Twelve days before my due date my waters broke, at around 8.45am on Tuesday 17th December, I thought at the time it was just my bladder misbehaving with all that pressure down there towards the last few weeks of the pregnancy. So I had a quick change of underwear and was about to leave the house to get the 8.53 train to work. The same thing happened again, did another change then quickly realised I wasn’t going to make that train.
Even after that, I still imagined I'd be going to work and considered getting the one 30 minutes after that. So I sat on the loo and just then, I felt a popping sensation in my tummy then more of a steady stream of water came out.
I called Kingston triage and Gin, my best friend of 33 years who was to be my birthing partner. A midwife called me back and I had my first contraction on the phone which was around 9.30am. It didn't stop after that, and in fact the contractions were coming 3 in 10 straight away.
I was able to breath through about 3 sets of these, so for about 30 minutes and then the surges changed, and I felt a totally involuntary feeling of complete intensity. The breathing turned more to a growl and I felt I was pushing from then on.
Gin arrived and put the tens machine on me which didn’t help much but was a distraction for a while. I just held a rose quartz crystal in my fist that I had been given at my baby shower just 2 days before (it was something to focus on) and breathed in lavender on a hanky.
Meanwhile my boyfriend was setting up the birth pool which I had meant to do the night before.
I was totally in my own zone, on all fours on the floor over my sofa, face planted into a cushion, growling through the contractions with both Gin and my boyfriend pushing on my back giving me positive instructions to breath. I knew I was pushing but couldn’t communicate this for some reason so no one was quite aware of how close I was.
It never occurred to me the midwife hadn’t arrived yet but I never felt worried about that. It was so clear to me that my body knew what it was doing and so for some reason, whether or not a midwife was there didn't feel that significant. Gin was trying to feed me sweets for energy but I was too far gone to think about eating and as for the birth pool, well I never even set foot near it!
I felt the urge to move to the bathroom. There was a sensation that I might possibly need to poo so I asked Gin to help me move. I was sat there just getting though the contractions feeling the urge to push and I could feel the head coming down. I saw the shadow of the head in the toilet bowl and Gin was trying to encourage me to get on the bathroom floor. Little did I know she was slightly freaking out about seeing the head, there being no midwife yet and me sat on the loo with the possibility of the baby dropping into the u-bend (her thoughts!).
Meanwhile I continued to feel fine, confident I guess. Certainly still not worried about the midwife not being there. Its hard to explain it but it all makes sense when it's moving fast like that.
Thankfully Frances from the home birth team did arrive shortly after that and they helped me onto the floor. I could see the head was out, just 8 mins after Frances arrived. And then two minutes later, at 12.10pm James was born weighing 2.44kg (5lb 6oz). It was an amazingly quick and easy birth, 2hrs 40 mins from first contraction. At no point was I panicked or worried and I just trusted my body was doing it’s job.
I moved onto the sofa to naturally birth the placenta. I wasn’t really having contractions so tried standing to get gravity to help. One push and it came out. I had a lovely skin to skin cuddle with my baby and Gin cut the cord and I just enjoyed being with James. It was such a wonderful feeling.
I had a few stitches for some minor tears, more grazes. This was probably my worst fear during the pregnancy but I was amazed at how ok it all was, no pain thanks to some local anaesthetic and the healing was fairly quick after.
I feel extremely lucky to have had such a good experience. I put it down to choosing to have a home birth, not having to worry about transferring to hospital which was a fear and feeling confident and positive in the lead up to the birth day. I had done Natalie’s yoga classes from early on in the pregnancy which installed positivity around the whole birth experience. Her book was fantastic and I was always really looking forward to the birth day. I was open minded to changes in the birth plan and it didn’t even occur to me during labour that I hadn’t got in the pool as planned or managed to try out any of the positions I had learned and practiced over the weeks or that I didn’t put on the hypnobirthing tracks. I think what mattered was that I had prepared using these tools which put me in the right frame of mind and there wasn’t room for any fears or negativity. I loved the fact that I had learned to see labour and the birth as a non medical event and I was able to carry out the birth without any intervention or medication. It will never cease to amaze me how incredible the human body is!