When I caught up with my midwife Monday morning, little did I know that I would be seeing her again later that night. All afternoon I just couldn’t sit still, I mentioned to my husband that I was feeling “crampy” and being 41+ weeks had me noticing every little change in my body and I would wonder… “is it?” I decided to bake muffins and biscuits, I was nesting…
By dinner time I was sure I was having contractions; they were mild and didn’t stop me from doing what I was doing. I kept telling my husband and myself not to get our hopes up because this might not be it – I was almost waiting for the contractions to fizzle out. Between 10-11pm the contractions started to take some of my focus, coming every 5min lasting 30-50sec so I decided I was ready to head over to the Birth Centre, sure this was labour. It had arrived on its own! I was so excited to have let my body choose our baby’s birth date.
We arrived just before midnight, meeting my two midwives and my mother at the centre. After a quick checkup, I stood in front of the heater enjoying their company between contractions. Even though they were strong, in between I felt great! Very excited! Because my contractions were 5min or more apart things felt slow, it took a contraction arriving to remind me that I was in labour but as time passed they started to grow more intense and the use of a heat pack on my lower back was wonderful at helping me relax. I wanted to keep my whole body as relaxed as possible, never fighting any contractions but letting them do their job. I spent time rocking on my hands and knees on a fitball, just relaxing and welcoming contractions as they came. My midwife would place pressure on the heat pack which felt amazing!
My contractions were still 5min apart and I decided that it would be a good idea to spend some time labouring on the toilet for a change to try to speed things up a little. That really intensified the contractions; I had to draw deep inside myself during a contraction and focus on my breathing and voice. In between I felt like I couldn’t sit still and would rock on the toilet with a heat pack on my legs. I could feel my body was still doing something between contractions and no longer needed the arrival of a contraction to remind me this was labour.
The bathroom was lit by candles and I was laboring in my own space. Time didn’t exist for me at that time. It felt very relaxing and peaceful, riding each contraction as it came.
After a while I got up and started walking about the bedroom, resting against the bed pillars at every contraction. I had been feeling a little sick with a couple of contractions when eventually I had an overwhelming urge to throw up…and did! My midwife told me that it looked like I was in transition. Because we didn’t do any cervical exams to check dilatation, she was simply using the signs my body gave to judge my stage of labour. I told her that I wasn’t sure this wasn’t just ‘active labour’ because I was waiting for it to get more intense, as, even though it hurt, it was so easy to make it through each contraction and I felt so calm.
I asked about getting into the birth pool about then. I had been holding out on it because I didn’t want to slow my labour down. My midwife said I would probably be pushing soon and we wouldn’t have time to fill the pool – she was right! After a few more contractions I was starting to feel ‘pushy’ so I moved to the side of the bed and got on my knees. The following contractions came with a stronger and stronger urge to push when eventually I was no longer in control and my body was simply expelling a baby from me! I couldn’t stop my body bearing down. I put my hand between my legs and could feel the top of my baby’s head. I told those in the room that I had decided I didn’t want to push this baby out – I had an episiotomy with my last birth and I was anticipating this to hurt and didn’t want to tear! With each contraction my body would push, I did nothing but breathe sharp breaths through this, letting my body start and stop the push, allowing me to stretch. This whole time I had my hand feeling my baby move with each contraction, getting closer and closer to being born. It almost felt like I was ‘opening’ rather than being forced open or stretched, and was surprised to find that I didn’t have the pain I was expecting.
All of a sudden the baby’s head was out!! I could feel every time baby moved, it hurt. I asked no one to touch the baby while I waited. Then next contraction my baby boy was born – my midwife helped unwrap his cord which was loosely round his neck and I brought him to my chest for a cuddle. Born 5.10am, 5 hours after arriving at the Birth Centre and 15min since feeling pushy. And I never ended up reaching the intense labour I was waiting for or tearing during birth.
I kept proclaiming how small he was. I expected him to weigh a whole pound less than the 8lb 2oz baby he turned out to be! So small and perfect!
I was so happy I got the natural birth I wanted, I’m ever so thankful for my midwives who trusted birth and my body to bring a baby earth side with no intervention. I experienced birth as it was designed and it feels like a gift.