I was asked to write this for a local NCT publication so thought I would post it here as well. Nothing very exciting as it was all a straight forward birth… but… here it is for those that are interested!
Emma, was born in the birthing centre at Stepping Hill on 23 February 2014 at around 04:25. She weighed 6lb 11.
My pregnancy with Emma had been pretty uneventful. My first pregnancy had seen me develop pre-eclampsia at 36 weeks, and so I was closely monitored during this second pregnancy and had extra scans. My labour with my son had been fast (just three hours) and I was told that things could happen quickly this time around and to plan a homebirth (as had been my plan first time around). This wasn’t to be as I discovered at 18 weeks that I carried Group B Strep. The advice was that I should have antibiotics whilst in labour to protect the baby from any infection, and so the birth centre was the choice.
The week leading up to my due date I was having mild cramps, and so knew that I was unlikely to go too far over my due date. The morning before my due date I decided to put my post pregnancy clothes in the wash and to pack up my maternity clothes. That afternoon I took a few hours out on my own, but knew that things were going to start so didn’t stray too far!
That evening we picked up our usual take away and I sat on the birthing ball, the only position I found comfortable and we watched some TV. The evening seemed to drag and I felt quite uncomfortable, which I suspect was the baby’s head engaging. I remember at one point my husband asked me if I was in labour as I stood up, I was only nipping to the loo!!
We decided on an early night, but as I found it difficult to get comfortable in bed I decided to come downstairs. At this stage I thought my contractions were around 30 mins apart. It was only when I started timing them I realised they were much closer at around 5 mins apart. I googled at what stage I should phone hospital and as they weren’t painful I decided that I’d sit and read instead to pass the time.
I spent the next hour or two chatting on twitter (around 2am) then decided I’d get a bath – I somehow though it was best to wait until a more reasonable hour! I woke my husband to tell him things felt like they were starting but I was getting a bath, and told him to rest as he’d need the energy!!
Some 45 mins later I suddenly felt some very tight contractions, and could feel I was going into transition. I jumped out of the bath, woke my hubby (who’d fallen back asleep!) and called the hospital. By this stage they were strong (I couldn’t talk through them) and were less than 90 seconds apart. We called my parents to come to sit with Daniel and at 4am we drove (very fast!) to Stepping Hill – at one stage I thought I was going to give birth in my hallway as I could feel the baby’s head pushing down!
We got to Stepping Hill and to the birthing centre and I explained I felt things were very close. The lovely midwife explained she would examine me (I was stood leaning over the bed) and next thing my waters went and the head came down. It’s all a bit of a blur at this stage but I recall the midwife asking my husband to press the button to call another midwife in (he later told me he was panicking in case he pressed the wrong one and it triggered an emergency response!!. The midwife and my husband were telling me I needed to move my legs out more and to try to stay calm. Emma was born minutes later with the cord around her neck. There was an anxious few seconds before she cried, but when she did she made her presence known!!
I then got onto the bed and had that lovely first cuddle. I remember looking at her and thinking she looked exactly like our son.
My labour was very quick – from the strong contractions to her arrival it was less than an hour I think. I didn’t have any pain relief – It was only the last 45 mins or so that I found hard going but I was able to breathe through things, although I probably didn’t stay as calm as I should have!! Prior to the transition phase I would call the pain more an uncomfortable feeling to be honest; and a few people commented that they couldn’t believe they’d been chatting to me via twitter less than an hour before she was born!
After Emma was born and I was cleaned up etc we were given some tea and toast (which always tastes amazing!) and moved onto a ward with two other women. Emma was very keen to feed – we had skin to skin time immediately following her birth and she made he needs known by bobbing his little head around looking for milk! We are still breastfeeding six weeks on, although her weight gain is slow so we are keeping our eye on things.
As I had Group B Strep Emma had to be monitored for 12 hours following birth, to make sure there weren’t any indicators that she had picked up the infection. As she was born within ten minutes of arriving at hospital I hadn’t been able to receive the recommended intravenous antibiotics but we were back home later that evening.
Daniel is very interested in his little sister, and is keen to help out by bringing nappies for her, or bringing me her hat or blanket when we are getting ready to go out. There are 16 months between them, and I am sure that in a few months time when Emma can engage more and sit up he will be even more interested in her.
Emma’s birth is all a little boring; I had hoped to be able to use the pool and remember seeing the pool in the room I was taken to and thinking I should ask them to start filling it up! Obviously Emma had different ideas! I managed to avoid using anything for pain relief, but that was more due to the speed with which things happened and not really feeling in any pain until the last 45 minutes or so. I think I am just very lucky that things go quite easily for me once in labour! I found this article interesting to read from Belly Belly about giving birth standing up.