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Samuel's Birth, by Donna Cummings

Monday 12th June - I started my Maternity Leave and had a couple of weeks of relaxing planned (little did I know!) I went out shopping with my dad in the morning and picked up a few bits we had forgotten at the weekend and then out again in the afternoon with my mum. We sat in the car dealer's (mum had bought a new car) laughing with the salesman whilst she sorted out some final details, then headed off to Freeport (Castleford) to get a nursing bra and some birthday/fathers day cards. I got home about 5.40pm and greeted DP (Dear Partner), got changed then went to get the things for tea out of the fridge.

I bent down to get the salad box out of the bottom of the fridge and felt this strange sensation down below. I knew what it must have been as I had only just been to the toilet! I shouted DP to come and get the things I had put on the top of the fridge whilst I just nipped upstairs. He asked what was wrong - of course I said simply "nothing darling, I think my waters have gone, that's all!"And by gods did they go!

I put some fresh underwear and atowel on and wrapped my bottom half up in a towel and went back downstairs. As I had planned a homebirth, I was under instruction to call the delivery suite when my waters broke. I duly called and the on-call mw (midwife) rang back. Luckily, it was my mw who had been looking after me during my pregnancy. I asked her if she could come in about half an hour, as we were just about to have tea! She came out to the house and we chatted (I wasn't having any pains). She said she just wanted to check it was my waters that had gone and there was a possibility that she may have to do a swab. I laughed at that and she said, "Hmmm, I dont think I will have to do a swab, it's quite clear it's your waters"as there was a fountain from down below. We went through all the ritual "if you haven't gone into labour by Wednesday morning we will book you in for induction" yeah yeah, whatever!

We said our see you tomorrows and that was that. We sat watching the TV (me on my ball to try to bring the labour on) until I decided to go and get a bath at 9.30pm. I laid in the bath for half an hour or so, pouring water over the lower part of my strangely crampy tummy (not realising these were contractions). I got out of the bath just after 10 and got ready for bed. DP and I got into bed so we could get our rest for the next couple of days - we were warned first labours could be long and painful so we prepared ourselves. I rang my mum to let her know I was going to bed and would call her if anything happened. This was 10.30pm.

After less than a minute I said to DP that I couldn't lie there and got up to go downstairs. I sat on my ball watching some rubbish on sky and talking to DP's mum, watching the clock on the video with these strange pains. His mum asked if I was in any pain and I said not really, just some strange cramps (still not realising these were contractions!)

When I did finally realise that this was it and that these were contractions it was 11pm and they were coming 2 minutes apart and lasting for a minute. I rang delivery suite and, in between contractions (DP was still in bed!), told them they better get the midwife back as this was it.

Fiona (mw) rang me and didn't sound convinced that I was in labour, as I sounded too jolly! She said she would be there shortly. I rang my mum and said that they were 2 minutes apart and the MW was on her way. She was round like lightning! Bringing my sister and ringing my dad on the way (who left half a pint in the pub so they all knew what was happening!) By now it was 11.30pm and I had got DP out of bed and drank somewhere in the region of a litre of water (kept some bottles in the fridge 'cos I like it cold!) whilst one was emptied and another brought, the empty was refilled and chilled! Mum was rubbing my back as I leaned on the fireplace and somewhere in between contractions I managed to get upstairs as the MW arrived. Mum carried on rubbing my back whilst the MW set up her bits. At 11.45pm she did an examination and found I was already 4cm dilated so she phoned for the gasses just in case they were needed. I never did get my prescription for the pethidine as I didnt know it was there ready for me!

Things progressed quickly and at 12.45am I remember saying to my mum that I felt sick and needed the toilet. I proceeded to be sick in the bucket that had been whipped up from nowhere (mum was very brave during that bit she hates sick!) and went to the loo. When I wiped a bit of gooey blood dripped on my bath mat and on my leg and I wanted to wipe it off but mum got the mw she knew what it was. I was more bothered about getting it off my new white toilet mat! Ha ha. I got back into my bedroom and the MW called the second MW to attend.

Half an hour later at 1.15, the urge to push was unbearable. I was laid on my bed propped up by a million pillows. I couldnt control my legs from shaking and kept saying between breaths that I had cramp in my foot. I guess this was the transition period because in between contractions I just wanted to be quiet and calm (hard when you have DP, mum, 2 mws and a student mw all in a small bedroom!)

It says in my notes I started pushing at 1.25am and from what I remember it is a very strange feeling. I think there were 3 pushes per contraction but don't quote me on that one I didnt know what planet I was on! DP was beside me wiping my face with a cold face cloth he was fantastic throughout the whole labour. I remember the MW trying to get me on all fours, as it would be easier to push baby out more like he would just fall out! Thing was, my legs were shaking so much I couldnt move.

I carried on pushing and at 2.20am Samuel John was born. She didn't have chance to check for the cord and I never got chance to pant. Once his head crowned, he flew out with the next contraction and push! That was the strangest feeling. Knowing there was this head down there but not being able to do anything about it until the next contraction. My mum persuaded DP to have a look as his head was crowning and as he looked down, the whole baby shot out! He shocked everyone at his quick arrival and even soaked the mw with the bucket loads of fluid from behind him! All I remember after that is smiling at DP and my mum saying "You've done it, Donna!"

The mws rubbed him down and gave me the syntometrine injection. I got the first hold of our son and DP had tears in his eyes. He left the room as the placenta was delivered he did well to stop for the delivery! There was a small 1st degree tear but it was just the skin and a couple of grazes. Samuel had apgar scores of 10 both times and I didnt have any pain relief whatsoever!

After the placenta had been delivered DP and I were left on our own for a while then Fiona came back in and we tried to get Samuel to feed. He has a very stubborn streak and wouldn't really open his mouth. We managed to get him to have a small suckle, but nothing much. Graham took Samuel to meet my dad whilst the midwives helped me to get into a nightie and put a clean sheet on my bed. Fiona checked I was ok and cleared up her things. She left about 4.30am and we went to bed. Samuel was in his moses basket at the bottom of the bed, fast asleep after his arrival.

All in all I wouldn't say it was a bad experience at all. I was surprised at how easy it was, if you could call labour easy. It's true what people say though, about you forgetting about the pain immediately!

Donna Cummings

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First Babies and homebirth


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