Here we go, let me tell you all about the day my darling Thea came in to the world.
I woke up at around 3.30am with some pain; I thought nothing of it at first, I had reached that point in the pregnancy where the nights were so uncomfortable, so I just assumed that I had slept funny. I started drifting back off and the pain happened again, and then again, and then again. At this point Shane was wide awake sat next to me trying to keep me relaxed as I started timing the pains, yep – this was definitely the start of labour.
I had planned to have a home birth (read more about that here) so as soon as my contractions started to pick up pace, I gave the hospital a call so they could get in touch with the home birth team. I was advised to get some rest and to call back when I was contracting every 4-5minutes and to just carry on my day as normal (pah!).
Shane’s dad arrived to pick Jack up at 7am, at this point I was downstairs trying to use my hypnobirthing breathing to cope with each contraction. I’ll never forget Jack’s little face when he saw me, he said ‘it’s a very exciting day today isn’t it mummy!’ and then off he went to granddads house. The emotions got the better of me as soon as they drove off and I cried my eyes out, as if the realisation of how much Jack’s life was about to change slapped me across the face.
Once Jack had gone, Shane and my mum got to work filling up the birthing pool, assuming that we would be needing it soon because my contractions were coming thick and fast. I was walking around the kitchen (I found the worktop by the sink the most comfortable spot to lean on!) with my TENs machine on, using my up-breathing to work through each contraction. I was feeling positive and assumed that because Jack was a fairly quick labour (10 hours start to finish), that this labour would be even quicker!
Annoyingly, things did not move quickly. One minute my hypnobirthing app was telling me I was in established labour because I was contracting every 4 minutes, the next the contractions became further and further apart, and at one point stopped completely! I called the hospital again to explain what was going on, to be told that it’s fairly normal in a second labour for things to be quite stop and start, and was once again told to call back when I was contracting every 4 minutes.
The day seemed to go on forever, and as soon as I hit the 10 hour mark, I had enough. After each contraction I just kept thinking ‘Jack was here by now’, and all I could focus on was the labour was getting longer and longer. I somehow fell asleep at one point, I think the pain and frustration got the better of me and I just totally zonked out.
Shane and my mum tried to stay positive and keep me focused, but by around 3pm I had totally lost all momentum. The contractions were getting harder to breathe through, the TENs machine wasn’t cutting it and I was getting more and more frustrated every time the contractions would become further apart. Out of sheer desperation I called the hospital for a final time willing for them to send the midwives out, which they did. Once I was off the phone I practically jumped in to the pool, hoping that the warm water would give me some sort of relief before the midwives arrived, I was reluctant to get in the pool too early because I didn’t want anything to slow the labour down even more!
At around 4.30pm there was a knock on the door and two incredible midwives walked in and started unpacking. I agreed to get out of the pool and be examined, only to discover that I was only 5cm dilated – I was ready to totally give up and ask to be transferred to the hospital at this point, there was no way I had it in me to carry on for who knows how long to get to 10cm! My midwife, Hannah, offered to give me a sweep and said as soon as my waters break it’ll be all systems go.
I got back in the pool and after nearly 14 hours with just the TENs machine and my hypnobirthing for pain relief, I finally got some of that sweet, sweet gas and air! I remember saying ‘I feel pushy!’ at around 5pm, and Hannah was right, it really was all systems go from there!
My waters broke I immediately started pushing. Unfortunately, at this point my hypnobirthing breathing went completely out the window and I could feel myself starting to lose control. Things are a bit hazy after that but I remember two more midwives (it was shift change at around 6pm) turning up while I was pushing. They were checking baby’s heartbeat every few minutes and before I knew it, Hannah and Petra, one of the new midwives, guided me through the last few moments of labour.
And then, about an hour after that first push, she arrived. In the family room of our home, 10 days shy of her due date at 6.19pm, our little girl.
I was totally overcome with emotion as soon as Shane told me we had a girl. Even now, thinking back on that moment, I could cry all over again. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you meet your baby for the first time, it’s utterly overwhelming, pure happiness. We stayed in the pool for a little longer and Shane cut her chord while I held her close and listened to her wild cry, I should have known from that moment that we had a little diva on our hands!
Even though I was at home I felt so unbelievably safe and looked after, I couldn’t fault the care that all four midwives gave me – especially at a time when it’s so easy to feel so unsafe. After I was checked over and sorted out (oh labour is such a glamorous experience!), they helped me upstairs and in to the shower, by the time I got down they had packed up all of their stuff and Shane was emptying the pool (told you, glamorous!). The midwives and my mum left around 10pm, and after sitting on the sofa enjoying new born cuddles and a Domino’s pizza (beats cold jam on toast from the hospital any day!) I made my way up to my own bed.
Having a home birth totally exceeded my expectations and I’ve raved about it to all of my pregnant friends ever since. When I had Jack there was no doubt that being in hospital was the best place for me, a first-time mum who was so nervous about what was to come, but I’m so glad I made the decision to have Thea at home. Did I think that I was going to give up and ask to go to hospital? At times, yes. Am I glad that I didn’t? Absolutely!