Its been a while since my last entry on here. But life has been bloody mental since then! I am now the proud owner/boss/carer of TWO lovely boys. If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I had an amazing water-birth experience with my first born, Jaxson. This was in a midwife led birthing suite at the hospital. After finding out I was pregnant with baby #2 – I always hoped I’d have a similar birth.
I won’t go into details but pretty much ever since finding out about my second pregnancy, I have been alone. As in no partner. I knew this would be the case and decided to go it alone anyway. I still live by the philosophy that there’s a high chance I’d regret a termination but close to no chance I’d regret having another baby. My pregnancy was really tough but thats a post for another day ahah. But quite early on, I decided I’d like to try and go for a home birth. The main reason being I didn’t feel comfortable having to palm Jax off to anybody – and he wanted to be around anyway. I also wanted home comforts – my own bed, tea, my own surroundings. It was never set in stone due to a complicated pregnancy with a lot of health issues, but I remained hopeful.
Apart from my mum and 2 best friends (who were all my birth partners), I never actually told anybody my due date. I didn’t want a trillion messages and calls nearer the time asking me if the baby was here/if I’d felt any twinges etc. I just wanted to be as chill as possible. I also never found out the gender of my baby; I wanted a surprise – a lot of people couldn’t believe I didn’t want to find out haha. So baby’s due date was actually 08.09.19. On the 28th August I noticed that the baby wasn’t moving as much as it usually would – or when it usually would. The most prominent times were in the evening/night and when I was in the bath. But I just couldn’t really feel much. I spent ages poking my belly and didn’t really get much response. I laid on my left for 30 mins (google lol) and that didn’t help. I started to get a bit anxious because I know the old saying “the baby’s movements slow down when they’re getting ready to be born” is a load of shit basically. They should never stop moving or have reduced movements.
I don’t know why but I didn’t ring the unit to tell them or ask for advice. I already had a schedule appointment for the morning of the 30th August. I think in my head I thought if I can get to there and feel him even if its reduced movements then I’ll get them to check me over then. In hindsight this probably wasn’t the best idea because if anything bad did happen, I never would’ve forgiven myself. If you have reduced movements, always ring the unit straight away. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Anyway, between the night of the 28th and the morning of the 30th, the baby really didn’t move that much. I told the midwife at the appointment and she told me to go round to the ward to be hooked up to the machines. I had Jax with me as it was the summer holidays but it was a Friday – the day he goes to his dads. So I promised her I’d come back when Jax had been collected. I was hooked up for about 2 hours and had to press a buzzer thing every time I felt the baby move. After that she told me everything seemed fine but to wait to speak to the consultant. I think I would’ve been 38+5 at this point.
The consultant said she was happy with the readings, but to come back Monday for a scan (I’d already had about 10 prior to this and the last one the doppler readings weren’t too great – I think this is something to do with the placenta and the cord in relation to the baby). After that she asked if I wanted a sweep. She said that because its my second baby and I’m almost 39 weeks she’d be happy to do one. So I agreed – I mean the one with Jax was a doddle. OH MY GOD. It was horrendous. It hurt so much. It was like she was digging for China. I tried to wait it out for as long as possible because I knew if I said stop straight away it would’ve been pointless. After a couple of mins I had to tell her enough was enough lol. She told me I was about 2cm dilated but my cervix had really thinned out and the babies head was literally right there. As soon as I stood up I was bleeding and she brought me a pad to put on. She told me if it was going to work, I’d go into labour within 48 hours. She also said I could have as many sweeps as I want, but if I still had reduced movement, they’d induce me. I left feeling very uncomfortable and went home, had a bath and straight to bed.
Saturday was a bit of a nothing-y day. I didn’t do much cos I felt really uncomfortable and I was still bleeding/spotting from the sweep. Jax came back from his dads and we just chilled out. On the Sunday – so the 1st September, I woke up at about 06:30 needing a wee. Nothing new there – anyone who’s been pregnant knows how much you wake up to pee in the third trimester lol. But when I stood up I just felt all this liquid come out of me. I was a bit disorientated after just waking up and I think I said aloud “How could I have wet myself?!”I went to the toilet and by the time I’d got there my undies and pj bottoms were soaked through. TMI but I smelt it to see if I had infact wet myself but it didn’t smell like anything. I did think maybe it was my waters but with Jax they had to be artificially broken and even then the midwife struggled to pop them – so I just assumed it would be the same with this baby. I’d even told them at every appointment to break them as soon as possible lol. I messaged my best friend as I knew her waters had gone before having her daughter and she said it sounds like it and to ring the midwife. After cleaning myself up I ran to my bedroom to grab more pants and bottoms and by the time I got there there was liquid all down my legs. I went back to the bathroom, cleaned myself up again and put one of my adult nappies on (absolute lifesavers). I rang the midwife and they said as I’m with the home birth team, someone will be out to check me by the afternoon.
