To make sense of this story I will first give you a little background on my previous labours. My first baby was born ten weeks early as I was very ill and underweight, I had gas and air, pethidine, an epidural and forceps were used. My son was in the special care baby unit for just two weeks and has been perfectly healthy ever since.
With my next three babies their births were almost identical, each lasted two hours and I used gas and air, each of my three daughters were ten days late and weighed around 7lb 11oz. My fifth baby was eleven days late, my labour lasted just ninety minutes and I had a planned home birth which was fantastic, my son weighed a huge 9lb 3oz. I was very quiet in each of these five labours and each baby was born just before midnight.
So now onto my sixth labour: I was eleven days overdue and had been having irregular, pain-free contractions all day, the night was drawing in and I was feeling restless. I paced around the sitting room all night waiting for labour to start, willing the pain to begin so I could get it over and done with. It got to 6am, I was now twelve days overdue and there was no change so I thought I would go to bed and get a couple of hours sleep before the children woke.
I went to the bathroom on my way and noticed how loudly the birds were singing outside, it was quite surreal, I just stood still for a moment completely absorbed in listening to the beautiful birdsong and then the pain hit me. I felt utter relief and thought finally I would soon be meeting my new baby. I woke my husband, Ashley, and said, “This is it, time to ring the midwife”. This was to be my second home birth. Ashley woke the children to let them know what was going on and gave them a DVD to watch upstairs with the strict instructions of not to come downstairs until told to do so.
The midwives here have to cover a large area so my midwife, Emma, didn’t arrive until 7:45am. I was annoyed and surprised that I hadn’t given birth already. Emma was lovely because she didn’t talk much and the last thing I need when I’m in pain is someone trying to have a chat with me! Emma asked me if I wanted gas and air and I managed to remain strong enough to decline. I really wanted to know how a drug-free labour felt.
At 8:25am Emma checked my cervix and said I was 6cm dilated. I was completely horrified, what was going on? I’d been in labour for two and a half hours; my last four babies had each been born within two hours. I started to lose control; I felt I couldn’t take the pain for much longer. All of a sudden with my next contraction I was in agony and shouting; “Help me! Help me!” That was when my waters broke. I felt that sudden urge to push but I felt terrified having just been told I was only 6cm dilated. Just then Emma noticed there was meconium in my waters which meant the baby was in distress. Emma tried to find the baby’s heartbeat and when she did it was dipping.
I was on my knees leaning forwards over the sofa, the next thing I knew was Ashley and Emma were flipping me round into a different position which caused the pain to intensify to a level I didn’t think could possibly exist. The pain and my fear were so immense that I was literally screaming like I was being murdered. Ashley and Emma were shouting at the tops of their voices at me but I couldn’t hear a word of it, I just screamed and pushed like there was no tomorrow. Two minutes later my baby boy was born. It was 8:32am and he weighed 8lb 13oz.
My baby was very pale and cold, he cried and I immediately held him to my chest and wrapped a towel round him. As soon as I saw my baby I knew everything was going to be okay, he was perfect. I refused the injection that makes the placenta come out quickly because I wanted to keep the whole experience drug-free. Thankfully my placenta came out within five minutes anyway. I then decided not to have the cord cut until it had finished pulsing which took about half an hour.
Emma said she would have to call for an ambulance to take my son and me to the hospital as his temperature was low. I asked if I could give my baby a proper feed before she phoned to which she agreed. After I’d fed my baby, Emma took his temperature which had risen to a normal level. Emma phoned the hospital to update them and they said I could stay at home and the midwives would come to my house every few hours to do their observations.
Ashley went to tell the children they could come downstairs and meet their new brother. I felt so guilty for not being able to keep quiet during labour, the girls looked like they were in shock. What I have learnt from this experience is that if I do decide to have another baby, yes another one, I would give birth in hospital in case another emergency did arise and I would probably use gas and air because I’d rather not experience pain on that level ever again. I now know that yes, it’s true, gas and air really does make a difference!
As I’ve been writing this I am nursing my now four week old baby and have no doubt in my mind that I would go through it all again to hold him in my arms.
I hope you enjoyed this birth story, you can find out my baby’s name and see a photo of him on my blog .