This is an exact copy of what I wrote 13 days after Jacob was born;
I thought I'd take this opportunity (while Jacob is sleeping!) to record some of my own thought and feelings about my son's birth and these first two weeks with him - amazing - it's two weeks already!
When my contractions started abruptly at 2.00am on May 1st, they felt very different to all the practice runs and I had an immediate feeling that this was 'the real thing,' but I chose not to wake Paul 'til I was really sure. However two hours later of regular contractions every 5 mins I was really sure and wanting some company. They were totally manageable at this point and I was really quite excited. At 04.45 we decided to go for a walk around the block and drop some mail through Ruth's door (that's my sister-in-law). An hour later we returned home. The walking definitely made the contractions stronger as did regular cups of Raspberry Leaf tea - and also kept things going because every now and then things seemed to 'lull' for a while. At 06.40 we decided to page Georgina (my friend & midwife)and let her know that things were rolling - and let her decide what time to call Sarah as she would have a better idea what time to disturb her. Sarah rang me back shortly after and made a 'plan of action.' I knew then they would be with me around 4pm(ish) and by that time I was feeling like I wanted them around! The contractions seemed to step up in 'ferocity' in stages and then plateau for a while. At the start of each stage I'd loose my grip for a while , but Paul kept encouraging me. I stayed focused and every time I regained control. When Sarah rang at 4pm and said they would be here by six I was really glad. I wanted to know what was doing and Paul's attempts at V.E's were to little avail. I felt unable to do my own. I was beginning to need something more than the TENS machine but didn't want to start on the entinox too soon if nothing much was really happening internally yet.
At 6pm when Sarah & Georgina arrived the contractions seemed to strangely 'lull' again for a while - I felt a bit of a fraud! But they soon kicked in again - at another level! When Sarah did a VE and found me to be only 3cms dilated I thought we were really in for the long haul, but didn't allow myself to get disappointed. I told myself "my body will work it's stuff in it's own good time" - held onto that and kept going. Everyone was brilliant - really encouraging me and keeping me going. We laughed a bit, had something to eat, listened to some music, while I stomped around and hung onto things! Sarah & Paul even went shopping for supplies! I can honestly say I really enjoyed
this bit of my labour. Things hotted up a bit then and I felt like trying the bath again. (right at the beginning it had been uncomfortable and slowed things down so I'd been reluctant up till now to try it again). We lit candles and I soaked in lavender oil - just like I'd planned it to be. It was dark by now and I was glad it was going to be a night-time birth. For a while the bath really helped me relax, especially between contractions, but at some stage it stepped up again. I wanted to know I was making progress and so I asked Georgie to do another VE (Sarah & Paul were asleep at this point) and asked for Paul to come and be with me again. When I found I was only 6cm I was a little surprised, but determined not to get disappointed still. I remember Paul saying "It won't be long now" and responding "Don't say that - you can't be sure!" But the next contraction was miles stronger. I think I gave a sort of push and my water went - clear! That was a huge weight off my mind. I didn't realise how much that had concerned me 'till I saw it was clear! And then I pee'd and felt the baby's head move down in my pelvis - then I knew
it wouldn't be long!
From then on I was somewhere else - hardly in control - dancing in the bath trying to keep myself in he water as that did make a difference. The contractions came almost incessantly and I could feel liquor draining from me with each one and the baby moving down, down and then under. Everyone lifted me out of the bath - it was too small for me now. I got down on all fours on the floor - as I had always know I would and I was pushing the baby out. The only pain I was aware of now was that burning, stretching! I felt myself tear inside - it frightened me a little, but the sensations were so strong I could not hold back. I consciously made myself open my eyes and look at Paul as he & I blew away the contractions to slow things as Jacob's head was born. I felt it slide out, looked and reached through to touch him. Then there seemed a long pause. Paul was at my tether end ready to catch our child as I pushed him into the world. Then it came and out he came - all but his bum, which I had to make a conscious effort to push out! I grabbed him up and held him tightly to me. The midwife in me said "tip his head down," but I wanted to see his face! I proclaimed him "a boy" and let him suckle my breast. He just looked at me - all pink and glowing. He was blonde and SO clean - I've never seen such a clean baby. His cord stopped pulsating almost immediately - I felt it to be sure, but we waited for the placenta before Paul cut it. Jacob's first feed lasted for nearly an hour and then he slept til 6am. By now 'Granny' was asleep in the nursery having arrived around 4am and was thrilled with her grandson!
....Jacob is a great baby. He is so strong and healthy. He holds his head well, looks around all the time and has the most beautiful smile (just when he's full!). We love him dearly and are looking forward to a long hot summer of walks and adventures - discovering each other as a family.
I'd also like to add that through this whole experience of labour, birth and now parenthood Paul & I 're-discovered' each other in a very special way and perhaps found out something about ourselves that we didn't know before. Our relationship, not just because of Jacob, but through
Jacob and his birth has taken on a whole new meaning and dimention to both of us. Jacob's birth was truly 'spiritual' for us all. And now we need God's guidance and presence in our home to see us through all the joys and tough times ahead of us.
I want also to say what a difference I believe having two of my close friends as my midwives has made. They have truly been both fantastic friends and are superb midwives. They were really 'with' me all the way and we as a family are eternally grateful to them. I wish that all women could receive the kind of care that I have been priviledged to know and I am certain my own experiences will greatly benefit those women for whom I am that 'midwife' in the future. They have taught me a great deal.
Thankyou Georgina and Sarah.
Just a 7 year post-script!
From when my waters went (at 00.05) to Jacob's birth was just 1 hour (01.08) and just another 10mins for the placenta to be out. All naturally with no analgesia (not even entinox in the end), or drugs. Our bodies are AMAZING!
Jacob was also born at the 'dawn' of a labour government. My midwife wrote; "it's a landslide - Hooray we have a new government - about time too - and what a wonderful new era to join - Welcome Jacob!" We wondered if he might have been the first Labour-born baby of 1997! (also gives a whole different perspective on the word 'labour!' :)