My due date came and went. I refused one stretch and sweep at 40+2 but accepted one 5 days after my due date. I’d been having annoying painful Braxton hicks at night, and baby felt so low, I was sure my body was getting ready for the big day, and was curious to see how things were going.
‘I’ve been able to do a really good sweep there, you’re around 1-2cm dilated and very stretchy’ my midwife remarked.
Although this sounded very promising, I’d been in the same situation with my daughter. 2-3cm for around 2 weeks and nothing happened until 11 days after my due date. I was not getting my hopes up! And I’m glad, as baby still didn’t appear.
Sunday 2nd September, I’d resigned myself to the fact that baby would be a while yet. We had a lovely day as a family, the weather was warm, the kids played outside and I accepted the fact baby probably wouldn’t be here for another few days at least (I was due to be induced on the Thursday, at 40+12, but was planning on declining and seeing if my body did it naturally).
That night, I was restless, I woke up at 1:45am to what felt like baby moving down, and a weird clicking sound, straight after, a pretty strong pain, so strong that I needed to breathe through it. Surely this wasn’t the start of things? I’d almost convinced myself I was going to be pregnant forever, haha!
I heaved myself out of bed, praying for another pain to confirm my suspicions. I went for a wee and another pain arrived. Another one I had to breathe through. I woke the husband up, and told him to call his Dad to come and look after the kids. Meanwhile, I called the birthing centre. I had 2 contractions whilst on the phone, and the midwife told me pretty urgently to get to the birthing centre as soon as possible. To be honest, I would have ignored her if she’d told me to have some paracetamol and a bath, which is what I got told with my daughter last time (I ignored them that time too, and she was born 3 hours later!).
At this point I started listening to the hypnobirthing affirmations I’d got as part of my positive birth company digital pack. I’d been listening to them throughout the pregnancy, whilst falling asleep on an night. The affirmations, along with the breathing techniques, really helped. I immediately zoned out, and relaxed.
My father in law arrived around 2:15am and we headed off to the hospital (thankfully only a 15 minute journey away).
Throughout the journey, the waves of pain were coming regularly. I must have had around 5/6 contractions in those 15 minutes alone. All whilst half sitting on the seat in the car. I didn’t utter one word the whole journey. Absolutely nothing. The only sound I made was an ‘ooh!’, when an owl flew across the road. Strange the things that stick in your mind!
On arriving at the hospital, we parked up and started the walk to the birthing centre. I’d been told when I called earlier that we’d need to come through the A&E entrance, as the door for the birthing centre was locked during the night. I didn’t really think about it, until now. A walk that would normally take around 10 minutes, took us 20. I was having to stop every 2 minutes and grab the hand rails whilst focusing on my breathing. It literally felt like the walk would never end, every step was getting more and more difficult.
We eventually made it to the birthing centre at 2:45am, I still couldn’t quite believe it. Was this really happening? I was asleep in bed an hour ago, now I was about to give birth! Our amazing midwife welcomed us, and took us to a room. The room where we’d be welcoming our baby. The lights were dim and I could hear the sound of running water. I vividly remember a huge sigh of relief as I spotted the birthing pool was being filled. I could see steam coming off it, it took all I had to not run over and jump into it straight away!
Still to this day, I’m not sure why the pool had already started to be filled. I’d not mentioned it on the phone. I can only presume my notes had already been read, and they had seen my last birth was in the pool. I’m so glad they did that!
“Jade, I’d like to examine you to see how far along you are before you get in the pool”
Of course, the lovely midwife was just doing her job. They don’t like you to be in the pool until you’re at least 4cm dilated. I’d been preparing to answer this question though. I knew, I just knew that baby was on their way. So I declined. The beauty of the positive birth company course I’ve done is that it hands your birth choices back to you. The mother. We have these instincts. We’ve been our baby’s home for the last 9 months. I knew that an examination then would only make me more uncomfortable, the intensity of the contractions was increasing.
The midwife agreed, and explained we could just see how we get on in the pool. I then remember clearly trying to get my bikini top on. Of course it suddenly seemed the most fiddly clasp in the world! Once it was on I basically ran up the steps and made my way into the water. The relief, oh it was amazing! The warm water instantly felt incredible, I immediately relaxed, my shoulders slumped and I leant over the side of the pool.
I asked for some gas and air, the contractions were now on top of each other. The intensity started to panic me slightly. It felt different to last time, fast and furious! I must admit I lost my focus slightly. Obviously everybody wants a quick birth, but the reality of going from 0-100 very very quickly is quite different. I plan on writing a separate blog post on this, but the feeling of my body expelling the baby so quickly was not quite the calm, serene situation I had so hoped for.
In between contractions I was still in a great deal of discomfort and could feel baby’s head making its way through the birth canal rapidly.
15 minutes after entering the pool, it only took one contraction for Baby’s head and body to be born.
“Reach down and catch your baby, Jade”
And there she was. Her little slippery body. 3:09am on the 3/9. She literally shot out. She?!
We couldn’t quite believe my eyes when we saw we had another daughter. I’d said the whole way through my pregnancy that I was having a boy, and that he would be my biggest yet. How wrong I was! A girl, and my smallest! 8lb 5oz.
Looking back, I think I was in a slight state of shock. From my first pain to being born, 85 minutes had passed. Less than an hour and a half.
Although I did struggle towards the end of the labour, to stay controlled and calm, hypnobirthing allowed me to stay calm for the majority of the labour, to take control of what was happening, and to really think about every decision made during my pregnancy too.
We had planned on going home straight away, and we were all set to go around 9am, however things didn’t totally go to plan. I’m currently writing up a blog post going into the reasons in more detail, but after a 3 night hospital stay, we came home. To start life as a family of 5! She has slotted in perfectly.