I had fears of panicking during labour, in particular, the second stage.

As I learnt the theory behind the course I gained a deep confidence in myself and my ability to have the birthing experience I wanted. Everything Tracey taught me made so much sense! I learnt that my body was capable of performing in such a way that would create a joyful birthing memory, and I was looking toward the day that my baby would arrive with excitement.

On the evening before my due date and nothing seemed to be ‘happening’. Antony gave me some acupressure massage on my legs and feet to try and coax Archie out while we watched some television. When I got up to have a shower I lost some fluid and called Antony in to the bathroom to let him know that I thought my waters had broken. We giggled a bit while we tried to decide what to do next. I called the hospital who advised us to go in. I was disappointed as I had wanted to labour at home but they said that if my waters had broken then they’d like me to stay there. I was also upset as the bath in delivery suite had broken and was unusable. We got ourselves packed up and headed over to a friend’s house to drop our five year old son off. I started having tightenings on the way over. They were about 7 minutes apart and very mild so we weren’t in any rush. I left my son, telling him that I was going to the hospital to have our baby, and that soon he would be a big brother! At the hospital the obstetrician advised us that it wasn’t ruptured membranes, but a watery show, and that we were free to go home. He said that my cervix was closed and told us that our baby would come some time in the next 24 hours.

So we headed home at about 1.30am, slightly deflated by the ‘false start’ but happy that we would have some rest in the comfort of our own home. Once home I just hopped into bed and listened to the relaxations. I fell asleep between tightenings and whenever I was woken by one I just listened to the cd. I woke at 3.30am when the tightenings were becoming quite strong, were 3 minutes apart and lasting for almost a minute. We got up and Antony ran me a bath and timed my tightenings. After about 20 minutes they were coming 2 minutes apart and I decided that we’d better go to the hospital. By this stage I was making quite a lot of noise through the tightenings and could feel some low pressure.

When we arrived at the hospital I asked to have a shower, but my midwife said that we’d better check how far along I was. Lucky she did, as I was already 9cm dilated! I could tell that I was progressing well, but it was still a surprise to hear that my baby was so close! I was lying on my back and Antony encouraged me to move into a different position if I felt like it, so I moved into a kneeling, forward facing position on the bed. I could feel my baby moving lower and lower and eventually crowning. I made a lot of noise, and said that I didn’t want him out, didn’t want to do it anymore. I knew I had to help him, but that meant working harder and I was overwhelmed with the intensity. Antony held my hand the whole time. He gave me water and reminded me to breathe and told me how great I was doing. He was perfect. Then my baby’s head was out and his body came very soon after in the same contraction. My midwife passed him through my legs to me. The first thing I said was ‘I just had a baby!’

I had a managed third stage and the placenta took about 20 minutes to come. It didn’t ‘fall out’ like I’d heard it described, I had to push it and there was even talk of surgery if it didn’t come itself soon. The cord was on the thin side, so they didn’t want to tug to hard on it. The obstetrician was called to assist in the delivery of the placenta. In the end it came out with some help from him.

I had a labial tear, and laughed with pain while the obstetrician anaesthetised the area. It wasn’t at all funny, but I was deliriously happy.

Actually, I continue to be deliriously happy. I didn’t get the three-day blues. I have never felt overwhelmed by this child, or his need for me. He remains my calm baby.

When my son was born the room was dark and the only people there were Antony, the midwife, and myself. It was private and beautiful. Our own choice of music was playing quietly in the background. Everything was exactly as I had hoped it would be. His birth was so special – words can’t describe how amazing it was, or how awestruck I still am.

When people ask me about this birth I tell them that it was awesome. I say that I love giving birth. And I mean it.

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