Our due date according to the 12 week “dating” scan was 22nd April 2016. I was hopeful that it would happen then as it was reported to be a full moon on this day and I was very nervous about going over as I had a fear of induction.
Friday 22nd came and went. On Saturday the weather was cool but sunny, the bluebells were out everywhere so I had found a walk through a bluebell wood quite close by. I wasn’t expecting to complete the full 2 mile walk, being 40 weeks pregnant, however, it was such a lovely location, my husband and I ended up doing the full circuit. By the time I got back to the car, I felt that I’d over done it. I wasn’t able to lift my legs into the car. I worried myself a little.
We paused on the way back to the house for some provisions, some scones for that afternoon, some biscuits for the midwives that we were expecting any day and a chicken to roast for the following day.
I had an afternoon nap and when I woke up I was pretty determined to make the batch cook dinner that I had planned and had bought all the ingredients for the previous day. It was a vegetable tagine. We cooked the dinner together but I was feeling super tired. Quite soon after dinner I wasn’t feeling quite right and went to the bathroom. It wasn’t quite what I was used to but I thought it could just be another pregnancy symptom or it could be my body getting ready for the arrival.
We had eaten dinner quite late so after a little while of being in and out of the bathroom my husband encouraged me to go to bed, this was probably around 10pm. I tried, I couldn’t. I kept needing to go to the bathroom. To encourage sleep, the Hypnobirthing track had been put on (over the speaker that had been moved into the bedroom since attending the Hypnobirthing course at the hospital) so at some point I must have got into “the zone”. I had read in one of the Hypnobirthing books that you shouldn’t look at the time while in labour and instinctively stopped looking at any time telling devices and so I have no idea how long I was in the bathroom for.
My husband went to bed and I left him to sleep as we both thought that this was the very early stages of something happening and we had a long journey ahead of us and he should rest if he could. Every class, every book tells you to rest as much as possible in the early phase and that first labours are often very long, we didn’t think that we would be any different I’m not sure how long he was lying down for but I remember suddenly thinking “hang on, he should be here with me, giving some encouragement or offering a massage or something” so I called out for him. I think it was at this point I realised that I was having surges so I started to try to time them on a app on my phone, I believe that this was around 11pm.
When I later asked for the TENS machine I think my husband realised that something was happening. Of course, he hadn’t read the manual and had no idea where to put the pads. He insisted that I stood up to put them on, he was told (possibly a bit sharply) that he’d have to put them on while I was still sitting on the toilet (I had been alternating between standing over the sink and sitting on the toilet but mostly on the toilet in the smallest room in the house). I remember leaning forward and the pads were stuck on. The machine had several levels and I remember thinking that I needed to pace myself and start at the lowest level. After some period of time, I have no idea how long, when I think that my husband was downstairs inflating the pool, I had a moment when I felt like I wouldn’t be able to do it. I remember thinking that I should go into hospital and the baby was going to have to come out of the “sun roof”. I was pressing the boost button on the TENS and trying to press the button on the phone for the surges (so that in theory we knew when we should call the midwife). It felt that suddenly there was a lot going on.
I don’t know how long after my moment of panic it was but I had a feeling that I should be downstairs. It was in the living room downstairs that we had planned to have the baby, in the pool, it was where I had been visualising the birth. I waited for a surge to pass and then walked downstairs (I don’t know how). I propped myself up on the sofa in a sort of side lying position, at about 45 degrees, utilising the many scatter cushions that my husband loved so much! My husband tried to fill pool, he went out to the kitchen and turned on the tap at which point the hose lifted from the pool and sprayed the living room. Then I felt my waters go. I told my husband that the baby was coming, I could feel the head. I think it was at this point that my husband rang the midwife again, I’m not sure. I think the first call had been shortly before but I wasn’t really aware. We had been waiting for a regular pattern of surges at the intervals we had been told about before calling but they just didn’t happen like that.
I wanted to get in the pool but it hadn’t filled in time and there just wasn’t enough water in it. I moved onto the floor (on all fours) and happened to be facing the door, I knew I needed to take off my pyjama bottoms. My husband tried to help and suggested that in order to get them off I needed to move my leg, I responded (politely, I’m sure) that he should cut them off, which he did. The baby just kept coming.
The front door opened and backlit by the street lights Tanya the midwife arrived in the living room right in front of me like something out of a movie scene. She helped my husband guide the baby out as he was holding the head when Tanya arrived. The slippery bundle was passed underneath me and then I placed he baby on my chest and sat back on the floor, leaning against the sofa. This was around 4:30am.
I was lifted up onto the sofa by Tanya and my husband (one each side) with the baby still in my arms and once the cord had stopped pulsing my husband held our little buddle while the placenta was delivered. My husband decided to cut the cord in the end. Previously he was undecided if it was something that he wanted to do and in my birth preferences I had stated that he should be asked but it was likely that he may not. After being the first person to touch our child, he suddenly didn’t have any issue with it. Tanya asked me to push with the placenta delivery which, having not pushed at all with the delivery of the baby, was a very strange feeling. I was checked over and then we stayed on the sofa and cuddled. When it was time for the baby to get checked over, we finally discovered that it was a girl and we had a daughter.
I felt a bit sick and a bit shaky afterwards but we managed to get some food and liquid down me and we remained cuddled up on the sofa. I quickly felt better although probably a little shocked.
After a couple of hours, Tanya left us to it and we stayed in the same spot on the sofa for quite some time, mostly just staring at our new baby girl.
Later in the day, another midwife arrived to check us all over.
Later still, Daddy cooked us all a roast chicken dinner and we sat at the table to eat. Just the three of us, our new normal.