Birth story - Beth and baby boy

So after a few days of feeling "imminent", at 3.30am on Sunday I woke up with surges every 7 minutes or so and I couldn't sleep through them. I went down to the sofa so as to not disturb the boys and dozed on and off until about 7. When Lake woke up I let James know that I thought this was the real deal and we decided to grab some shopping and walk a little to get things moving. Surges came closer and closer to about every 3-4 minutes and I was feeling pretty good about it all. I could feel everything escalating, I was opening and going deeper into myself.

By lakes bedtime, we called the Doula and she came over for about 9pm. James (oh) put Lake (toddler, 2.5) to bed and then came downstairs to help set up the pool whilst I got by with the TENS machine. The whole process was incredibly intense with what felt like not much time to rest. We called the midwives and asked them to make their way over and just as they arrived I got in the pool which brought me so much relief. I carried on as usual, breathing, smiling, feeling strong and powerful. Lake woke up a few times and James would go up to settle him. By 4am James was getting tired so I told him to doze as I was coping well. I had moments of feeling sleepy but they quickly passed.

By the time surges came along more intense and much closer I was getting more and more tired by the second. Lake woke up at around 5.30am and I went into mummy mode and struggled to concentrate. The intensity spread to my hips and I was struggling to handle it. Despite over 24 hours of close and intense surges, I didn't seem any closer.

After a chat with my midwives who could sense my worry, we decided a internal examination would be the best since we weren't sure what was going on. They found I was 7cm with membranes intact and not allowing head to come down more. I was exhausted and in bits. I could see my birth slipping away from me and I felt overwhelmed by the tiredness and broke down. Everything I had been holding in came out. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn't this as easy as Lake's birth? It all came flooding out. But my amazing village consisting of James, my doula, 2 dear friends, and the 3 midwives (one of which was working through her day off to stay with me) pulled me back together.

We formulated a plan. James called our friends to take Lake away so I could concentrate. We decided breaking my waters was the best to keeping me at home. Staying at home was my main focus at this point and not letting myself get too tired to be able to continue. After having a plan in place and feeling safe with everyone around me and Lake with people I trust, we got to it. Gas and Air became my best buddy and my midwife broke my waters (which we were all relieved to see were clear).

If possible, things got even more intense after that. The surges were all in my hips. My doula did some reboze to relieve it whilst the pool was filled up with more warm water. As soon as I was in the pool I needed to bear down. It took about an hour of strength and sweat, constant reminders that I could do this, to be surrounded by love and trust, for me to birth this baby. He finally arrived covered in vernix, head full of hair, calm and happy (I wonder if there's a lesson to be learnt from him in this?). I birthed the placenta whilst feeding him on the toilet and after cutting the cord. We initially wanted to birth the placenta before cutting the cord but I was just going with it at this point and wanted to sit down!

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After the change in plans, my near breaking point, I got to get straight onto my sofa and chill with my baby. My big baby came back and is smitten with his new little brother! So after a pizza I came straight to bed at about 7pm and over 36 hours without sleep. I shall be spending the next few days in adult nappies and not much else since it's so blooming hot, sleeping lots and eating a ton.

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What have I learnt from this? That things don't always go to plan. Emotional blockages affect your body more than I ever realised. That it's important to remember what the most important thing is in that moment (having my baby at home, safely) and go with everything else. That being surrounded by a village is what I most treasure in my life right now. We are so incredibly lucky to have midwives this passionate on the NHS. We must protect them. Without every single one of them (my community midwife who is more like a warm aunt to me, the first on call midwife who worked through her day off to stay with me and handled me like a boss, the second midwife who became Lakes adopted nanny before he was whisked away, the student who never left my side and the final midwife who arrived just in time for birth and who had the not so pretty tasks of cleaning me up after) my birth could have been entirely different. I will forever fight for what they do for women in the UK. I'm grateful for my trusted friends who took care of my big boy so I could concentrate. Above everything else, this has taught me to rely on others and trust those who love you.

At the end of all this, we got a lush baby boy weighing a whopping 9lb14 (no tears!) who will slot nicely into our home and hearts.

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