It was Tuesday lunchtime one week before my due date and I started to get strange one sided pains on my tummy. They seemed to get stronger and more regular but then stopped abruptly later that night. I had no pains all the next day so decided to go shopping for some Christmas bits and pieces, I was achey but nothing significant.
On Thursday I had lots of irregular pains all day and throughout the night and by Friday morning I was tired grumpy and I put my tens machine on as the pains were regular and getting worse. I started to make preparations for my son to be looked after and then all of a sudden they stopped! Bang just like that! I felt so disheartened and started to doubt I would ever go into labour, silly I know as I wasn’t even past my due date yet!
I decided to try some spinning babies techniques after asking for advice from ladies on a lovely birth group on facebook because I was losing heart that I would ever get my home birth. I spent most of the afternoon crawling around the lounge playing and doing inversions in between periods of sobbing because I was so tired and napping when I could get my son to sit and relax with me.
I rang my husband around 4.30pm to ask him to come home but explained it wasn’t because I was in labour but because I just needed his emotional support. Looking back this was a sign that labour was well on its way! An hour later I was still feeling emotional and he wasn’t home so I called to see where he was and he said he was in the back of a police car because he had driven in the bus lane and would call me back in a few minutes! My well timed phone call convinced the police man my husband was telling the truth about his wife being in labour and he let him off without a ticket.
At around 6pm hubby still wasnt home so I decided to get in the bath with some lavender oil (and my toddler) to try and relax and go with the flow and I started getting pains again. These pains were getting more regular and painful but because of all of the false starts I didn’t want to believe this was it so didn’t put my tens machine on and just tried to breathe through the worst part of each surge. When hubby finally arrived home he asked if I had been timing the pains to which I said I hadn’t as it might not be it.
My mother and father-in-law called round for a brew and after having to stop mid conversation three times in ten minutes hubby started timing the pains and suggested I put my tens back on. The pains started to get closer and stronger and I had a show so finally believed this was it so decided to time them for the benefit of the midwife but didn’t ring her as I was still able to cope with the pains.
Around 9pm the pains were around 90 seconds apart and getting to the point where I needed something more than my tens machine so we decided to call the midwife, by the time she arrived at 9.40pm I was beginning to panic due to the pain. When she arrived she asked me to lie on the sofa which really hurt and was something I didn’t really want to do but I decided I would choose my battles as she didn’t know I was having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) after a large PPH (Post-partum Haemorrhage) yet! She checked and I was at least 8cm dilated (woop!) but she couldn’t tell for sure as my waters were bulging. She asked if I wanted her to break them which I declined (after the first time when they were meconium stained and caused me to transfer to hospital and ended up with an emergency c-section.) She then took mine and baby’s heart rates and temperatures and they were quite high (mine because I’d started to panic and it was bloody hot in our house and babies I think because I was lying down) she was worried that they were too high and wanted to transfer us to hospital. I asked (inbetween contractions) what was the benefit of going to hospital and she said they would put me on a monitor which I didn’t want and do blood tests to check for infection. Now I knew how far I had come in an hour so I knew baby was going to be born within a couple of hours so declined being transferred to hospital. She asked three times if I was happy to stay home against medical advice and I confirmed I wasn’t moving anywhere and as soon as she saw my resolve she was super supportive and immediately rang for a second midwife as I had started to become pushy.
The second midwife arrived with minutes to spare as I had been trying my hardest not to push as I had been pushing for a long time with my first before I really needed to so decided I would try and resist the urge to push until my body forced me to push. Maybe ten minutes after the second midwife arrived I said that I couldn’t hold the urge any more so began to push with all my might and again the midwife asked if I wanted my waters breaking. I asked what the benefit was and she admitted it was just because it’s tidier if they’re broken as opposed to them splashing everywhere! I decided to go with how nature intended and true to her word the waters splashed absolutely everywhere with my first push, hubby had been down at the business end watching and the midwife said ‘I wouldn’t stand there!’ seconds before my waters went!
Once my waters had gone baby’s head was out in two more pushes and I didn’t get chance to crown slowly as his head was born so fast, next push and his body was out in the pool of water that I was kneeling in! I scooped him up and cradled him, I had done it! I was ecstatic! The midwife suggested that I should get off the sofa so that they could clean up the waters from the sofa (we had covered the sofa in plastic sheets, towels and absorbent pads). I just knelt on the floor hovered over a blue tray to catch the placenta.
Halfway through the clean up the second midwife noticed that my placenta was in the tray so started flapping and writing the time down, she was shocked it had come away so quickly. I was oblivious to the craziness around me on a high after managing to birth my baby on my own at home with just a little gas and air and lots of love and support!
Special thanks go to Helen who gave me the confidence to have a home birth after a c-section and PPH, Olga who came to visit me and put me in touch with some amazing people who have changed my life in the last two years. I know it’s taken a long time to write it all down but life gets in the way. I did it and I would encourage everyone to have a home birth. Believe in your body and trust in your mind!
Antonia – Oldham