I realised that I had not been feeling well since I woke up from my nap, and I had noticed I had some blood stained mucous discharge for a few hours. The frequency at which I needed to wee also increased, which was amazing since I didn’t think it could get any more frequent. Even as I was sitting on the toilet, I felt that I needed to go again!
I messaged my midwife about the mucous and she said it sounded like a ‘show’ and I could expect that labour might begin in the next couple of days. I remember thinking that if I knew myself – then it would not be a couple of days, it would be more like a couple of hours. I don’t typically do things slowly!
I felt excited – a joyous excitement- that this was possibly happening tonight! But at the same time – I didn’t want to get my hopes up just in case labour might be days away.
Very soon after dinner I started to experience cramps like a period pain, very low in my pelvis. After an hour or so, they became more frequent and more predictable. I didn’t think that these were contractions because I had always thought that contraction pains would be high up, and feel painful across my whole abdomen. However – people had told me that I would know when I was in labour- and even though I didn’t think these were real contraction pains, I still knew that I was in labour.
By 10pm, the pains had become more frequent and I no longer felt comfortable sitting down. I walked constantly and leant over the piano, kitchen bench, bathroom bench – wherever I was at the time. I tried to go to bed a couple of times – but was far too uncomfortable to sleep. The Football World Cup was playing on TV, not that I was really watching it but it provided some background noise. Argentina was playing South Korea.
At 11pm I started using my Iphone app called ‘Baby Bump’ to time my contractions. The first contraction went for 56 seconds and the second one was 5 minutes later. They continued like this – 4-5mins apart, lasting about a minute – until about 1pm. I woke my husband Dani up, but he went back to sleep straight away. I woke him again and told him he had to get up NOW! My contractions were now about 45 seconds in length and 2.30mins apart – and they were getting more intense.
My husband started filling up the birthing pool and I kept pacing around. He had always said that he would “bring the towels and boiling water” like you see in the old movies!
The pool was wonderful. During each contraction I would lean over the edge of the pool, or grab onto the handles inside. Then afterwards, I would relax back and float for a while.
My contractions continued at around 90 seconds apart until 9am – when they petered off and almost stopped all together. My midwife suggested I should get out of the pool as I might have been too warm and too relaxed! She suggested I try and sleep for an hour or so and then things might restart again.
During the night I remember seeing my Mum and midwives eating and having cups of tea. It was comforting to see them so relaxed! If they were sitting having a cup of tea it must have meant that everything was going OK!
I did manage to sleep for an hour and after I woke my midwife offered to break my waters (as I was well dilated) to bring on labour. I agreed straight away – I didn’t want to have to come back to this in a day or so!
I lay down on a blanket in the lounge room, it was so quick and I felt nothing at all, just a huge gush of warm fluid. After a couple of minutes I stood up and had a contraction about 2 minutes later. I remember saying that “this really hurts” and that I felt like pushing. Now I knew that this was really “happening” – the pushing part had started. I really felt myself take a big breath in and get ready to do the hard work to see my baby.
The contractions were very intense but I am not sure if I can really describe it on a pain scale. It is different to any pain I have experienced, and even an hour after birth it was hard to really recall how it felt. I felt very focused, and very intent on the pushing part. I do recall looking at our XBox console which I was squatting in front of. I was thinking that I should tell Dani to move it so nothing spilt on it – but I just couldn’t get the words out – it survived the birth!
After only 7 contractions I felt the head and then all of a sudden I felt the rush of the body being pushed out.
Suddenly I looked down on the mat to see a wriggling, blue little body! It was so surreal to see my baby on the floor. I was immediately wrapped in one of my Grandma’s knitted blankets and then I was holding our baby. Dani was right there with me and I asked “is it a boy or a girl?” We looked together and it was a baby girl. I said “This is Ivy Ruth!”.
I was laughing and crying at the same time, and I saw tears in Dani’s eyes too. There was so much emotion, but I can’t really remember what I was thinking – I was just looking at the tiny baby in my arms and being amazed that I had gone through labour and had given birth!
Ivy was quiet for about a minute and then we heard her cry!
I was so relaxed and content after Ivy’s birth. It had gone just like I had imagined – and how I hoped it would be. Being in our own home was amazing – my things, familiar smells and sounds, familiar people and my own food! My midwives were encouraging and supportive, but at the same time, allowed me to direct and experience my labour exactly how I wanted to – and in its natural progression.
Dani and I went to bed and to sleep. Our life with Ivy had started…