It actually took me a while to realise how positive my birth story was. It didn't really go as i had 'planned', but how many birth stories really do? I quickly realised that anything can happen with birth and although things didn't go as i had hoped / expected, it was definitely the most magical day of my life, which i think back on with pure joy.
It was a rainy Thursday afternoon and i was sitting on my exercise ball watching TV, I was 38 weeks pregnant and was definitely not thinking it would be the day i went into labour. As i got off my ball and walked around the house, i felt a small amount of water trickling down my leg, It really didn't seem enough for me to think that my waters had broken, but it kept coming, little by little. This started at around 2pm and sure enough, it was confirmed by the midwife that it was in fact my waters breaking and the start of my labour.
I spent the next few hours at home, very relaxed, i wasn't having contractions yet and my midwife said it could still take up to 48 hours for baby to arrive. I told my boyfriend Ed not to leave work as i though we would still have a lot of time. I baked a banana bread and pottered around our house until Ed came home around 6.30pm.
By 7pm contractions were starting, but i was very comfortable and they were generally just a tightening of my belly. At 8.30pm ish we phoned the midwife and she asked me a few questions, before going on to say that i sounded like i still had a way to go and to call her when the contractions became more intense. It was still raining outside but we decided to go out for a walk to get some fresh air, dodging the rain moving from door step to door step. The contractions were becoming pretty regular, but they were still not too intense.
Back home and really starting to feel like i was actually in labour, Ed put on my birth play list, dimmed the lights and i either sat or leaned on my exercise ball and swayed, starting to turn my focus inwards and towards my breathing as the contractions became a little stronger. It felt good to keep moving. My sister brought around a tens machine but i had no pressure on my back, it was more in my front body.
At around midnight i took a shower and asked Ed to call the midwife. The contractions were coming every minute now and they were getting very strong, to the point where i was on all fours or leaning over for most of the time.
When the midwife arrived she spoke to me and presumed we would be nearly ready to go to the birthing centre, she phoned around to see if there was a bed available but it seems a lot of babies are born in September and there were no spaces in our preferred location. By this point i was very focused on the contractions and presuming baby would be with us very soon. As my waters had broken, the midwife hadn't yet checked how dilated i was, we were just all thinking it was progressing well. Then she measured me. She looked baffled when she told me that i wasn't even a centimeter dilated, if this happened now, with all the extra knowledge i have i would have not let it put me off my game, however at the time it made me go into a little bit of a panic, from being in a calm place and feeling in a controlled state, i all of a sudden felt like i wasn't in control.
The midwife recommended that as my contractions were so strong but i wasn't very dilated that i should go to the hospital to get some pain relief as she thought it would be hard for me to continue with such strong and close together. This is the part of my labour that i originally looked back on and wished was different. Why did she tell me i couldn't do this, why didn't she give me support and tell me how i would be able to get through it on my own and that i didnt need to ask for pain relief. I guess in her mind and from what she was seeing, i still had a long way to go and it wasn't looking easy for me.
At 1.30am we were dropped at the hospital where the medical team took me into a huge private room and spoke about options for an epidural.
It was the last thing i wanted but if the midwife was right and my labour would continue with such strong contractions until the morning then, i felt like it was my only option. I agreed and they started to prepare everything.
The midwife at the hospital was wonderful, she totally controlled the room and really helped me manage my contractions and although we were in a hospital room, it was peaceful and calm with just myself, Ed the midwife and the nurse present.
I think they started to administer the epidural at around 2.30 / 3am, and they told me it could take up to 30 minutes to work. I sat there waiting for it to kick it, i remember looking at the clock and seeing 20 minutes then 30 minutes go by and the contractions were still getting stronger. The midwife said that sometimes the epidural doesn't take first time and that they might have to try again, but for now i had to wait.
Myself and Ed were left in the room on our own and Ed was helping me to breathe through the contractions which were so close and strong now, i really didn't see how i could be so far away from giving birth. I soon started to feel a burning sensation, and i knew from all the birth videos i'd watched that this meant that the baby was coming, i told Ed to get the midwife, who came in and checked my cervix... you're 10 cms dilated, she said, we're ready to push. At that moment, i was ecstatic, all i could think was thank goodness i can feel this and the epidural hadn't worked, imagine if i had been numb and unable to feel that this was happening and i wasn't able to help push her out!
I went from 1cm to 10cms dilated in 3.5 hours.
I pushed for around 20 minutes and Eve was born at 4.40am. It was beautiful, and magical and perfect and I’m so thankful everyday that i got to feel and experience everything.
Eve came onto my chest straight away and we experienced skin to skin until it was time for my placenta to come. In one big push it arrived and was put in the fridge ready for us to take home.
One of my biggest fears during pregnancy was that i would tear and need stitches, but the truth of it is, i had no idea afterward if i had. I asked the midwife if i needed stitches and she said a few, which she did whilst i held Eve, i don't remember feeling a thing.
In the days after the birth i felt very angry with my midwife for making me doubt myself, for making me feel like i would need pain relief to give birth. I can see now why many people recommended that you don't check dilatation as this can make you think that the birth isn't progressing when really it is. But as time passed by, i realised that i still had the most wonderful and positive birth. Eve ended up coming quickly and perfectly healthy and although things didn't go as i thought it would, it was still a magical and peaceful birth and we were home and in our own bed for 10am on Friday 8th September, the day she was born.