Period type pains started becoming more regular and on Saturday morning I called the midwife who said to call back when they were longer and more frequent. I didn’t take them too seriously because everything I looked up said they were probably just Braxton Hicks and would subside. So we went off to a funeral in the woods that afternoon and as soon as I got there I had a show. People kept coming up to me and asking if it was true I was in labour, I just kept saying it was probably a false alarm, and it could be weeks yet. It was all getting a bit more serious when I was driving home (no other drivers!), with contractions lasting a good 30 seconds and getting more frequent. I didn’t bother to call Doula Sue ‘cos I still thought this was all going to go away.
When they got to 45 seconds every 3 minutes I called the midwife who was there in half an hour. With a home birth you get whoever is on call, and I got a wonderful midwife who I will never forget. I was 7 cm dilated and battling with a broken TENS machine when she arrived. I kept the TENS machine on, because I wasn’t sure if it would be worse without it, but all the connections were loose so I don’t think it was much help at all. My lovely Shiatsu lady, Vicky had come round a few days before with colour coded diagrams of pressure points and taught my boyfriend how to use them when I was in labour. He mostly used the calming ones, and they really worked, and gave me a chance to collect my thoughts and energy before the next contraction. He was fabulous throughout, I am a very lucky woman. There is little point in me describing the pain as it is different for everyone, but suffice it to say I shouted all the traditional things like ‘this was a stupid idea’, ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I want to die’. We got to a very dark, deep and intense place with the midwife so it was a bit distracting when midwife 2 turned up, but I managed to gasp out ‘don’t let her chatter’. She was fine, but I didn’t get a chance to look at her until afterwards so that was a bit weird.
I was on all fours leaning on the sofa and just as I was pushing for the last time the cat got off the sofa in disgust and stalked out underneath me, I think I was disturbing her sleep. The next thing I know, a small brown haired boy is lying between my legs. It was all so quick that my boyfriend didn’t have a chance to catch him, though he did cut the cord. The baby was fine apart from his breathing, so the next thing I know there are 2 paramedics in my front room and I am scrabbling under the stairs disentangling the car seat from the cupboard. The nurse in intensive care looked at me aghast when our midwife said I was the mother ‘What are you doing standing up, you have just given birth?’ ‘Homebirth, no drugs’ my midwife said proudly. We had an awful few hours while he was in an incubator, I just wanted someone to tell me he wasn’t going to die, but no one apart from the midwife would and she had gone back to my house to clear everything up. Things got much better a few hours later when he was taken off the drip and I could hold him. By lunchtime I was bouncing around threatening to discharge us if they wouldn’t, as we were obviously fine, I could be waiting for blood test results at home. A nice paediatrician gave us the all clear and we are now at home getting used to being a family, I love it!
I am so glad I did it without drugs, his breathing problems were nothing to do with having a home birth and I can’t imagine having to cope with that and being full of drugs and their side effects. When the drug trolley came around the ward in the morning I was surprised to be offered painkillers, I wasn’t in pain at all, just uncomfortable. I have some tears that I am hoping will heal on their own (good chance apparently) and we are now getting pretty good at this breastfeeding stuff. He is the most beautiful baby in the world, though I accept that I may be biased here!
What I wish I had done:
- Taken the contractions seriously so I could get more relaxed about it.
- Not been so hard on myself when I was in pain, I thought I was being a wimp moaning about it.
- Packed a change of clothes for me in the hospital bag (they were in the wash!)
- Packed more than one packet of maternity pads, I think a packet a day is about right though this will be different for everyone.
- Packed clothes in different sizes for the baby, the ones I had were far too big.
- Brought change for the phone.
- Got the car seat out before I went into labour.
- Cleaned the kitchen, I was leaning against the worktop contracting and all I could think of was the mess.
- Trusted my instincts and booked the birthing pool for a week earlier.
- Got someone to show me how to use the TENS machine before I went into labour.
- Used contraception (only joking, I am the happiest woman alive)
The labour lasted 6hrs and 45 minutes, and The Moo boy was 6lbs and 7oz.