At 4pm I started to get what I thought was Braxton Hicks. I continued on my evening and had dinner (which later would come back up!). We went to bed and I started listening to positive affirmations and timing the contractions. I couldn't sleep and kept waking up every 10 minutes. At midnight we got up and went into the lounge. I had to lean over the chair as I was so uncomfortable and we decided at 1am to ring the midwife to see where we were at. Unfortunately, she said I was a while away from needing to make a move to the birth unit and we needed to wait for contractions to be closer together and for them to be lasting longer.
I tried to get some more sleep and went to the bathroom, where I saw I had started to lose my mucus plug. The next morning the contractions were getting closer together and started to get more intense. I don’t remember a lot from that day except timing my contractions, listening to positive affirmations and trying to eat dry crackers and wine biscuits, although I couldn't keep anything down for long! I spent a lot of time sitting on a beanbag and leaning over a Swiss ball to try and deal with the pain.
Almost 24 hours later at 3.30pm, my waters broke. I texted the midwife again and we agreed to leave home at 4.20pm. At 4.45pm, my contractions were 4 minutes apart. We finally arrived at the birthing unit at 5.30pm and when I got on the bed, I was already 8cm dilated. My midwife started to run the pool and I hopped in to continue to labor.
At 8.30ish my midwife said I needed to start pushing with the contractions but nothing was happening. There was talk about having to go to the hospital and start making a plan B for the birth. I really didn’t want to go to the hospital, so I asked what the alternatives were. They mentioned morphine and I asked about gas. Next thing, I was on the bed with gas and I was pushing again. It was really hard and there was more talk about going to hospital at 9pm if I hadn’t progressed.
All of a sudden I felt a lot of pressure, like I needed to poo. With all the pushing, no sleep and no food, I was drained of all energy. I remember saying, “I can't do this anymore, I promise.” But my support team was amazing – my very own cheer squad – and kept me going.
She was finally born at 9.40pm! Pushing my daughter out was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but I did it with no tearing to my body and using only gas to help with the pain. Because of bleeding, we unfortunately couldn't have delayed cord clamping but my partner did get to cut the cord. After she swept away for a few minutes we got our daughter back and I had skin-on-skin for an hour. My partner got to give her 1.5ml of colostrum which I had expressed prenatally, and then we had our first feed with skin to skin.
The birth didn’t go 100% as planned but the moment she was placed in my arms I knew it was worth it and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
* Name changed for privacy purposes.