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Kate's Story

Our baby was due 30th June 2011, I had had an uncomplicated pregnancy and we were booked in for our second home birth with plans to use the birthing pool. The week before my due date I had a pedicure during which the therapist used reflexology to tweak bits that could be tweaked!

The next morning I woke up not feeling quite right but couldn't identify what was wrong. I stayed in bed a little longer, and then went to visit a friend. During the morning I had contractions every 20 minutes or so but not consistently. I came home around lunchtime, I went to the loo and I had a 'show'. By 2pm the contractions were coming quite regularly and I started timing them. I phoned the community desk to inform the midwives as we had been advised to give them as much notice as possible.

I phoned my husband, (Neil) at 1pm advising him that nothing much was happening, at 2.30pm I rang him again to say that although there was still a chance of my contractions stopping perhaps he should home early. My contractions were coming regularly but I was able to breathe/talk through them.

At 3.30pm we were visited by a midwife, initially my contractions stopped, but restarted a short while later. After being examined I was advised that I was 2cm dilated. The midwife suggested that we prepare for labour but not to be surprised if my contractions stopped. Neil got the birthing pool ready. As the midwife had suggested that the birth was unlikely to happen until the early hours of the morning we didn't put any water in the pool. I also decided to put on the Tens machine.

Neil then left (at 4.30pm) to pick up our daughter from nursery and take her to my Mum's. The plan was for Erin to stay with Dad and Mum would come to ours to support us with the birth. After Neil left the contractions came more frequently. I used the Tens machine, movement and breathing to manage the discomfort. By this stage I was unable to concentrate on anything other than the contractions. At 5.30pm Neil rang from Mum?s, at this time I found it difficult to speak through my contractions. I also spoke to a friend telling her I was feeling frightened by the pain I was experiencing , (some of this fear was due to the belief that I was at the beginning of a very long labour and if the pain was already this intense what would it be like in a few hours time?). It was at this time I began to use noise to manage the pain. I found that groaning through the contraction provided a distraction. I had to consciously think to make a noise, which is very different to my first labour when the noises came naturally. By this point I had the Tens machine on constant vibration. I began to panic as I felt over whelmed by the pain; I was on my own and didn't really know what to do with myself. I found it difficult to stay still and couldn't find a position to comfortably manage the contractions. I thought about filling the birthing pool but couldn't stand still long enough to attach the hosepipes to the tap. I distinctly remember thinking what my options were and this is when it occurred to me to contact the midwives as they would bring gas and air. I hadn't considered this as an option before as I was thinking I would be wasting their time; it was only the thought of pain relief that I considered contacting them. It took several attempts to contact the midwives as my contractions prevented me from being able to use the phone. When I did contact them the midwives stated they would attend immediately. At 6pm Neil returned home, what a surprise he must have had! By this time I was making so much noise that following a contraction I heard some children outside say 'what the heck was that??! Neil started to get some water in the pool. Feeling a little sorry for myself I told him I needed the loo, a flannel (I was feeling hot and bothered) and some water. He helped me get up the stairs (which I don't remember being any problem at all). Neil then went downstairs to get me a flannel, when he came back to the bathroom I had started pushing. I told Neil that the baby was on its way; his initial response was 'it can't!' When we looked I thought I had started to give birth to the umbilical cord - this made me panic so I told Neil to phone for an ambulance. While Neil was on the phone I gave birth to Ted. With one push I gave birth to Ted and my waters, fortunately most of the waters went in the toilet and I caught Ted. As soon as he was born Ted cried - the most reassuring noise I could have asked for as I knew that he was ok. By this time Neil had got through to ambulance control who gave us instructions about what to do next. The most important thing being to get Ted warm and dry. When the paramedics arrived (about 5 minutes later) we moved into the bedroom and after basic checks we just waited for the midwives who arrived about 20 mins later. The midwives cut the cord, the paramedics left and I gave birth to the placenta, I think it had already expelled as all I had to do was allow gravity take its course. The midwives hung about for a bit as Ted's temperature was a little low - the midwives reported that this is quite common for BBA's (born before arrivals). As soon as he was born Ted latched on and he has fed well ever since. He was really alert from birth which I think was due to not having any drugs during labour.

So not quite the serene birth we were planning. I still can't believe I didn't recognise how quickly my labour was progressing, particularly having done it before. Still, it all worked out in the end. We have a beautiful little boy, born 8 days early, weighing 6lb 11oz.