I had quite a long early labour stage (from 2am Thursday morning to early evening when things really kicked off after a short walk) and used the TENS throughout most of the day, and spent a lot of it sitting on the birthing ball.
Waters broke at around 10pm so we called the hospital then and they told us to come in – sadly the Rushey unit was closed so went to the delivery suite.
The worst part of the whole thing was waiting in the waiting room for about an hour when we arrived before being assessed (with only normal chairs, and full-on contractions and dripping amniotic fluid everywhere!).
Finally assessed as being 5cm and got to a room in the delivery suite around midnight. The room was freezing cold which was a surprise as everyone says it’s always boiling so ended up on the bed but with the head end propped up into a chair, because I needed to cover my legs with the sheet (my 2 pairs of leggings were soaked so had nothing else I could put on).
This was actually a terrible position although it meant I could rest a bit between contractions as I was exhausted,and obviously better than lying down.
From then I was also using gas and air. The midwife read our birth plan where I had said several times I really wanted a water birth (inspired mostly by the video we saw at your workshop) and managed to get hold of an inflatable one for us, and had a team of 3 of them working out how to attach the filling hose to various different taps (all have different ends it seems!), and rearrange furniture for it. This was finally ready around 4:30am when I was assessed as only being 6cm (although we’re not sure if this was really correct).
As soon as I got into the pool, from the very next contraction, the sensation changed from painful contraction to pushing down and from then everything happened really quickly, and Theo arrived at 5:47 (head delivered at 5:45).
The feeling of the last push and then suddenly catching a wriggling baby was amazing! The weirdest thing I remember was once the head came out it felt like pulsing as he turned around to get the shoulders out. I think I imagined this would be more of a smooth movement rather than pulsing.
My partner cut the cord after a few minutes and then I had a natural 3rd stage (on dry land) which they didn’t question at all. They helped me feed him during that so it only took 30 minutes.
I’m pretty sure that without the water things would have gone on a lot longer and I may have ended up asking for drug-based pain relief as I would have been so exhausted.
Also for me knowing what was going on at different stages from what we learned in your workshop really helped, especially when it got to the pushing stage.
The things from the workshop that really helped were:
- The video of the water birth which is what made me really want to have one, and turned out to be the best thing about my whole birth experience!
- Videos of different people in labour.
- The explanation of what the contractions are doing to the whole uterus/cervix – no-one else had explained this so well and I found it really helpful to visualise when the contractions got really painful because each contraction was actually doing something rather than just being painful.
- Controlled breathing, and varying breathing patterns during each contraction.
- Ideas of positions and ways that my partner could be involved in the birth, and the use of the birthing ball.
- Ideas of things to try when labour slowed down.