My second baby was born almost 9 years ago. My pregnancy had been fairly easy although I had more headaches and tiredness and I developed quite severe problems with my pelvis, which meant I was on crutches by the time I was 28 weeks.
I had the same fabulous midwife and I booked another homebirth. Yet again, the pool was set up and the TENS booked so I was ready. Just before 39 weeks I started to get lots of niggles and mild contractions and I had been having Braxton Hicks for a week or so. The contractions woke me up in the middle of the night so I got up to potter and to see if it turned into anything. But they went away after a little while, by which time my eldest daughter was up and trying to ride on my back as I crawled on my hands and knees in the living room.
These mild contractions came and went for another couple of hours, I needed some headspace so we decided to arrange for Alice to go to Grandma’s. This seemed to take forever and I remember feeling really frustrated – I needed to get my head in the right place to have this baby and I couldn’t do it with lots of chat and an almost three year old running around.
My lovely midwife came out to see me and, as with my first baby, she told me to potter, relax and just see how it developed. All day my mild contractions came and they went and, by the afternoon I was starting to feel disheartened and exhausted. By the evening the contractions were starting to come every 3-4 minutes but they still felt like they were mild, they didn’t feel like they were doing anything.
After about 8pm I was feeling fed up and like labour was never going to get going, I called the maternity unit and a community midwife came out to see me. My usual community midwife wasn’t on call so, again, it was a midwife I didn’t know. She arrived about 9pm and she immediately put me at my ease and made me feel safe. We had a chat about my contractions and what they had been like. We had a cuppa and she reassured me that this was just the pattern of my labour and that it unfolding the way it needed to. An internal told us I was only 2cm and she thought my baby was slightly back to back, which would explain the start-stop contractions and I think I could have cried at that point, she asked me if I was ok and what did I want to do.
I told her I was really tired and I wanted to try to sleep, so off to bed I went with instructions to lie on my left side. My midwife said she would have another cuppa and, if I was fast asleep when she had finished it, she would head off home until I needed her.
I got into bed, lying on my left side, I had a good cry and felt ready for some sleep. Then my waters went with a pop which I heard and felt and the contractions started to come – they were powerful and intense and they felt like they were finally doing something. Calling for the midwife, she set up the gas and air in the living room, which I was ready for.
The pool was ready – as with my first labour it felt right but the contractions were very close together that they were overwhelming, so it didn’t have the same tranquil effect. There was no space in-between my contractions and I was struggling to stay calm, I didn’t want more pain relief and I didn’t want to go to hospital but I did want someone else with me, so I asked my husband to ring a friend of ours. I focused on my breathing to stay calm and very soon after I started to push. After panicking during the birth of my first baby I was very conscious of not doing that this time, so I was able to use my breathing to slow it all down so I could work with my body and this time I didn’t tear. I birthed her in the pool, I breathed her body out, which made me happy as I hadn’t felt confident enough to do that with my first baby.
My baby girl arrived before my friend made it to the house – it was a quick, powerful labour and my baby arrived about 20 minutes after my waters broke. Even my midwife was surprised that I had dilated from 3cms to giving birth in such a short space of time.
It was a beautiful birth and we were tucked up in bed by midnight.