Rachel, a first time mum, tells her positive birth story of baby Edward, born in the water in hospital.
It was two days before my due date in March 2017. I woke up feeling huge and uncomfortable, with aching hands from carpel tunnel, and swollen feet. This had been my 'normal' for a few weeks. Apart from that I was feeling good. I had no inkling that something was going to happen, I didn't sense that my baby would be arriving soon. I did however, decide that I had to go shopping and stock up on essentials, just in case.
The obligatory texts started to arrive from friends, you know, those helpful ones that say "no baby yet then" or "wont be long now". Yes thank you for that!
I waddled my way around the supermarket, and as I was at the till I drifted off, wondering how overdue I would end up going, because first babies are always late right?
Back at home I made myself lunch, and put my feet up for a bit. Just after 2pm I was hanging some washing out when I suddenly got really bad back pain. I just thought to myself that it was another pregnancy gift and that it would disappear. But it didn't and by 2:45pm I felt my first contraction. Although I didn't know thats what it was to begin with. I hadn't had braxton hicks, and it just felt like period pain initially. Five minutes later, I had another one. I began to wonder what was going on....still clueless that labour was starting.
About half an hour later I decided to ring the maternity ward. We were a 45 minute drive away so I wanted to make sure they knew what was happening.
The triage nurse on the end of the phone told me that it was more than likely false labour as I hadn't reached my due date, and that it would stop soon.
By 4pm I rang back again to say that the contractions were now just under 4 minutes apart and getting stronger. Again, with a very relaxed attitude I was told to stay put, nothing would be happening for a while. I was to call them back when my contractions were every 3 minutes apart and a minute long each.
My husband arrived home just after 5pm. I was bouncing on my birthing ball trying to watch 'The Chase'. He said to me "babe are you okay, you look a bit red in the face?", to which I replied "I'm in labour, genius". In that moment he turned into an excited puppy, bouncing around the front room in delight. "How far apart are your contractions, 10, 15 minutes?". I laughed and told him that they were 3 minutes apart and that I needed to call the hospital again. Never have I seen colour drain from someones face so quickly. I've also never seen him get ready so fast.
Finally, triage told me to come in, we left home just after 6pm and were at the hospital by 7pm. I was still managing the pain, but the contractions were now every 2 minutes and getting stronger. When I was examined they said that my waters were paper thin and that I was 5cm dilated, therefore I could get straight into the birthing pool. At this point they offered me gas and air, but I refused. I'm still not 100% sure why, but something in my head was telling me that I would want to remember as much of this as possible.
The water was a revelation, it helped me so much to manage the pain, supporting me through every contraction. We had a lovely midwife called Sheryl who didn't fuss over me, she just let me do my thing as much as possible. My husband and I were alone in the room when my waters broke at 8:30pm, and I had an immediate urge to push. I was mooing like some kind of farm animal, but was still resisting the pain relief. When people had told me that between contractions I wouldn't be in any pain I didn't believe them, but thats how it was, and the three of us were chatting about all sorts during the 'down time'. The intensity suddenly ramped up, I was on all fours gripping onto my husbands hands as tightly as I could, I knew that it wouldn't be long at all until we met our baby. We had our wedding playlist on in the room throughout the whole thing, I felt safe, strong and totally loved. At 9:45pm I pushed our son out into the world whilst 'Everlong' played in the background.
Edward made very little noise, his arrival in this world was very chilled out, and he has so far remained that way, he's just turned 1 and is a delight.
I had a second degree tear and required a few stitches. Luckily I healed quickly and without complication.
I wanted to tell my story because its important to acknowledge and champion the great birth stories, as much as it is important to honour the stories that don't go quite so smoothly. I count myself exceptionally lucky to have had the birth experience that I did. It was practically perfect, and made me feel like a total super hero.
Every birth is a miracle.
If you are interested in taking the next step to a positive birth, Positively Birthing Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Classes run throughout Surrey and SW London- areas including Surbiton, Esher, Teddington, Cobham, Twickenham, St Margarets, Thames Ditton, Molesey, Richmond, Wimbledon, Kingston, Sunbury, Epsom, Ewell, and beyond. All bookings can be made here.