Due date: 11th January 2019

Birth date: 23rd December 2018

Weight: 5.9lbs

Length of labour (if you can remember): Just over 6 hours

Baby Number: 1

How did you feel during pregnancy?

My pregnancy was fairly straight forward. I had the usual nauseous feeling for the first 12 weeks, going off pretty much everything other than pineapple. Once I had got past that and into the second trimester I felt like a new woman! At that stage I really began to enjoy being pregnant and loved seeing my bump grow. I couldn’t wait to meet our baby.

What were you most looking forward to?

Meeting our baby <3

What did you do to prepare for the birth of your baby?

I did everything that I possibly could to prepare and brought everything we needed for her arrival.

Your labour story

Where do you start when writing about something so personal and emotional?

My labour started on the 22nd December, 2 weeks and 6 days before my due date. This was my first baby and as my nesting instinct kicked in, I had been rushing around like a crazy woman trying to get ready for baby and Christmas. I eventually got home around 5.30pm and while going to the toilet I discovered I’d had a show. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but I stayed calm and carried on with my evening. I ran myself a bath to help me relax and decided to look online at what the show actually meant. Having read through lots of different things and learning that labour may not happen immediately but could start within the next 2 weeks, I decided to get myself off to bed. I woke about 11pm to go to the toilet and on my way felt a trickle of water like I may have wet myself. Having had the show earlier I couldn’t help but think this could be my waters and that I could be meeting my baby soon. I remained calm and got back into bed, waiting to see if anything else was to happen. Within around 20 minutes I started to feel pains in my lower back. I began timing how long the pains lasted and how long the break was in between with the help of an app on my phone. My partner at this stage suggested I rang the labour ward. I knew the pains were becoming quite regular and that we should probably be making our way to the hospital.

At midnight having spoken to the midwife she suggested I went to the hospital. On my way to the hospital the contractions were not only in my lower back but had started to happen in my tummy. Arriving about 45 minutes later I was shown to a bed in triage and after an hour or so of waiting for the midwife who was seeing to two other women, she came to see me. She asked the usual questions and suggested as I wasn’t completely sure if it was my waters that had gone, that she could use a speculum to get an idea of what was going on. Having done this my waters went a little bit more so the next step was to be examined. At this point my contractions were lasting around 1 and a half minutes, with a 3 and a half minute gap in between. When the midwife examined me I was pleased to be 3cm dilated. Although I wasn’t in active labour I stayed in the birth centre and was moved to a room that we had on our own. I ran myself a bath and found the water helped to ease the contractions. Within 2 hours of pacing around the room and rocking my hips while sat on the toilet, not the nicest of places but its where I found dealing with the contractions most comfortable, I knew things had progressed as the contractions were a lot stronger and I asked my partner to get the midwife. It was getting really difficult to manage the contractions and if the labour hadn’t progressed, I knew I would have to have an epidural. The contractions were so much stronger and were now concentrated around the pelvic area. At around 4-4.30am the midwife returned to examine me, and gave me the good news that I was 8cm. I couldn’t believe I had dilated 5 cm in such a short amount of time. The midwife was very sweet and told me how well I was doing and that her shift finished at 8am and at the rate I was going my baby would be here before then.

I had tried to remain calm and focused throughout the labour concentrating on breathing techniques which were really helpful, but at that moment knowing it wasn’t going to be long until my baby was here I couldn’t help but panic a little. All the thoughts of ‘am I ready for this’, ‘will I have the strength and energy to deliver my baby’, ‘will I be a good mummy’ and ‘will my baby be ok’ came flooding through my mind, but with the love, help and support from my partner who I’m sure felt the same, reminded me that WE were ready to meet our baby and that I CAN do this, I knew then I could get through it. I had asked for a water birth if it was possible and having got to 8cm they said I could get into the birthing pool. We walked across the corridor into the room and as another contraction started I headed straight to the toilet. At that moment my body took over and it started to push, completely out of my control. It’s hard to describe the feeling of your body just taking over, but I am completely amazed by how and what my body did to bring our baby into this world. In fact the whole process, pregnancy and birth just blows my mind!

I’m not going to lie but the panic and fear had set in again. My partner told the midwife that I had started to push and she was great at calming me down, and hurried me off of the toilet as thats obviously not the ideal place to have your baby. I moved to the bed as the pool hadn’t had a chance to be run, and I continued the labour there until the pool was ready for me. The contractions on the bed were really intense and I didn’t know if I could get through them. I feel looking back now that the fear of what was to happen made the labour harder, when I got into the warm water I immediately relaxed, my frame of mind changed and I felt the contractions were not as intense. When I allowed my body to do what it needed the pain seemed to ease. With just myself, my partner and the midwife in the room we all worked together to help me deliver our baby.

My partner was amazing, he encouraged me at the moments when I felt like I couldn’t go on, reminding me that it wouldn’t be long until we met our baby. The little person we had waited so long to meet. The midwife was great, she was so calming to be around which really helped me to relax and she reminded me to go with my body, that it knew exactly what to do. After 20 – 25 minutes in the water our baby girl was born. I can’t describe in words the way I felt at that moment and all the emotions that soared through me. I couldn’t believe I had actually done it. Pulling my baby out of the water holding her in my arms of the first time was the most incredible moment of my life. Such an amazing gift for all that hard work!

Everyone’s pregnancy and birth story is different and unique in so many ways. I’ll never forget my special moment.

Iv always enjoyed listening to other peoples births stories and would try to imagine that feeling but you can never understand or appreciate that moment until you go through it. A memory I will treasure forever.

On Sunday 23rd December at 6.15am, just over 6 hours from calling the hospital our beautiful daughter had arrived safely. Weighing 5.9lbs and completely perfect!

How did you feel at the first sight of your baby?

There are no words to describe the feeling you get when you see or hold your baby for the first time…too many emotions soared through me!

What 3 pieces of advice would you give your pregnant self now?

I don’t think I would advise myself to do anything differently, I had an amazing healthy pregnancy and an amazing birth, I wouldn’t change a thing.

How was the first week for you?

The first week of being a Mummy had me feeling many things. I felt extremely lucky to have had a lovely pregnancy, an ‘easy’ if you can call it that birthand a beautiful healthy baby at the end of it all.

I was overwhelmed with many emotions, shock because she was early, happiness that she was here and healthy, exhausted from the labour. I felt amazed at what I had done; I had grown a baby and delivered her safely, what more could you want…