Yesterday was Nathaniel’s 4th birthday and I still can’t believe how quickly those years have gone by. Birthdays make me think back to their birthing days, so here is Nathaniel’s home birth story.
From Sunday 8th May, I was feeling poorly. Headaches, shivering, sore throat and generally not quite right. But I had another week and a half at work, so decided that it was just late pregnancy aches and pains and tried to keep going. Have to say that I was in bed by 5pm on the Monday though as felt that I had flu.
On Wednesday 11th May (38 weeks and 5 days pregnant), I woke up and couldn’t walk properly – it felt as though there was a ball between my legs – and I thought that the baby had maybe just dropped further or that I had slept funny, so off I trundled to work. Fortunately, we had a special collapsed timetable day and I was down to do one-to-one work so was not teaching full classes. During the day, I was having mild pains but as I had had them for the last few days, I wasn’t worried.
2.25pm – After lunch, I sat in department office to await first afternoon student, when I heard/felt a pop and a gush. I stood up quickly (because I was on a particular colleague’s chair and I didn’t want to get it wet) and Niagra Falls began. My trousers were stuck to me, my socks and shoes soaked and there was a puddle on the floor. My first thought was that it couldn’t be happening. I had heard the jokes for the previous two weeks about my waters breaking at school but knew that it was unlikely so laughed them off. I wasn’t laughing when their predictions came true.
In a panic, I waddled out to the corridor where fortunately a lovely female teacher was and asked her to come over. She calmed me down, got me to the office and there I sat on a pile of towels and plastic bags awaiting my husband, while the admin staff tried to make jokes. Contractions were every 5 minutes but weren’t long or painful.
3.45pm – Eventually I got home and I had a mad dash around the house with me trying to get the dishes in the dishwasher (as we had all left for work/school in a hurry that morning and I didn’t want the midwives to see the mess). So, with waters still pouring out, I set about to get ready for our home birth.
4.30pm – The midwife arrived and said that I was 5cm and very stretchy. Waters were still gushing out. I began to think that they had it wrong about a big baby as never seen so much water. There were plastic sheets all over the bed and floor and towels scattered around trying to soak it up. The midwife got me walking up and down the stairs and got a second midwife there as she thought things were happening quickly.
After 2 hours of walking up and down the stairs, pausing to breath through the contractions, I was feeling immense pressure in bottom so we thought I was 9cm ish, but contractions still only one in five minutes and I was managing to laugh in between the contractions (goodness knows what was funny and no, I hadn’t touched the gas and air!).
8.15pm – still nothing and time for shift change of midwives. I was tired and disheartened and kept saying that I couldn’t understand why baby wasn’t coming but that it felt there was something stopping him. The new midwife was a matron and straight away insisted on an internal, suggesting that I had another bag of waters preventing the baby coming down. I argued that I really couldn’t have any more waters. How wrong was I!
8.30pm – On examination, I was only 7cm and I promptly burst into tears thinking I had hours and hours to go as had only gone 2cm in all that time. But then she explained that she was able to stretch it to 9-10cm and that the waters had stopped the pressure of the head needed to dilate and stay there. She broke the waters and there was so much of it (again!) that it soaked everything (again). The next contraction was instant and intense. The midwife said I had to get to the birthing area on the floor where I quickly had another contraction that was very long and I knew things were finally happening.
At this point I was kneeling on the floor when the heartbeat dropped to 60 and the two midwives told to push hard to get the baby out quickly. Without having a contraction or urge to push I argued that I couldn’t but she said I had to get him out now! I pushed and somehow got his head out without a break and then his body at 8.45pm. He screamed straight away and was fine, and so was I. We were just a bit shocked by the events of the previous fifteen minutes.
So all in all, I was 5cm by the time I got home, then took 3 and a half hours to get to 7cm , then ten minutes to get to 10cm and delivery a baby.
Afterwards, she said I was very lucky that the waters were stuck there because if those waters had also broken at school, I would have probably had a 30 minute labour and had him at work! But that large bag blocked everything and meant a slow 5-7cm instead.
After the birth, I was helped back into my bed and sat there and fed him. He opened his eyes and just looked up – the best moment ever! The other children then came up and the midwives discreetly disappeared to leave us to have some ‘family time’. Everyone had cuddles and photos and it was just so lovely – one reason that I loved having a home birth.
10.00pm – the midwives left us, I had had a bath, the girls got packed off to bed and I was sat on the sofa cuddling my newborn son and thinking what a surreal day – gone to work as normal, managed practically a full day, waters broke at work, home to give birth, had a baby and sat in front of the TV eating tea by 10pm.
Nathaniel was 7lb 3oz and 45cm (my shortest baby). Now he is a spirited and loving 4 year old, about to head off to school and start new adventures.