Samuel, our second child, is now nearly 3 months old (I know! How did that happen?), so I think I’ve probably processed his birth enough to be able to write about it coherently.
I will admit to being anxious about the birth. I mentioned in my post Preparing for birth – Second time around that I had a very long labour with Ben, which resulted in a ventouse delivery and then quite a lot of intervention afterwards. I was very nervous about my bump size, and whether I could actually cope with the length of the labour.
I had quite a long time to think about this. I started my maternity leave when I was just 37 weeks pregnant, as I was finding it absolutely exhausting. Although I wasn’t expecting a very early labour, I didn’t think the baby would be late, as I’d be having Braxton Hicks since about 28 weeks, and the baby was a good size. He (although we didn’t know it was a he) had been head-down for ages, and his head was engaged from about 36 weeks.
So I started my maternity leave purposefully: I finished getting the nursery ready, and tied up a few loose ends (hello, tax return). I did a lot of walking, and walking to drop Ben off at preschool and pick him up again probably did me a lot of good in terms of getting the baby into a good position. I generally did the things that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do when the baby arrived – batch cooking meals, trips to the cinema, long leisurely lunches with friends.
My due date came, and I was now, almost desperate to go into labour. I was sick of being pregnant – the heartburn, the insomnia, the discomfort. Yet I still had massive fear of labour and the birth itself. I did my hypnobirthing almost obsessively, and could probably still recite the dialogue if I played the music.
The six days that I was overdue were horrendous. I really feel for anyone who goes overdue. I would wake up in the middle of the night with massive anxiety about how big the baby was going to be, and how my body would cope – or not, as with Ben’s birth.
So when I finally did start going into labour, it was a bit of a relief. I had been to the cinema to watch Sceptre, taking advantage of Ben’s long day in preschool. While I was there, I had several contractions, but they were very similar to the intermittent contractions that I’d been having if I overdid things. But I timed them, and realised that they were about 10 minutes apart. I was fully prepared for a long labour, so I watched the end of the film and then went home, picking Ben up on the way. By the time I got to preschool, my contractions had stopped, so I only mentioned it casually to Tim.
I had a few more contractions in the evening, but every time I started timing them, they tailed off. Again, I thought this baby would be a slow one.
I woke up at around 3am, and was having mild contractions every 10 minutes. Putting the lessons learned from Ben’s birth into practice, I went back to sleep – pretty amazing really, as I’d had terrible trouble sleeping throughout most of my pregnancy.
When I woke around 7am, my contractions were around every 5 minutes. Tim got Ben up, and I, still anticipating I would have a while to go, got into the shower. I even washed and straightened my hair.
In that half hour, my contractions really ramped up. I had to use the “shush” breathing I had learned in pregnancy yoga to get me through them. They were about every 3 minutes, and really painful. I went downstairs to Tim and told him I thought we ought to get Ben to preschool early, and I would ring the hospital.
This sent Tim, who had been quite relaxed up to that point, into a tailspin. Ben, who had got used to his relaxed mornings with me, couldn’t cope. With much shouting and tears, Ben was deposited at preschool without his shoes, and with the phrase, “Naomi’s in labour.” The preschool staff, who, after all, had watched me waddle in day after day, were very excited and took Ben in early without questions!
While they were out, I rang the hospital, who suggested we wait half an hour for the worst of the traffic to die down, and then to come in. I was relieved, as I’d heard that my chosen hospital were often reluctant for you to come in. I tried to eat some breakfast, but at 8.40am, we decided we really had to go.
We had a good 20 minute drive to the hospital, and Tim did it without getting a speeding ticket. That’s all I’ll say about that!
Finally at the birthing suite, we were shown to our room. I was pronounced 7cm dilated, which I was thrilled with, and the midwife suggested I tried the birthing pool.
I was a bit reluctant to try the pool: with Ben, getting in the water had slowed my contractions right down, and I was worried it would do the same. I refused the gas and air, knowing that it would make me sick, but stuck to my yoga breathing throughout. My plan was to try the pool, and if that didn’t work, I’d ask for an epidural. Pain relief had been a big cause for concern for me, but I was finding each contraction just about bearable. Yes, they are very painful, but it’s temporary pain, and each one does go away. I found the hypnobirthing idea of each contraction bringing you one step closer to meeting you baby very helpful at this stage.
So I got into the pool and things progressed nicely. About an hour (although my sense of time is a bit skewed), I started pushing. I couldn’t actually believe that my body was doing everything exactly as it should. The midwife didn’t examine me again, but started telling me about what to do when the baby was born. I couldn’t believe that it would be quite so soon!
I still hadn’t had any pain relief but I was listening to my hypnobirthing CD on a stereo. I found it really helpful, although Tim thinks it was crackers!
The baby was born at 11.45am in the water, still in his caul. My waters hadn’t broken at all, which is quite unusual. Since then, we’ve discovered that Tim and Tim’s father were both born in their cauls too.
Tim cut the umbilical cord and we discovered he was a boy. I honestly felt absolutely elated. He didn’t really cry at all, just snuggled in for skin to skin. He was just perfect, and as good a birth as I ever could have hoped for.
We spent the rest of that day in our room. It was completely different to Ben’s birth: I lay on the bed, just snuggling our lovely baby. I have rarely ever felt so perfectly content. Tim phoned our families, and later went to get the paper. Tim’s parents went to pick up Ben from preschool and told him about his new baby brother. Samuel started to get the hang of feeding, and we revelled in our newest, perfect baby son.
He was weighed and measured, and came up as 9lb 6oz, which is 6oz heavier than Ben. I later found out that he was on the 99th centile for length, but his head was only on the 50th, which explains his good birth. I think he’ll be tall!
(I also felt a bit like Superwoman – a 9lb 6oz baby with no pain relief. I am awesome.)
We were allowed to go home that evening, and got back around 8.30pm. I was exhausted and bruised (I even had 2 black eyes), but completely and utterly in love with our boy.
Ben stayed up to meet his baby brother, and I hope I will always remember the look of sheer excitement on his face as he met him for the first time. We were completely overjoyed – and I don’t use that word lightly. It honestly felt like there was so much love and joy surrounding his birth.
After so much anxiety, and, to be honest, dread, about the birth, it was a really positive, healing experience for me.
<div align=”center”><a href=”http://farmerswifeandmummy.com/category/maternitymondays/” title=”MaternityMondays”><img src=”http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l26/farmerswifeandmummy/maternitymondays%20new%20badge_zpsftnnmle7.jpg” alt=”MaternityMondays” style=”border:none;” /></a></div>