For December’s birth story, I’m telling the story of my third child, Daniel’s birth. It was quite dramatic!
DH = Darling Husband.
Christmas 2014, the Turkey had been eaten, boxing day done. We’d had a big family get together on the 27th with family quite a drive away with many jokes about me giving birth on the way home – not likely I thought as I was 3 weeks away from my due date even though I know that babies have their own agenda!
2 days later on the 29th, I woke up in a bad mood, I still had loads to do before the baby arrived, the nursery wasn’t finished, I’d just about packed my hospital bag but I didn’t feel ready at all. I’d been at the hospital that morning for monitoring as I was on blood pressure pills and they were scanning me regularly because the baby was small but growing. I remember thinking that morning that if they said I needed to be induced I would just go with it, because I had suffered with sacral and pelvic pain and was so uncomfortable, even though I was against induction unless absolutely necessary. My husband’s best friend came over at lunchtime to see us and eat cheese, drink wine and generally be festive – I spent most of the day putting up curtains, sorting and being grumpy. My husband proceeded to get drunk with his friend and occasionally pacified me by helping on the odd thing. By 9pm I’d had enough, the other children were in bed and I took myself off to bed in a huff. My husband said goodbye to his mate and joined me at some point to sleep it off. It was his last hurrah before he had to be on call for work the next day and he was going to stop drinking so he could be on hand to take me to hospital when the time came.
I woke up at some point after 2am on the 30th to the sound of my husband vomiting in the toilet. This did not help my mood, because I knew he’d be useless the next day from a hangover. I was vaguely aware that I’d had a couple of pains in my sleep, but I wasn’t sure if I’d dreamt it or not. I went to the toilet which usually relieved any discomfort I had at night (I actually had to wee in the bath because my dearest was still occupied in our only toilet), but this time the discomfort was still there afterwards. I went back to bed to try and sleep and to monitor what was happening. Well, sleep was out of the question – I had a couple more pains and I remember thinking – it’s too early (I wasn’t due until 15th January and only 37+5 weeks) and completely bad timing – maybe they’ll go off and they’re just Braxton hicks. Then my water broke whilst I was in bed. This had never happened to me before, I’d always been in hospital or in the full throes of labour, but it left no doubt that yes, this was happening. I went to the toilet (DH had gone back to bed and was now snoring). There was blood, the waters were very red. I sat on the toilet for a few minutes not knowing what to do – water and blood was continually dripping, I was in shock, I realised I had to go to the hospital and it meant the birth had to happen at the most in the next two days, but I had to pick the right moment to a) wake up my drunk/hungover husband and b) phone my mum to come and look after the other children, bearing in mind it’s around 3am now. I decide to pad myself up and go downstairs as I was pretty hungry and then phone my mum when the contractions picked up. They were coming quite regularly but didn’t feel that strong. I made some toast, put on my favourite comfort film, Mannequin and settled down on the sofa. The toast had not yet popped and I remember seeing the opening credits of the film, then I had a stronger contraction which I really needed to breathe through. I’d been practicing hypnobirthing breathing and relaxation techniques (when possible, I’d planned on practicing more when I had time after the kids went back to school) and tried to remember what to do. I decided I’d better call my mum as I was facing up that I needed to go to hospital and then I’d wake up DH. I tried calling her, it went to answer machine! Things were not going according to plan. I then felt a further gush of water and thought, great, now I’ve got to go and clean up again. I then had an almighty contraction and I couldn’t help shouting. I screamed as loud as I could for my husband and hoped to god he could hear me. I knew what this level of pain meant. Luckily he came rushing downstairs and appeared at the doorway to the living room in his pants looking disorientated. I had no time to speak before another strong contraction gripped me – he was confused and I managed to get out – ‘Call an ambulance!’ ‘W-What’s happening, what’s the matter?’ he cried, well, I thought it was obvious what was going on, but I think I said the baby’s coming, he knew nothing except I’d got up to go to the loo as normal – he found the phone and called an ambulance, who he put on speaker phone. They asked me some stupid questions like was I pregnant? Duh! They asked for our phone number which he completely forgot and I had to say it when I could grab my breath! I was still on the sofa in my pyjamas and dressing gown, which I threw off as I was suddenly very hot! I remember that if you got on all fours and put your bottom up in the air it can slow things down, so that’s what I did – it didn’t work, the wheels, as they say were well in motion. I felt myself losing control, but I managed somehow to get a grip, maybe the hypnobirthing techniques helped, maybe I manned up, who knows, it really bloody hurts though! He got my trousers off amongst me protesting, then I had a real urge to push and I thought – I’ve got no choice here, this baby’s coming, I’m going to have to go with it. I think it did help that I was a midwife and I could visualise the process – poo, blood, mucous and all! I felt sorry for DH though, as he is in no way a medical professional (I’ve still not asked him if he saw me poo myself or not, some things are best left unsaid in a relationship). I felt the head coming down and the next thing I knew DH was saying, ‘Oh my God, the head’s out!’ Blimey, I thought I didn’t really feel it – just the pain of the contraction. Then I knew I had to push the body out, so the next contraction I pushed again and out he slid – I was still on all fours wearing the top of my pyjamas and the bottoms were round one ankle. Baby D was semi-caught by DH right in front of the Christmas tree on our rug. DH has no idea really if he caught him or not, I remember turning round and he was there on the floor. I scooped him up and held him close. I think the ambulance control on the phone said something about towels and DH went up and grabbed the nice baby towels I’d washed and was saving for bathtime and threw them at me – I had no choice but to use them and I dried him and wrapped him up, but kept him skin to skin with me. DH was standing at the doorway again looking panic stricken, I was sitting on the floor leaning against the sofa chatting to the lady on the other end of the phone – I felt so much better! Still in shock at what had happened so quickly but physically such a relief and psychologically I felt so empowered. I looked up at DH and realised he was still in his pants (underwear to the americans), and I suggested he go and put some clothes on before the ambulance arrived. I’d had two haemorrhages before so I was keeping an eye on my blood loss but all was ok. The ambulance came, it was a first responder, a lady on her own. She came and sat with me and gave me the gas and air as I’d started having contractions again for the placenta. The placenta came out with no trouble and by then there was another paramedic crew on the scene and we managed to cut the cord. Not long after two of my lovely midwife friends arrived as we’d managed to contact the hospital somewhere along the line. They didn’t need to do anything except weigh the baby, help me get cleaned up and check for stitches – I didn’t need any. I decided to go to hospital as he did come out small as expected, only 5lb 7oz and hadn’t been interested in feeding. It was such a shock to go to bed and practically wake up with a baby. I got hold of my parents eventually and they came over to babysit the children. With all the people over I hadn’t noticed DH disappear for a while – I’d learn later that he’d gone upstairs to be sick again! He got to be the hero of the hour but he didn’t do anything really, I believe I did all the hard work! Amazingly the children didn’t wake up at all throughout, despite me screaming, 2 sets of paramedics arriving and 2 midwives, plus me then leaving for hospital. DH did say he didn’t want to go near that end for a little while, but I believe he got over that pretty quick. We had to buy a new rug…
My face says it all! A look of shock, disbelief and amazement – If I’d have prepared a bit more I’d have put my boobs away!