That evening we sat down to watch Pirates of the Caribbean and I stayed rolling on my ball but I couldn’t keep still, so I had a bath and listened to my relaxation music, chilled out and went into the bedroom and put my pj’s on. I then went into spontaneous labour (on my due date 29th August too). I started having regular contractions every 20min at about 9.30pm.  My other half knew I wanted to be left alone to relax with my candles and my ipod/Hypnobirthing tracks. Even though we were both excited he left me to it and got some sleep. I started my rotating and breathing on my ball. I recorded my contraction times on my memo pad on my phone as they got closer. I thought I’d have another bath, candles on and lights off. I got bored of the relaxation music so switched to musicals… a bit of beauty and the beast and titanic! I kept topping up the hot water and breathed through my contractions. I told a few family members I was in labour, had a brief conversation with my excited Dad at 1am who had just got in from a party,  then a few hours passed and I got my wrinkly body out of the bath and back on my ball. I decided to do some washing up.

I kept recording my times, leaning over the side of the bath and I breathed through my contractions. I was getting more and more excited as they were closer together.  I woke my other half back up at about 3.15am as I needed some moral support and company.

I decided another bath would be the best thing for me, so back in I went, and my other half helped recording contractions and kept me company.  Although the contractions were coming faster and stronger, I knew I was closer to meeting our baby girl and looked at it as a positive.  A good job we aren’t on a water meter!!

It got to 5am and the contractions were finally down to 5 minutes apart and I felt like I was ready to go in as I was starting to feel a lot more pressure down below.  Dave got the phone ready and we called Meadows birth unit and spoke with midwife, Alison.  She said I sounded like I was coping beautifully and should try and delay going in as they wouldn’t want to have to send me home again.  The good news was they had no one else in so I didn’t have to worry about not getting in.
By this point I had the shower on as well as being in the bath to help.  I decided (whilst stopping and breathing through contractions) to wash my hair, dry my hair and get dressed ready to go.  I had a sudden burst of energy and found running up and down the hallway helped and stamping my feet on the spot helped.   I laugh about it now!

At about 6.30am I decided it was time to go to the Meadows birth unit.  I was still very excited.  This was it.  I made my partner slow right down as I felt every bump in the road.

We arrived at the Meadows birth unit, we were welcomed in and went straight into a private room. They checked my notes, read my birth plan and did a blood test to check my platelets as they had been dropping.  The lights remained dim with music on in the background.  I didn’t feel like I was in a hospital. I kept going and hiding in the toilet.  My partner says I spent most of my time in the toilet and thought I would have the baby in there!

I was asked to lay down on my side, on the reclining chair bed to be examined by Alison with lots of reassurance & compliments on how well I was doing, I was 3cm.  Whilst there she asked if I’d like a sweep, I agreed, she gave me a little sweep to help speed things back up (slightly uncomfortable but didn’t hurt) and we were sent on a walk around the hospital.

We only got as far as the main door and the contractions came on fast, felt like we had to stop every 2 minutes leaning over benches, railings and headed back in after half hour as they were getting stronger and closer. I put the escalated breathing techniques into practice. I now had a new midwife, Carol.

I felt tired at this point so they suggested a little rest and some breakfast, assistant Becky bought some breakfast in. I tried to lay down and rest on my side but I had a huge urge to push on my next contraction! I only had one bite of my toast and felt my waters pop, so I went back to sitting on the toilet.  My waters started to trickle then a few more contractions close together. Dave massaged my back as they were very strong in my lower back.  The midwife showed him where to apply pressure.  I asked if I could get in the water soon.

I was re-examined and was 6cm and my cervix was lovely and soft, so they let me carry on doing what I was doing, naturally.  She double checked my wishes and I said we both wanted skin to skin with the baby when she arrives and to deliver my placenta naturally unless it takes over 30 minutes and then to offer the injection.  The midwife was interested in hypnobirthing and supported my wishes.

It was time to move next door, to the birthing pool. It was 9.30am.
They filled the birth pool and asked what scent I wanted in the diffuser and oil in the pool floral and yang lin? I Just responded, let me get in!

The water was lovely and hot. The mood lighting was nice and the calm music was on…. such a relief!

I was on my knees, facing Dave (who was in trunks ready to get in but didn’t need to in the end – these were the only things we used from my labour bag), holding on to the handle, with my head on top of our hands. Dave was not allowed to let go of me.  Apparently, I freaked out when he tried to itch his head.
I rotated my hips feeling the water around me.  I was told after I rotated the whole time although I didn’t realise.
She checked my baby’s heartbeat every 15 mins … such a lovely noise. It helped relax me even more.  Baby was calm.
My temperature was checked regularly too although I didn’t really notice her do it.
I had lots of compliments off the midwife and Dave.  On the odd occasion I did start to break my relaxation and panic, I was kindly reminded to breath.

Kate got called in to assist Carol and do the write up. There was still minimal people in the room.  I suddenly felt the ring of fire a friend had told me about… so pleased, as I knew we were nearly there!
I felt the urge to push on contractions so my body just carried on and pushed.  I used my out breathing to help control this.  They asked me to roll onto my back if possible, to check progress.  I almost pulled Dave in the pool with me on contractions by this point.

The baby’s head was now visible
There were more contractions and I kept breathing nicely.
The midwife asked if I wanted to feel her head. I didn’t want too although I just wanted to know if she had hair or not.  So I was happy when she said yes.
The baby’s head gradually came out and back in, I was told this was a good thing as she was stretching me gradually so I was less likely to tear.
I could feel her moving which reassured me she was ok.
The midwife kept saying I was doing beautifully and to keep doing what I was doing, listen to your body.
I kept calm.
The out breathing helped.

Eventually, I was getting a little unsettled as her head still hadn’t come out, so they suggested chin on my chest and hold my breath and push. I opened my legs as far as possible and after about 3 contractions the baby’s head was out and looking around.  The strangest sensation.  The next contraction came and so did our beautiful baby girl.  She came swimming up to me eyes open in the water.  So alert.  The most amazing feeling, we were so emotional, and I sat cuddling my baby girl whist Dave cuddled me.

Ava Belle was born at 12.14pm weighing 7lb 4oz.

Daddy cut the cord and got his skin to skin time too.  I called my mum to let her know and cried down the phone with happiness.  I was so overwhelmed.  I then had to wait for the placenta to be delivered.  By this point I had started bleeding but again reassured all was fine by the midwife.  I wanted to get out of the water so I did and went to the toilet.  I didn’t wait long and I had a contraction which pushed my placenta out.  I then had time to clean up and get examined.  I was so relieved I hadn’t torn and pleased I had done the perineal massage before hand!  I am so grateful to the antenatal classes and Shelley for doing hypnobirthing sessions with me.
Truly amazing.