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Caroline’s Fear-Free Water Birth

Exactly 24 hours after feeling my first contraction my gorgeous baby boy was calmly breathed out in to the water!  

After a relatively easy pregnancy, with a little bit of SPD and a lot of piles (!) I finished work at 39 + 1 and was enjoying the warm summer days…

Can Labour Feel Like Period Pains?

I was in bed trying to get to sleep when I thought baby had hiccups – I knew that this might be the last time I saw my bump move so I turned the bedside lamp on and watched my tummy. I couldn’t really see anything but it felt funny so I kept the lamp on and did some crocheting – trying to finish the Hungry Caterpillar outfit I was working on for baby’s first photos! After a while I noticed that these ‘feelings’ were happening every ten minutes but as they weren’t painful I wasn’t sure whether they were contractions or not. They felt a bit like mild period pains so I Googled “can labour feel like period pains?” Dr Google told me that apparently they can so then I was too excited to sleep! I crocheted for a couple more hours before deciding to get up and have a bath (and shave my legs!). I got back in to bed at about 5am and managed to get a couple of hours sleep. My husband went off to work without knowing that I was having contractions.

A Bloody Show

At approximately 9am I nipped to the loo and lost some of my mucus plug. At this point I decided it was probably time to let my husband know, so I sent a text…”it looks like we might be having a due date baby after all” (we were currently at 39+6 but I had been convinced that we would go to 42 weeks!) As expected, Simon promptly text back “What shall I do?” Would you like me to come home?” Nope! I knew from our workshops that this stage could last for hours and I didn’t want him to waste any of his precious paternity leave so I reassured him that my friend was still coming round as planned and that I would let him know if / when things developed.

The Excitement Phase

My friend arrived with her 11 month old little boy and we spent an hour or so chatting and playing before she asked if I had experienced any twinges or had any signs. I told her no whilst nodding my head as my thirteen year old step-daughter was in the room and I didn’t want her to panic. We then spent the afternoon chatting, I must have spent hours bouncing and rotating on my birth ball, and my contractions were slowly but surely becoming closer together and lasting little bit longer each time.

Eating Whilst In Labour

At approximately 4pm my friend advised me that my contractions were approximately 4-5 minutes apart – I had no idea she was timing them – so she thought I should phone my husband and also ring the midwives on Fylde Coast Birth Centre to let them know I was in labour. Simon came home, via Subway, we phoned the Birth Centre, who told me to take it easy and let them know when things picked up – as I knew they would – but it made my slightly worried friend feel better. She then left with requests for us to let her know as soon as anything else happened and Simon and I had a chat, caught up on our day and then I went for a bath whilst Simon typed up our birth preferences.

Hypnobirthing Tracks

I knew that we could still have hours to go and it still felt like ages between contractions so I had another bath and lay down on the bed listening to my hypnobirthing track – it felt so familiar and the journey so natural that it felt right to be listening to it as my baby was taking this journey for real. I couldn’t sleep so I came downstairs and asked Simon for a massage. I had been waiting for this opportunity for months, I knew that he couldn’t say no when I was in labour, so I was expecting hours and hours of lovely relaxing back massages. Until he touched my back – I hated it!
We then spent another hour and a half just chilling downstairs. The curtains were closed, the birth ball was out, our relaxing music was on, it was lovely. With each contraction I would pace the living room and then in between I would sit down or relax over the ball and wait for the next sensation. I had no idea how long they were lasting or how far apart they were until Simon suggested that it was time to go to hospital – according to him I was no longer sitting down in between (I could have sworn I was having a nice rest between each one – that’s the power of hypnosis!)

Journey to Hospital

We called the hospital at around 9:15pm and after speaking to me they confirmed that we should make our way in to Fylde Coast Birth Centre. Blackpool Victoria Hospital is only 3.5 miles away from our house and there was no traffic but I didn’t particularly enjoy the journey. The music was particularly helpful at this point as it helped me get back in to the zone and focus on the exciting adventure ahead.

In the Birthing Pool

On arrival at the hospital I was given a vaginal examination to assess whether I could get in to the birthing pool – at this point I was 5cm so they started to run the pool. Sinking in to that lovely warm pool was such a good feeling. I felt warm, safe, comfortable and almost weight less. I knew that this was the right place for me and I made the most of the relaxing atmosphere – the lights were down low, the birth music was on, it was perfect.

An Amazing Midwife

Our midwife, Alison, was amazing. She had never witnessed a hypno-birth before but she was totally on-board from the beginning. Apart from when she was checking my blood pressure or baby’s heartbeat she left us alone – she was either sat at the computer on the other side of the room or out of the room altogether.

Self-Doubt Phase

At some point I do remember going from all fours leaning on the side of the birth pool to rearing up on to my knees and exclaiming “I just don’t know what to do any more!” – this is when I knew my husband had been listening when we were on our workshop, as he immediately got close to me, reminded me that this was a good sign as it meant baby was almost here and reminded me to concentrate on my breathing. With a couple of prompts about my breathing I was soon back on track and getting closer to meeting our baby.

Clock Watching

I was not aware of the time for the majority of my labour, and had no desire to be, until it turned midnight. That was the point we knew that we would now be having a due date baby. The policy at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is to do a vaginal examination every four hours but there was no way I was getting out of the pool for that! Alison went and spoke to her supervisor and advised that they would leave it another hour and see how we were getting on.

Waters Broke

I have no idea what time my waters broke but I think it may have been somewhere between 12am and 1:30am. It surprised me that they looked a bit like glitter and oil in the water, there was nothing gruesome, bloody or dirty about them, which was obviously a relief for the midwife.

A Truly Magical Birth – 1:31am

Exactly 24 hours after feeling my first contraction my gorgeous baby was here! Breathed out in to the water then straight up to mummy for lots of skin to skin. Whilst crying tears of happiness, kissing my husband and cuddling my baby I heard the midwife ask whether we were going to look “what we had”…Simon looked and proudly announced it was a boy!

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