I love reading birth stories! After sharing my own two very different birth experiences [emergency c-section and natural VBAC] I decided to ask other mums and dads to share their wonderful birth stories with me too. I’m absolutely delighted that so many people want to share with me! If you’d like to share your birth story, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.
This week Natalie is sharing the beautiful birth story of her second son. Last week she shared the birth story of her first son, who arrived at 36 weeks, which you can read about here.
Tell me your beautiful birth story…
Daniel is now ten months old, and when I think of his birth, the memories are much more positive than that of his brother! This time around we knew we were having a boy although no-one else did - we managed to keep it just our little secret.
After having Joseph at 36 weeks I was on stand by from 36 weeks onwards. This time I thought I better not push my luck so decided to finish work at 38 weeks instead of attempting to reach my due date! I was feeling much more relaxed about the labour this time. I knew when it same time I was going to stay at home for as long as I could, that I wanted delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin. I felt more confidant in myself and my own decisions, so I planned to go to the local birthing centre and have a water birth. I couldn't wait!
Again, I had contractions starting at night! 11am I was lying in bed and felt a cramp. I was 37 weeks, hurray! - this meant that I could go to the birth centre rather than hospital, I was so pleased he decided to wait that long. The only downside was that my mum had gone away to a funeral for 4 days and she was going to have Joseph for us (cue panic while we tried to work out who was going to have him!) so as my labour was officially 11 hours last time (more like 24 in my eyes) I thought I would get up and pace a bit and run myself a nice bath, I went downstairs and took some paracetamol. I didn't see any point in waking Andy yet as I thought we were going to be hours yet!
The bath felt amazing, it dulled the contractions a bit, and just felt lovely. At about half 12 my toddler appeared on the landing wondering what was going on, he wasn't used to the bath being run at that time of night! I sent him off to cuddle into Daddy.
The bath got a bit chilly, and the contractions seemed to be coming pretty quick by now, so I thought out of curiosity that I'd time them, so I got out the bath, downloaded a contraction timer app and timed a few. It does make me giggle now to think that I did all that while in full blown labour! To my surprise I was having 3-4 in ten minutes! That rang a bell somewhere, so I nipped to read my notes, and realised they told me to ring the on-call midwife when I was having 3 in 10 minutes, so I woke Andy, told him I though it was fairly imminent and he rang the midwife. He annoyed me so much getting my hospital number wrong on the phone I took over speaking, but had to keep stopping to breath through the contractions. After all that, the midwives were out at a home birth and couldn't attend the birth centre, so I had to go to hospital. I wish now I'd just stayed at home and hired a pool, but hind sight is a wonderful thing!
So now came the decision of who to ring to have our boy - it was now 1.30am, so our choices were limited, we decided on my Aunty and Uncle, who were amazing; they drove straight over, and had him until the morning for us. While we waited I sterilised the cord ties I wanted to use to tie the cord with in boiling water and bagged them. And that left us to drive to hospital!
We arrived there at 2.45, and the contractions were coming in thick and fast by now. I remember kneeling on all fours in the delivery room, while the midwife was asking me to get on the bed so she could examine me. As I went to get up, another contraction came, so she had to wait. She looked down at me as if I was being a bit melodramatic, but the labour was in my back again, so a bit painful! She eventually examined me, and exclaimed quite loudly 'oh! I can't find your cervix!' I have to say I was a little concerned at that point that she perhaps didn't know what she was doing, but luckily she followed up her first comment with 'You're so dilated I can't feel your cervix at all, it's only your waters holding baby in'. So, labouring for about just under 4 hours and managed to be fully dilated! What a difference to my first labour!
I asked for gas and air at that point (3am) and this is where the practice deep breathing I'd done at pregnancy yoga really came into it's own! It felt amazing. I made sure the midwife knew exactly what I wanted: Andy to cut the cord, use of the cord ties, delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin. I felt so much more in control this time, and felt like I was able to enjoy the experience.
At 3.20 am I started pushing - naturally. Not because the midwife told me to, but rather because my body told me to. At 3.29 our second son Daniel was born and I was cuddling him. He was put straight on my chest, and was able to root and latch on. The cord wasn't cut until it was white and floppy and stopped pulsating, and Andy was the one to cut it. The only slight downside was that the midwife didn't want to use the cord ties as she hadn't used them before, but to be honest, with Daniel in my arms I really didn't care at that moment.
We stayed cuddled up having skin to skin for about an hour and a half, just having gorgeous cuddles and his first feed. I then had a nice bath, and let daddy have cuddles (just for 10 minutes). When I came back Daniel latched on again, and at 5.30 we were told we could go home, so we did. by 6am the three of us were in our bed cuddled up together, feeling like we had just had the strangest night ever.
At 9am Joseph came home and met his new brother, and we spent the whole day having loads of cuddles. My labour this time was a much more lovely experience, and as we were leaving we were told that if we had a third not to even try to get to hospital, just stay at home, so if we have a third, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
I love that Natalie had such a positive and more relaxed birth experience this time, and with all the things that she wanted, such as delayed cord clamping and skin-to-skin. Perfect!
You can read more beautiful birth stories here.