I woke up on Tuesday morning feeling a little achey and tired and decided to have a bath. I put it down to having overdone it the day before as I was trying to get the nursery finished before little ones arrival! It was the 26th September and she was due on the 4th October.
At about 12pm I went up to my mums and we had lunch. I had been experiencing a dull achey feeling that kept coming and going all morning but it wasn't at all regular so I didn't think too much of it. But as I sat down to eat I found myself having to get up and walk around as I was feeling restless and getting very hot every time the aches came. At this point my mum suggested that it might be early stages of labour but I was still unsure!
By 3pm I was home and I decided to put my hypnobirthing music on and lie down on my bed. I noticed that the aches were a little more regular and feeling slightly stronger! I decided to call my partner and told him how I was feeling and that I was calm and not to worry. He would be home by 5 anyway. I think part of me was still unsure and in denial that this could be it! It was still one week before my due date!
As the aches grew stronger I felt less comfortable lying down so I went downstairs and put the tv on and sat on my birthing ball, breathing with every surge, and standing up and walking around when I needed to.
My sister came down to see me at 4:30pm and I asked her if she could start timing the surges and length between. By 5pm when my partner got home they were 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart. I said to him that it might be best for him to have a shower and not a bath this evening and to pack the last few bits of the hospital bag just in case!
At this point I was walking around breathing deeply and the surges were again becoming stronger. But I felt calm and in control.
At 6pm we called the birth centre at high Wycombe and they confirmed that it was early stages of labour and advised me to stay at home as long as I could and to try and have something to eat. My partner heated up some left over pasta bake and we sat in the bedroom as I was naked and felt most comfortable there and ate dinner.
By 7:30pm the surges were much stronger and about 3 /4 mins apart. I was having to bend down on all fours on the bed each time one came and said to my partner Archie that I was ready to go to the hospital. Luckily it was only a short drive, as I didn't feel comfortable sitting down and had to kneel on all fours on the back seat too!
As soon as we got into the room at the birth centre I just needed to strip down to nothing again only leaving my socks on! I kept myself mobile as staying still just didn't feel right. When I was examined I was 5cm dilated. I told the midwifes that I was a hypnobirthing mum but about an hour after I had been there I asked if I could try the gas and air. They asked if I was sure and got it prepared. I tried it but immediately didn't like it. I felt I couldn't breathe properly, and that made me realise that all the hypnobirthing breathing techniques that I was using was really helping me to get through it.
In my birth plan I stated that I would like a water birth so the midwifes suggested that we get the pool ready and that may also help me to relax. I ended up being in the pool for about an hour and a half, which did help soothe me for a while. But then I started to loose my concentration for a bit and felt like I wanted to be walking around and the pool felt restrictive. At this point I then asked for pethadin. The surges were very intense and close together at this stage. The midwives suggested that I got out of the pool and they examine me to see how dilated I was, and then take a view as to whether I could have pethadin. It turned out that I was then 8cm. They said that they could give me some if I really wanted it but I was doing really well without it and didn't need it. The gentle encouragement from them and Archie helped me to get back on track and focus on my breathing to get through the surges.
At this point I felt most comfortable in the small bathroom, holding on to the sink or side of the bath. I couldn't have anyone touch me but Archie sat there close by me and encouraged and supported me all the way through. Not long after being examined my waters broke, conveniently I was sat on the toilet! And then after that I pretty much needed to 'push' (breath my baby out) straight away.
The feeling of breathing the baby out was a combination of breathing and a sensation to push for me. Pushing is actually something that feels quite good as after all of the build up you are definitely ready to get the baby out, and it feels like your getting somewhere. Of course it is an intense and powerful feeling, one I can't fully explain as it will feel different for every woman. I ended up squatting on a birthing stall, and after 27 minutes, and having some guidance from the midwives my beautiful baby girl Beatrix Willow was born at 2:11am on the 27th September. She weighed 8lb 3oz.
I cannot tell you how incredible it feels to have your baby handed to you after going through birth. It is the most special and overwhelming feeling of love and happiness.
I look back on giving birth as a really positive experience. The breathing techniques and attitude towards birth that I practiced through hypnobirthing were so valuable. Trusting my instincts, believing in my body and focusing on my breathing to stay relaxed helped me to have the natural birth I wanted. My partner was an incredible support, and the midwifes were respectful, supportive and encouraging for the type of birth I wanted to have. It is of course good to know that there is pain relief and that if things don't go how you would preferably want them to go that there is medical support. I think the main thing is to keep an open mind, don't put to much pressure on yourself and do what feels right for you and your baby!
-Hayley & Archie