I have recently written my Part One Labour and Birth story which was all about Reuben coming into the world.
Well here is Part Two, my wonderful water birth and the day that Jessica completed our family.
Part Two; Jessica
Sam and I decided that we were going to try for another baby after our wedding. We were married in the October and we got our positive pregnancy test in the December. It all happened really quickly and we were a bit shocked that it had happened that quickly.
We had decided not to tell Reuben until after our twelve week scan. Once we had the scan we then told our friends, family and of course, Reuben. He didn’t really understand until I started to grow. We included Reuben in everything, he came to midwife appointments and scans. He loved it.
This time I was under midwife led care from the start. This meant that all being well I would be able to make use of the new midwife led birthing centre. I was told that it was much more laid back than the delivery suite and I would be more in control of what I wanted and the chances of medical intervention was lower.
We had spent some time talking about what I would like to happen at this birth and again we put together a birth plan.
I had spent a lot of time researching a water birth. Everything that I read was really positive. I don’t think I actually read one negative water birth experience. Yet I still couldn’t decide if I wanted to birth in the pool. There was a million things running through my head.
Was a water birth safe? How would I be able to keep the baby completely in the water so that I didn’t trigger them to breathe too early? What position would you need to be in to birth in the pool? Who delivers the baby if I’m in the pool? Would I be expected to bring the baby up through my legs?
So many questions.
I had discussed these with my midwife. I knew I would like to use a birthing pool as pain relief but I didn’t know about birthing in the pool. She said it was fine and there was no rush, I could do whatever I wanted on the day.
My due date for Jessica was the August bank holiday, and I had a midwife appointment the Friday before. I was so worried about going through the same experience I had with Reuben and asked if she would do the sweep. She said she couldn’t, as this was my second baby my body should know what it needed to do and so we had to wait.
I had a craving that day for healthy foods (rather than the chip shop curry sauce I had all pregnancy) and so I asked Sam to stop off on his way home for jacket potatoes, salad stuff and some chicken. I started to cook the dinner and we put Reuben to bed. Sam was about to open a beer when I started to have contractions. Only light contractions but I also had a show and so he decided against the beer just in case. We sat to down to eat and watched Star Wars. The contractions were sporadic and so we went to bed.
The contractions stopped enough for me to get some sleep but I was awoken by them again at about 4am. They were manageable and I lay in bed relaxing as much as I could. We had our normal routine that morning and I got our things together. With it being the bank holiday weekend we were worried about the traffic, as my parents live across the road from the hospital we decided to make our way there.
My contractions carried on throughout the day. I made sure that I ate what I could and I spent a lot of time going for walks with my Mum and Reuben. Each walk we went on seemed to stop the contractions.
The contractions continued throughout the afternoon, I was getting a bit more uncomfortable and so I got in the bath to relax a bit.
It was lovely, I bathed in really low light and a storm had come in. I was watching the lightning through the window. It was so soothing. Then all of a sudden I felt a pop. I remember calling Sam and telling him that I thought my waters had broken, it was at this point that the painful contractions started.
Stay at Home
We called the delivery suite again.We had been in contact throughout the day. They said it was best to stay at home until the contractions were closer together or until it was too painful to manage at home. I think I lasted another hour at my parents before I decided I needed to go to the hospital.
At the Delivery Suite
We went to the delivery unit to check in and they walked us through to the midwife unit. It was the first time we had seen the midwife unit and it instantly made me feel at ease.
We went into the room, there was the pool, some chairs and some bean bags. There was a birthing ball to use. The room was dimly lit with fairy lights in jars around the room. Then there was an en-suite bathroom and toilet. It was lovely.
The midwife went through my notes and birth plan with me. She then started to fill the pool so that we were ready for when I wanted to use it. That was something else entirely. There were lights at the bottom of the pool that changed colour. I couldn’t wait to get in there!
Not many people want to write a birth plan, I did, it was important. It meant the midwives knew that I wanted to use a birthing pool. I wanted skin to skin contact immediately and that it was important to me that they practised delayed cord clamping because of the benefits it provided.
The midwife examined me to see how far along I was. 3cm!
Um, what? I had been having contractions for over a day and my waters had broken over an hour ago and I was only 3cm. Great!
She offered me some pain relief. From my experience with Reuben I knew that it took about an hour per centimetre and that it got a lot harder as we got further along. I decided to hold off on the gas and air and took some more paracetamol. Save the gas and air for a bit later.
I spent the time walking around the room but the contractions were coming thick and fast. As much as I tried I couldn’t get my breathing right and that was making me feel sick and dizzy. I had some apple juice and got in the pool. The midwife did tell me that it could slow the contractions down as I was still early but that we could monitor it.
I got my breathing right and started to relax again. But I could feel that although I was having contractions they weren’t as strong and so I got out for a while. Again, I was relieved that I could do as I pleased in the room because as soon as I got out of the pool the contractions intensified. I couldn’t keep walking so went over to the beanbag area.
What happened next was crazy and amazing. My contractions stopped. I went to sleep.
Yep, for about fifteen to twenty minutes, I had a power nap. I remember Sam asking me what I was doing and I said I’m going to sleep.
But as quickly as they had stopped they returned. I had another show and we called the midwife back. It was then I decided enough was enough, I didn’t care how far along I was I wanted gas and air. I asked for it and the midwife suggested getting back in the pool, I agreed and got back in.
I was waiting for the gas and air.
I was fighting against my body.
The midwife told me to stop fighting my body and go with it.
I didn’t have any choice, my body decided it was ready. There was no time for gas and air now.
Sam was holding my hands, I was gripping so tightly I marked his hands and I think at one point I was biting him but I was delivering a baby on two paracetamol, he could deal with it.
Four hours later, and after a quite a few big pushes Jessica was delivered into my arms.
She had been born in the water.
My water baby was here and she was safe. All 8 pound 14 ounces of her.