It was Tuesday. I was 40+9 and due for induction on Friday at 40 +12. I had been for my second round of acupuncture the day before and I was super emotional. I had been similarly emotional after acupuncture before, so I was putting it down to that and rolling with it as best I could. I’d been reading up on the GentleBirth FaceBook group about the various stories of induction to try get my head into the right space. We decided to take our 2.5 year old out for a walk in the local fairy forest. I was getting a very gooey doughnut after!! We had a lovely walk (in between my bouts of tears and needing to sit and toddler antics!). There were no doughnuts in the shop after our ramble - nearly broke me!! We got home for nap time and I had a nap too. I was experiencing painful pressure all morning. I’d felt that before so wasn’t concerned. Bounced on my ball for the afternoon and played with toddler as best I could. Went for another lie down early evening.
Woke around 7.30 pm and my partner had taken toddler to bed. Realised I was still experiencing the painful pressure and that rest hadn’t changed it. Noticed a wave like motion to it and finally dawned on me that maybe something was happening!! Had some dinner and watched some TV until my partner came downstairs around 9pm. Told him things may or may not be starting but that I’d ring my parents to come up from Tipp to be on the safe side and to get in touch with Debbie our Doulacare Ireland doula. I was very calm, relaxed and a bit excited. I knew it could all stop but was hopeful to meet our baby! We spoke with Debbie and then filled the birth pool that she had lent us. It was heaven. The water took away all sensations between the surges so then I knew things really had started! I rang my Mum again to let her know to come and she was very excited and was already ringing my Dad to come back from his friends to get on the road to us!
The pool was great. I just melted in it. We started timing the surges. I used wave imagery during each one and told baby I loved them. We watched comedies on Netflix and took things nice and easy. We were speaking and texting with Debbie during this time. Letting her know what was going on. She was on a postpartum shift and was ready to jump to us as soon as we said so! I was happy and comfortable with being at home. There was no rush on us anywhere and things were going well. Got out of the pool as it was getting cold and the surges were noticeably more intense out of water. Tried my Tens machine which I loved on my first labour but couldn’t hack it this time at all. Getting dressed and warmed up took a while with surge breaks. My parents arrived and settled in around midnight. I packed them off to bed. I loved them but didn’t want a crowd around me.
My partner and I went upstairs to our room. My bed and pillows were a gift. Low lighting and chilled but happy labour playlist was ongoing. I had to pee a lot which was annoying! Surges were really taking shape and we were hitting the 4-1-1 mark. They were quite strong, and I held my partner's hand through them. There was quite a sting in them at the end. Just as I was thinking it was ending, there would be a lash at the end – I was imagining a dragon’s tail swishing! We rang Debbie to come around 1am. I was so comforted by her presence. Our team was assembled! Not long after she arrived we pretty much decided to go the hospital. Things were intense and regular. With it being a second labour, we didn’t want to take any chances. My partner was defrosting the car and getting things organised while Debbie and I chatted, and she held my hand and helped me breath through surges and go in and out to the bathroom.
Getting down the stairs and down the outside stairs to the car was super hard. Surges were much more frequent with movement. The journey to the Coombe was awful. I couldn’t bear sitting. My GentleBirth tracks were a Godsend during the journey to keep me calm and focused. The Labour Companion track was a perfect accompaniment. I could feel the panic and discomfort ease as I listened, focused and breathed. My poor partner thought we were going to have the baby in the car at the rate the surges were coming! We got to the hospital around 3am. Security got me a wheelchair and brought me in. He was a lovely man and was chatty and funny – I was not interested! I had my eyes closed and tracks playing. I needed my bubble to stay intact and wanted my own quiet space. The Domino midwife Emer assessed me. I was thrilled it was her on duty as we had met at one of my appointments and had really gotten on well and had a great chat. It was lovely that she remembered me. I felt so encouraged and this was another good sign! I was 1-2cm and baby wasn’t fully turned so she wanted me to walk and move to encourage baby to turn. I was offered pain relief but we all felt I was handling it well, so declined.
At this stage surges were quite consuming and intense. The thoughts of moving were awful, I just wanted to lie down between surges - not walk and move! Even though Debbie and I had a dance routine all ready to go and even had a song – Kanye “Stronger” mainly inspired by baby being “late” and the lyrics “you should be honoured by my lateness”! There was no hope of me dancing. Made it to the bathroom next door to the assessment unit and sat backwards on the loo. This was so comfortable. And I felt I could manage better there than in the assessment unit. The privacy and space of the bathroom was better than a curtained bed.
My partner and Debbie did double hip squeezes and I was using my GentleBirth tracks. We moved between assessment room and bathroom. One of them would do squeezes while the other gave me water/held me after a surge. I tried lying down again between them, but it was too uncomfortable to lie down and was hard to get up for a surge then. I had zero energy between surges, they were taking all my energy. Asked to be assessed again after a while as I was feeling a downward pull. It was 4.30 and I was 3-4cm.
