A few days before the big day, I had awoken to some quite strong surges. I started timing them but once I got up and sorted my toddler out, they fizzled out. On the Wednesday before she was born, the same thing happened again: woke at 4am to contractions and thought that this could be it! Both my family and my parents had been self-isolating and shielding as my mum is deemed high risk but they were the only option for childcare for my 2 year old. They had already agreed to have my son for a sleep over as a trial as it had been so long since he’d been there due to Covid. So he was all packed up and ready to go. Once he was gone things ramped up a bit as I could finally relax and get into my ‘birthing headspace’ and I started timing surges. For a long time they were lasting a minute but had no pattern whatsoever. This continued for a while and then I had my bloody show (lost my mucous plug – and yes if you’re wondering, it does look pretty gross!)
I knew I needed to keep my oxytocin up so we watched romantic comedies and cuddled on the sofa but I was starting to feel disheartened, as with my son two years previously, everything happened very quickly. To distract myself we went for a walk along Paignton seafront. Surges were still happening so I was hopeful and the fresh air and sunshine did me good.
In the late afternoon, I went and had a nap and then when I woke up contractions had ramped up again but still no pattern. After a lie down with my husband surges became as regular as clockwork and I was having to breathe through them. That was at 8.15pm. Now I was getting super excited!
We phoned the midwife at 8.45 and she turned up about 45 mins later but her shift finished at 10pm so she examined me and I was nearly 4cm and she was happy with how I was coping. My husband had prepared our birthing pool and area that morning so everything was done but he started to fill half the pool and put a shower curtain over it to keep it warm. The other midwife soon arrived to take over the shift. I was able to talk between surges and we all hung out in the kitchen/dining room with me stopping to breathe through contractions. I can’t really remember but I think I got into the pool about 11 when the surges were really intense and wow that hot water was like an instant giant super hot hug! My muscles instantly relaxed and I felt at home in the water, like I had done two years previously. I knew transition wasn’t far away and my waters broke soon after and was such a relief.
My midwife was quite chatty between surges but was super helpful reminding me to relax my shoulders and jaw. The calm breathing was brilliant and my husband helped by stroking my back and hair. I had a slideshow on the tv of all my favourite photos and we all chatted about them between surges. I also had Enya playing on YouTube quietly in the background! (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!!)
I thought that I’d want to focus and be silent but actually chatting and laughing really kept my energy and oxytocin levels up! I recognised transition instantly and asked for gas and air (both the water and gas were such relief for me at different stages). I kept thinking about my hypnobirthing course and my affirmation ‘you can do anything for 1 minute’ and I knew that just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, that the surge was nearly over.
Everything then moved very quickly! The midwife recognised that I was “getting pushy” and called the second midwife who turned up as baby was coming out. My husband who was sat by my head had no idea what was going on and still thought we were going to be there for ages but with two huge surges baby girl was here! I remember thinking that I needed to let her head bob up and down the birth canal so my skin could stretch. Once her head was out the ejection reflex took hold and her body was shot out into the water. I had to fish around a bit to find her and when I did I pulled her up to my chest. Her cord was quite short but fine and she cried and cried…and cried! Very loudly! I then waited for the cord to go white and the placenta to come away. Midwives were initially a little pushy to get it out as I had some bleeding but they were happy that it had stopped so I stayed in the water and waited. Once that came away my husband cut the cord out of the water and then I put on our own cord tie and cut the cord again shorter.
I did my first feed and had some mind-blowing tea and toast before asking my midwife to check me for tears because I felt a bit ‘stingy’. I was so so happy when she said I had no tears and only one tiny little graze. After a quick clear up the midwives left and we went to bed about 4am, both of us feeling totally elated and in love with our new baby and each other.
A few hours later my little boy returned and met his new sister at the front door! I even felt so good that we went out for our first walk as a new family of four. It honestly was one of the best experiences of my life! Thank you hypnobirthing- once again I felt empowered, in control and educated. My husband felt prepared to be the best birthing partner he could be, and there wasn’t one single moment where either of us regretted being at home to birth our baby; we felt safe, confident and informed.