So, I gave birth! As I am typing, my baby Noah is now seven weeks old, and I am so excited to write this blog post!
During pregnancy, I watched hundreds of videos and read hundreds of posts about labour and birth, and now I am here, writing my own.
I will tell you about my experience while showing you frames of the long 23 hours of labour.
A quick foreword about my birth plan: my goal was to give birth in the birth centre of my local hospital, hopefully in the water pool, with minimum medical intervention and no epidural. As you read, you will learn that some things went according to the plan while others did not!
Also, I started working permanently from home in May and was supposed to go on maternity leave on Friday, the 11th of August. Well, I never made it!
Without further ado, let us get into the post!
8th of August, 1.30pm
I was working on the sofa, replying to some emails and enjoying a cup of coffee when, all of a sudden, my water broke!
I felt something oddly moving inside (not the baby!) and a big “pop”. I immediately got up, and to my surprise, a gush of water came out! I ran to the toilet, dripping water on the floor.
I kept thinking that many people had told me that water breaking was not like in the movies, but, for me, it actually was!
I started crying as I felt all the emotions at once: surprise, fear, happiness. I immediately called my husband, who was at work, and immediately went on his way back home, and then my mum, who kept me company on the phone while I was waiting for him.
I also rang the birth centre as previously instructed, and the midwife advised me to go in to be visited since my water had broken.
8th of August, 2pm
My husband finally arrived home. He was very excited, and could not wait to meet baby Noah! Our hospital bags had been ready for a while, so he gathered those and loaded the car.
The ride to the hospital took about 15 minutes. Once there, they visited me and tested my urine. As I suspected, there was no reason for me to stay there at that stage, so we were sent home.
It was a waiting game for the contractions to start, hopefully in the next 24 hours. After that, they would have had to induce me as my water had broken.
8th of August, 4pm
Back home, my husband and I had some time for ourselves. We could not believe I would give birth at 38 weeks. So many people had told us that first babies come late, no sooner than week 41, so I was convinced that would be the case for me.
We gave plenty of cuddles to Theo, our dog. He could feel something was off, and I was a bit heartbroken that he was not going to be the only (fur)baby in the house anymore.
To kill time, we also gave the house a good tidy-up, so we would find everything in order when going back with Noah.
8th of August, 4.30pm
Contractions started! I put some music on (Taylor Swift!) and breathed through them while leaning on my exercise ball. I had had plenty of Braxton Hicks before, so I was familiar with the feeling of the contractions.
8th of August, 6pm
Things got more intense by 6 pm, so I started using the Tens machine I had previously rented. I am happy to report that it helped – I recommend it!
From 6 pm to 10 pm, the contractions grew in intensity and length. We were, of course, keeping track, and called the birth centre a few times to keep the midwives updated. We also ordered some food, but I only managed to have some fries. I was not hungry at all.
8th of August, 10pm
We called once more to report the frequency and intensity of the contractions, and the midwives finally asked us to go in. I was in so much pain. Going to the car was terrible, and walking to the birth centre was even worse.
As soon as we arrived, they checked my urine and visited me to see if and how much I was dilated. That was one of the more painful moments of the whole experience… only to be told I was only 1cm! The pain I was in, the length and intensity of the contractions had me thinking I was more than halfway dilated… but no! The disappointment was real!
We were then moved to our room, where I kept breathing through the contractions and trying not to lose hope. I had hoped that Noah would make his arrival on the 8th but, it was clear at that point that that would not be the case.
9th of August, 4am
I kept going for hours and then I was offered some light pain relief that made me sleep for a couple of hours in between contractions.
9th of August, 6am
I woke up, and, to my surprise, I felt the urge to push! I was happy to hear I was 7cm dilated at that point, and finally, I was allowed to move to the water pool, which had been my plan all along. Being in warm water felt amazing, and I gained some extra energy and strength thanks to the change of scenery. I was also offered gas and air as pain relief, which I utilised until I pushed Noah out.
The time I spent in the water pool is honestly the best memory I have of the experience. I listened to music and got back massages from my husband while the midwives left me in my bubble, interrupting only to check the baby’s heartbeat. I was pleased that everything was going according to the plan. The midwives were very encouraging, and they assured me I would give birth in the next couple of hours… but that was not the case.
9th of August, 10am
This was when things started not going according to my birth plan. Contractions slowed down significantly, probably due to the hot water, meaning I had to leave the water pool! And this worked!
Contractions got more intense and frequent, and I could finally start pushing again. We tried different positions like lying on my side, standing, and sitting, and, according to the midwives, I was pushing in the right way at the right time. The baby’s head was visible and seemed to be where it was supposed to be. However, no matter how hard I would push, it would not move.
I kept going for hours with no luck, and I started to lose my energy and strength.
9th of August, 12.30pm
Things went sideways. The heartbeat of Noah dropped. The midwives gave me the chance to try and push a few more times, but sadly, I was exhausted and could not push as intensely as before.
In as short as five minutes, the midwives decided to transfer me to the labour ward. I was asked to move to a wheeled bed and got rushed there.
And that was when, for the first time since my water broke, I got really scared. The atmosphere was very different compared to the birth centre. The lights were bright, the room small, and I had about 10 people (the midwives from the birth centre, plus doctors and nurses) around running in circles, talking fast and doing I do not know what.
They told me I needed an episiotomy (my worst nightmare) and that they needed to utilise the ventouse to get the baby out. Not my ideal scenario but, at that point, all that mattered was giving birth in the safest possible way for my baby. Gladly, I had the gas and air by my side which I kept breathing.
Again, I was afraid and confused, to the point that I could not help but scream. I still remember the midwives and my husband stroking my head and asking me to breathe and keep calm.
9th of August, 12.56pm
Noah was born and immediately placed on my chest for skin-to-skin. And, just like that, the pain went away. However, I was losing a lot of blood. That meant my husband had to cut the cord only after about a minute,
We wanted to wait longer, but we could not since I was losing a lot of blood. For the same reason, I did not deliver the placenta naturally but had to get an injection. After which, they proceeded to give me stitches for the episiotomy – this was a little bit annoying.
The whole experience was honestly fantastic. I am glad we chose to go to the birth centre, even though we did not give birth there. I felt relaxed and calm the whole time, and I cannot voice enough how kind and supportive the midwives have been to me.
Postpartum… well, it was all a whole different story. I would rather give birth than go through postpartum and the first few weeks with baby Noah again. But that is a conversation for another day!
Thanks for reading this blog post!
Have a lovely rest of your day,