I tried to go back to sleep but just felt so gross – every time I moved more would come out. So I just laid in bed until Jax woke up. The midwife finally arrived at about 14:00. She used a speculum to see if it was my waters and she confirmed they’d totally gone – even though I was still leaking. But she said they were clear so all good. She also said if I didn’t go into labour and have the baby by 06:30 the following morning, I’d have to go into hospital to be induced because the risk of infection increases. After she left I just couldn’t really believe what was happening. I couldn’t believe how different this all was compared to Jax’s labour and birth. With him, I was in labour for about 24.5 hours before they broke my waters, and after that he came pretty quickly. But here I was sitting at home – confirmed waters had gone – and I hadn’t even had one twinge. It also hit me like a tonne of bricks that whatever happens – be it having a home birth of being induced, I’d have a baby within the next couple of days.
I felt a huge amount of dread, fear and anxiety. I obviously knew I was having another baby but 2019 was just absolutely mental for me and I think I was in denial. I didn’t really have time to think about the baby, labour/birth and after. I was also very aware that soon there would be 3 of us. Our perfect little dynamic of Jax and me was about to change dramatically. It’d been us for the last 4 years; it was perfect. I felt like I was grieving that almost. I suddenly couldn’t stop crying. Jax dried my tears and told me not to be scared – and that he was so excited to meet his brother or sister, and that we’d be the 4 musketeers (including Albie the cat lol). Originally the whole point of the home birth was so Jax could be around. But because I was unsure whether or not I’d have to go to the hospital early in the morning to be induced, we decided it’d be best if he went and stayed at his nans house. Saying goodbye to him felt like my heart was being ripped out. I know that sounds dramatic but I just kept thinking ‘the next time I see you, there’s gonna be someone else here. Have I made a huge mistake? Is our relationship going to be ruined?’ I felt horrendous. Watching him drive away I was full blown ugly crying.
I think I cried for about an hour after that. By that time it must’ve been about 18:30ish and I felt so soggy and gross I decided to have a bath. At this point I’d told myself that an induction was most likely going to happen – my labour with Jax was about 26 hours in total and I hadn’t even felt one twinge thus far with this one and I only had 12 hours to go into labour and have the baby. So I just sat in silence in the bath. At about 19:00ish I did feel some sort of pain. I’d had braxton hicks a few weeks before though so I presumed it was that. I carried on laying there but every 5 mins or so I’d have a pain. After a few of them I couldn’t actually keep still, I had to sit up and breathe through it. I quickly downloaded a contraction counter and over the course of about 30 mins, I was having one every 4 minutes lasting about 50 seconds. When the midwife came earlier on in the day, she said if I start having pains 10 mins apart, ring them because it’ll take them about 45 mins to get to me, and second babies usually come faster than the first. But this was straight in at the 4 minutes. I rang my mum and best friends and they told me they were on their way.
When they arrived we started setting up the birth pool. I decided to put it in my bedroom, it was a lot more cosy in there and I’d moved some furniture around so there was enough space. My bed was right there, I had some low lighting from my soft box, I had a chest of drawers with the baby mat on and a shit tonne of towels. I was still having contractions every 4 minutes or so and I couldn’t not breathe through them. I think it must’ve been about 20:00-20:30 at this point but I wasn’t really looking at the time. The pool took about 45 mins to fill up, and it was done just as the midwives arrived. They tell you not to get into the pool until they’re there incase things progress at a crazy rate and they aren’t there to help lol. So once they were in, they told me I could get in. After a while it seemed like the contractions had slowed right down and I just thought ‘lol this is my luck. They’re braxton hicks’. They told me to get out for a bit to see if they pick back up again. Because my waters had gone, the midwives don’t like to examine you down below because like I said before, the risk of infection is a lot higher. But the lead midwife said she’d quickly check me. I jokingly said I bet I’m only 2cm still. She confirmed I was still 2cm.
