Jack’s Birth Story


I woke up at 6:30am on the 26th May and wondered why I had wet my pants when I had only just been to the toilet about an hour before. Then I realised I had not wet my pants as such, but my waters had broken. I phoned my midwife at about 7:30am to let her know and she came to see me mid-morning, checked that I knew when to ring her and did some baseline obs and off she went to clinic for the day. It was at this point that we discovered she had another woman in the exact same position – water’s broken, not in labour yet – so I spent the entire day worrying about whether I’d get to have my own midwife or not. Nothing much happened during the day regarding labour. We got the birth pool ready, everyone except me had a nap and we just waited.

The midwife (N) had rung us in the evening, somewhere around 7pm I think, and I told her that I didn’t think I would need her until after Mr 2.5 went to bed. My entire pregnancy I had said I wanted to labour at night and after Mr 2.5 was in bed, so that we could have our baby with just us and our midwives. We had put some cold water in the bottom of the pool after we’d eaten dinner. After we put Mr 2.5 to bed and started to think about filling the pool, we realised we’d put the wrong mat down under the pool and had to empty the pool to get it out. Luckily, it was only cold water we had to take out. I’m not really sure what time we started filling the pool, I know we started after Mr 2.5 went to bed but before N got here.

DH had to really encourage me to ring N, as I was convinced that it was too soon to ring her as the contractions were still easy enough for me to breathe through even if they were coming every 3-4 minutes. I phoned her at 9pm, told her the contractions had been 3-4 minutes apart for 30-40 minutes and were starting to get more intense. After I rang her, I wrote on a scrap of paper “9pm-ish, 2 minutes apart, sore, pain in lower belly and back/bum/pelvis. Forgot it hurt so much”.

At 9:20pm I rang her back and said the contractions were two minutes apart and lasting for about a minute, sharp pain. She got here at 9:45pm and started getting all her things ready. The contractions were really intense by this point and I needed DH holding me throughout them. Unlike with Mr 2.5’s labour I didn’t need the sacral pressure, but it was better with DH behind me and leaning into him. I was doing a lot of squatting throughout labour, trying to deal with the pelvic pain. The pain was in my belly, around my hips and as it got harder the pain went down my thighs and there was little that relieved it.

I didn’t want to swear so much during labour this time and had practiced things like “oopppeennn” during Braxton Hicks contractions and early labour, but I soon dropped that and opted for “come on baby”. It was nice and long and I could drag it out and focus on the baby getting out of me. This labour was really intense, I can’t even describe how intense it was and that word does not seem enough for it. When I would feel a contraction start, I knew I only had a small amount of time to get DH to me before it started to peak. I thought they were only lasting a minute but according to my notes they were going for 90-120 seconds and happening every 2-3 minutes.

By 10pm I was starting to feel like I couldn’t do it, a sign I was probably in transition or nearing it, but I didn’t comprehend that as labour had been going for such a short time. N wrote that I was coping brilliantly and commented on the “lovely Brahms lullaby” playing in the background (an Australian CD btw, by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra). At 10:15pm the pool was almost ready and our second midwife, M, was on her way. Around this time I was starting to feel some pressure low down and getting paranoid about pooing. I kept wanting to go the toilet and managed to poo in there but got hit with a contraction while sitting down. I joked that that wasn’t fair, so in between contractions I was still quite lucid and aware of what was going on.

I got in the pool after 10:30pm which was an amazing relief. The water felt wonderful and so relaxing. Between contractions I sat back and talked to DH. During the contractions I knelt and leaned back into the side of the pool and DH. M arrived at 10:45pm. N and M were putting pots of hot water into the pool and asking me about the temperature. I said it was fine for now, N said it needed to be a bit warmer if baby was going to be born into the water. I thought to myself that baby was ages away and why was she worrying about the temp for baby already?

Shortly after M arrived she sat on the floor in the lounge and I remember thinking it was nice to see her at my level and when I had another really hard contraction she sat by the pool and maintained eye contact with me while I was trying to get through it. I sat back after a contraction and felt liquid come out of me. I thought that I had emptied my bladder into the lovely clean pool and was going to have to get out but when I looked down there was cloudy fluid spreading out from between my legs. I asked, “what’s that?”, and heard N say, “look at this M” and told me it was my water breaking.

Within a few minutes I had a major urge to push and was surprised and freaked out to feel that there was a head in my vagina. I had to really fight the panic as I was not expecting it to go so fast and could not comprehend that baby was coming out. I kept saying “it’s coming too fast! Help me! I need pressure!” and I know I was scared that I was going to get ripped in two. I had moved to the other side of the pool as soon as I got the pushing urge and was leaning over the edge. I was in the exact wrong place for anyone to reach between my legs without them needing waders so had to move to the other side of the pool after that first contraction. The second contraction was just as hard and intense, and I think the baby crowned at that point. DH told me later he was surprised to see baby there so quickly. One of our midwives told me to reach down and touch my baby but I said I couldn’t move, it was taking all of my concentration to cope with the pain. While waiting for the next contraction I was having to breathe and try to relax as I could feel the stretching and major pressure. In the third contraction baby’s head came out and the cord was around his neck so I had to move mid-contraction to a semi-kneeling position, with one knee on the floor of the pool and on one foot, so N could untangle baby. Baby came out in that contraction and he also had the cord wrapped around a leg.

N passed baby to me, I still couldn’t believe that baby was already here as it had taken about 4 minutes for him to be born. I held him while she stimulated him by rubbing his chest. I lifted my arm and announced to the room that it was a little boy. I sat on a bedpan in the pool to deliver the placenta and had a few after pains, something I’d not had with Mr 2.5’s labour. Baby was nuzzling at my breast but was not really interested in suckling. I gave up trying to deliver the placenta in the pool as my position wasn’t quite right. I sat on the pan on the floor and delivered it at 11:25, 30 minutes after baby was born.

DH cut the cord after that and I sat on the couch holding baby to my breast. N wrote in my notes that I looked “radiant”, a lovely thing to read. N checked out my nether regions and I had a shallow laceration but did not need stitches. Baby latched on by midnight and nursed for an hour. We sat around chatting, well I did while everyone else alternated between sitting and tidying up. It was amazing how good I felt afterwards, just sitting there having a normal conversation after having a baby in such a short period of time. It felt so normal.

I rang my parents just after midnight. At first, I said I had just rung for a chat (knowing full well they would be in bed of course) and Mum asked me what was happening. When I had spoken to her a few hours earlier nothing was happening, so she was not expecting to hear that I’d had baby. DH rang his parents and they came up to help empty the pool and tidy up.

N stayed until about 2am (and went to the next birth of the woman who had been labouring while I was!) and we went to bed. I didn’t sleep much between the after pains, getting up to pee a lot and being on a hormonal high. I gave up sleeping at 3am and sat in the dark sending text messages to everyone on my phone until my phone ran out of money! Everyone says to me that it must have been great/easy to have laboured and given birth all within 3 hours. It was certainly different from the 15 hours with Mr 2.5 but definitely not easy. I would do it all again though.