My second pregnancy was almost identical to my first – easy, non-eventful and very enjoyable even at the end. The birth of my daughter Emma nearly 4 years earlier had been long and quite traumatic, including a 4 hour 2nd stage, ending in a ventouse delivery and me going home with a catheter for 3 weeks afterwards. Emma was a very wakeful and unsettled baby, which is probably the main reason we waited nearly 4 years to have another baby.
Because I felt so out of control over Emma’s birth, I decided to look into Calmbirthing to see if they could help me gain a more positive outlook on birth. I found the lovely Kelly who had recently qualified as a Calmbirthing practitioner, and she agreed to take us on. We had 6 sessions with Kelly starting from the mid-2nd trimester, and I regularly practiced with the CD she provided me right until the end of my pregnancy.
My due date was 14th December, but I was convinced I would be overdue – Emma was 10 days late, and I thought that if I expected to be overdue I wouldn’t be disappointed when I was! We had lots of work going on with our house, and it was beginning to stress me out that the spare room was yet to be converted into a room for the baby. So at about 9pm on 13th December I got to work, and dismantled Al’s weight bench and packed it away, then pulled the cot out from under Emma’s bed and started organising things to be moved out. Then I had a big bowl of fruit salad and went to bed at about 10pm.
Through the night I was aware of regular sensations about ½ hour apart, they didn’t hurt or anything, but I could definitely feel that something was going on. I decided not to tell Al, and just let things go through the night until we all woke up at about 7am. After another hour or so I told Al that something might be happening, and he started paying attention to timing. At this time, the sensations were about 20 minutes apart, and still not bothering me at all.
I pottered around the house with Emma to try and distract myself while Al did some last minute work updates in expectation of being off work for a few weeks. Em and I made some chocolate cup cakes and a big cake, I did some washing and other mundane jobs, and then I packed Em an overnight bag. Things had progressed to about 10 minutes apart, and I was beginning to feel stronger sensations each time. I cooked us some felafels for lunch, but didn’t feel like eating mine. While I sat at the table I got a bit teary because I finally acknowledged that I was actually in labour.
Al went out to drop off his work notes to his office and grab a few last minute things for the labour bag, taking Emma with him so I could concentrate on myself. By now I was breathing through each sensation, practicing my Calmbirth breathing techniques and counting away. I rang my friend who would be caring for Emma to let her know not to go anywhere, and she got all teary and excited. We decided Al would drop Emma over when he got back from his errands.
Once Al got back I was aware that things had progressed quite a bit, and he was getting concerned so started timing them (I had been ignoring the clock on purpose, not wanting to get obsessed by timings) and he saw that the sensations were 5 minutes apart, and lasting at least a minute each. He said he thought it was time to call the hospital, and then called my friend to ask if she could come and collect Emma because I wasn’t comfortable with Al leaving me alone at this stage. She was there in minutes, and gave me a big squeeze and had another teary moment, and my brave big girl went off with her for a special sleep over.
Al convinced me to ring the hospital because things were about 4 minutes apart now, so I called and asked to speak to the Birth Centre midwife. Predictably there wasn’t one on shift, so the midwife who answered the call spoke to me instead. I had 3 contractions while on the phone, so Al had to take over, and he was told to bring me in. After a rather horrible car ride in (thankfully we only live 10 minutes away!), we arrived at the hospital. Naturally there were no car parks outside the main entrance, so Al decided to just leave the car there and risk it – thankfully as we walked in the door someone left so he moved the car while I had a contraction in the foyer. We made our way to the assessment centre and were greeted rather casually by a lovely Irish midwife named Claire. Things were now about 2 minutes apart, and very intense. Claire examined me and announced that I was 9cm dilated and that my waters were bulging, then threw me in a wheelchair and flew down the corridor into Birth Suite #5 before I could even put my trousers back on (thankfully I had a dress on too!).
I went straight to the bathroom because I thought I needed to wee, sat on the loo and immediately had another contraction so went down on my hands and knees on the floor. My waters immediately broke with a pop, and contractions intensified again and were about 1 minute apart. I got up on the bed and remained on all fours as I had quite intense back pain and this was the most comfortable position. Pretty much as soon as I was on the bed I felt the urge to push, so with each contraction push I did. I stayed on all fours for most of the labour, until Claire told me I had to get on my back as she couldn’t monitor the baby properly. Over I went, and felt incredibly uncomfortable, but I could feel that it was helping the baby move down so put up with it.
Al was fantastic, holding wet towels on me to cool me down when I asked, and taking them off when told! He was very encouraging and supportive, and kept whispering to me to think of my Calmbirth relaxing place.
So after arriving at the hospital at 5:20pm, I gave birth to our son Hayden Mason at 6:50pm on his due date. He was 7lb 10oz, 50.5cm long and had a head circumference of 36cm. APGARS were 9 and 9, and he had a head full of dark hair and lovely blue eyes.
I loved my second birth, and am certain that the Calmbirthing helped me stay in control – I would recommend it to anyone wanting a calm, peaceful birth.