I woke up at 5am needing a wee, this was very normal for me at this stage of pregnancy but what felt abnormal was the lower back pain I felt when I returned to bed. I was 3 days from my due date and so I thought this was probably very early signs of labour and expected to probably have a few days ahead of me.
As I lay there I realised that the back pain was constant but it did increase and decrease overtime and felt like little wavelets. I did my best not to get excited and tried not to wake my husband up to tell him but at 6am he stirred so I told him I thought the baby was probably on his way. We lay in bed until about 8.30 am and then headed out for a walk around 9am. On the walk things started to get a lot more intense and I think I was probably having surges at this point as I had to stop and take some breaths. My husband popped into the supermarket to get some food on the way home but I just wanted to be on the sofa so I headed straight home and lay down.
Around 10am my surges were much harder to ignore so I started to use the TENS machine, which really helped. My sense of time is pretty distorted after that. I had constant back pain throughout my labour which I found really psychologically challenging but I used my breath and the TENS machine for some relief. I laboured on the sofa on all fours and around 4pm our doula, Rosie, arrived to help. This was incredible and just what I needed.
Rosie applied pressure to my back and it gave me so much relief. She also whispered lovely words of encouragement and I felt so looked after and cared for. The experience was so intense that I didn’t want to go hospital because I really didn’t want to move from the position that I was in but around 6pm I asked Rosie whether we should go to hospital and she replied with a very definite YES so we left fairly quickly.
My surges were really close together and intense in the car but I wore an eye mask the whole way and that really helped me to block out distractions and concentrate (I actually continued to wear the eye mask for the rest of the labour until my son was born). When we arrived at the hospital I refused a vaginal examination mainly because the last thing I wanted to do was lie on my back. Following my refusal I felt the urge to push almost straight away. It was such an intense new feeling and so to different to from what I’d felt before that it was actually a really welcome change.
The midwife suggested that I lie on all fours so she could take a look and as soon as I got on all fours my waters broke. I then pushed for just under 2 hours to get baby Luke out.
My labour was such an intense and awesome experience that I find it really difficult to put into words. Giving birth is by far the most powerful and moving experience I have ever had and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I feel so emotional when I reflect on it and think how hard I had to fight for my baby but I think that’s been such an important part of my transition into being Luke’s mother. I will always remember what we did together and the strength we had when things are hard. The support of Rosie and my husband was incredible and I’m so grateful to have had the experience I did.
I found the days following the birth quite challenging and experienced quite sever insomnia because I really needed to process what had happened. So my advice to anyone in a similar position would be to make sure you give yourself time and space to talk about the birth with loved ones as this really helped me come back down to earth.