I started getting Braxton Hicks around 28 weeks, so when I felt that familiar tightening around 5am in the morning, I wrote it off as nothing more than “practice surges”. They were a bit more intense, but I was able to go back to sleep pretty quickly.
I woke a few hours later to the same feeling. I usually didn’t get Braxton hicks that frequently. But as there was no pain, I didn’t think I was in labour. However, as they were quite frequent and more intense than usual, I called my mum who was also my birth partner, to tell her that I think I would probably go into labour within the next few days. I was 6 days over my “due date” so thought this was my body’s way of warming up before the main event.
Laughing through labour
Even though I wasn’t concerned, my mum felt differently and decided to acome over. She watched me as I breathed through these obviously intense surges in between laughing my head off to Step Brothers. She told me I was in labour and I told her she was crazy.
As the day went on my “Braxton hicks” became way more intense than they had ever been, but still manageable. As I had a midwife appointment booked for that day, I decided to walk there to see if the walking helped. It was the hottest day of the year. My mother and I were sweating buckets but the walk definitely eased the discomfort. I stopped every once and a while to breath through it all.
When I got to my midwife I explained how I was feeling and my mum told her what she had witnessed. My midwife was shocked as she too thought it was obvious I was in labour and didn’t understand why I was there. I told her that I didn’t like missing appointments! She asked if I wanted a sweep and I said no, just and exam to prove her and my mum wrong. When she finished examining me she told me that I best get to the hospital as I was 4 centimetres dilated and she could feel my baby’s head!
As I was still feeling pretty calm and relaxed I decided to walk back home and call triage instead. My surges had become even more intense but I was able to talk to the midwife over the phone in between them. My mum did offer to call them but I felt capable so did it myself. I was told to wait until my surges were more frequent then to head in. I continued to practice my breathing techniques and had my mp3s on repeat so felt pretty chilled.
Chilled out mama
When we got to the midwife centre I remember thinking how beautiful, and clean it was. The midwives examined me and told me I was now 6 centimetres dialated! None of the midwives could believe how relaxed I was and said I was one of the most chilled out mamas they had ever seen.
They took me to the spring birthing room. It had a mat and loads of different types of birthing balls. It also had a bath but I was told I couldn’t actuslly give birth in it. The room I originally wanted with the pool was being used and they didn’t know how long the lady would be. So I decided to get settled and stay in the room I had. My mum set up a huge fan and made the room all cosy for me.
My surges started to get so strong that I had to get down on the mat. I felt this incredible urge to “bear down” and moan really low which helped a lot. My mum was constantly whispering words of encouragement which was amazing.
When I felt too uncomfortable to even stay on the floor my mum suggested getting into the bath. After she ran it for me I got undressed and slipped in. It felt amazing!!!! Like I was being washed over by silk sheets. I felt so relaxed. Even my surges felt more manageable.
But then they reached a whole new level of intensity and my mum could see I was struggling so she asked if I wanted some gas and air. She said I had done so well without taking anything up until this point, I wouldn’t be giving in just by accepting some relief now. So I agreed.
I continued doing my breathing exercises whilst taking in the gas and air and it really helped. I started feeling a bit light-headed and giddy and began splashing around in the bath. But then I felt another surge coming so I sat up but this one felt different. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to handle it at all. In between moans I shouted “I can’t do this” and my mum replied, “yes you can”. She continued to list of all the reasons why I could do it, and that I was strong and powerful. Right then I felt like I needed to push. I told the midwife. She was dubious but helped me onto out of the bath and on to the bed anyway.
Six-minute second stage!
She examined me and could see my baby’s head and told me to push if I felt like it. I breathed deeply and pushed once. I was surprised at how painless it was. I remember reaching down and feeling the baby’s head too! But then it disappeared and I shouted “he’s gone back in!”. The midwife laughed and said not to worry it was normal. And that it was preparing me to birth my baby. I pushed again and felt him come half way out. I gave it one more push and felt instant relief! I even shouted “I want to do that again!”. I was so stunned at how easy actually birthing my baby was, that I didn’t even register that the midwife had already placed my baby on my chest. I remember shouting “oh baby!”.
We lay there in awe of each other until my umbilical cord stopped pulsating and then my mum cut the cord and burst into tears. My beautiful baby boy was born at 21:06 on the 19th of July. No stitches, no drugs, and I birthed him in 6 minutes. It was one of the most beautiful and empowering, and victorious experiences of my life.