Anna had a difficult first labour, after being induced. So the second-time round she was keen to have a gentle water birth. She used her breathing and relaxation techniques to stay calm and was only in established labour for 4 hours. Baby Grace was born weighing 9lb 6 and ‘bungee-jumped’ into the pool!
I got to 41 weeks again and on the night before my 41 week appointment I wrote a list of questions – to find out all of my options. I did not want to be induced if I could help it. I also sat on my birth ball for most of the evening!
Sure enough, I woke up at 6am on Tuesday morning to surges that were coming every 10 minutes, but were only lasting a maximum of 40 secs. So I went to my midwife appointment at the Caversham Children’s Centre.
There I was, sat in a busy and noisy waiting room having my surges (they were having the two-year checks so the waiting room was full of toddlers!) And every time a surge came, I just thought ‘I am calm and relaxed’, which actually helped massively!
Then we saw my midwife Helen and she said everything looked good. It looked like everything was starting .She said there’d be a baby within the next 24 hours.
She examined me and gave me a sweep, as I was 2cm dilated. So that was good. After that my surges got a bit stronger, but they were still coming every 10 minutes.
We went home and my husband Darren lined up episodes of New Girl. They were fun to watch for a bit. But then I just felt the need to take myself off into our bedroom.
Once there, I sat on my birth ball and just enjoyed listening to all my mp3s. I just focused on relaxing, while Darren looked after our daughter Erin.
Then, at about 1ish, I went to go to the toilet and my waters broke on the way there! I felt really happy and excited.
I went to check that we had our birth bag and everything we needed – I felt great and really in control – completely different to my first birth experience.
We walked our daughter Erin up to my mums. We were all ready to go. And then… my surges stopped.
We spoke to the Royal Berkshire hospital and they said I needed to come in at some point before 5pm, to be examined and checked. So we went in and had a scan.
The scan showed that the baby was back to back, and I thought ‘Oh no’. But then I thought, ‘well actually that’s cool – we know what’s going on and we can go home and do loads of exercises to try and help get her to move’.
The midwife said I was 3cm along and pleased that I had dilated a bit more. Again she said ‘it’s probably going to happen tonight’. Brilliant we thought, let’s crack on, so we came home and had pizza and chilled out.
I spent lots of time on all fours, leaning over my birth ball encouraging baby to get into a better position.
It was nice to be able to have the time and space to help my baby along on her journey. I was having little twinges but nothing major.
I went to bed and woke at about 2am and thought ‘well here we go!’ My surges were stronger. I went and sat on my ball and put New Girl on.
Then my surges got pretty hardcore and I knew I just needed to go in. My dad drove us in and I sat in the front of the car with my mp3s on. This really helped as it felt as though I was in my own bubble. Just sitting there doing my breathing.
When we got to the hospital at about 4am they said the Rushey ward (birth centre) was closed but the pool in the delivery suite was available, which I was really pleased about! The midwife examined me again and said I was 4cm.
In between my surges I was counting down to my relaxing place and Darren was making me laugh – playing with the hospital bed and all the rest of that jazz that guys love to do in hospitals!
Laughing really did help. And Darren was great because the lights were bright, so he turned them off and just put on the light they use to examine you, so we had our dimmed lights!
Then we set ourselves up in the room next to the birth pool, and the midwives changed shifts.
At around 7am I thought, I’d quite like some gas and air, so I asked the new midwife. She examined me and said ‘ooh – you’re 7 cm’ and I though brilliant, and she said ‘I’ll go and sort the pool out’, which I was so happy about.
I found my surge breathing and the gas and air really helped me and worked so well together.
I got into the pool at 7.45 am and that was amazing – it felt so good. It was so nice to be able to move easily in the pool too.
I’d spent a lot of time walking around and leaning over the window sill and Darren had been doing my soothing strokes. Bless him he was so tired, he was starting to fall asleep as he was doing the soothing strokes.
Once I was in the pool I kept having these lovely vivid memories of the birth videos we’d watched in class and the women changing positions in the pool.
I also kept thinking of the Relax with nature mp3 and the red flower – and my toenails were painted red and every time I glanced down at them it was a lovely reminder of that strong red flower!
Then my midwife examined me and said she’d call another midwife when she could see the baby’s head. And soon enough she she said oh I can see the head ‘it’s quite big!’
Then Grace’s head came out to about her nose and she was still in her membranes – and she was a bit stuck and I said ‘can’t you just pull her out!’
Then she asked me to get out of the pool, so I stood up and said she’s coming and Darren and the midwife caught her, – she bungee jumped out!
She was all purple and still in her sac. She weighed 9lb 6 and yes, she did have a big head. But I only had a 2nd degree tear and I had an episiotomy for my first labour.
I’m convinced that the perineal massage and the water birth helped so much this time. And the recovery was so much better this time. After my first labour it was two weeks before I wanted to do anything. This time I felt ready to rock and roll pretty much straight away- which is nice the 2nd time round.
Grace was born at 9.50 am and we went home at 7pm! My labour was completely different from last time. We spent time together as a family – it felt relaxed and fun. Despite the slow build up, I was only in established labour for 4ish hours.