Hello ladies, I havent been on here for a while! Our baby boy Bruce arrived in October. He had the most amazing birthday and we are so happy. The whole pregnancy and birth was perfect. Birth story posted below.
Our number 3 baby, after an unassisted pregnancy, born free, 19 months after a caesarean which caused post traumatic stress disorder, Bruce William Ainge arrived in the pool at 5.28am on 26th October 2012, 41+4. Delivered by mummy who was supported by daddy, in our family home.
Thursday 25th October 41+3, another day pregnant, thinking its never going to happen, lo...ts of Braxton Hicks, same as over the past 6 weeks! My doula Caz was not officially on call as stated in our contract as I was sure baby would have arrived before 40 weeks (my other 2 came at 36 weeks), but Caz said she would still be there for me.
Late afternoon I felt I was holding onto this baby and just couldn't let go because there was always something on the agenda for the next day. I asked my husband Jason to bring some work home for the following day so he would be around the house and I might be able to relax better knowing all my family was with me at home, in the right place. Our eldest (Tiffanie, 3) also finished nursery for half term that day so no school run to worry about in the morning. I phoned my parents as we usually spend Fridays with them and told them to be on stand by, I would let them know in the morning if we would be meeting up or needing babysitters, so I had nothing to worry about the next day.
Jason cooked us a giant bowl of pasta (he must have know I'd need the energy) which we ate when the girls had gone to bed. Jason also filled the birth pool as he had done most evenings.
The Braxton Hicks were continuing and my friend Charlotte text to ask if I wanted to be wrapped with my Mexican Rebozo and try some dance moves to encourage good baby positioning and to help with labour. I wasn't sure at first of I wanted anyone else in my space that evening but I decided to give it a go as my bump was so big and heavy and seemed to be lopping over the front of my pubic bone and baby's head didn't feel as if it was pressing down on my cervix.
Charlotte arrived about 7.30pm. I told her about the Braxton Hicks. She wrapped me with 2 rebozos. One to lift and support bump and one above around my waist to support my back. It felt better. We then tried some spinning babies moves (feet on sofa, in press up position, hard work at 41 weeks!) And then she showed me some dance moves (hip shaking, hip circles, figure of 8's). She also gave us some sex tips which we gave a go! ;)
At 11pm we were ready for sleep. I told Jason he might as well go up to bed and I would sleep on the sofa, as I didn't know if I would be getting in the pool, be up and down to the toilet and didn't think I'd sleep well anyway. I layed on the sofa and after feeling one "surge" (this is the alternative word to "contraction" I used in hypnotherapy) I thought "no that hurts, I'm not going to be able to lay down". I waddled into the birth pool room and was umming and arring whether to get in the water or not, as every time I had got in before all signs of labour just stopped. I wanted to give birth and meet my baby but I was also very tired. I text Caz and she reminded me what Ruth Weston of Aquabirths says "if it hurts, get in". So I did. I thought if it did all stop at least I could get out and have a good nights sleep.
I untied the rebozos and got in the pool. I floated around a bit, tried some different positions - on knees leaning over the edge, all fours, sat down. The position I found most comfortable was outstretched on my front, legs floating behind me, supported by my hands on the bottom of the pool, head just above the water. I bobbed about like this breathing through the "surges" which must have been getting stronger, whilst working through my hypnobirthing CD by Karen Riley, it all felt quite manageable.
At 2am I had got a bit bored and lonely of plodding along on my own and really fancied a cup of tea. I text and phoned Jason to come downstairs but no answer so I had to get out of the pool and shout upstairs. He came down and made us both a drink, then put some relaxation music on. He must have sat with me for about 2 hours. During this time the surges became painful and frequent but did not seem to have a regular rhythm. I made sure I emptied my bladder and went to the toilet when I could until it was too uncomfortable to leave the support of the water. The surges I felt were all in my tummy (in my previous 2 labours they had been in my lower back). Jason tried massaging me with some thumb circles across the top of my hips but it hurt like hell and the upward movement of his thumbs felt so wrong - the baby wanted to move down not up! I realised I just didn't want to be touched. Jason was concerned about the position I was labouring in (floating horizontal on my front, I have to say my wrists were hurting) as I wasn't very upright for gravity to do its job. I tried a few different positions over a couple of surges but it hurt even more so I resumed floating, it was the only way I could be.
Jason left the room for a moment about 4am and during the time on my own I noticed the surges became closer and more rhythmical so I asked him to leave me to get on on my own for a bit. I became increasingly vocal through the surges and I was relying mostly on my sounds to determine what stage of labour I was in. I tried to be quiet, I tried to be loud, I tried to match my noise level to the intensity of the surge, I blowed bubbles under the water, I tried long outbreaths as if blowing a golden thread - nothing worked, it hurt! It was not orgasmic or pleasureable at the time. If I had to choose, being loud and blowing bubbles helped me the most through the surges.
During pregnancy and leading up to the birth I had experienced no show, no spotting, no bleeding just Braxton Hicks. After labouring for 5 hours I was keen to know if I had made any progress. I didn't want any internal examinations so I reached down and just felt the outside of my lady parts. I felt very open but could not feel a baby yet. I did feel something soft and jelly like and as I moved my hand away a brown jelly fish like thing, about the size of the palm of my hand, floated away across the water. I realised this was my plug and felt quite excited that things were progressing. I had the will to go on!
