Judah Elisha Tew was born on Thursday 12th September at 11.46am, 7lb 1oz.
This was my second labour which did make it easier in terms of I knew a little more about what to expect and had the knowledge that I’d done it all before so could do it again. However it was not easy. Anyone who gives birth to a baby is amazing in my opinion.
I’m very fortunate in that I seem to have happy, healthy pregnancies. I worked all the way through both pregnancies, this time I was still teaching Pilates and seeing dietetic clients, in fact I had run a clinic Thursday afternoon and chatted to a journalist about an article that evening and then my waters broke!
My waters broke just before midnight and trickled throughout labour. Having had a 23 hour labour with my first baby I had a snack, a quiet whoop of excitement and then went back to bed to rest. A quick nudge to the hubby to let him know and he rolled over back to sleep 😉 At 3 am I decided to alert the birthing centre, they wanted me to go in to check my waters had gone, however I knew they had and wasn’t prepared to wake a sleeping toddler and leave her with friends at this stage. So I waited until 6am by which time the contractions were building but manageable. Now getting a toddler up, explaining the situation and getting out of the house with contractions every 3 minutes was a bit of a challenge, but typically the car journey led to the contractions slowing. Very frustrating, but quite common.
At the birthing centre I was 3 cm dilated, so we got ready for action. By 8am I was in the birthing pool and things started to get hard. Although my active labour wasn’t long in the moment of it, it felt like a long time. Around 9cm dilation I started to panic and needed reassurance, at this stage the gas and air was given to me. Thank goodness. Even though it did make me feel slightly woozy and sick I needed it to take the edge of the contractions. Pushing didn’t take long at all and it is amazing how your body takes over, suddenly I was aware I had to push, looked down in the water and there was a head – very odd to see!
This labour I really found made me go deep into myself, I was talking myself through it, willing myself on and it showed me how determined I can be. Focusing on the contractions and moving around as much as I could really helped. In the last stages of labour and pushing my husband took over and he was the voice willing me on, talking me through it and telling me what was happening. I gave birth in a birthing centre where they let the woman take the lead, this was amazing as it was a very natural birth but I also needed to know what was going on and have a plan ahead of me. This is where my birthing partner (hubby) came in. He was my eyes and ears.
1. Stay as active as you can in the early stages, I found circular hip movements helped me work through the contractions.
2. Stay calm and focus on getting through one contraction at a time.
3. Find something to distract yourself early on. I blogged an article and finished making some breakfast/breastfeeding bars.
4. Eat food that will sustain you. I’ve not wanted to eat once my contractions have started coming fast and strong, so eat early on. Pasta, an oat based cereal, rice dish, wholemeal toast with peanut butter or a tuna sandwich for example.
5. Keep drinking and have small snacks in case you fancy a bite. Cereal bars, bananas, sport drinks can all be useful.
6. Have a birthing plan but be prepared for it to change!
7. Discuss your ideas with your birthing partner. Think through things they may be able to do to help you. Gentle massage or running you a bath for pain relief for example.
8. When your waters break collect a sample, the midwife may want to check! So take a wet pad with you.
9. Focus on the final goal – your baby! Labour is hard work but it is only a small part of the adventure of mummyhood.
10. Try and get some skin to skin time and a breastfeed in as soon as possible after giving birth.
11. Practise breathing techniques before hand. Pilates has taught me these.
12. Antenatal exercise classes can really help you be in tip top condition for giving birth. Don’t forget my “From Bump to Birth DVD“.
I feel privileged and completely blessed to have had a water birth, in a calm amazing environment. The human body is an awesome piece of work and giving birth shows what you can do. However I’m not planning on doing it again anytime soon 😉