The walk to the delivery suite (which of course was at the very end of all the suites – or so it seemed to me) was tough. Every few steps another surge took over. My partner would hold me up during them as Debbie did hip squeezes. Eventually we made it to the suite. I was very glad to have our own space and not to be in the assessment unit. Headed straight to the bathroom to go backwards on the loo again. Things really took off.
I was louder during surges now. Debbie got the shower going and set up the chair in it. It was fab to have the water on my back. Not long in the shower and I had to use the bar to pull myself to standing as the surges were so intense. The power of the surges drove me to standing. I felt the need to push. Midwife was called. My plug was coming away. Came out of the shower after that and made it a few steps, got my labour dress on again (I had worn it on my first and got a neighbour to put zips in it for skin to skin and breastfeeding access this time). I thought the intensity and pressure would lessen after the plug came away but nope!
Got helped to my knees just outside the shower and bean bag out under me as I went on all fours. My partner knelt in front of me and held me up as I had nothing left after surges. Debbie was holding a cold compress to my forehead. Emer the midwife was McGyvering on the floor behind me with her doppler. I hit a classic transition where I didn’t know what was going on, what was happening, why it hurt and stung so much, how I couldn’t possibly do this. My partner and Debbie were so encouraging telling me I was amazing, and all was ok, and everything was normal. It really eased the fear that had gripped me. The midwife asked me if I wanted to know what was happening – which I did. I honestly was asking if I was pooing or having a baby! I could feel my whole pelvis shift with the surges and I could only roar my way through them.
Emer told me that my waters were bulging and that was what was causing all the pressure. Once they went I would feel it less intensely. That helped so much to know and understand what was happening. I could relax more now. It soon became clear that baby was coming in the sac – rare but normal as the midwife said. Midwife, Debbie and partner told me to keep doing what I was doing, to follow my body’s lead, to go with the surges. It was properly intense, and the power was unreal. Baby’s head came in the sac. The sac burst, and the rest of baby came. We could hear the baby crying – it sounded like they were underwater! A singing mermaid! The relief and joy were epic.
I couldn’t believe what had just happened. It was 5.10am. Emer got Debbie to get a towel to give baby a quick wipe and she pushed baby up through my legs, so my partner and I could see baby – we had a daughter! It was such a wonderful moment to discover our little one together. The place was quite a mess, so we got to talk and kiss our little one as Emer cleaned up some so that I could safely stand and get to the bed. I got to carry my precious bundle with the cord still attached, to the bed. We had delayed cord clamping, feeding and lots of skin to skin time. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was blissed out! It was a surreal experience!
I needed stitches for second degree tearing. My partner got skin to skin with baby and Debbie held my hand and rubbed my head during the stitching. I was so grateful for her. She kept encouraging the gas and air too – which was great! I was on every kind of high and joy. Tea and toast arrived but I wanted to shower first. Debbie helped me while my partner held baby. Coming out of the shower I felt very woozy, so Debbie held me. I fainted, and midwife came. We had to manoeuvre me to a wheel chair and to the bed. I fainted again going from the chair to the bed. Rob had put baby in the cot to try help me. Once I was on the bed I felt much better and inhaled tea and toast. I should have had them before the shower. My poor partner had an awful fright – I missed all the drama!
We got to chill in the suite for a good while. Debbie held baby while my partner and I had some time together. She then helped my partner sort the bags for the ward and stayed with me while he went to the car and swapped bags around. I was so sad when she left. She had been such an incredible support to us and had been a massive part of our wonderful experience. My partner and I were and are so grateful to her.
My parents and toddler got to come in and visit us later that afternoon, which was fantastic. Big sister was thrilled with little sister! It was a very precious and squishy moment when the girls met. Debbie had given us great tips about introducing the sisters and they really made a difference. We had to spend the night on the ward as baby hadn’t done a wet nappy – she finally did at 10pm but it was too late to head home. We did get to go home first thing the next morning. I could hardly sleep I was so happy and the midwife on the ward commented on how radiant I was!!
Our little baby was finally with us and I had an amazing birth experience that I could not have even imagined! The doubt and fear I experienced during the 40 minutes in the delivery suite before my little girl arrived was totally wiped away. Awe of women and what we are capable of, replaced it. Gentle Birth was a marvellous tool during pregnancy and labour. Listening to the tracks all along really helped when action came as my body responded to the familiar words. Having a doula was significant for me throughout the pregnancy, labour, delivery and postpartum experience. The continuity of relationship meant she was a brilliant support when the time came. Trust had been established and I knew she had my best interests at heart and was there for me, my partner and baby. Our team brought our precious bundle into this world in the most incredible way. It was a transformative and empowering experience for me that I wish everyone to have.