Birth story part 1

I woke up at 6am when i was 40+3 days into my pregnancy with some mild infrequent contractions and some more show. I didn't know if this was it, or just more ramping up towards labour, so i continued my day as normal - took our toddler to daycare, chatted with the girls there about the xmas party later that day (where they joked again there might be a baby by that time - unlikely, i thought!), and headed back home. The contractions were regular and more frequent by this time - maybe 8-10 minutes apart to my estimation, but easily able to breathe through. I tidied a few things away, but was pretty pleased with my housework in the last few days to have everything ready and looking nice for a homebirth and the resulting photos. I cooked myself some eggs for breakfast and started drinking (water and coconut water) to stay hydrated.

Hubby came home from work at lunchtime after texting me all that morning and announced he was off to pick up the toddler immediately. No, i pleaded, let him stay for his xmas party. I was already at the stage where i wasn't going to be able to drive there and back, but i knew there wasn't going to be a baby anytime soon - he was worried he'd go to pick up the toddler and miss the birth. In the end i had to call my doula and she told him i wasn't in established labour yet and not to panic. She said to call her back when my contractions were about 4 minutes apart lasting a minute. I estimated probably just under 8 minutes apart now and lasting 30 seconds, so that's what i'd told her. Hubby timed two of them - 2 1/2 minutes apart lasting a minute. Oops. Still shows you the power of hypnobirthing - i was still quite fine, up and walking, just leaning on the counter or wall each time a surge began. No pain, just discomfort/pressure. However i had started feeling slightly nauseous and wasn't able to eat any more, just kept trying to keep water down.

He called her back and she arrived about 3pm at which point he left to get the toddler. I laboured nicely while chatting with my doula. The nausea kicked in and i threw up twice. At this point i could only manage a sip of water at a time without feeling sick. I was still going to the toilet fine. Hubby arrived home and started the toddler's nighttime routine early, while getting the pool out and pumping it up. By this stage the contractions were quite strong and i found i preferred lying on my left on the couch and breathing nice and slow through each one. Toddler was very interested in the pool! He gave me a kiss and went to bed early (around 6:30pm i was told instead of 8pm) and slept well all through the night. He wasn't the least bit concerned about why mummy appeared to be sleeping on the couch, or why my doula was there (he'd met her before).

Hubby and doula started filling the pool at this stage. At some point before i got in, i asked them to call my midwife and birth photographer. My doula had been timing my surges and asked hubby to relay to my midwife that they had been 4 minutes apart, then 2-3 minutes apart lasting for a minute and a half, now coming 1-2 mins apart. They both arrived around 9pm i was told. (Was well into labour land at this point and deliberately not paying attention to time). Still not in pain, just working hard.

I could hear people talking quietly around me. My doula was bringing me cool flannels for my forehead and hubby had a glass of water with a straw to offer me. My midwife checked baby's position and heart rate, and said my bladder was quite full and asked if i could empty it, which i did with a little difficulty. I then took my pants off and got into the lovely warm pool and continued labouring there.

Time and progression are hazy to me, but i was asked to try to empty my bladder again. Took me a while to get to the toilet as contractions were now very close together. I remember it was really cold getting out of the pool, even though it was a warm stormy summer night. This time though, i couldn't empty my bladder. I tried through three contractions on the toilet but nothing. I let my midwife know and got back in the pool. Somewhere here i had started pushing, and i did so for about an hour i think. I didn't feel baby descend, but his head started to become visible - just a little patch of dark hair. But, it wasn't getting any more visible even though i was working quite hard. So i was asked how i felt about getting out of the pool, both to try some coached pushing to see if we could bring him to crowning and get me back in, and so they could try to put a catheter in - there was some concern about bladder damage due to me being unable to empty it. Apparently it looked very big on my belly with baby's head behind it. So out i got with some help, and lay on my back on the couch (which my doula had cleverly covered with a shower curtain and a dark sheet).

Continued in Part 2...


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