My labour and birth experience all happened rather quickly. Or at least a lot quicker than I expected. I’m going to start a couple of days before on my husbands birthday. That Sunday at around 4pm I had the worst period cramps ever. I thought nothing of it and assumed it was normal. It was a constant pain so I didn’t think it was labour. It lasted all evening but was gone by Monday morning. That Monday I spent hours making chocolate bread and then went to bump yoga in the evening. I asked the midwife running the lesson about the pain and she said she expected baby would be here in the next 2 days. I remember telling her it wouldn’t happen and that it would be an October baby. I said I’d see her at the next lesson.

How wrong was I?!

On Tuesday 13th September at 5am I woke up feeling like I was weeing! I ran to the toilet and it was my waters breaking. I didn’t know it at the time so I went back to bed thinking it was just a lot of discharge. Half an hour later the same thing happened again so I rang the labour line. They suggested putting a maternity pad on and keep active for the next two hours to monitor it. So I started watching Friends while bouncing on my ball.

labour starting bouncing on ball

Only 90 minutes later I called them back as I was having constant period like cramps like in Sunday and there was blood on the pad. They told me to take some paracetamol and have a bath. That paracetamol did nothing! The bath did nothing either. I lasted about 30 minutes before I got my husband to call them again where they said to time the contractions.

I didn’t think I was in labour. I was 37+4 weeks pregnant and the pain was pretty much constant. I wasn’t having tightening like I’d read, just period pain. I started timing it and I thought I was making it up or being a wuss as the timings were for 60 or so seconds every 2 minutes and that couldn’t be right. I was expecting them to be every half an hour or so to begin with!

We called labour line back at about 7:40 and they said they’d make sure the midwives were on route to the birthing unit to open it for 8am. By the time I’d got out of the bath and packed up our things, we made it to the unit by 8:20. I am so lucky I had packed my hospital bags already!

Getting to the birthing unit

When we arrived at the birthing unit they got me on a bed and checked me over. I was already 8cm dilated! I was in shock. In my birth plan that we’d done the week before I’d said I didn’t really want to know how far along I was, but I really wasn’t expecting to be so far along already. It had only been 3 hours!

While they filled up the pool they gave me gas and air and oh my goodness that stuff is good! I lay on the bed and felt like I could sleep between contractions with it.

All the hypnobirthing went out the window really except one thing I’d learnt at a Confident Birthing class. I remember the midwife taking the course told us to breathe in for 4 and out for 8. I used this technique religiously while using the gas and air. It kept me really calm.

I eventually made it into the pool and used a wobble stick to float about in there with my head resting on a pillow. After awhile they took the gas and air away from me as I was too calm to push properly.

Pushing was definitely the worst part for me. I didn’t really feel the rest of labour but this bit was awful. I really struggled but everyone said I looked really calm and mine and baby’s pulse was normal. I remember repeatedly asking “are we nearly there yet”.

Apparently they were getting things ready in another room to intervene to get baby out, but they told me to change positions onto my back so that I could see that the head was out. That was all the motivation I needed to keep pushing.

Delivery

Once baby was out she was put on my chest for some skin to skin in the pool. Simon told me we had a baby girl and I was so shocked I kept asking! He also asked me how labour was and all I could say was “ouch”. I can’t describe the feeling of holding her afterwards – it was magical.

Debbie and baby after birth

Simon nipped to the toilet as the midwives clamped her cord. As soon as he came back he had to cut it as I was bleeding quite badly. They got me out the pool and passed her to Simon for some skin to skin. They gave me the gas and air back for stitching up but kept baby girl on me while they did it. I did tear but not too badly. I didn’t ask what degree of tearing and I didn’t care. I was just so happy to have a girl with us.

Baby girl was born at lunchtime weighing 7lb 6oz. The midwives left us to it for awhile to feed and enjoy our baby. When I felt up for a shower, the midwives did all the checks on her.

We stayed in until 7:30 ish in the evening because I felt really wobbly and dizzy afterwards. They suggested transferring us to hospital for the night for me to be monitored but I wanted to go home. I do regret this decision now but that was a wonderful first night at home just the 3 of us. She was so relaxed that night and it was really special.

That’s it. My labour and birth story. The last couple of weeks have been wonderful and also tough, so I’ll be back with an update soon on how we’ve been getting on.