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[Sorry for how big the photos are!]

In the run up to the birth:

When I reached 37 weeks we were able to collect the birth pool that we were hiring from the local hospital and we put it up in our living room/dining room so that it would be ready for when we needed it.

Monday 1st October 2012

Before I went to bed I decided to sleep on a towel for the first time, luckily I did…

6.40am I woke up and uttered the immortal line to wake Debbie up "ummm I don't think I just wet myself?!"
So off I went to the loo clutching the towel to me to break open the pack of super thick maternity pads.

We decided to carry on the morning as normal and I told Debbie she should head in to work because I was sure everything would take ages so she went to grab a shower while I sat on my birth ball.

7.30am I decided to get in the shower so that I'd feel fresh and I didn't know when I'd next get the chance to give my hair a good shampoo, I think I also gave my legs a quick shave! While I was in the shower I had my first couple of contractions.

Right from the beginning my contractions were about 3-4 mins apart.

8.30am I was still insisting that Debbie should go to work but she decided that it was time to go and drop our dog off at my Aunt and Uncle's house round the corner as we'd arranged with them that's what we'd do when I went into labour so that he wouldn't get under the midwives' feet. She also wanted to pop into work for 10 mins to do a quick hand over as her two weeks of 'paternity leave' were obviously starting!

Before she left she helped me put on my TENS machine.

While she was gone I just walked around the kitchen leaning on the worktop for contractions and started using the contraction timer on my phone, from here on in for every contraction I was pushing the boost button on the TENS and pressing the 'start contraction' button on the timer and then at the end of the contraction I have to turn off the TENS boost and stop the contraction app. It worked as a good distraction.

9.15am Debbie arrived back home and we tried to call my mum to let her know things were starting but we couldn't get hold of her on her mobile so we tried to look up her work number in the phone book, the number listed was wrong so we ended up calling the other branch and asking them for the right number! Finally managed to speak to her and told her we'd text when there was more news.

9.45am We decided to call the labour ward so that they could make the home birth team aware that things were happening.

They were confused why we were only just calling them when my waters had gone 3 hours before, but we thought we'd been told not to call until the contraction were progressing, oh well. But they said that they'd get the midwife on call for homebirths to ring us back.

10.15am Inga the midwife on call called us, we let her know that the contractions were every 3-5 mins apart and were lasting about 30-40 seconds. She said she'd call back in a couple of hours for an update, or we could call her before that if we wanted to ask any questions or felt it was progressing quicker.

I went to sit in the living room on my birth ball and had a little bounce on there while watching the judges houses episode of X Factor which we'd recorded over the weekend (still pressing the TENS boost button and the contractions app with each contraction). While I was distracted with the telly Debbie went and put the hoover around the bedroom and hallway then came back in and did the living room. The next day I also found out that while she had been in the bedroom she had packed the last minute bits into my hospital bag.

11.45am I decided to take a couple of paracetamol.

12.30pm We decided to call Inga to give her an update because my contractions had started to last longer (about 50-60 seconds) and I was having to breath through them, they were still coming every 3-4 minutes.

12.45pm I asked Debbie to bring me something to be sick into as I'd been feeling sick for most of the morning and suddenly felt like I would actually be sick.

2pm I decided that I wanted to get into a different position as it was starting to feel uncomfortable sitting on the birth ball so I moved to kneel on the sofa for a while. I was still using the TENS machine and timing the contractions using the app on my phone but it was at this point at it became difficult to time them accurately because I was leaning on the back of the sofa and the TENS machine was the more important of the two.

2.15pm At this point I started to feel anxious about when we should start to fill the birth pool and I felt like the contractions were getting more intense and I wanted the reassurance of the midwife so Debbie called Inga back and asked if she could come to see me. She said that she would examine me when she arrived and then we'd know whether to start filling the pool or not.

After about 15 minutes I asked Debbie to start filling the pool anyway as I was starting to feel like I wasn't coping with just the TENS machine and wanted to get in the pool straight away if Inga said I was dilated enough.

3pm Inga arrived, she started off by taking my blood pressure and feeling my tummy during a contraction then she asked me to go to the loo so she could do a urine dip test. The dip test showed keytones and she said she really wanted me to eat something but I still felt sick so I didn't really want to.

3.30pm Inga wanted to examine me to see how dilated I was so I had to lie on the bed. I was really nervous about having the examination but it was ok in the end and it turned out I was 5-6cm dilated so Inga said it was fine for me to get straight in the birth pool. She also said that it was only my hind waters which had broken earlier.

