Will’s birth – 17 June 2012 – 5.43am – 9lb 15.5oz

My first labour did not work out as I had planned. I was told the birth pool was unavailable as it was too busy on the ward and the midwife seemed short of time and generally hacked off. I took her offer of diamorphine, progressed to epidural and an uphappy ventouse delivery.
This time round I really wanted a birth pool so I was hoping to go to Rake Lane but lots of people were speaking highly of the Birthing Centre at the RVI. I was very undecided!I attended a relax and breathe for labour course with Janine at 26 weeks. We talked through some of my concerns, my hopes for a pool, my fears about getting to hospital and care for my son and she asked whether I had considered homebirth. I said it wasn’t for me. I just thought it would stress me out that people would be in my home and I would be messing it up! However, this conversation did plant a seed and I started to wonder why I hadn’t given this enough thought. It was becoming clear that during my first labour I managed really well until I arrived at hospital. I decided to spend time understanding natal hypnotherapy and I attended a course at 32 weeks. Following this I spent 4 weeks really focussing on my hypnotherapy cd and when I attended the second course at 36 weeks I left knowing home birth was exactly what I wanted. I was so confident about my decision, it was like a different person was making it for me. I booked a birth pool and met the lovely lady who hired it out. She was so reassuring and positive. It was just what I needed. From then on I was able to make light of all the comments about me being mad because I knew I had the support where I needed it, from the people who mattered and those who knew best!

The pool was put up at 38 wks and it was brilliant. It made me so calm to know that everything was prepared and ready to go. I used it every second day as a form of relaxation and to listen to my natal hypnotherapy cd. It was heavenly.

I was 40+6 days when I woke at 1.20am to go to the toilet. Whilst in the bathroom my waters started to go with a trickle then a gush. I stood still for 10mins whilst contractions started. I got Dave up and he rang his mum to come to be available for Tom who was asleep.
I rang the hospital at 1.40am and the midwife asked me to come in to be checked. I said no, that I was not coming alone and I had my son in bed. She said I needed to make arrangements for my son. I advised her that everything was arranged. I felt confident labour was well underway, contractions were irregular but powerful and I said ‘I suggest you send a midwife when you can as I’m not coming in’. I still can’t believe I said that, I am not a demanding person (unless I mean business clearly!)

I found my safe corner of the room, I sat on my ball and put the tens machine and birthing music on and I got in my zone. I was smiling at Dave and just enjoying the fact I was coping so well. Although contractions were short I knew I was getting somewhere. In fact my contractions were never longer than 40 seconds. Maybe that’s why I was able to cope so well.

My mother in law arrived at 2.15am and I’d previously thought I wouldn’t want to see her but I was actually really happy to see her. She came and hugged me whilst I sat on my ball. She was so reassuring and reinforced how calm I was feeling by telling me not to worry about Tom and she would see me when the baby arrived. She really lifted my spirits and when she left to go upstairs I was really able to go into my own thoughts and focus on breathing and my music.

I was looking forward to the midwife’s arrival. She arrived at 3.30am, clearly in no hurry as I obviously sounded very calm when I’d spoken with her at 2am. During my first labour the midwife had such a negative impact on me and I knew however the midwife treated me this time I was going to be able to handle it. She turned out to be the most wonderful support I could have hoped for. It was like she knew just what I wanted and needed, a calm quiet and non-intrusive midwife who just observed and took my lead.

At 3.45am she asked if I wanted to be examined and I was desperate to get in the pool so I jumped at the chance. She told me I was 6cm dilated so I literally stood straight up, stripped off and waddled to the pool. It was heavenly, everything I wanted it to be. It changed everything and brought me to a new level of ‘relaxed!’

At this point the midwife mentioned that there was no pipe for the gas and air and she was ringing the second midwife to collect one. I just accepted this and refocused. The midwife was so calm about it all that I felt calm, I felt I could cope, I was so in the zone. I repeated my mantra ‘3,2,1 relax’ hundreds of times, I blew a million bubbles.
Dave stayed by me and matched my breathing, keeping me calm and reassuring me.

The second midwife arrived at 4.15am and they gave me the gas and air. I had hated it during my first labour, it had added to my confusion and out of control feelings. This time it was manna from heaven! A light haze descended and gave me such a lift, I was thanking everyone in the room and asking Dave to make the midwives some coffee. This was the calm before the storm, or the ‘rest and be thankful’ phase that natal hypnotherapy taught me about. Suddenly I needed to push. I had only been in labour for 3.5 hours. I was so chuffed and had a ‘bring it on’ attitude. I pushed and the midwives kept telling me how brilliantly I was doing. She asked me if I wanted to feel the babies head and although this is something I had planned to do I calmly told her I didn’t want to take my hands from the pool side and would just like the baby out safely! I pushed Will out in 20 mins. His head was out in the water for about 10 mins of this. Dave was watching in amazement. Will was born at 5.43am. When they lifted him out of the water he was quiet for ages. After a good rub he started to scream and then he was calm.

He was huge and wrinkly and gorgeous. 9lb 15.5 oz. I thanked the midwives a hundred times.

I delivered the placenta out of the pool and I climbed onto the sofa which we had covered in an old duvet where I snuggled up skin to skin with my baby and started out new life together, with some tea and toast. It was 6am and Dave got his mum from upstairs, she had been sitting on the stairs for the last two hours going through it all with us so it was lovely that she could share this early moment with us.

At 6.30 Dave went to wake Tom up and tell him about the surprise waiting for him downstairs. What an amazing moment for my sleepy 3 year old to come in and see his new brother, although he was definitely more interested in the dinosaur his brother had brought for him!!

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