I had a relatively good pregnancy. I had some full on all-day sickness that had lasted until 18 weeks, but other than that it had been smooth sailing.
It was a Monday and I was 40 weeks and 1 day. My mum and I had been to get foot massages three days in a row, and they were laughing at us as Mum was telling them to massage my feet harder to get the baby out. I’m not really sure how much English they understood, but they laughed along anyway. I had already spent a week side stepping up and down the step whilst watching all the Harry Potter movies, massaging trigger points, eating dates (for weeks!) and I was completely ready … yet she kept us waiting. I bought clary sage oil and put a drop or two on the back of my hands to smell whilst we continued our evening as usual. I started having pretty strong braxton hicks contractions in the evening, but this had already happened for the 3 nights before, so I was trying not to get my hopes up. I told myself to keep pacing around the house for a while before going to bed to help, just in case this time it was the real deal.
I woke up at 11:30 needing the toilet. I barely made it – and realized that I hadn’t made it at all, and it was my waters breaking. The contractions were still happening, I woke my husband (his name is also Sam!) and we called our midwife (Kerryl) to let her know that it was for real this time!
I put on the TENS machine which is what got me through labour at home. I honestly don’t know how I would’ve managed without it! Every time a contraction started, I pushed the button to increase the intensity. It became the most important job and something to focus on. Sam was helping trying to keep me comfortable and making sure I was managing. He would pull on my legs as a contraction came whilst Ifocused on big, long breaths and counting anything in the room I could. By 2:45am we called Kerryl again. I was feeling like I wanted to go in, but I did have a thought that the contractions weren’t strong enough yet; it hadn’t been long enough! We decided to go in and I prayed that we hadn’t made the decision too early. We arrived at the Family Birth Centre at around 3:45am and I was dilated 9cm!!
I didn’t feel like the TENS wasn’t really helping anymore, so I tried to use the shower. It wasn’t until I was able to get into the bath that some level of comfort between contractions was achieved. I felt weightless for the first time in 9 months! I had no intention of having a water birth, but I did want to use it for pain relief. However, once I was in, I told Sam and Kerryl there was no way I was getting out again! Sam was at the edge of the bath, holding my hands and talking me through each contraction. Jamie was born in the water at 5:45am – just over 6 hours after I woke up.
I remember looking down and she had her eyes open. I was in a little bit of shock, but managed to yell “she’s a girl!” (and I think the next thing I said was “she’s so big!” – sorry not sorry, she was huge!). Her daddy and I were instantly in love.
I honestly remember it as being so peaceful and serene. Sam has reminded me of the fact that I probably didn’t seem “peaceful” to an outsider from the noise I was making, but that’s not how I remember it at all.
They say that each birth teaches you something. This one taught me how it’s not how it is in the movies. There was no panic, no drama. I wasn’t strapped to the bed with my feet in stirrups (thank God!). It can be beautiful, peaceful and magic. Yes, there’s pain. Yes, there’s hard work – but my memories are of pushing the button on the TENS, feeling weightless in the water and the first time I saw her “earth-side”.
** Please remember these birth stories are shared in their own voice; from the point of view of the writer. Please remember that every birth, woman and baby are different so different choices have been made in individual circumstances. They are not intended to be used as medical advice, but to share the amazing stories of these mums