Day 1. Early Labour
Somewhere around 4am I awoke with cramping, no stronger than period pain but quite obvious that this was the beginning. They kept me up with half hourly hits until I gave in and got out of bed. This was the day of one of my dearest friends wedding. I had been asked to give a reading and I was determined to do so.
As we are all warned, early labour can keep us on our toes for quite some time and the advice is to continue normally. With this in mind and a planned home birth on the cards I felt little stress at the thought of driving to the wedding an hour away.
I had a contraction mid way through my reading but apart from a big deep breath in and a grasp of the bump I think it went relatively unnoticed.
Minutes between contractions closed up to 15 and I began losing my plug. The next goal mark was to leave after the first dance, I had made it this far I thought. They danced, I cried, we left.
The journey home was interrupted by a McDonalds stop with friends we were taking home. I needed to wee and this McDonalds had a bouncer! I had to convince him that I was actually in labour. There in the toilet of the McDonalds, opposite the remains of the dodgy club we all used to frequent, I lost the last of my plug. Classy.
I went home to bed and tried to sleep as best I could.
Day 2. Labour
Awful sleep, the contractions were only 15 minutes apart but the pain had upped a level. I remember a blurry call to a friend “am I in Labour?” er yes Amy, yes you are. It was so great not having to leave for the hospital. Both my family and Andy’s family popped in and out throughout the day, bringing lunch, snacks and well wishes.
We watched a Sex and They City boxset until I started to struggle more and more. My lovely, amazing, total don of a Midwife, Marie, had been giving the flu jabs all day so another Midwife had popped over during the day for a little examine. It was literally that, she examined me and put me at 3cm and then left, ace! I loved this relaxed approach to the fact that a baby would soon be tunnelling it’s way out of my body. They were chilled so I was.
For those that don’t know, the ideal position for baby to be in during labour is an anterior position. This is the position where the baby lays head down, back to mums stomach where they are able to curl up, tuck their chins in and make their escape in the easiest way, they are born looking at your bottom basically.
When a baby is back to back, sunny side up or the technical term in a Posterior position baby is head down, but their back is along your back and the back of their head is against your spine. They are born looking up at the world, not at your bottom. The most common analogy is that giving birth to a back to back baby is like putting on a polo jumper with your head facing the sky, not with your chin down and it totally is!
My baby was back-to-back and had been since my last appointment. I was given some exercises to try and naturally encourage the movement of the baby that I carried on doing during the day.
Often with a back to back labour the pain is focused in the back, this actually wasn’t the case here.
A later drop in from the on call Midwife did involve her trying to turn the baby. What started as some pushing on the tummy that was uncomfortable enough did end with an internal attempt at turning the baby. I’m not going to lie, it totally hurt but eyes on the prize people.
6pm’ish Marie arrived, after a full days work love her, all hail the Midwife life, Andy began to fill the birth pool. The pool we used for this birth was a community pool so was free of charge. We had to buy a liner for it obviously but it was all of £20, if memory serves.
About the same time I made a phone call to my Mum. We hadn’t really discussed her being there at the birth but the time was here and I’m not ashamed to say I wanted my Mum. She came over, camera in hand and was absolutely wonderful.
I climbed in the birth pool with Andy and we laughed, joked and munched on ice pops. As the pain intensified and contractions became more frequent Marie allowed me to use the Gas and Air – Hallelujah. I inhaled the absolute crap out of it. So much so that we actually ran out and Marie had to venture to the nearest hospital to pick up some more! My Mother was nervous at this point as labour was well under way and I was almost at transition.
When you have a home birth you receive the attention of two midwifes, totally the VIP treatment. The idea is that when baby comes there is someone to look after Mum and someone to look after baby. Our second midwife arrived shortly before our baby was born. Marie had unsuccessfully tried to break my waters and the pool was actually slowing down my contractions. After some failed attempts at pushing we went into the bedroom. My waters lovingly broke on my mothers converse as I climbed on the bed, sorryyyyyyy Mum.
Under the instruction of Marie, Andy had one of my legs as my Mother had the other. I pushed. After little time I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, at 1.10am, my Due Date baby, Max Campbell Cooper, 8.13lb. He was born sideways so the grizzly turning had helped. He had a bruise on his head from being stuck in such an awkward position but he was here! Our lives were changed and it was amazing. The placenta followed shortly after and I was given a quick stitch.
Andy and my Mum drained the pool, hose out of the window into a drain. The hose came flying back through the kitchen window and was hurling birth water all over the place. I imagine it was equal parts horror and entertainment but I was none the wiser from the bedroom.
I was in the bubble, the blissful, proud as punch, smug as you like, teary eyed baby bubble. I was in my bed alone feeding Max as the make shift labour ward was returned to lounge.
My poor Mum was drenched from the lovely hose experience, the waters breaking on her feet and from me holding her so tight I was basically pulling her into the birthing pool. She changed into some of my clothes before speeding home to tell the family.
At 3am Andy and I were alone in our home, with our baby and it was sheer perfection.
- My decision for a home birth was based on research and requested by myself at 7 weeks pregnant.
- I was 25, healthy and low risk.
- Little to no-one agreed with my decision, including my Mum – Post birth she said it was a wonderful experience and it changed her view on home births.
- Everyone told me I was mad and that I wouldn’t be able to do it.
- It gave me a sense of control over my ‘surprise’ pregnancy.
- Throughout labour I had Lavender oils burning to relax me.
- Ice pops, frozen Jaffa cakes and Lucozade energy drinks were my labour snacks of choice.
- I had a panic attack at about 4am after waking up and had to ring my midwife who talked me down from blind anxiety.
- Our neighbours delivered bacon sandwiches in the morning.
- Our families didn’t have to wait for visiting hours to come and see us and Max met his other Grandparents first thing.
- I did it.
- I did it again.
Image from Charlene’s Home Tour on Rock My Style.