At 38 weeks I woke up at 1:00 am on Saturday morning with back pain and tightening of my stomach every 10 minutes. Thinking it was just pregnancy pains, I used a heat pack on my back but was in too much pain to go back to sleep until 6:00 am when it eased. I told Mum what had happened and she said that it sounded like labour so to call the midwife (Penny) right away. Seeing as they had eased off my midwife didn’t seem too concerned, but agreed that it was early labour and expected that I would go into labour again that night and have a baby that weekend.
At 2:00 pm on the Saturday I started having contractions again, however this time they became more and more regular. By 5:00 pm they were 3-4 minutes apart so I called Penny. She told me to wait until they were like that for 2 hours before calling again. So that’s what I did; waited 2 hours and they were still consistent so I decided to wait another half hour just in case… I’m so glad that I waited that extra half an hour because suddenly they stopped again!
The next morning (Sunday) I had a baby shower high tea that my work colleagues had organised for me and at 10:00 am the contractions started AGAIN. Like the previous day, they became more regular and closer together until 10:00 pm that night when they suddenly stopped. By this stage I was pretty pissed off and frustrated.
My husband, Josh, had been applying for the police force for years and FINALLY was able to do all of his medicals and interviews for it: these were planned for the week starting the 4th of December. The rule with the police testing is that if you miss any of it, no matter what the reason is (i.e. wife is pushing out a baby) you can’t reapply and have to wait 12 months. So Archie would need to arrive the week before his due date, or he had to wait until after all of the recruitment testing had been done (he was due on the 7th).
In the week that followed, I had no contractions and quite frankly I was pretty annoyed that my weekend had been so exhausting yet led to nothing. On the Friday afternoon (39 weeks pregnant) at 4:00 pm, my mum called and asked if I had had any contractions. I told her that I hadn’t and that there was no way this baby was arriving any time soon. She responded by saying “who knows, we may have a baby by the end of the weekend” but I was adamant that he wasn’t close to arriving. I even went on to say I had to go into labour right then and there, or he has to wait until after his due date because the upcoming week was too stressful with Josh’s police testing.
WELL, Archie must have heard me and I went into labour an hour later.
My contractions started off the same as they had the previous weekend at 6 minutes apart. I didn’t think anything of them because I had experienced it all before and it had led to nothing. By 10:00 pm they were 5 minutes apart and were getting much more intense. I had to vocalise “oooooooooo”s while rocking forwards and backwards on my hands and knees through them. By 2:00 am they had been 2-3 minutess apart for 2 hours, so I called my midwife. I was still dealing with the contractions really well so we decided that I would stay at home for a little longer before coming in. By 3:00 am the intensity had really picked up so we decided to head into the Birth Centre. I hadn’t told my mum at this stage that I was in labour, just in case it was another false alarm, so when we called her at 3:00 am to meet us at the Birth Centre, she was so surprised!
By the time we got to the Birth Centre I couldn’t just vocalise “oooooooooo”s, I had to change it to “ahhhhhhhh” at the peak of the contraction. I spent about 45 minutes on the bed getting through the contractions when they decided to do an internal to see how far things were progressing. Upon examination they said I was fully effaced but only 3 cm dilated. I was devastated and getting pretty exhausted at this stage. I didn’t know how much longer I could do it without a break: especially if everything I had gone through up until this point had only dilated me 3 cm!
The stimulation from the examination of my cervix, got things rolling because my cervix pretty much melted away after that. I began dripping blood everywhere (which I freaked out about) that turned out to be my show and every contraction from there on out was hectic. That’s when my contractions changed to last 5 minutes each with less than a minute break in between. We believe that this happened because he [Archie] was back to back and my body was doing its best to turn him as efficiently as possible. At the peak of these contractions I felt a lot of pressure in my bum and a need to push. It hadn’t been long since I was checked at 3 cm so I thought I would have only been maybe 5 cm at best. I controlled the urge to push because I didn’t want to absolutely ruin my insides by pushing too early!
I had THE WORST back labour through all of this and it was way worse then each contraction, constant even during the breaks when I could have been resting. I had been offered sterile water injections (they don’t offer epidurals at the Birth Centre) a few times but refused because I hate needles. I had also been offered gas but I didn’t want it to make me sick, so refused that too.
By this stage the birthing pool was ready, so my midwife suggested that I move into the pool to help with the back labour. I also refused this because I was hardly having a break in between contractions and didn’t think I could make it from the bed to the bath within that time. She pushed for me to move so Josh pretty much carried me to the bath.
We are pretty lucky that I moved when I did because I had one contraction and thought I had done the biggest poo in the water because through the contraction my body pushed on its own and all I felt was this stuff gush out of me: my waters had broken! Things moved pretty quickly after that; 12 minutes of pushing (I didn’t really push myself, I just let my body do it all for me) and he was here! At first I didn’t realise that my midwife had pushed him between my legs under the water, so I turned to her expecting to see her holding my baby… Nope, he was curled up at the bottom of the pool! As soon as I pulled him out of the water he took his first breath, did a small cry and then didn’t cry for the next 2 days.
We did skin to skin for the first hour and when he had his first feed, he just stared up at Josh and I the whole time: it was so special. Thankfully there were no complications with the afterbirth or him, so we were allowed to go home 6 hours later and just enjoy our little man!