When I found out I was pregnant, I was excited at the possibility of a home birth after a straightforward and easy first pregnancy and quick water birth 3 years ago. However, at 28 weeks pregnant a scan showed our baby was on the smaller side of normal and I started having serial growth scans under a consultant, every 2 weeks to monitor her growth. A plan was made to be induced at 37 weeks which meant a water birth on the birthing centre was not now a possibility, as I would need continuous fetal monitoring on labour ward due to her size.
Katie and I talked through my birth preferences, and how I worried I wouldn’t be able to cope without the buoyancy of the water I had in my first labour. But I felt reassured that we would create a homely, safe space on labour ward, and use telemetry monitoring so I could move around freely.
At 35+5 I was surprised to have mild contractions at home which started at around 4.30pm, and after an hour or so, they began to get stronger and closer together so we made our way into hospital. I was met by Katie, and moved to labour ward around 8pm as I was now tightening every 2 minutes, and around 2cm dilated. From my first contraction at home I was in complete denial that I was going into labour, especially as she was currently measuring on the 1st growth centile, and premature. I had convinced myself it was a false alarm and I’d be going home.
I wandered around to Labour ward where Katie and Jenny had created a beautiful, calm space and telemetry fetal monitoring was started. It quickly became evident that there was no turning back when my waters broke about 15 minutes later, so I was given steroids and antibiotics to support her lungs and protect her from infection. My contractions where strong, but totally manageable at this point as I plodded around the room with my TENs machine, nattering away and dancing to music.
About 45 minutes after my waters had broken my contractions quickly ramped up and I suddenly felt like she was about to make her arrival! I started using entonox, and 30 minutes later our beautiful baby arrived whilst kneeling over the back of the bed. Katie delivered her, and I instinctively brought her forward between my legs and held her against my skin (with a lot of shock and sobbing from me). The relief to hear her cry, and see her safe was totally overwhelming.
The paediatrician was present for the birth, but stood quietly, allowing us to have our private and personal birthing experience. He could see she was well, and let her lie on my chest undisturbed while we soaked up the moment. Boo latched on almost immediately and we all just sat in disbelief that she’d arrived. We laughed at how I was so convinced it was a false alarm, until my waters broke!
Boo was a tiny dot of a baby, weighing in at 4lbs 3oz, but has thrived ever since. I was lucky she never had to leave my side, and we were discharged home a few days later. Even though my pregnancy and birth couldn’t have been more different from my first, they were both perfect, totally, overwhelmingly perfect.