My daughter Eliza made an appearance in the early hours of Tuesday 4th June 2013.
Here's what happened...
By Sunday June 2nd I'd been off work for three weeks and was 39 weeks pregnant. I was starting to feel ready for the baby to arrive, both practically and emotionally. However, there had been no signs that she may be arriving soon. So we decided to head to Mansfield (about 15 miles from home) to go to the local designer outlet place to see if we could get Joseph any sandals. As is often the case, Joseph insisted that Ash sat in the back with him and I drove. Fine.
As we were driving on a country road between Nottingham and Mansfield I felt two separate cramps. They felt like period pains, they were manageable and I continued to drive but they were noticeable. These continued as the day went on but they weren't happening regularly, and I was able to get on with my day of chasing Joseph around. I wondered if it was the first signs of my body getting ready for birth; maybe my cervix softening, but I didn't think I was anywhere near to giving birth or even labour.
That night I didn't get a lot of sleep because Joseph was coughing and on a couple of occasions I felt these same cramps. Still only in the bottom of my bump. Still just a bit like period pains, not contractions.
Monday arrived. Ash went to work; I told him I'd let him know if I went in to labour but that I still didn't think that would be happening yet. Joseph was tired I think as he was being quite difficult; messing everything up and refusing to do as he was asked. Having to deal with him meant that my focus certainly wasn't on my body and I hardly noticed any cramps as the day went on. I walked to the local shops with Joseph at one point and got a few items of shopping, but other than that we stayed in for most of the day and watched tv. I felt tired more than anything after a poor nights sleep.
I cooked a pasta bake for tea and felt unable to eat very much of it personally. Whilst at the dinner table, again I noticed a couple of cramps, but again, although they were uncomfortable they weren't painful.
I had arranged for my mum to come over to help me with Joseph on the following day in case I was tired again, and I was pleased to have done that.
We then did our usual evening routine, getting Joseph to bed and it took a bit longer than usual to get him to sleep but he was finally asleep at about 9pm. I lay with him in bed whilst he was going to sleep and the cramps, again were there but nothing more than uncomfortable. I found as I was lying in the dark I could deal with them fine, I was visualising any more uncomfortable ones as waves.
I was getting a bit fed up by this point as I thought I was likely to be getting these cramps for days before then starting the difficult bit of labour. Little did I know.....!!
I went downstairs with Ash at 9ish and watched tv for a bit, checking on Joseph at about 10pm and moving him from our bed to his and changing his nappy as he'd refused to have it done before going to sleep.
I then decided at 10.30 that I might as well go to bed and try to get some sleep.
Ash came upstairs at 10.50 and spoke to me and between this point and 11pm I had three stronger pains that were more difficult to deal with. After the third one I felt quite damp and so went to the toilet and I'd passed some mucus plug. It was clear and wet mainly bit I wasn't went enough to say my waters had broken. The pain when the mucus plug went was the most uncomfortable so far although I was able to deal with it again by visualising a wave.
At this point I suggested to Ash we should get the things out of the shed for the pool just in case. I felt as though things were getting going a bit but I still thought we were in for the long haul as the pains were still localised to the bottom of my bump and I couldn't see any changes in the shape of it during a pain, as you may expect during a contraction.
I started timing the pains at this point and found they were coming every 3 minutes or so and lasting around a minute. I called my mum as she was our childcare for Joseph but told her that I felt it could still go either way. She decided to head over to save coming in the middle of the night if things picked up then. She said she'd be about an hour.
I went downstairs taking old towels and an old duvet downstairs and sat on the sofa helping Ash to pump up an aired for my mum. I was frequently needing the toilet to open my bowels and after a few more "contractions" Ash suggested I called the midwife. I called them at 11.40 and I'd been getting the contractions regularly for a little over half an hour. I was able to breathe through them but the person who took my call said she could tell at this point that I was in labour. The midwife called me back five minutes later, at which point I had a contraction that was more difficult to deal with. I was lying on the sofa trying to speak to the midwife on the phone and they said they were on their way. When I got off the phone I threw the duvet on to the floor and leant over the sofa. Ash had inflated the pool by now and was trying to fill it with the hose as quickly as possible. The contraction were coming thick and fast now and Ash suggested I took my pants off! He helped me to do this although I found it difficult and he continued to be in and out of the kitchen trying to fill the pool as quickly as possible.
I could feel pressure in my bum for a little while on each contraction at this point and I honestly thought I was doing a poo. I told Ash this and he came and had a look and said he couldn't see anything. I believe it was around now he gave up on the pool as it was clear it wasn't going to be ready in time. He continued to be in and out of the kitchen but this time he was on the look out for midwives arriving. He came back to check on me at one point to see that her head was on it's way out. I sat a bit more upright when I knew the head was out and put my hand on it. I then quickly gave birth to the body. I didn't feel at any point as though I was consciously pushing, my body just did it. She cried thankfully straight after being born although she seemed quite mucusy, so i tried to sit her forwards to clear some mucus. I was sat on the floor at this point and checked her gender. I told Ash who wanted to know what we needed to do!! I told him to get a towel and wrapped her up. I realised the cord was a bit short and saw it was wrapped around the back of her neck so sorted that out and just held her! My mum arrived around this point and was rather shocked to see her grand daughter had arrived! Ash and my mum helped me to turn around so I could sit leaning on the sofa rather than in the middle of the room and I got her latched on and feeding quickly. I had always planned to leave the cord intact for as long as possible so it never crossed our mind to cut it.
The midwives arrived fifteen minutes after she was born and so my notes quite amusingly say "on arrival, baby feeding" :-)
The placenta then didn't want to come out even with me squatting and bouncing so Ash cut the cord after about 45 minutes and I had the injection after about an hour. Placenta was fine and is now in our freezer, I'm not totally sure what to do with it but if I get any signs of pnd then it's going to be encapsulated. Otherwise I guess we'll bury it sometime.
I then tied a silk cord tie around eliza's cord and cut the plastic clip off, much neater and nicer! We had cleared up and were in bed by about 3am. A much nicer experience than in hospital!
Eliza weighed 7lb 3oz and hasn't lost any of her birth weight; weighing 7lb 7oz on day 6.