So, to our story…… on Friday, my waters started to trickle in the morning and there were two larger gushes at around midday. Joe had just got to London for work when my waters started to trickle, so had turned around and come home to join his 10.30 meeting by telephone. We spoke to the hospital (FPH) just after midday and they said not to rush in, but to have some lunch, get organised and drift by in a few hours’ time. We went to the hospital at 14.45 and they asked if the baby had been moving that day. She rarely moved throughout my pregnancy, and I couldn’t say whether I had felt her at all that day. So, they plugged me up to a monitor and I sat there for a bit.
I was having slight period-like pains that were giving a small trace, but nothing major. They said that if labour didn’t start on its own, then I’d have to go back at 8am on Sunday to be induced. This was probably one of my biggest fears……I really, really didn’t want to be induced. So, Joe and I started discussing all the options for getting labour going on the way home……7 pineapples was not on the list!! We got home and I took two paracetamol at 4.30, as the period pains were getting a bit uncomfortable. We started timing at 4.45 and noticed that the pattern seen in the hospital had increased to every couple of minutes max. The discomfort was ramping up too, and I started getting stopped in my tracks by it for around 40-50 seconds each time. We called the hospital to ask whether this sounded like labour and if it was okay to start using the TENS machine. We’d only been there an hour before, so they told us it was too early. So, I just tried to relax as much as possible
I was pretty uncomfortable, so Joe suggested a bath in the absence of TENS. It was when I was getting ready for my bath that I noticed a fair amount of fresh blood on the pad I was wearing for my waters. Joe called the hospital at 5.30, who asked if we were first time parents (!!) and told us to come in to get checked over, but that they would probably send us home.
I was focussing on breathing through the surges – breathing around the rectangle mainly and blowing lily pads across a pond. In the car it was uncomfortable to sit and not be standing up, and traffic was pretty heavy as it was rush hour. We got to the car park at 6.10, and then started to make our way to the delivery suite. I felt that I needed to push in the car, and was starting to feel really confused – I felt that if this was how it felt not to be in labour, then I was really going to be in trouble and my birth preferences must have been completely unrealistic for me! I really felt that we would get there and they would say I was only a couple of cm dilated and would send me home like they said they would, and I didn’t know how I was going to cope.
I had 5 surges from the carpark to the delivery suite and got there at about 6.20pm. We got into the labour ward and I just said help… The midwife (Claire) was great. She got me into a room and said she would take a look. She examined me and told me I could push. I told her that I didn’t understand….that I wasn’t in labour….and she put me straight that the baby was coming. She said she didn’t have time to read my birth plan, but asked what I wanted to do. I said that I had planned to be upright and active, so she got me off the bed and put the pillows on the floor for me. I leaned over the bed, kneeling on the floor and tried the downwards breathing when she told me to push. There was no time for Gas & Air, waterbirth or anything and our bags were all in the car, as they had told us not to bother bringing them in. So, I had nothing with me.
Helena was born at 6.49pm. Her head came out with one hand and she actually started to cry when her head was out but nothing else – they told me this was rare (she was clearly in a hurry!). One more big breathing down and she was in Joe’s arms and passed to me for skin to skin. I had wanted a physiological 3rd stage, but was advised to have a managed 3rd stage due to fibroids. However, they had asked me during the labour what I wanted and I had explained that I wanted delayed cord clamping for as long as possible, even though I needed a managed 3rd stage. They agreed, but after 2 mins asked if they could give me the injection, as I was losing a lot of blood. I agreed and Joe cut the cord.
Joe took Helena for skin to skin while I was popped on the bed for the placenta to come out. Once that was done, Helena was back to me for skin to skin and to feed (which she did straight away) while they gave me a couple of stitches – she had caught my labia when her hand came out with her head, which they put a stitch in, but my perineum was all fine (I had been doing the massage btw – I recommend it). I was in shock at this point….I couldn’t believe that our beautiful little girl had arrived when I thought that nothing was happening. We were then left for a couple of hours for tea & toast, time together and time for a bath. We then went to the ward at 10.15pm and Joe stayed until 11.30pm.
All in all it was an amazing experience. I don’t know how I would have coped if I had not been preparing to relax through it. All the breathing exercises I had practised enabled me to cope with the speed of it, and all with just 2 paracetamol. Claire, the midwife, came to see me the next day and commented that I had “breathed my baby out” – so she clearly noticed what I was doing. Thank you Wendy, and to everyone else for such fantastic classes. I’m not sure what I would have done without it.
Helena is super cute and feeding well. We came home on Saturday afternoon and have been working out what we need to do since then. It all seems to be going well so far. Good luck to you all for the birth of your little ones 🙂
Much love, Wendy & Joe x