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Birth story: ‘I closed my eyes, breathed and continued to smile through each contraction’

labour and birth storyThroughout my second pregnancy I had a very strong feeling that I wouldn’t see my due date – 18 September. My first son had been born at 38+3 and I was sure that baby number two would be earlier.

I work for the public service so whenever anyone at work would ask when I was due, I would tell them that I was hoping to have a baby before the election (September 7).

At my 35 week appointment my obstetrician was surprised to find that baby was fully engaged and she thought I would be lucky to make 37 weeks. I left with strict instructions to take it easy – which was not all that simple with a toddler at home!

After that appointment I noticed every niggle and ache, wondering ‘is this it?’. I made it to my 36 and 37 week appointments. At my 37 week appointment my obstetrician offered to do a stretch and sweep the following week, which I was very happy to book in for at 38+1.

Two days before that appointment I had a very restless night’s sleep and at some stage realised that I was waking every 45 minutes or so with period-like cramps. I slept as much as I could and as they seemed to fade away in the morning I didn’t mention anything to my husband as he left for work.

I was up and about making breakfast for my son and getting him organised for his day. About 8am I realised I was having regular contractions but they weren’t particularly painful. I continued with the housework – putting on the washing, doing the washing up and tidying the kitchen, stopping with each contraction and smiling through them. I thought if I smiled I wouldn’t tense up and they would be easier to cope with.

I decided to call my husband just before 8.30am and suggested he come home. He was insistent that I call the hospital – I was feeling good so was happy to wait for a bit, but given that I had had a quick birth with our first son, and I was GBS positive (requiring antibiotics during labour), I called the hospital and arranged to come in.

We hung the washing on the line, dropped our son at childcare, and arrived at the hospital just after 9.30am. The contractions had become stronger and more frequent – my son’s room leader later told me that she was worried she’d have to help deliver the baby!

My obstetrician was able to see me immediately and after a quick internal informed me that I was 6cm! I joked to my husband that there definitely wasn’t time for pethidine then! We also joked that it looked like I wouldn’t need the stretch and sweep the next day.

I stayed on the bed for about 20 minutes while baby was monitored and I was given a dose of IV antibiotics. I didn’t really enjoy lying down, but I closed my eyes, breathed and continued to smile through each contraction. Once the antibiotics were in, I got into the shower. The hot water on my belly was bliss and I spent time chatting with my husband, stopping to breath, smile and move through each contraction.

At some point I began to feel pressure so we moved out of the shower and onto the bed. I felt the urge to push very quickly and my ability to smile and breathe through the contractions disappeared – I was very vocal during this stage!

It was at this point that my waters broke and everything began to happen very quickly. I could feel exactly where my baby was which was the most intense feeling of my life, but also very helpful.

Only 11 minutes after my waters broke, I birthed Patrick on all fours and he was passed through to me immediately. I took him in my arms and got to know my newest son.

Patrick was born at exactly 38 weeks, only two hours after we arrived at the hospital (and three days before the election!). He is adored by his big brother (and his Mummy and Daddy of course).

Thanks to mum Jennifer for sharing her wonderful birth story with us.
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