"How much longer?" I thought. I wanted to be put to sleep so I didn't have to deal with the pain, but that was never going to happen. I thought about phoning a midwife for some entonox, but I wouldn't get it right now and it would take time to arrive. So I carried on shouting loudly. The girls strayed fast asleep in the room directly above me.
At 5am I called Jason back into the room as he had gone to watch TV. I asked him the time as I was concious I'd been at this a while and the girls would be getting up soon. I thought "this baby has to come out now". At 5.15am I had a very intense surge and I felt my waters pop in the pool. Then I felt a little nervous as I'd read that once your waters have gone the surges can become pretty intense and painful. Thankfully I had only 2 big surges after the pop. I brought my knees to the floor of the pool so I was on all fours. I didn't know if I was supposed to be pushing, when to push, what it felt like (I had an epidural with my first). I felt no urge to push but decided to give it a go and ouch it really hurt on my cervix. I took that to mean I wasn't quite ready yet, maybe my cervix had a lip, maybe I was only 9cm. Jason was in the room just quietly sat by the pool. I waited a couple more surges and gave another push into my bottom. I felt a head! I excitedly thought "this is it, this is how I push!" And it was as if I could see my baby's head and face in my minds eye moving down the birth passage. I was in a squatting position leaning to my left, opening up to the right. I talked myself through pushing out loud "big push as hard as I can, pant, pant, pant, and relax, let baby's head slip back" I did this 3 times. In my squatting position I reached down and guided his head out very slowly as I really did not want to tear. I did not feel any stinging as I had read about in other birth stories. The head felt quite small (but it was actually just very moulded). It was covered in soft jelly and popped out. I said "the heads out!" Jason was a little surprised that it was all actually happening. The only noise I could possibly make was a deep growling sound, it was good. Jason said he was a little concerned about the pause between delivering baby's head and body, but I didn't notice and everything always felt right to me. I then thought "shoulders - could this be an issue?" I gave one mighty push and his whole body came out. Then I just lifted him up, legs came out of me, brought him to my chest. He was pink and gargled immediately. I said "hello baby" I lifted his cord to see his bits and said "its a boy, we've got a baby Bruce" and cried tears of joy and amazement.
We hadn't discussed photos but Jason got a few on his phone and I'm so glad he did. I was so excited and wanted to tell Caz straight away so I phoned her and shouted "its a boy". So many happy tears of joy.
Bruce's cord was very short and thin and it was difficult to keep his head above the water. I wasn't sure how much blood loss was normal. After 15 minutes I got out the pool and went to sit on the toilet. Some of the membranes fell into the toilet. We sat there 15 minutes and it was cold so Jason put the heater on and lit some candles. I kept trying to breastfeed Bruce to stimulate my uterus to contract but he wasn't interested and squeaked for a whole hour. I had no idea how long the placenta would take to arrive but I was rather keen to complete the birthing process. I thought I might need to be more comfortable so Jason covered the sofa with an old duvet, towels and disposable waterproof mats. We sat for half an hour and at 6.30am Jason left the room. I knelt on a towel on the floor, still holding baby, gave a little push, and "plop" a dry, rubbery bundle fell out. It was then I realised how right my instinct to birth alone had been and it confirmed everything I had read about undisturbed birth, both in the progression of labour and delivery of the placenta.
The placenta was put in a jug at the side of me and we wanted to leave it attached as long as possible, we considered a lotus birth. But after an hour of feeding and cuddles we decided to cut the cord because it was just too short. I tied the blue braid I made around the cord as tight as I could. The cord had already clotted by itself, so it was more symbollic than necessary. Jason cut the cord with some scissors.
We had crumpets and cereal for breakfast and brought the girls down to meet their new baby brother. They were fascinated, amazed and excited. We phoned our parents to tell them the news, they were over the moon and we sent text messages to all of our friends "tiny hands, tiny feet, there is someone new for you to meet!" I had a shower and got dressed and although tired and feeling quite drained, I did feel amazing. I thought "this is what birthing is supposed to be like, this is how I'm supposed to feel afterwards, given the right environment - nature works".
We didn't know if or when to phone the midwives but at 9am, after we had had our precious early moments, we just wanted to get it out of the way. I wanted my blood testing for antibodies as I'm Rh-ve and we wanted to get the paper work to make registering the birth hassle free. I phoned at 9.15am and they arrived at 10am. Caz arrived shortly after. One of the midwives (the team leader) had a bit of a negative attitude with us at first, like we were being awkward customers but by the time they left and I had told them a bit about our situation they relaxed and said "you put a lot of planning into this didn't you" errm YES!
The midwife needed a blood sample from babies cord to check his blood type which we totally forgot to collect ourselves but she managed to get a sample from one of the arteries in the placenta which was now in the bath. The placenta was quite small, complete and the cord had been short and skinny which I was surprised at. Looking at the size of my bump I must have been all baby, 8lb 12.5oz born with no injury to mum. (My first was 5lb 8oz and after an induced labour with epidural I had ended up with a small tear.)
I am amazed after all that waiting 41 weeks and 3 days, how perfectly, brilliantly and quickly it all went. As I had known deep down, all along everything was always as it should be.