My Birth Story with Emelia

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emelia birth photo

I'd been having braxton hicks regularly since 20 weeks, so I was very used to the feeling of them and wasn’t fazed when they were quite intense and, sometimes, painful. On the Monday before I went into labour (things started on the Friday), I went for my daily two mile walk and my braxton hicks were very regular and intense. I had a really intense one that made me stop walking and breathe through. I got home and they died down pretty much straight away and I thought absolutely nothing of it.

On the Wednesday, I went to see a reflexologist. She said that she still thought I was going to go overdue; probably to 41 weeks, which she had said the week before. I didn’t want to feel disappointed because I was only 38+6 weeks, and being a midwife, I was well aware that most women go overdue. I did feel that there was a strong family history of being early but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I took it in my stride. I was still enjoying being pregnant and on maternity leave. Also, my best friend was on holiday until my due date and I really wanted her to be there for the birth, so I booked another appointment for the following Monday.

I couldn’t sleep the night before Emelia arrived. This wasn’t too odd, as I hadn’t been sleeping brilliantly for a while. I decided to watch a film on my phone, oddly I picked ‘what to expect, when you’re expecting’, all about pregnancy and birth!! My brain must have had a sense that something was happening. I got to sleep about 2am. I woke up about 5.30am to go to the toilet and I realised that I was having period type pains and backache, alongside my Braxton hicks every 5 mins or so. I didn’t think it was labour because of what the reflexologist had said, because I wasn’t due yet and that they weren’t strong. I was convinced they would just go off later in the day. I thought this would probably go on for days, as I was a first time mum and I hadn’t had any other signs like a show or anything.

I dozed until my husband got up for work at around 7, they were still coming every 5 mins but not painful. I said to him to go to work because I thought they would go off and I didn’t want him to miss work. I text my midwife at 9.03am, saying what was happening, just so she knew.

My husband text me at 10am to see how I was doing. I was still getting the period pains every 5 mins and they were getting a bit more uncomfortable. I’d had a bath and just taken some paracetamol but still felt ok and thought that they’d still go off. His work told him to come back home to be with me just in case. He text me again at 10.48am to let me know he'd be home at 11.30am and asked me if I wanted anything. I said I wanted jaffa cakes and a bottle of water (so random, but that’s what I wanted at the time!). I was very glad he was coming home.

At 11.10am, the tightenings were still every 4-5 mins apart but coming more intensely, especially in my back. I text my midwife again to let her know.

My husband came home at 11.30am; contractions went off slightly, so I tried to rest on the bed. My midwife phoned at 12.06pm and I said I was fine. She said she was going to the hospital but to let me know when I needed her.

I think I got into bath again about 1-1.30pm. The contractions were still every 5-6 mins, but again becoming even more intense. I was getting to the point where I knew this was labour and it wasn’t going away (my husband said he’d know it was “it” for hours but humoured me). He then started to inflate the pool and get things ready for my midwife to come.

I text my midwife at 1.54pm to say they were coming every 3 mins and a lot more intense. I said I was going to try the TENS machine and that I’d like to use the pool sooner rather than later. She said she’d get a sandwich and make her way over. I was needing my husband to put lots of pressure on my low back to ease the backache I was getting during each contraction. I tried the TENS machine for a couple of contractions, but it wasn’t strong enough. I’ve got a feeling it was more because we hadn’t done a proper trial run, so we probably weren’t using it properly. Oops! I got fed up and took it off and got my husband to keep with the pressure on my back. He did a great job of it (again something we hadn’t practised but funnily happened so naturally).

My midwife came at about 3pm and could see that my contractions were intense and so said to my husband to start filling the pool. I was needing a lot of support by this point, needing lots of pressure on my back. It took about an hour to get the pool sorted (he encountered a few problems filling it; we laugh about now but he said he was quite stressed at the time).

I got in the pool about 4pm and it felt amazing. Even though it was a really hot day, the warmth of the water was so good and helped ease my back pain.

For some reason, I decided to examine myself (must be the midwife in me) about 5.15pm and I could feel that that Emelia's head was low. I could also feel a lot of cervix and I thought I was 4cms. To this day, I don’t know how accurate that was.

I think I coped really well until about 6pm, where I think I was in transition and classically, I kept saying ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I think I mainly was saying this because I thought I was only 4cms and that I had at least 6 hours to go. I didn’t think I could cope with the back pain but everyone kept me going and assured me that I wasn’t 4 cms (they tease me still to this day on how fixated I was about it, when clearly my body was saying something else). It goes to show examinations tell us very little about what’s going on in a woman’s body. My second midwife arrived at 5.40pm.

I started to feel a bearing down sensation at about 7pm. It didn’t feel like I thought it was going to feel. I thought it was going to be this overwhelming pushing sensation or like a really needed to do a poo, but I was having so much back pain that I think it was masking this urge.

At 7.25, my midwife said to feel where her head was, as I still didn’t believe it was time to start pushing. I felt her head and she was really low and nearly there. Shortly after, I asked my midwife to break my waters as I felt things weren’t progressing. Once they broke, it felt so good and I could really feel her coming down and that we were both working together to get her out.

Emelia was born at 7.58pm, after 22 mins of proper pushing. I brought her to the surface of the water and onto my chest where I cuddled her (in shock)! We checked whether she was a boy or a girl and found out that she was, indeed, a girl! We stayed in the water together for about half an hour, where we decided her name and then my husband cut the cord. My husband then took his shirt off and cuddled her skin to skin for a while, while I was being checked. Emelia was then passed back to me and latched onto the boob straight away and fed like dream.

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