If there’s anything to totally demotivate you, it’s that sentence lol. I think I said shall we all just get some sleep and I’ll see you at hospital in the morning lol. She did a quick sweep which hurt even more than the one 2 days previous. After that she told me to go up and down my stairs like a crab – this really opens up the hips and gets the baby even lower. As soon as I got to the bottom I had such a strong contraction I was hanging off the banister. Another one came on my ascent and I was only half way up the stairs. I only managed 3 more rounds of going up and down the stairs but it felt like I was having one every 20 seconds. And they were SO strong. Up til that point I was totally with it. I was chatting, laughing, conscious of things around me. After the stairs thing I was on another planet. I hobbled back to my bedroom and between the door and the pool (about 1.5m) I had to stop for a contraction about 4 times. I was shaking, I wasn’t aware of anything around me. I could hear people talking but had no clue what they were saying. I finally made it to the pool and when I say these contractions were horrendous. I mean like the worst pain I’ve ever felt. WAY more painful than Jax’s birth.
I felt like each one had 2 halves almost. The first half was just excruciating. I think at one point I was just crying. At this point I hadn’t had any pain relief, not even a paracetamol. (I read somewhere that taking paracetamol can prolong the latent phase of labour – so the bit before you’re 3cm) so I didn’t want to take anything. I think in my head I was definitely thinking ‘why the fudge have you gone for a home birth when you could just have a lovely epidural and be sweet fa?!’ The second half was better than the second – it felt like the pain subsided a bit but I needed to push. I think it probably hurt less because I knew that if I needed to push I must be near the end. After getting back in the pool, I don’t think I had more than 20 contractions and I was birthing my baby. It felt like my pelvis was going to shatter into a million pieces. My coccyx was in agony. Out of the silence and concentration I was in, I heard “A couple more pushes and you’ll meet your baby.” Within a couple of minutes my baby was in my arms. It was mental. Like I said, I think I was in huge denial I was having a baby. I just stared at this little human thinking ‘what the actual fuck.’ I just could not believe I’d just had a baby and it was in my arms. My mum and the midwife helped me hold the baby because I felt like I didn’t even know how to. I was in so much shock. My best friends were crying their eyes out. From the moment the midwife did that sweep to my baby being born was less than 2 hours. I’d gone from 2cm to having the baby in such a short time. When I felt like I was back on earth a bit, we checked to see what gender my baby was. It was a boy. My whole pregnancy I had people saying they think I’d have a girl.
I wanted to delayed cord clamping so we were in the pool for a while after. It was just surreal. When the cord had stopped pulsating the midwife asked who was cutting the cord. Because obviously his dad wasn’t around, I just presumed my mum would be the one to do it. When I asked her if she’d do it she declined saying if she messed up his belly button I’d never forgive her lol. So I cut the cord. Im not gonna lie, throughout my pregnancy I was totally cool about his absent dad. I’d come to terms with that early doors. But to me, the cord cutting is the dads job. So the fact I was doing it kind of hit me in the feels a bit. After it was done I was fine. According to the dates, my baby was born a week early. But the midwives even said “Are you sure they got your dates right, he looks really early!” So god knows how early he was! My son was born at 01:13 on the 2nd September, weighing 7lb 6oz.
I had my placenta which felt like I was having another baby, the midwives checked me over and told me I hadn’t torn etc and didn’t need any stitches – which I was shocked about because they told me he came out with a hand up by his face. The midwives, my mum and my friends tidied up and stayed for about 2 hours after I’d had him. They made me a cuppa tea and brought me biscuits. My best friend literally put an adult nappy on me and my other bestie got me dressed. I don’t know what I would’ve done without these amazing women around me. One of my friends said she’d stay incase I needed anything for the rest of the night and mum promised she’d be back in the morning. Massive love to these ladies.
There we go – thats my birth story! I’ll probably write about my post-birth experience next time but if you’ve made it this far – thank you so much. If you have ANY questions RE home/water birth then do message me! Big loves, J xxx
(I’m going to put my labour and birth video below!)