After three horrendous inductions that took three days apiece, I decided that this time it was going to be different, that my son (after five girls and 20 years of trying), as my last child, HAD to have a gentle birth and I NEEDED a positive birth experience. I got researching, spending hours and hours trawling the internet, reading chapters and chapters of books, speaking to everyone I knew who had a “birthy connection”. My pregnancy progressed well with no complications other than pelvic girdle pain for which I had physio, and strangely bothered me less and less as the weeks went by. I had planned a home/hypno/water birth.
I got to 40 weeks and went “over”…The pressure was on. The midwives were calling every other day to ask did I want to “go in”. HELL NO!!!!! 41 weeks, 42, 43, the pressure was really mounting. We were monitoring his heartbeat every other day, doing doppler scans, position scans, and I was having worst case scenarios thrown at me all the time. “I KNOW THE RISKS” I wanted to shout over and over. Finally at 43 weeks and six days I went for a doppler and had a meeting with the big boss midwife who assured me that she trusted me, and that they would “back off”.
After making appointments for Monday, Wednesday and Friday the following week, I went home, secure in the knowledge that somehow I wouldn’t need them. After weeks and weeks of prodromal labour and “is this finally it?” moments, I awoke with a surge at 5:45 a.m., Monday April 9th. I decided not to wake Rob at this point. I secretly thought if I kept it to myself for a while, this might finally be it! About an hour later our youngest woke up and, as my surges were eight minutes apart, I told Rob. But after taking the girls to school I realised they had petered out a little and I just KNEW I had to go home and rest.
The surges were sporadic throughout the day, so whilst Rob did the school run I “selfswept”. It worked like a charm: eight minutes apart again. I watched some T.V. whilst bouncing on my birthing ball, I danced to one of the cds Rob had made for me, I felt fantastic and couldn’t keep the smile off my face. This was it! I was finally going to meet my son. I kept talking to him, reassuring him that this was all good, that it felt strange but that it meant we would see each other soon. I would give him the biggest cuddle and he would get some boobie juice!
The girls went to bed at eight and nine and it had become painful to stay on the ball during a surge. I had to move around. At about 10 pm I felt I needed to be in water but as the surges were still no more than eight minutes apart, I decided the bath was best for now. At 11 pm I sent Rob out for Chinese takeaway. I thought it would be hours yet, but in the 20 minutes he was out, my surges went from eight minutes apart to five minutes. Just after he got back they went to three minutes and he started to fill the birthing pool, going back and forth between the bedroom and bathroom. I was still breathing through the surges but having to concentrate on them a little more.
Sometime around midnight Rob told me the pool was ready and asked if I wanted to get in yet. I had been feeling all of the baby’s twists and turns to position himself and at that moment felt a huge surge as Kristopher moved down the birth canal and he rotated. I said, “Nope, it’s happening here.” The surges came thick and fast, almost on top of each other. My water still hadn’t broken and I could feel the bag bulging. I said to Rob, “I wanna midwife here now with gas and…” We both said, “transition!” and we knew it wouldn’t be long before we held our son for the first time.
All this time Rob talked me through every surge, giving me positive affirmations, telling me how important we are to him and how much he loves us. Then my body took over. I felt like I was dreaming. I was breathing Kristopher down, lying on my side with my head on the side of the bath, holding Rob’s hand, and all of a sudden I knew I had to get onto my knees and told Rob, “This is it, he’s coming now.” Rob jumped in behind me and I said, “He’ll crown this time,” and as I breathed deeply he did crown. I panted as his head was born and said, “Are you ready, daddy? Here he comes!” Rob assured me he was and as my water broke our son slithered into his daddy’s loving arms.
Rob passed him between my legs and I fell instantly in love with my boy. 20 years, 44 weeks and three days of waiting, and here he is – the precious bundle I know I would die for, whom I trusted to choose his own birthing time and place. He still had fluid in his lungs as he was born in the caul. I felt totally at peace as I helped him breathe and clear the fluid and Rob went to call the midwife, “Just in case.”
About 15 minutes later we were still in the bath, gazing intently into each other’s eyes as I birthed the placenta. My little man was born at 1:30 a.m., May 10th, weighing 10 lbs. 5oz, and 22″ long – perfectly, quietly, drug free. PERFECT, just as it should be.