I went into labour at 11pm with very mild contractions about 8-10 minutes apart, then around midnight I felt fluid leak out and knew it was my waters releasing. I popped on a pad and came out into the lounge room and stood in the kitchen through a few more contractions to see what would happen. More clear fluid came out with each contraction, and this continued throughout my labour. After an hour I went back into the bedroom and my husband woke so I told him we were on. A few hours later I called my mum to let her know and she came around to be with me and to watch my son when he woke. They were still mild and irregular, but I put on my TENs machine on a low setting as I remembered reading to put it on early. I tried some different positions to try increase the strength of the contractions as they were staying mild. I liked using the exercise ball with a few different positions as well as leaning over the couch.
Hours went by and they hadn’t increased by much, but my waters were still coming out with each contraction. Around 8am I messaged my midwife, student midwife and birth photographer just to let them know what was happening and continued on. Once the sun was up I went into the bedroom with the blinds down and switched between a birth playlist and hypnobirthing tracks. We tried everything we could think of including acupressure points, bouncing on the ball and going for a walk. Nothing seemed to be working and they were now about 30 minutes apart. Around lunch time my birth photographer arrived at my house and suggested I have a lay down and see if that works.
I put on an eye mask and my hypnobirthing tracks with my headphones and laid on the bed and finally my contractions started to increase. I laid there for as long as I could before becoming too uncomfortable and needing to change positions. They were still manageable, but I was now really focusing on them and not talking through them. I kept the TENs machine going and my husband used massage techniques on me. I also started using the birth comb in my hand.
Around 3pm my midwife came to the house to see how I was going and checked me. I was 3cm but felt ok with this as I knew not much had happened most the day and things were only starting to increase now. Due to my waters being broken since midnight we had the discussion about me needing antibiotics at 18 hours (6pm) for me to be able to have a water birth so we decided that was when I would meet her at the hospital. After she left things really intensified and by 4:30pm I told my husband we needed to go to the hospital now so I could get into the water. We arrived there at 5pm with strong contractions every few minutes. They filled up the birth pool and I had the TENs machine turned right up and I started on the gas while I waited. This made me quite nauseous though so was only used for 1-2 breaths through the contractions. Once the birth pool was filled, I got straight in. I stayed here for the rest of labour, using a small amount of gas and the comb in my hand.
We kept the lights dim, soft music playing, and I had my birth support team around me including my husband, two known midwives and my student midwife.
Towards 8pm I was feeling some pressure but was really struggling mentally so my midwife checked me but didn’t tell me my progress (found out later I was about 7cm). The pressure increased and soon after I started involuntary pushing. I went with what my body was telling me and when I felt her head move down into my pelvis, I reached my hand down and could feel her head with my finger. This motivated me to keep going. I listened to my midwife and slowly birthed her head. I kept my hand on her head and with the next contraction I guided her out, into my hands and up onto my chest. I sat in the water for a while then was helped out onto the bed to birth the placenta. I had a physiological third stage and birthed the placenta while the cord was still attached to her. The cord was then cut, and we were left to have undisturbed skin to skin and our first breastfeed.
Permission and photos shared with consent. Sam completed the Online Hypnobirthing with Hannah Course + 1:1 sessions.
Photo credit: Charlie Halman - Little Rose Photography - Instagram @littlerosephotography_