At 40 weeks I had thought I would still be pregnant for at least another week or two, but it turned out that my little girl wasn’t going to wait as long as her big brothers had. It was my estimated due date and as normal for a Friday I was running around all morning. However around lunchtime I popped to bathroom and was surprised to see I had had a show. Although this had happened before I was more surprised as with the first two I had also been having slight contractions and at this point I wasn’t even having twinges. I decided to ring Rob just to let him know it would be a good idea to make sure he was up to date at work, just in case.
That evening we went out for dinner, just the two of us. We discussed that she may arrive that weekend, so made the plan to make sure first thing Saturday morning we would blitz the housework and get prepared. We arrived home said by to the mother in law and after a long day I was in bed by half 9.
I woke up at 10.45ish with an ache all in my hips, just like the beginning of my first labour which lasted several hours. I took some paracetamol and decided to get some sleep, but after 15 minutes of trying to get comfy I decided I’d like a bath. I was a little worried that this may slow things down but felt it was the best choice if I was going to get some sleep. I lit my vanilla candles, I love the smell of vanilla and find it a great birth anchor for me as it always helps me to relax. I turned the hallway light on so that I could sit in the bathroom in the dark, but not pitch back. As I got into the bath I instantly felt better and could rest, I went into ‘my zone’ began to relax listen to my breathing and let my body do it’s thing. After a while I could feel the contractions, rather than the ache, and tell that they were regular but not really that long – about 30 seconds. During the contractions I found my breathing was enough, and during the intervals I would use the mind body scan which I teach in my MummyNatal classes this gave me a chance to concentrate on me, help my body relax and notice that the intervals were getting shorter.
Around midnight I decided that this was happening tonight and made the effort to get out of the bath to wake Rob. I announced that he needed to get up and tidy the dining room, he didn’t seem impressed but knew there was no point disagreeing. I went back to my bath.
Around 12.30 I needed to move, and I decided to go down stairs to sit on my ball (now it had been tidied up). I noticed the pressure had changed and was a lot more intense than before so I suggested we call labour ward. After the third/forth time of suggesting we call, Rob asked me if I had been timing the contractions and that he thought we should do that first. After around 10 minutes Rob suggested we call labour ward and was straight on the phone. I told him I was going back to the bath and that he was not to let the midwife in without gas and air. The pressure had become very intense and I felt I needed something extra.
The midwife arrived just after 1.30, she came into the bathroom and sat down. She did all of her obs that she could while I was still in the bath, for which I was very grateful. She asked if my ‘waters’ had gone I told her no, and she asked if I had a birth plan. Now birth plans or preferences are a topic I discuss in my MummyNatal classes and how they are an important factor in gaining the birth that you would like, however it is just as important to actually print it off your laptop as well – oops! So I did a quick debrief of what we had planned and told her Rob knew everything so if she wasn’t sure to ask him. She then explained that she was unable, due to it’s shape and where the shower was, to examine me in the bath so asked if we could go to the bedroom. I had originally decided that I didn’t want any vaginal examinations during this labour, but I had changed my mine and decided I would consent. On examination the midwife explained I was 4 cm dilated, to me that didn’t seem right with the strength and pressure of my contractions, but she then told me my membranes had broken – I think it happened in the bath. This made me feel a lot better as I knew from my last labour that I reversed dilated after my membranes had broken but still gave birth within the hour.
We then headed downstairs to my ‘birth room’ which was set up ready with my candles, lights, birth ball and yoga mat. Rob went to ring my mum to come sit with the boys, they were both asleep upstairs but our youngest is a very light sleeper. I used my breathing and birth ball to get into ‘my zone’, while the midwife sat quietly in the corner and just left me alone. Around 2am we heard a very familiar sound the pitter patter of tiny feet, Willem was awake! He stood at the top of the stairs crying and we knew he wouldn’t go back down easily so Rob went up to him in an attempt to get him back to bed, my mum hadn’t arrived yet. At around the same time my pressure change, I let out a different sound than before and the midwife immediately looked at me, ‘that’s changed’ without the need for any type of physical examination she knew it was time. I changed my position so that I was leaning on the birth ball and could immediately feel baby descending, I tried to concentrate on me but kept getting distracted by Rob being upstairs, finally I got my focus and got ready for that magical moment.. Rob obviously knew it was close as he came down before getting Willem back to sleep and was there in time to see our first daughter arrive into the world, with a few breathes a bit of gas and air and a lot of relief.
I had told our midwife we would like a physiological third stage, and my placenta arrived naturally 10 minutes later all by itself. We waited until the birth of the placenta before Rob cut the cord, by this point Willem had come down to join us. He took one look at his new baby sister and asked to go watch Thomas the Tank Engine. Our second midwife arrived 15 minutes after the birth and my mum 5 minutes after her. From the when I noticed my twinges/contractions started to the arrival of baby Persephonie it was just less than 3 ½ hours, the midwife arrived 45 minutes before the birth and left around 2 hours after with the second midwife. By 4.30 I was and bathed in my own bed, ready to face a new chapter in my life.