3.45pm Debbie had to help me climb into the pool because the sides were quite high. Once I was in the pool my contractions felt a lot more manageable and I was able to relax a bit and eat some peanuts and raisins that Debbie put into a bowl for me.
At 4pm our new midwife Caroline arrived to take over from Inga, she told us that she had had a feeling that she might be coming out to me tonight and so when she'd finished her clinic at the local doctor's surgery earlier in the morning she had driven past our house to suss out where it was in case she'd had to find it in the dark.

From getting in the pool my blood pressure was taken every hour as well as my temperature and baby's heartbeat was checked every 15 minutes. The handheld dopplers that the midwives carried with them were meant to be water proof but they didn't work well underwater so each time Caroline wanted to check baby's heartbeat I had to either stand up or lean back on the side of the pool and push my bump out of the water. This was really annoying and was probably the most stressful part of being in the birth pool.

Caroline told Debbie to make herself a sandwich as she hadn't eaten all day and they chatted while I relaxed in the pool. Gradually I started needing to breathe through the contractions again and sometimes I felt like I just wanted them to be quiet while I was having a contraction and I couldn't understand why they couldn't just stop talking about, what seem to me to be, stupid irrelevant things. I just wanted to concentrate on what I was doing!

At 6pm I realised that I could have taken more paracetamol several hours before so I took some more.

Caroline had given me a goal to get to 7.30pm and then she'd get me to get out of the pool for a change of position and as it would be 4 hours since Inga examined me she would check how I was progressing. She also wanted me to lie out of the water on the bed so that she could have a good proper listen to baby's heartbeat as it was so difficult to do it properly in the pool. While Caroline could hear the heartbeat herself the doppler couldn't lock on to it properly to give a reading. I think this was also partly because baby was so far down in my pelvis.

At 7.30pm Caroline examined me and found I was 8cms dilated, so she was pleased with the progress I'd made. She told me that my waters were bulging and that they could go at any time. I laid on the bed for what seemed like only a couple of contractions but was actually 30 minutes according to Debbie.

At 8pm I decided to get back into the pool as I was coping much better with the contractions in the water. From this point on I was really having to concentrate on my breathing during the contractions and Caroline had to remind me several times to breathe normally again after the contraction had finished.

I tried to get into a more upright kneeling position in the pool (up to this point I had just been sitting in the pool), this was the position I had imagined I would want to be in whilst in labour. But I felt like it was causing too much pressure from the baby's head and while I was in this position I started to get the feeling of my body doing some involuntary pushing. It wasn't with every contraction at first but it was a very, very bizarre feeling. Caroline told me that this would probably lead to my waters breaking.

At this point I decided that I didn't like being in the kneeling position because it felt much more painful and with the involuntary pushing feeling it was hurting further up and the thing I was really afraid of was tearing upwards towards my clitoris. So I sat back round again.

9.30pm Our secondary midwife Sarah arrived. Caroline and Sarah chatted about what had been happening so far.

The contractions started to intensify and Caroline had to remind me to breath normally between them. I had been humming through the contractions but I had started to carry on doing it after the contraction had ended which meant I wasn't taking any deep breaths. She would say knowingly 'Are you still having a contraction?'

At this point I was having the feeling of involuntartily pushing with each contraction, which was a feeling I really didn't like.

At 10.30pm my waters broke, which for me didn't feel like a balloon popping but felt more like something hard bursting, like a plastic ball pool ball splitting. As soon as my waters had gone the contractions became much more painful and I had to change position again in the pool to try to stay comfy. I found the most comfy position to be in was to lean back on the side of the pool with my arms over the top so that I could half float in the water (from quite early on I couldn't sit on the bottom of the pool).

11pm Caroline told me that I could start actively pushing and this made the involuntary pushing feeling much easier to deal with. After a while Caroline told us that she could start to see the head and told me that if I reached down I'd be able to feel it, I tried but I could really feel anything yet. After a few more pushes Caroline told me 'you'll definitely be able to feel your baby's head now' so I did and it was really strange because baby's head was being misshapen because of the way the plates in the head cross over each other so allow the head to be birthed. I was also shocked at how much hair the baby had (I hadn't had much heartburn which is the usual old wives tale about lots of hair).

