So, as you know I was planning on having a water birth at home. Didn't happen quite like that, and annoyingly I was told afterwards how it would have been a perfect home birth because it was quick and simple. Yeah. Thanks.
Anyway, on the morning of Monday 26th September my waters started breaking, but it was literally nothing to write home about. Maybe too much information, but it was just a little trickle. The film 'whoosh all of my waters have broken and ouch now I'm in labour' version very rarely happens!
I did start to have very mild contractions, but we were made to go to the Assessment Unit to get checked out and to have it confirmed. The annoying thing was that I did start to have contractions, but they stopped when we were waiting for 4 HOURS in hospital for someone to look and me and go 'yeah your waters have broken'. And that was the second opinion. The first midwife thought I had wet myself! Not that I've done it, but I'm 99% sure that I'd know if I had peed myself!
So everything stopped, and I was very excited, but still nothing developed over-night, and so the next day we had to go back in so I could be induced. They used a pessary to get the ball rolling. I thought I was having contractions,, but when they examined me 11 hours later they said I hadn't even contracted properly. Just softened up! That's when I hit a complete wall and freaked out because I was so tired already, and even though I wasn't in established labour, it was still painful.
I started to panic, which made things worse. They had taken the pessary out, but because I was already in a lot of pain, the thought that it hadn't even started yet scared the life out of me! Si (who was an absolute godsend) calmed me down and luckily I managed to get my head down, concentrate, and get back on track. We were being sent up to the delivery suite in an hour or two, so I had decided to go for some serious pain relief (maybe even an epidural) just so I could get some rest. I had already been awake for about 18 hours at this point and I was almost passing out between contractions.
As it turned out though, they had some major emergencies in the delivery suite so there wasn't room for me. That really does put it into perspective, because I knew how lucky I was for everything to be going well so far.
The ante-natal ward isn't very private or enclosed (I guess they don't expect women to actually give birth there!) but they swiftly put me and Si into a side room when I started to make moaning noises when a contraction came. I couldn't help it! By 11pm, they were really starting to come on strong, but as nothing had happened a couple of hours ago, they left me to it, probably thinking I was over-reacting! I did start to convince myself of the same thing.
It got to the point though where I felt really uncomfortable with not knowing what was happening. They wired me up to a monitor to check Bean's heartbeat, but in order to get a good reading from her, they couldn't pick my contractions up effectively. All I could do was close my eyes to concentrate on getting through each contraction, and the midwife who came in to check on me, wrote in my notes that I was fast asleep! Little did they know.
It got to about 1am and I begged Si to get them to assess me again because the pain was so bad and I had really started to get the urge to push. They were dubious because they didn't want to risk infection but when they examined me they confirmed I was 9.5cm dilated!! They rushed me up to the delivery suite and I started pushing as soon as I got there.
Weirdly the last stage of labour was the one I was most worried about. I just couldn't see where I would get the energy from to push, but that was my favourite bit. Energy just came from no-where (I guess adrenaline) and I finally felt in control. I was pushing for 1 and a half hours before our daughter Lib was born in spectacular style at 2.41am Wednesday 28th September. It was just under 4 hours of established labour.
It was done without pain relief (not by choice....they don't dish out pain relief aside from paracetamol on ante-natal wards. And they kept forgetting to keep me topped up!) and it was without a doubt the proudest day of my life.
It's amazing what reserves your body will muster in order to get you through something.
Our beautiful baby girl