I had my 38 week appointment on Wednesday and baby’s head was down but not down low enough unfortunately. My midwife told me she didn’t think baby would be here for another few weeks yet. I left feeling really disappointed because I was determined to have this baby before Christmas. I had been doing all the tricks to try prepare my body for labour like raspberry leaf tea, 7 dates a day, using the exercise ball, perineal massage, curb walking, acupuncture etc. I said to my husband, Jae when he got home, this weekend we are going for a hike to help get this baby out before Christmas. So Saturday came and we headed off for a hike to mount lofty, a very slow and short hike.
Went to bed Saturday night and around 2am I started having a few cramps, thought they were just “braxton hicks” or bladder pains because I could sleep through them. We woke up Sunday morning and got ready for our usual F45 workout session. I said to Jae i’m still having these braxton hicks. Went to F45, completed our workout as I was having contractions I kept stopping mid workout and saying to Jae “wow these braxton hicks are a bit hectic”.
I was in complete denial that I was in labour. After class we were standing outside chatting to one of the trainers and my waters broke. Me, still being in denial that baby was coming I just subtly said to Jae we need to go. Got home and called the hospital still saying “oh it’s probably not me in labour but thought I would let you know” the midwife on the phone said it sounds pretty convincing your in labour so we headed in to get checked.
Finally once I was hooked up to the monitor and the contractions started getting quite painful I believed that it was labour. We left the hospital around 2/3pm to labour at home for as long as possible. But once I was home the contractions really ramped up. I put my tens machine on, started the labour playlist, candles on and sat on my exercise ball breathing through the contractions. I didn’t want to strictly time the contractions yet because I was telling myself and Jae it will probably be about 24+ hours before we even have baby. I was very wrong haha. Jae had to convince me that it was time to start writing the timing and duration between each contraction down. And once I was having more then 4 contractions in 10 minutes lasting longer then 60 seconds we decided it was time to call the hospital. By the time we called around 5/5:30pm the hospital had gotten so full that they didn’t have room for us anymore and we had to go to another hospital instead. The 30 minute drive there was horrible as contractions were back to back lasting 90+ seconds with hardly any rest period. I was very grateful for my tens machine at this point.
Once we got to the hospital (Boxhill) the birth suite midwives were waiting for us and showed us to our room. They knew we wanted a water birth so we had a room with a big bath, dim lights and beautiful fairy/Christmas lights. The room was beautiful. Jae set up the room with photos from our wedding day and photos from my recent maternity shoot along with some candles and started the music again.
The midwife started filling the bath for us while I got in the shower. I was in a lot of pain by this point and Jae’s help with the hip squeezes we learnt in the Calmbirth classes were amazing! We had written a birth plan and our main aim was a very non-medicalised and minimal intervention birth and we absolutely got that. Our midwife was incredible. She helped with my hip pain and didn’t ask to do an internal exam once. In the end I requested an internal to see how dilated I was as I had a student midwife and birth photographer to come in.
The midwife did her check and I couldn’t believe I was 7cm dilated!
The bath was taking a long time to fill so between the shower and the exercise ball I then asked for nitrous/gas. I loved the gas. It really helped take the edge off, so I would use the gas and Jae would massage/hip squeeze during contractions. At some point I started to get up on my toes during contractions and I noticed the midwife quietly saying something to Jae. Once the contraction had finished, she then came over to explain to me that getting up on my toes was a good sign baby was moving down and we were getting closer to meeting our baby. This was really reassuring.
The bath was finally ready and as soon as I got in I felt so much more calm and the pain was much better.
During contractions I was leaning on the edge holding Jae and he would remind me to keep breathing and to focus on my breath like we learnt in the birthing classes.
When I felt the urge to push I knew we were close to meeting our baby. After pushing with everything I could I started to feel frustrated that my baby wasn’t coming. My midwife told me to feel myself where baby’s head was after each contraction and I could feel that baby’s head was getting closer to being out which was exciting.
Finally after a big push baby’s head was out and I could feel him. Jae could see him with the mirror. The time waiting for the next contraction felt like forever but once the next contraction came and one last push and our baby was out. Jae picked him up, the cord was around his neck so the midwives quickly unwrapped it and Jae was able to lift him onto my chest. Jae then looked and announced that he was a boy! Our baby boy let out a cry and we had beautiful skin to skin in the bath before getting out to deliver the placenta. It was 10:08pm when he was born so it had been about 12 hours since my waters broke.
The next few hours were then spent doing lots of skin to skin and breastfeeding.
It really was the best day of our lives and we had our dream labour and birth. Being educated and having a plan really helped us to know how we wanted things to go and we feel so lucky we got the birth we did.
And even more lucky we got to meet our baby boy, Archie River Derbyshire, 10 days early on 11/12/2022.