After a while of pushing I thought I heard Sarah mention that it was 11.45 and so I started to try to really push harder because I really wanted the baby to arrive before midnight (I found out later that I'd misheard the time and it wasn't as late as I thought it was).

Caroline told us that the baby's head was out but that its chin was caught and that she might have to use her finger to unhook it. I'm not sure whether she did have to or not in the end, Debbie doesn't think she did. Then baby's body was born and Caroline passed baby to me for skin to skin cuddles, the time was recorded as 11.30pm.

I had written in my birth plan that I wanted Debbie to be the first person to look to see whether the baby was a boy or girl and then for her to tell me, so she had a look and when she told me that we had a little girl I asked her to double check! So we found out that we could call her the name we had chosen (if she'd been a boy he wouldn't have had a name for a few days while we chose one). So we welcomed Theodorah Mae to the world while Sarah acted as our photographer, we have lots of lovely pictures from Teddy being only a few minutes old onwards which is really special.

She didn't cry out when she was born, she was just looking up at me blinking, I had to ask a couple of times whether she was ok, but Caroline assured me that she was perfectly fine.

11.50pm We decided to try to give Teddy her first breastfeed but when I tried to get her into a position to latch on I could feel the umbilical cord pulling on me like it wasn't out far enough. We decided for Debbie to cut the cord so that I could lift her higher up for a feed (again Sarah took photos of Debbie cutting the cord).

I tried to get her to latch on for her first feed but she didn't want to straight away. As she didn't want to feed we weren't able to use that as a way to stimulate the placenta to be delivered naturally. After a while Caroline said that they'd like me to try moving around to try to get the placenta to deliver so Teddy went to Debbie for skin to skin cuddles.

12.30am While I was still in the pool Sarah weighed Teddy (she was 8lb 14oz) and let Debbie put her first nappy on and a sleepsuit.

I tried moving around in the pool and at one point I thought the placenta had come out but when Caroline asked me to stand up it hadn't been, it was just a large gush of either blood or waters. Caroline was starting to be concerned that it had been nearly an hour with no sign of the placenta and I'd only had a couple of afterbirth contractions so we decided that I would get out of the pool and have the injection to help. I laid on the sofa and within a minute or two of the injection the placenta was delivered (Tesco Value shower curtains work brilliantly as a protective cover on furniture). Caroline let me see the placenta before she packed it way. If we have another baby I would look more into doing placenta encapsulation but I hadn't really given it enough thought this time.

Caroline examined me to see if I needed any stitches. It would have been funny if it hadn't been so painful as Sarah was stood next to Caroline with a torch as the position of the sofa and the ceiling light meant that Caroline was sitting in her own light! I had two tears, one at the top which didn't need stitches and one at the bottom which was a second degree tear which needed four stitches.

I was quite anxious about having the stitches as I'd heard that that was the worst bit for some people, and I felt like I want to crawl up the back of the sofa to get away! Sarah asked if I wanted to try having some of the gas and air while having the stitches but as I'd made it this far without it my sense of pride kicked in (I had been worried that it would make me feel sick and spaced out). Caroline just gave me the local aesthetic injection. The most painful part wasn't the actual stitching but the swabbing and moving the skin so she could see to do the stitches. I can safely say that having the stitches do was the most painful part of the whole labour and birth.

Once the stitches were finished I sat up a bit on the sofa and tried to get Teddy to latch on again but she still wasn't very interested so we just had cuddles for a while. In the mean time Caroline and Sarah took all of there equipment back out to their cars.

1.30am Caroline asked me if I'd like to have a shower so that I could rinse off the ickiness from the birth pool so Debbie took Teddy for cuddles while Caroline helped me into the bathroom. I had a chance to wash and shampoo my hair and then Caroline came back and helped me get out of the shower.

I got into bed propped up on lots of pillows and managed to give Teddy her first breastfeed. Debbie got me a digestive biscuit which was the first real thing I'd had to eat nearly all day.

Caroline and Sarah left and Caroline let us know she'd be back in the morning (really just later that morning) to do Teddy's newborn checks. So we settled down for a couple of hours sleep as a new family of three.

I wrote Teddy's birth story last year as part of her first birthday celebrations (I'd made some notes on timings etc during labour and in the days after she was born so that I could write it later).
This is her when she turned one:

And now she has just turned two!


Premium Member
11,096 Posts
Thank you for sharing a beautiful story. Love the photographs of her xxx
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