We were ready for our little boy to come. We had done all the prep; birth plan written, bags were packed by the front door, revising our hypnobirthing notes most nights. We were excited for the big day!
Following on from what we learnt in Amy's class, we knew it wasn't very likely that our little boy would be making his arrival on his due date but we wanted to keep the oxytocin flowing and distract ourselves. We planned to have a lovely meal out and do a bit of shopping in Oxford.
I got up around half 6 in the morning and felt mild period pain cramps but didn't think too much of it as I had them before and it never amounted to anything. I climbed back into bed and Aaron joked 'maybe you're having contractions'. A hour or so past and we got up and got ready for the day, hair and make up done ready for our nice day out.
I noticed the pains were coming every so often but wasn't anything too serious and there wasn't a pattern to them. Around mid morning, my plug went. I remember thinking that I can't be in labour because all my friends on our antenatal course had their plugs go 5 days before they gave birth, so I've got ages until I give birth.
I climbed in the bath to help soothe the pains and they were better.
Around lunch time I was starting to have surges every 25 minutes for about 3 minutes long.
At this point, we had decided not to go out for lunch because I didn't want to be sat in a restaurant trying to breathe through my pains every half hour or so. We ordered in lunch from a cafe instead and I sat on the birth ball as I wanted to keep as mobile as possible. Half way through my lunch, I couldn't finish what I was eating as the pain was getting a bit much.
Aaron suggested having another bath as it helped last time. I thought my waters were beginning to trickle out as my pad kept becoming wet whilst I was waiting for my bath to run so I phoned MAU for some advice and they told me to come in for an examination. They also said that if I was in early stages of labour and my waters had gone then I would likely be sent home to wait and if my waters hadn't gone, the same thing would apply.
I was so comfy in the bath and was able to manage my surges well. I decided to wait a bit longer as I would only be sent home from the hospital anyway. Being so relaxed in the bath seemed to speed things up. I was now having 2 to 3 surges every 15 minutes. I got out of the bath and casually got myself ready to go to the John Radcliffe Hospital. We didn't rush or panic, just took our time and packed the car up ready to go.
We got to the hospital at about 17:30 and they were waiting for me at the Spires for an examination. I had only had paracetamol by this point so gas and air was a welcoming sight! I was told I was 2cm dilated but my cervix was really thin. I stated that I did not want to go home and that I really wanted a pool birth. The midwife informed me that I wouldn't have to go back home but advised they wouldn't recommend getting in the pool now as it would slow down my labour. I knew from the moment I fell pregnant that I wanted a water birth and if a pool was available I wanted to be in it. I dug my heels in and said I wanted to be in the pool so they began to run the pool and in the meantime, I bounced on the birth ball.
Labour was progressing really well and Aaron coached the surge breathing; in for 3 out for 7. Suddenly I felt my contractions change. I felt the urge to push down. Although a bit dazed from gas and air and from the pain, I remember thinking to myself that I would have a 'pushing' surge rather than a painful surge. This went on for about half hour to 45 minutes.
The midwife suggested getting out of the pool so she could examine me again as it had been 3 and a bit hours since I had last been examined. My legs felt like jelly and I didn't particularly want to get out but they were keen to see how far along I was and couldn't really see under the water. With the support of Aaron and the student midwife, they helped me onto the bed. They immediately noticed I was crowning so got me back into the pool. Within a few contractions and zero pain relief, I focused and pushed down. I birthed our little boy. The midwife scooped our baby up and put him in my arms. We spent a little bit of time holding our beautiful baby and had a few photos taken before it was time to get out of the pool. Whilst I got cleaned up and had my stitches done, Aaron was keen to do skin to skin with the baby and bond with him.
We spent a few hours together in the room as a family, having lots of cuddles and admiring our little boy. I really wanted to go home and rest in the comfort of my own bed but unfortunately as I couldn't pass urine, I had to be transferred down to the maternity ward for an overnight stay and to be observed. The next morning, we were able to go home as a family of three.
Looking back at my birth story, I couldn't have asked for a better birth! I felt in control and calm throughout my labour and due to the hypnobirthing techniques we learnt, I gave birth within 4 hours without any complications.
I was excited to use everything I had packed in my 'hypnobirthing labour bag' which included lots of aids to help me such as massage oils, affirmation cards, battery candles and scents/photos to keep me grounded and reassured, the only downside was we just didn't have the time to use any of it!