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My son, Oliver, was delivered by C-section in September 2010, due to breech presentation. Even though I had a positive experience the first time around, when I fell pregnant for the second time I just knew that I wanted to birth my baby naturally. So my plans for a VBAC began. My community midwife was extremely supportive of my VBAC plans but absolutely shattered my dreams when she told me that, as I’m classed as ‘high risk’, I wouldn’t be allowed to use a birth pool in hospital and that they’d want to continuously monitor the baby throughout labour, therefore an active birth wouldn’t be as likely. I was absolutely gutted. So the research began. I found out everything I could about the ‘risks’ of a VBAC, joined Facebook groups to seek advice, read all the up to date information online, started pregnancy yoga classes, booked onto an NCT refresher course, and booked onto a Hypnobirthing course. I was determined to get the birth I wanted, so much so that we changed our plans from a hospital birth to a home birth. This is by far the best decision I have ever made!!!

The Birth

So it all began on Tuesday 22nd May 2013. I was 40+5 and totally fed up of being pregnant but I’d decided that day to take my friend’s advice and just ignore the fact that I was pregnant and try to relax…so we went out for dinner, put our son Oliver to bed, had a bottle of Corona, and sat on the sofa watching TV.

At 9pm I suddenly felt a lot of pressure in my pelvis, and really struggled to get up off the sofa. On my way upstairs my waters broke in the hallway (very conveniently on the wooden floor and not on the stairs carpet!). I told my husband and his face was an absolute picture (shock/panic/excitement)….he excitedly said ‘shall I fill the pool’ followed quickly by ‘shall I put on some music’, which made me laugh so much! I told him that my contractions might not start for hours and hours and that I was off for a bath.

In the bath my waters kept on coming and I felt a bit of pressure in my pelvis but nothing much, so I got on with shaving my legs (as you do!) and chatting to my sister over text. After my bath I potted around doing bits of tidying, I swept the kitchen floor, took some towels downstairs (just in case!) and went back upstairs to relax, but I found myself on the toilet (of all places) as I kept feeling like I needed to poo and this was the only place I felt comfortable!

About 11pm the pressure increased and started to come and go, I wondered if these were contractions but tried to ignore them. I was determined to relax so I lay in bed-this is when I realized that they must be contractions because I couldn’t sit still through them and they were like waves that came and went. I sent Matthew off to fill the pool and quickly downloaded a contraction timer, put on my Hypnobirthing tracks and put some Clary Sage on a tissue to sniff. At this point I was on my knees, kneeling over the bed and breathing heavily through each wave. Looking at the contraction timer, they were coming every 2 minutes but were only lasting 30-45 seconds. I was absolutely gutted as I thought that meant that I was in very early stages of labour and that I was NEVER going to cope for hours and hours.

I put on the Tens machine, which was a nice distraction, and Matthew started to massage my back and shoulders through each contractions, which really helped. I did shout at him at one point as he started watching TV and missed my cues that a contraction was coming and instead of saying ‘can you massage my shoulders again like you’ve been doing, as it feels really nice and is a good distraction from the contraction’, all I could actually manage was to shout out ‘touch me’….Ha!!

The Tens machine was now up to level 3 (out of 5) but had started to annoy me so I decided to get into the pool, it was around 12.30am at this point. I was absolutely convinced that I was getting in too early but I didn’t care, I needed to try something different. Being in the water felt amazing and I just carried on breathing though my contractions. Matthew was brilliant, encouraging me to keep breathing in long and deep breathes and stay as relaxed as possible. At around 1am I asked him to call the midwives, which he did, but not before asking me if I was absolutely sure. At this point I felt like I needed some gas & air and I really felt like I couldn’t cope. I was really grunty and local through my contractions and kept on saying to Matthew that I couldn’t do this any longer and that I needed to go into hospital for an epidural. (This was obviously my transition!).

The midwives arrived at about 2am and got on with reading my notes and birth plan and Matthew nipped off to make them a cup of tea. I asked for the gas and air at this point but one of the midwives said that she’d like to do a few checks first, so she checked in on baby, took my temperature and my blood pressure. She said my temperature was slightly high so asked me if I’d like to take some Paracetamol. In my mind I was freaking out at this point, thinking that must have meant that I still had hours and hours to go.

This is when I started to feel my body push slightly with each contraction so I just went with it. The realisation finally hit me that I was near to meeting my baby and not in the early stages of labour like I’d feared! I suddenly felt like I could do this but was also worried that I might be pushing too soon. The midwife gave me the gas & air at this point and said to do what my body was telling me to do. I started to feel some stinging and the midwife reassured me that this was my body telling me to slow down the pushing a bit so as not to tear. She asked me if I could feel anything-I could, I could feel my baby’s head. I started to panic and suddenly felt really scared but with a couple more contractions the head was born, followed quickly by the body….she was here!!! I picked her up out of the water, I was amazed and in shock…I’d done it!!! Hattie May was born at 2.50am, less than 4 hours from my first contraction. I was absolutely over the moon!! Words can’t explain the feeling!!

I stayed in the water for a while and moved to the seat part of the birth pool. The midwives checked to see if the cord had stopped pulsing but found that it had actually snapped at some point so clamped it. My placenta came around 10 minutes after the birth.

I then got out of the pool and sat on the sofa with my little family. One of the midwives made me tea and toast-the best cup of tea ever!! Hattie was weighed-8Ib 1oz and then given back to me, she latched on for her first feed whilst we all sat talking, drinking tea and eating the banana & chocolate cake I’d made on the Tuesday. I had a few stitches and the midwives got themselves ready to leave.

After the midwives had left, we went off to bed and I lay awake cuddling our daughter and waited for our son Oliver to wake up and meet his baby sister. He’d slept soundly through the whole thing-just perfect!!

My birth was an amazing experience; I am still on a birth high and really couldn’t be happier!!