Updated: Dec 13, 2021
As a first time Mum I was expecting to have my baby sometime around 41 weeks. I had my home birth all planned and had just tested the pool out and got the right adaptors for the taps. A few days later when I was exactly 37 weeks pregnant (to the day) I had quite a lot of energy and was going about my business as usual. I cleaned the house, popped to shops and went on a long walk with my dog. After walking up a big hill I felt an ache in the side of my belly. It didn’t even cross my mind that this would be anything to do with labour I just thought it was a weird pregnancy pain. This ache continued until I was home and my husband wisely told me to have a nap (so glad I listened for once!) and by the time I woke up, the ache had gone so I carried on as normal.
At around 7pm I sat my big old pregnant bum on my husband’s knee and gave him a squeeze. When I got up to walk to the kitchen I felt something run down my leg....
"hmmm I don’t think I weed myself?” I thought, before realising that this was probably my waters breaking. We called the midwife who asked us to monitor the situation and call her back in the morning. I had some dinner, had a shower and washed my hair.
A bit after that I lost my mucus plug (promptly took a photo of it which I still look at to this day) and started to think things might be kicking off a bit quicker than expected. At around 9pm I started getting quite intense surges and was just sitting upstairs on my yoga ball thinking I might be about to have an unplanned free birth so we called again and our lovely midwife said she would be on her way. For a few hours I sat upstairs on my bed, breathing through my surges while my husband inflated the pool and got my birthing cave ready.
As you can see I was feeling calm and positive, I was using my hypnobirthing breathing techniques to manage each surge, and reminding myself that I only had to go through each one once and that each one was bringing me closer to meeting my baby and the end of labour!
When my midwife arrived I had been having intense surges pretty close together, for a while (I didn’t time anything so I don’t have the details) I was surprised how much I felt it in my thighs, something I wasn’t particularly expecting. I had no vaginal examinations as I had requested, and everything seemed to be moving very quickly.
I had all these lovely active birth movements ready in my mind but in reality all I wanted to do was sit cross legged, bolt upright on my bed. My midwife just sat in my room and chatted to me in between surges. It was immensely comforting and reassuring.
I think it was around 2am I shuffled down the stairs and hefted myself into the birthing pool. I think at this point I was in transition and having really intense surges, pretty much back to back. My midwife gently suggested that I try turning around and kneeling up leaning my arms over the side of the pool, which I did, and things seemed to kick up another notch. I decided that although it was even more intense in this position I would stick it out as it would probably be over quicker! Then I did the typical thing of thinking I needed the loo, hefting myself out of the pool and padding my wet feet to the toilet and realising I didn’t need to go after all... it was just the baby moving down and my body getting ready for the final effort!
I got back in the pool and back into that same position leaning over the side and my body just started to push.
This wasn’t a voluntary thing at all, my body just did it for me which felt totally bizarre but also came as a massive relief from the back to back surges. As you can see I have a sick bucket here as at some point I had felt a bit queasy, the lights were low (as I had learnt during my own hypnobirthing course the effect that bright lighting can have on oxytocin levels) and I had nice soft music playing.
I am not sure how long the pushing lasted for, my husband says it was 45 mins to an hour (if you asked me I would say it could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours, I have no idea). For a while my son kept edging down the birth canal and then what felt like him shooting back up again (this was alarming to me as I had not been warned it might happen) but around 4.30 am all 7lbs of our beautiful little guy eventually emerged, and was in my arms within seconds.
I actually found the pushing stage easier, as it felt really productive and my mind was totally overridden by my body’s natural instincts, meaning I wasn’t completely aware of what was going on. I just went with it.
Photo taken moments after my son was born. I think my face says it all, I was pretty shocked to be honest with you, I couldn't believe it had all happened so quickly and at 37 weeks!
Yes it was incredibly intense...yes it was incredibly challenging.... but I would not have wished it any other way. I had so much respect for my body and what it could do, without my conscious mind getting involved. I had a physiological delivery of my placenta and then after examination my midwife realised I had a small tear and so she stitched me up on the sofa, using the torch on her phone to keep the cosy atmosphere.
An hour or so after giving birth little baby Noah managed to latch on nicely and the three of us snuggled in bed, in disbelief that this had all happened so quickly! I know now that the preparation I did previous to my birth (pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing, reading and watching positive birth videos) as well as my decision to have a home birth all strongly contributed to my straightforward and quick labour.
This home birth changed my life in so many ways. I brought my first child into the world, in the most beautiful personal way AND it set me on this path towards teaching Hypnobirthing, in order to support other families to have an equally powerful, positive and transformative experience. I offer group hypnobirthing courses in Beeston and Keyworth, and private courses on request.