At 40 weeks plus and 4 days past my due date, I was getting so impatient for my baby to arrive. My first baby was almost a week early so I expected this one to arrive even sooner.
I'd started maternity leave weeks earlier, experiencing heaviness, Braxton Hicks and bub's head was engaged and ready... all the signs were there, but that was as far as it went. So when I went to the Birth centre for my 40 week check I wasn't expecting too much. The midwife gave me an examination and offered me a sweep – for the second time, so I wasn’t keen.
The midwife said I was having a contraction, whilst she felt around… I was 3-4 cm dilated and my waters were ready to pop! She couldn't believe I was so calm but it didn’t feel any different to the dull aches and back pain I was having already. They expected me to return that evening so I went home, had dinner and watched some Netflix. The midwives even called me to check that I hadn’t gone into labour.
5:30 am the next morning.
I woke up and convinced myself to jump in the shower and get dressed because these contractions were definitely stronger. During my shower and whilst getting dressed, they were less than 5 minutes apart… it was definitely time to wake my hubby and daughter to get ready to leave. I called the birth centre to get the go ahead, and to let them know I'd be coming in, there was no doubt i was in labour now.
I arrived at around 7, and the midwife assessed me. There was no doubt I was in labour now as I couldn't hold a conversation for too long and the contractions were coming more frequently.
After using the TENS machine for the first hour (and 15 minutes lost trying to set it up), I was able to use the pool which I remember being SO relieving during my first birth. I couldn't wait to get in but was stopped by another 2 or 3 contractions, and the urge to use the bathroom... (Or the urge to push).
Sidenote: Ladies, don't worry about 'letting loose' when you feel the need to bear down - sh*t can get real during labour! (pun intended). It may seem like you've really lost your dignity at this point - I personally couldn't care less the second time around - but it's a sign that you're getting closer to meeting your baby.
The gas and air in the pool was great and I knew it was almost time to start pushing because I was making so much noise with each contraction. I remember experiencing a cramping pain in my hip, it was excruciating and that's all I kept moaning about. Eventually I had to get out of the pool to encourage gravity to do its’ work.
I was pacing back and forth from the bathroom to a mat on the floor - propped up with big cushions. It was a good opportunity to rest in between contractions but now wasn't the time to have a nap, as much as I wanted to. The floor wasn't working for me so I was encouraged to use a birth stool and the birth support rope with my hubby behind me for support. At this point it was getting super intense…
I could definitely feel that this second birth was on a different level from my first. I felt so vulnerable at one point that I had to let go and just trust my body to do its work. The midwives gave me the go ahead to push with the next few contractions. The most intense part of it, was during the crowning stage.
Oh. my. life. My contractions were stopping as the babies head was emerging, which meant that I had to hold out until the next one - babies head just chilling in the meantime. And the shoulders felt even worse - It felt as if I was being pulled apart. Each push felt endless, although I managed to get the job done in four pushes or so.
That stage took so much of my willpower, because the pain was REAL. I had to dig deep, I knew the finish line was close.
And of course, my faith carried me through to birth my baby safely. I could tell that my son was a substantial size… he weighed in at 9lbs 3oz. And what a miracle, I didn't require any stitches in the end, I only had grazing. I can say I had a positive birth experience overall, with 3 powerful hours in active labour.
I truly believe every woman should be empowered to make choices about how they give birth. Be it their positioning, method of delivery, or location. This is what we promote with Mum Bub Hub, confident and positive birthing. We believe every woman should, and has the right to own their birth!