born at 7:01am on Friday 31st December 2010 weighing in at a whopping 9lb 9oz (4.33kg). Here is his birth story...
It all started on Thursday afternoon at around 1:30pm. I had been getting very strong braxton hicks contractions for weeks, but I started to notice a change in them. It was like they were spreading down to my lower abdomen. They were still very irregular, but different than what they had ever been. They also started spreading a bit into my lower back which they had never done before. They were still only just 'uncomfortable', but different enough to make me start to wonder if it was maybe the start of something happening.
Things continued this way all afternoon. Sometimes there would be only 5 minutes between them, sometimes 10 minutes and sometimes breaks of around 45 minutes. At this stage, they were still only noticeable, but not overly painful. I decided to send my doula a message before going to bed to let her know that things may be starting. In bed, I struggled to get any sleep. The contractions were getting more painful - still easily manageable, but enough that I couldn't really sleep through them, particulary when they were starting to become closer together with not enough time to fall asleep in between.
At 1:30am they started to get painful enough that I couldn't just lay down through them. I woke up the hubby to let him know that I thought we should start to think about getting ready. The contractions were now consistently 5 minutes apart and enough that I had to stop and breathe through them. We got ready, called our doula to let her know we would be starting to head into the hospital and left home around 2:30am.
The trip to the hospital took around 20 minutes and I had 5 contractions within that time. It was so strange though after my last labour - in between contractions I felt perfectly fine. I would then start to wonder if we were being too quick heading in to the hospital. Then another contraction would come and I knew we were doing the right thing!
We arrived at the same time as our doula and headed for the maternity ward. I had called ahead to let them know we were on our way so when we got there they showed us through to a ward where they had to do a mandatory check on the baby. I was strapped up and both the baby and my contractions were monitored for the 15 minute period that the hospital policy states they must do. It brought back memories of my last labour, being stuck on my back on the bed. It was now that I was glad that we didn't wait longer to go to the hospital, so the contractions were still manageable on the bed. We got the all clear and headed down to the birthing suites. I was the only one in the hospital so got my choice of rooms - with the help of our doula, we chose the room that had the best bath set up for the water birth I wanted.
By now the contractions were now around 2-3 minutes or so apart and I was starting to feel them a lot more in my back. While our doula added her touches to the room and got set up, I managed the contractions by standing and leaning into pillows on the bed and breathing through them. I concentrated on not fighting the contractions, accepting them, imagining my cervix opening and working with them. Then the back pain worsened. I continued to have quite bad back pain in between the contractions now too. Pacing around the room and returning to the side of the bed for contractions helped me cope for a while, then it was suggested that I get in the shower.
Oh my gosh, the relief!! I couldn't believe how wonderful that shower was. Our doula had one nozzle aimed on my back and hubby had one aimed at my lower abdomen. The water was incredibly hot, but it pretty much eliminated my back pain and helped a lot with the contractions. I stayed in there for a while, holding onto two metal bars to support myself through the contractions. This was working well until the contractions got so painful that I couldn't stand up through them any more. I tried sitting on a fit ball through them, but because most of the pain was in my back, I found that I couldn't cope with sitting upright either. It was now that the midwife suggested hopping into the bath.
The bath was no where near as good at easing the back pain, but it felt good to be in the water. By now the contractions were very close together and very painful. Pretty much all the pain was in my back and I found the only way I could cope was to roll onto my knees with my hands on the edge of the bath, my head resting on towels and breathe through them. By now though, they were so painful that I found I needed to be more vocal with the out breath. Lets just say that I'm glad that I was the only one in the birthing area - I would hate to think that I may have scared a first time Mum who was not as advanced into labour as me!
The contractions were now only a minute or less apart and painful in a way that just cannot be described. I started losing it, I felt like I couldn't cope and wasn't coping. A tiny sane voice in my head told me that it was just the transition stage, but I really felt like I couldn't keep going. More and more contractions came. I kept waiting to feel the baby coming down, but all I could feel was the contractions - and all the pain was in my back. The contractions just kept coming and I still couldn't feel the baby. This went on for around 30 minutes. I felt like it was never going to end, that I physically couldn't keep going. I was passing out in between contractions, having to be physically held up so I didn't slip underwater. I was exhausted and very scared of the level of pain I was feeling. Everyone kept telling me that it was nearly over, but the more contractions that came, the less I believed them and the more scared I got.
The midwife suggested I try and empty my bladder - I had been given lots of water throughout the labour and they thought that maybe a full bladder was making things more difficult. I sat on the toilet, but was unable to do much else. Another contraction came and was incredibly difficult to deal with while on the toilet. Then I felt a pop and a gush of liquid...finally my waters had broken. The midwife apparently noted the time down as 6:52am. Within seconds, I felt the baby coming down. What a relief, finally the end was in sight. The confidence that feeling restored in me was massive.
Straight away I wanted to get back into the bath. I stood up from the toilet and felt like the baby's head was pushing out of me, it was incredibly uncomfortable. I made a dive for the bath that apparently got a bit of a chuckle out of the midwives - the one who delivered him even made mention to me the next day that she'd never seen anyone jump in so quickly! I got back onto my hands and knees which just felt like the most comfortable position to be in, and started to push with the contractions as I felt our baby coming out. I was on a serious mission...I was done. A couple of pushes and I could feel his head emerging. I still felt 'the burn' but it was no where near as bad as being out of the water. His head popped out and I felt that wonderful sense of relief that the worst was over. It was so strange waiting for the next contraction - with it being so slippery under the water, I could feel the baby's head moving around outside me. Apparently his eyes were open and he was looking around! It was around this point that hubby decided he would let the midwife pull baby up instead - must have looked quite bizarre!
Another contraction and another push and our little one entered the world - less than 10 minutes after my waters had broken. I turned around to lay down in the bath as they passed our little boy to me. He lay on my chest in the bath, just looking up at me and gently gazing around the room. It was incredible, such a peaceful arrival into the world. The lights were even dimmed low enough that the midwife had used a torch to check on the baby as he was being delivered. We lay in the bath together, my littlest boy finally in my arms. It was love at first sight.
We all noticed straight away how big he was, but it was at least an hour and a half later before we would find out just how big. I thought our last baby was pretty big at 8lb 12oz, so I was quite surprised to find out that this little one was 9lb 9oz or 4.33kg.
We had his first name in mind not long after we found out the sex. Once we saw him, we thought it suited him beautifully. We chose Edward as his middle name after my Grandfather.
He is just so perfect and we are already so much in love. Our time in the hospital was just so much calmer than with my first baby - I really do think that his peaceful, drug free entry into the world played a big part in that. I look back and still can't believe that I managed to birth him this way and am so proud of the accomplishment. Can't say I'm in a hurry to do it again though! ;)