Birth Story - Elizabeth and baby Rufus

I signed up to the digital pack around 32 weeks pregnant and was looking forward to getting into it properly on maternity leave. However at 35 weeks, Rufus had a different plan and, having just got my son Jack to bed and chatting to my husband in the kitchen, I had the most peculiar feeling... either my waters had broken or I was suddenly incontinent. It wasn't the comedy 'gush' (hate that word!) that you see in the movies and it didn't happen like that with my first so i was pretty baffled. After calling triage (and a panic about how I had absolutely nothing ready - no bag, no washed baby clothes) we got an aunt to babysit and went along to the hospital to get things checked out. They confirmed they had gone and so because things were kicking off early, I'd need to be omitted for the night. This was pretty upsetting and I was suddenly scared about the impact a 2nd child would have on my little boy and our fam growing from 3 to 4.

In the morning my surges had started and were every 4-5 minutes... but being opposite a woman going into full blown labour, my body shut down and they slowed down again. When I saw the doc they wanted to get me induced right away for risk of infection. I pushed back and said that i wanted to go home, be with my son and wait to see what happened in the next 6-8hrs when that 24hr window would be up. I just knew home was the only place to be if I had any chance of doing it naturally.

We had a lovely afternoon together - playing in the garden and getting things ready. My husband kept asking me to sit and relax but I wanted to get the party started so kept moving or bouncing on my ball. Sure enough, and with the help of a Thai curry (no kidding - helped with my first also!), the surges fired up and got powerful quickly, but easy to manage with the up breathing. I had long cuddles with my son and husband which must have also helped encourage things, and as we got him to sleep I got the feeling we best get going back to the hospital, leaving my folks at home to look after Jack. The surges were every 2 mins now but still manageable.

We arrived at the labour ward at 8.20pm. Tom and I were feeling pretty relaxed and happy. We popped on some music on my phone and just chatted and laughed between surges. I think we were just so relieved not having to be induced! The midwife was lovely and after checking me out, said that i wasn't that dilated yet - just 3cm - she said that it could be a few hours yet before I'd be in established labour. Two surges later everything changed and I felt the need to push. She took another look and asked if she could pop the last bit of water that was in the way of the babies head coming down. I was fine with that and after it was done there was big rush and i could feel the head was right there. For this i was given gas and air and really focused on counting through my breathing. This down stage lasted about 45 mins and after a little wobble of confidence and having to change positions onto my side to monitor the baby better (my husband had me in a leg and arm lock-hold to hold me up) I was told to do a big push to get the head out. Rufus was out in that one go and I couldn't believe it! I was so happy he was here, that it was over(ish) and that it went that well! He was born at 10pm so it had taken 1 hour 40 mins.

I think despite not completing the course, it showed me that if you only take a couple of things from it, it can vastly improve your experience and confidence. For me it was the breathing techniques (although I only remembered to use the up breathing) and the positive affirmations (when i was most scared i found myself repeating "my body was built to birth this baby").

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