“From around 36 weeks I had contractions on and off and some days definitely got us to thinking – “is this labour?” We knew what to look for from Rachel’s course and they were definitely Braxton hicks – albeit quite intense at times but very irregular. I got to 38 weeks with on and off contractions but on Tuesday 5th May things felt different. I had a feeling that something was coming – but no contractions. Just a feeling that birth was imminent.
Wednesday 6th May, I woke up to contractions every 7 minutes. We knew from Rachel’s course that the latent phase might be a while, so my husband just kept bringing me food and encouraged me to rest to try and keep the oxytocin flowing.
Around 2pm, 7 hours of regular but comfortable contractions, I spoke to my mum to arrange childcare for my eldest 2. I said I’d make a decision at 5ish as to whether to send the kids to her house for a sleepover. Well 5pm came and just like that the contractions stopped. I presumed because of weeks of Braxton hicks – it must have been them. But looking back, I ended up doing a few bits of housework, kids teas etc and I think my body had just decided “not yet” – life was a little bit chaotic at that moment.
We put the children to bed at 7pm thinking “could this the last bedtime as a family of 4?!” We sat down to watch to tv and the contractions started up again. They were comfortable, regular and definitely the real thing. I spoke to my mum and said I’d get in touch when I needed to leave for the hospital. Come 9pm they were still comfortable so I said to my husband I’m going to get some sleep and I will wake you if I need you. After having 2 previous births where I laboured through the night – we knew how tiring it is and that any last minute sleep is vital! I woke up at 12 and too uncomfortable to lie down. I came downstairs, put my affirmations out, sat on my ball and watched Grey’s Anatomy. The contractions were every 3-4 minutes. I was comfortable and I just embraced every single one.
1am came and I woke Andy – I felt I needed some support. Andy came down, prepared all last minute bits and got our bag ready. He helped me to put the TENS on and took my lead for what I needed – space when having a contraction, putting affirmations on to listen to, getting me my water bottle etc. In between, contractions, we were chatty, excited and I was still comfortable. They seemed to be getting closer so at about 2.15am I rang the hospital and they said to come on down. I rang my mum to come and stay with my older boys and Andy prepped the car. My mum arrived at 2.40am and off we went.
In the car the contractions were intense but I kept repeating ‘you will get a rest’. We had been in the car about 3 minutes and I was starting to think – I am not getting a rest anymore. I knew I was in the transition period and baby was close. We pulled into the car park and I started to panic – my body was pushing and I couldn’t control it. Andy remained calm and went to look for a help. The ward clerk from maternity was outside on a break and rang up to get a midwife. They wanted me to sit in a wheelchair but I couldn’t – baby’s head was about to be born. I managed to walk to delivery suite without a contraction however once through the doors, in a ‘safe’ space, a contraction came on and I could feel baby wanting to be born. They let me kneel on a wheelchair and got me in a room. There was no time for the pool birth. I knelt on the floor bed and the midwife said she can see the baby. A contraction happened straightaway and his head was born. Another contraction pretty much straight away and our 3rd boy Albert was born at 2.59am – 19 minutes after leaving the house.
I was in disbelief at how fast things happened. Rachel’s course kept me in control when the situation was not going quite as planned. I wanted to birth in the pool at home (but Covid happened). And I did not want to be 10cm on the car park. But the labour was enjoyable and I just did not realise how far along I was. And this is 100% due to Rachels course – the positivity around labour ensured I enjoyed every step of it. I never doubted my body and I remained in control of my labour”.