
delivery and I can't wait to do it again :-) I hope Norm agrees to one
set up Blooming Miracle Doula and works in and around Shrewsbury.