I had been having irregular strong not painful Braxton hicks contractions for many days preceding the birthing day. They mostly faded away and noting further happens but I know they were all getting things ready so less work had to be done on the day. We had hoped that the baby would come early so my husband would be home, but it was not to be, 2 days after he went back on rotation things started. I woke up at about 2am on Friday morning with regular but still non painful tightening sensations, they were about 3-4 mins apart and lasted about 40 seconds to 1 minute. I came downstairs and chatted on line to a few friends from an on line moms forum back in South Africa, then decided to go to bed at about 4am. I had not wanted to call my sister and friend then in case everything frazzled out and I got then up for nothing, I felt I need a more definite signs of labour.
I went to sleeping listening to a my birth hypnosis affirmations CD. I woke up at 5 with a little gush and thought ‘oh I don’t think that was a wee’ and as I stood up out of bed there was another big gush and I knew my waters had broken for sure. So I got my definite sign. I phoned them both and they came from London to be with me. Rachel was still asleep.
At this point I had no contractions at all, not even Braxton hicks. I was so excited though, I got the pool out put the plastic floor cover underneath, cover it with a duvet and started blowing up the pool. I put out the bin as it was bin day, washed the dishes ( yes should have cleaned the house the night before)
Rachel woke up about 6:00am and was really excited to learn the baby would be coming today, even though it was not Tuesday and she had wanted the baby born on Tuesday. We sat chatting and pottering round the house doing last minute preparations. I went to lie down at about 7:00 I listen to my hypnosis and relaxation CDs again. At this point some birthing waves/tightening contractions had stared, they were more than Braxton hicks but totally manageable. I just focused on them as pressure and not pain. I got up, my husband phone and we told him today was the day. It was sad knowing that he would not be there.
We started to fill the pool at about 10ish not knowing how long it would take. We did need the geyser to reheat once so it was good we started early. Jenni, my sister played with Rachel outside and distracted her most of the time, she was great. Dimity and I connected the pipes as Gavin had instructed and filled the pool. During this time I kept mobile, and with each contraction would lean against a wall and circle/spiral my hips, this was fantastic, it helped me to focus on it as pressure and move the intense sensation through my body rather than let it get overwhelming. I was in total control, and coped well, as soon as one was over I would carry on helping and joking around with my friend Dimity.
I mood was excited and fun, mostly I would go to be alone during the contraction and stand on the stairs or hallway. The pool was ready and I got in at about 11:30 it felt wonderful, so warm and like a cocoon of safety. Dimity had lit the candle round the room, the curtains were closed ( I am sure the neighbours did not want to watch the goings on in this living room) and it was a wonderful environment. Dimity had an amazing sense of what I needed and when and she just popped in every now and again but mostly left me alone just to focus, I spend most on my time leaning on the side of the pool with my arms on my knees so that I could still move my hips freely during the contraction and then lie and rest on the side in between.
There came a point where I need to start low moaning through the contractions, Dimity then came and sat with me, she was a quite reassuring presents. I had good break between the contractions but was feeling the intensity increase. At one point I said to her ‘i just want this over now’ I had a feeling we were close but part of me thought I was coping too well for this to be transition. The next contraction was a whopper, it changed totally to pushing and I was quite loud at this point, I felt his head right there and even the start of the ring of fire. I thought he was going to shoot out at this point and Dimity asked if she should call Rachel and Jenni. But as this contraction faded I felt him move up again and knew it could be a few more before he was totally ready to come out. I wanted a controlled slow birth of the head unlike my daughter birth. I hoped this would ,mean less tearing as she had shot out all in one go. I did not want Rachel in too soon as I was making a noise and did not want to frighten her. It was not an out of control screaming though and rather a low moaning and deep breathing. We had prepared her by looking at birth videos and reading a book on water birth so she knew mommies sometimes make a noise.
I monitored his progress down the birth canal with each contraction and when he was right on the perineum and I knew he would come out soon I got Dimity to call Jeni and Rachel. I was still on my knees facing the side of the pool and I remember thinking that to hell with letting my body just push and breathing him out, I wanted it over so I would just push, but I always managed to keep in control and not push much over and above what my body was doing. Once his head was out, I turned over and we waited for the body to come out on its own with the next contraction. He slide out and had the cord round his neck so I had to untangle him a bit and then brought him up to my chest. Rachel was busy getting her clothes off as fast as she could and leapt into the pool to come and meet him. He was a little blueish but the cord was still attached and pulsating so I knew he would still be getting oxygen form the placenta and I slowly rubbed his back and he pinked up nicely.
We did call the midwives after than just because I wanted to get him weighed and to make sure that I had not torn. He weighed 3.48kg and I had a graze that did not need stitching so I was pleased I worked with my body and he was born slow and controlled. I was on such a high afterward, such a totally different feeling from how I felt after Rachel’s birth, with her I felt overwhelmed and that I had not coped well at all, this time I felt I had been in control the whole time and even though I was vocal at the end it was all everything I dreamed of.
I feel blessed to have been able to do this, it will be a defining moment in my life.