After nine months and two due dates passing, we were starting to think that this little baby might never come out. We were scheduled to talk to the hospital obstetrician on Thursday, and while we were looking forward to meeting our baby, I really wanted to avoid an induction if at all possible.
As we were getting ready for bed on the Wednesday night, I said to my partner that I thought "it" might happen tonight. I'd never felt the urge to predict the date before and I didn't want to get my hopes up, so we went to bed as usual.
During the night I woke several times and was finding it difficult to get comfortable, and at 3:00am I got up to go to the toilet and saw what I thought was a "show". I had been having some "rushes" (cramping) but was able to breath through it in my half-sleep and had not thought much of them until now. I decided to wake my partner up to get his opinion. He calmly got out of bed and without telling me started timing the rushes as they came and went.
I had a shower to relax and this took the edge off the sensation but their consistency continued. At this stage they were 45 seconds long and 1 1/2 minutes apart. This was a little surprising as every birth story we'd heard was very long and drawn out and we'd expected to go for walks and watch DVDs. I thought it best to pack my clothes into the hospital bag we had arranged. I was very indecisive and moving slowly in between each rush.
I had been unable to talk through each one for some time now and as the intensity increased I was unable to stand up in between. Instead I found it better to move into a position on hands and knees on the floor and breathe through it as I had done many times in my yoga classes. I was trying to inhale up to a count of 6 which was a technique we had been taught at the calmbirth® class. It was much easier to take shorter inhales and long exhales however whenever I did make it to 6 the intensity was greatly reduced. The power of the breath is truly amazing.
My partner had been writing down the times of the rushes and had made 2 calls to the hospital who now (rushes being 1 minute long and 1 1/12 minutes apart) asked us to come in. He packed all the bags into the car and off we went.
On the way I phoned my mum to let her know we were on the way to the hospital - hearing the excitement in her voice made me smile! We arrived at the hospital at 5:15am and I found it difficult to walk up to the delivery suites. I frequently moved to the floor into "my position" which helped me focus on breathing and counting. My partner got the shower ready for me, set up some music and arranged our belongings in the room to make it feel like "ours". He also put the 2 photos that we had brought into the hospital - one of a wave at our favorite beach which is the visualization I had practiced often and one of our little baby from our 20 week ultrasound - up in the bathroom where I could see them from the shower.
I had my first examination and the midwife told me I was 4-5cms dilated. She said I should walk around to help the waters break to help the labor continue its path. She reassured me that this baby would be born today. With the encouraging words that our baby's birthday would be the 30th July, my partner helped me to dress and walk around the ward. I was worried as I found it difficult to remain standing for very long but his confidence and support enabled me to move around the corridors several times. Leaning forwards on him with my arms around his neck helped greatly. He took deep breaths in sync with mine which helped me increase the length and depth of my breaths. Having him there alongside me, doing the same thing was beautiful.
The intensity continued to increase and I asked the midwife to check again as I was starting to feel the urge to push. She told me I was 6cms and I was a little disappointed. My partner suggested that I get back in the shower as that seemed help me move into my own space.
He started reading some birth stories from the Ina May book we had both read during my pregnancy. These positive stories gave me confidence as well as some new strategies to try, like making raspberry sounds with my lips to relax the cervix. Just hearing his relaxed, but confident voice was reassuring and comforting.
Seeing the space in between each of the rushes decrease my partner got into his board shorts and joined me in the shower. Without his support I am not sure I would have been able to stand up at all. It was lovely to be able to lean on him for support. I just loved the way he intuitively knew what to do - I was in no state to let him know what I wanted as I really did not know myself! I will never know how he knew what the "just right" thing to do was, but he did.
Not long after my waters broke. This provided some relief with less pressure on my cervix. We called the midwife who asked me to get out of the shower to check my dilation once again. As I was drying off she started to move quickly and asked my partner to help her "set up". "Set up what?" I was thinking to myself. She told me I was going to have this baby… and quickly.
Those words were the best words I had heard. I was full of confidence knowing I was about to meet this special little person. I moved to the mat on the floor and got back into "my position". I felt the change in sensation and the midwife reassured me that it was OK to push. I felt in control and powerful. I asked Ollie to get the ultra sound photo so that I could see our precious baby.
During the short period of time that I could have my eyes open I was looking at this photo which I had seen so many times before. I wanted know where the baby was and when it would arrive.
The midwife announced that she could see the head starting to crown and then I could feel it pushing down. I was full of adrenaline and excitement. It was a matter of a few more pushes and he arrived. I had only been awake for 5 hours and 17 minutes that day - WOW!
The midwife passed the baby under my legs and into my arms. He was so soft and warm. The most precious thing I have ever touched. We were so lost in the moment we didn't even check if we'd had a boy or a girl. I looked down and announced that he was a beautiful boy! All I wanted is for my partner to be able to hold him too.
Instead he joined me lying back on the beanbag and we had our first family cuddle. We had shared every part of the pregnancy and the amazing birth experience together. I could never have done it on my own. To have a team that is so "in tune" is something that I will be forever grateful for.Sally & Oscar