Before I start, believe me when I tell you that the following is a quick version of a very, very, very long 2 days of my life!!!
It all started on Thurs 26th Aug 2010 at about 11am
I was 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant with our 5th child and I'd been having very mild contractions for about 4 weeks now, but today they were more painful and much more familiar.
Sporadically through the day they'd come, once every 10mins for a while, then every 30 mins, then every hour for a while. Like a few things in this pregnancy, this was new to me, once my contractions start, I'm in full blown labour quite quickly, apart from my first daughter, who was 10 weeks early and I was having contractions for 2 days before I realised I was in labour, but even then they were consistent.
Even though I don't pay too much attention to actual due dates, I wasn't really expecting to go into labour for at least another week or so, and seeing as my last daughter went a full 2 weeks over her due date, I really wasn't expecting it to be so soon.
The plan, as always, was to have a home birth, I normally go into labour at night when the children are asleep and my brother who lives about 10 mins away is always there in a flash to watch them through the night when I go into labour.
But this time, it was the middle of the day, children running all over the house and I'm having contractions, I really couldn't concentrate. In some cultures, the father isn't even allowed in the room during labour so that the mother can fully concentrate on giving birth and not on him, the children or anything else. Hubby is the perfect birthing partner, I wouldn't dream of going through it without him and I doubt he'd let it happen without him there either.
I literally felt like I couldn't go into labour because the children were there and we had no idea what to do with them if things progressed quickly. It was quite stressful and very uncertain as they were coming so randomly, I didn't know if it was a false alarm or the real thing.
As I contemplated the possibility of giving birth in front of the children due to our shabby child care arrangements things tapered off again until the night
The contractions kicked in more at about 3am, so we eventually called the midwives,
When you're booked in for a home birth, they always tell you that it will depend on how many midwives are free, as to whether they can come out to you, so when I called and was told “Sorry, there are no midwives free to come out to you right now, you’ll have to come in”, hubby and I gave each other a quick high five as we prepared to go it alone!!! Coincidentally, we were very prepared as i’d been reading an article on unplanned homebirthing to us the night before!
Minutes later, our fun got spoilt as the midwives called back to let us know that they were now free and on route.
Typically, as the midwives got there, fully equipped with gas, air and birthing kits galore, everything slowed down. She checked me out, I was only 2cm dilated, my cervix was tough (it should be soft to give birth) and posterior (which means it's tilted back and should be anterior - tilted forward to be ready for birth), so they left asking us to call back when things picked up a bit.
But they didn't that night, they stay at about 10 - 15 mins all night until around 7am when they slowed up a little.
By 11am Thurs, things were really picking up again and we made a mad rush get the children packed up to their aunt's in London, a 40min drive away. We were a little unsure if hubby would make it there are back before I gave birth, but after a few reassuring stone readings, he left and I tried to stay positive.
After seeing my first ever "show" which is the mucus plug that comes out to prepare your body for labour, I did my best to slow things down by lying down or getting on all fours bottom up, which worked for a while.
I started to watch my favourite stand up comic Kat Williams to take my mind off things, which was great, laughing your way through a contraction is highly recommended!
When hubby got back it was about 4pm, contractions were about 7mins apart and getting more intense, we went for a walk in the garden, finally decided to call the midwives and then it really kicked in.
The first midwife arrived at 5pm and by now my contractions were making me want to push, I was 5cm dilated now, the cervix was soft and was coming further forward.
As you need 2 midwives at a homebirth and the other one was about 40 mins away with the gas and air, the only pain relief you can have at a home birth, she told me to try and breath through the contractions and if I did have to have the baby she's have to call 999. The thought of going into labour with an ambulance crew and no gas and air was motivation enough for me to resist the serious urge to push and keep breathing
Thank goodness I'd read The Breath scroll!
So as I was being coached to breath through my contractions by the midwife and hubby to get baby in good position, I recalled that a few days prior, I'd joked to some one about going through the labour with no pain relief at all and it was nearly happening now. (Be careful what you say in jest guys!)
I remember them saying "Focus on your breathing, focus on your breathing", as I tried to memorise the pattern on the sheet I was birthing on to distract me from pushing.
Thankfully, at 6pm the second midwife arrived with gas, air and a very good reason for me start pushing if I felt the need to.
After 3 more contractions and several comments from the midwives about how calm the room was (aum was playing constantly, we always get that comment from our past 2 homebirths) and how well I was doing (which was very encouraging) the time had come.
I was "on all fours” which I think I much preferred to squatting, it was a little more controlled but still letting gravity do it’s thing.
I couldn’t help it now, I needed to push, I had 2 midwifes, the gas and air, hubby by my side, children safe with my sister and aum playing, I was finally good to go and the midwife said "yep, your baby is coming, do what you feel is natural Leah"
Another contraction and I felt the head coming down and nearly out, but then I literally heard an inner voice saying "stop pushing now, its not time yet", so I stopped pushing and the head came back in slightly.
Then a few very deep breathes later another contraction came and the same inner voice said "it's time now, your baby is coming" so I pushed, the head come out, which is always a massive relief, then I panted for a while, the first shoulder came out, then the second, then out slide the whole baby, what a relief.
As I slowly turned round, hubby announced "you have a son baby!"
I held the baby for a minutes before I started to rub some jasmine aromatherapy oil onto my tummy to help the placenta come out, 2 smaller contractions and an intact placenta shot out too, in 11 mins. The second midwife looked very impressed.
There's a drug they normally inject mothers with straight after birth to help them release the placenta and when she saw on my notes that I had declined it, she said the last birth she was at that declined the shot took 1 hour and 15 mins to give birth the placenta!
As normal, they tidied and cleaned me and the room quickly, hubby washed the baby, he latched on for a quick feed, weighed in 7lbs 2oz then off the midwives went, leaving us to spread the good news.
What a lovely life
P.S. To anyone who asked me if I'd be having anymore children while I was pregnant, I might have told you that if I had another girl I'd stop, but if I had a boy I'd probably want another one to give him some company. Those were the ramblings of a crazy pregnant woman, feel free to strike them from the record!!! Our family is officially complete!