Sunday, 16 February 2014

Amy BirthStory

My second labour started in the cinema with annoying little "pains" that felt like a very minor tummy cramp or a bit of trapped wind. It's exactly how my first labour started so I recognised the feeling immediately. I had had a false alarm a few weeks earlier though so was a bit unsure about calling my parents to collect Boy1 (our 18 month old).

We got home and I started to time the "wind". The contractions were about 7 mins apart and felt a bit more "laboury" (technical term) so we went for a walk with Boy1 to see if it made them go away or get worse. They got stronger and stayed regular so we called my Dad.

So Boy1 had a bath and a bottle (and I had a little cry about our last uninterrupted bedtime routine) then went off in his jimjams to his beloved Granny and Grandpa's house. 

With our first baby taken care of. BoyDad set to work on the birth pool, sticking down plastic sheets to protect the carpet and lighting candles while I bounced on my birthball catching up on the Strictly Come Dancing final and eating a chocolate orange (it was 2 days before Christmas!).
Patchwork birth pool.

All preparations went smoothly... err, apart from the 15 punctures we found in the birth pool. (After much faffing around buying the right one on eBay we'd never actually bothered to check it!) Luckily our neighbours saved the day with some magic paddling pool fixing kit they had.

While preparations were underway, I was bouncing on my birth ball and getting excited. By 10pm the contractions were hurting but I decided to try to rest, figuring I had a long night if contracting ahead of me before anything exciting would happen. 

I went to bed and listened to my hypnobirthing podcast with my TENS machine on. I hadn't rested at all in my first labour and was adamant I needed to sleep but the contractions were getting stronger and after about 20 minutes my waters popped and flooded the bed anyway! (The one place in the house that wasn't covered in plastic sheets.) Who knew they actually go "pop"?! I thought it was hilarious and as I laughed the water kept coming. Then the contractions got really serious and I stopped laughing and called the midwife.

Unlike my first birth there was no "you don't SOUND in labour" interrogation on the phone. I just said I was in labour and they believed me! The midwife arrived 20 minutes later. As soon as my waters has gone the contractions were coming every 3 minutes. 

She examined me and I was 4cms dilated. I knew it wouldn't be long from that point. With Boy1 I had gone from 4cms to holding him in around an hour. I told the midwife this and she called for the 2nd midwife straight away. The second one brought my beloved gas and air and assured me she had 2 extra canisters in the car if I ran out. I could've kissed her. I didn't. 

All this time I was walking around the living room and leaning on BoyDad during contractions. It was amazing to just be able to focus on breathing and moving however I wanted. This stage of Boy1's labour was spent in a taxi, walking through a car park and navigating hospital corridors. This time I just got to cuddle my husband and listen to Christmas songs! (Relaxing carols, not Wham!)

I wanted to put off using the pool and gas as long as I could but soon realised that if I waited much longer I wouldn't get in at all. So I got in the pool and started sucking on the gas. I loved it as evidenced by this manic looking woman in the photo.

I was in there for about 1 hr 45 mins. A student midwife came too at some stage but the 3 of them didn't really do anything. They were a bit like a row of cheerleaders on the sidelines. I remember them checking his heart rate a couple of times and then at the end I remember all their voices but couldn't tell what they were saying because I had my ear squashed against BoyDad's arm and the gas and air made a really loud darth vader noise. I kept telling them I couldn't hear them and they just said "don't worry we're just encouraging". It wasn't encouraging, it was confusing. I kept thinking they were trying to tell me something!

All I needed was my husband to lean on and splash water up my back, which he did non stop for the entire time. One time the hot water needed topping up and he left for a minute. The student midwife took his place but I remember just needing him.

I remember feeling like I wanted to push and my favourite one said "if you can stop yourself pushing then do, if you can't, then push" which is what I did! I had been sucking on gas and air during each contraction for over an hour and as I finally gave in and started pushing the damn thing ran out! There was no timr to get a new cannister because luckily by this point it was nearly over. I managed fine without it but would have much preferred to push a human head out of my body with a little pain relief! 

So, yeah, then I had the baby! In the water, as the pool was slowly deflating, with my husband supporting me and 3 women squished into the corner of our living room with a mirror and a torch shouting things I couldn't hear. It was perfect. Everything I had imagined and dreamed of.
I think this is my favourite photo of all time. Thank god the cheerleaders found my phone and took photos with it!

Afterwards I had a lovely cuddle with him in the pool but wanted to get out quickly because he was so slippery I thought I'd drop him in the water. (Also the pool was actually deflating and I didn't want to spill water all over the living room!)

For Baby3 (in about 19 years!!) I would love to have another home birth... But sadly won't be allowed because Boy2 weighed 10lbs 6 1/2oz (4.7kg). I will forever be known as a "birther of giant babies" and considered high risk for future pregnancies. Apparently if they had known he was so big it would've been considered far too risky to deliver him at home. We were very lucky there were no complications and every midwife we spoke to was shocked that it had all gone so smoothly. I'm so glad I didn't know! 

Amy xxx


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