I fell asleep on the couch on the Wednesday night – the night before my due date – because I couldn’t get comfortable in bed.
I was vaguely aware of having regular Braxton Hicks through the night and they were stronger than usual.
I must have gone to bed at some point because I woke up when Pete’s alarm went off at 4am and, soon after, felt some pains low down in my tummy. They were weak and short and more than 10 minutes apart, but I felt a little hopeful.
Just before Pete left at 4.45am I felt a small gush and thought it might have been my hind waters but when I cleaned it up I realised it was probably just a show.
I waited til Pete went to work (I thought if I said anything or kept him home I would be jinxing it!) and I got up, had a shower and tidied the house … just in case. Then I lay down on the bed and waited to see if the cramps would get stronger.
Pete messaged me when he got to work and said ‘Happy due date!’ and I wrote back saying ‘I think this baby might come on his due date!’ and that I would keep him posted. The contractions got a little stronger and closer together, but still quite short and about eight minutes apart. I tried bouncing on my fitball but it seemed to make them worse!
At 5.44am I messaged Pete asking if he could come home just in case our young son, Austin, decided to wake earlier than usual. The contractions were now six minutes apart and still quite short but they were painful and I didn’t want Austin to see me in pain.
I used a technique from a birth skills book — banging on the bed to distract from the pain — and it worked! I got a bit emotional at that point thinking of Austin all tucked up sleeping innocently in his cot, not knowing his whole world was about to change, and how he wasn’t going to be my baby anymore.
Pete got home at about 6.20am and we messaged my mum to come down to watch Austin, saying there was no rush.
When the contractions came, they were really painful and I thought the baby might come soon, but in the six minutes between them I thought I’m just being silly and I’m probably only 2cm dilated!
Pete rang the midwife and her buddy midwife answered, saying that she couldn’t come because she was on her way to another birth, but she would call us back. When she rang back she would call the birth centre to make sure there was room for us (not sure what the plan was if there wasn’t!) and in the meantime Pete messaged his sister (my student midwife) and told her it was all happening.
My contractions were now four mins apart so we rang my mum but she didn’t answer! We couldn’t get hold of her (turns out she was walking my sister’s dog) so Pete rang his sister and asked her to wait with Austin until my mum turned up. She later told us she could hear me screaming in the background and thought it sounded like the baby was coming.
The midwife rang back and said we could meet her at the birth centre but we couldn’t get there til 8.15am because there was no one to let us in!
She told Pete that if I needed to push then call her back! As he was talking to her I did feel a lot of pressure to push but when it subsided I thought I was being silly again. The next contraction was OK so I thought I’d make it to the birth centre.
Mum rang and said she was on her way so Pete rang his sister to tell her we would meet her at the birth centre after all.
He went out into the living room to get something and I felt this massive pressure to push, I honestly thought the head was coming out, so I yelled to Pete and he came back in, I half took off my pants and my waters exploded all over him and the wall!
I started panicking saying the baby was coming and he reassured me it was OK and called the midwife saying my waters had broken and I needed to push. Thankfully she lived two seconds away and was there straight away.
She checked me. I was 10cm dilated and the head was coming down, so she rang an ambulance. The operator was having some communication issues and kept asking if I was breathing and did she need help with CPR, she said “yes she’s breathing, she’s having a baby and I’m a midwife”.
She was trying to find the baby’s heartbeat on the doppler as she was on the phone and I started stressing that she couldn’t find it, as he was so low she was literally holding the doppler against my pubic bone.
I started pushing again (and screaming!) so she hung up and concentrated on delivering the baby, it took a few pushes and although it was only 12 minutes he kept coming down and going back up, which felt strange. I suppose it was a good thing though because I didn’t tear as badly as I had the first time. I was also still quite scared because of how quickly it was happening.
As his head popped out the rest of my water broke and she said there’s meconium, which Pete had apparently seen but hadn’t told me. She saw the cord was wrapped around his neck twice so she calmly but firmly told me to push again so his neck came out and she could loosen it.
As soon as she unwrapped it he started screaming while his body was still inside me!
One more push and his body came out at 7.34am on 27/4/17 (his due date!), after 1hr 22 mins active labour and 12 mins pushing. He was so red and loud, they passed him up to me and I met my little man!
He didn’t settle straight away like Austin did when he was born, but kept crying for ages, which was a good sign because they knew he was healthy and we didn’t need to rush to hospital.
At this point Pete’s sister, my mum and the ambulance all arrived, as well as the dog food guy who dropped off the dog biscuits! And Austin still slept!
They let me do delayed cord clamping because I hadn’t bled too much, Pete cut the cord and they delivered the placenta.
Austin finally woke up and Pete and my Mum gave him breakfast and he played a bit with the ambulance guys. I stayed in the bedroom with Leo for a while and gave him his first feed, before eventually getting the courage to stand up and go have a shower.
After my shower they weighed him and we learned he was BIG – 4.36kg or 9 pound 9 ounces. Then my midwife stitched up my first-degree tear, and I went outside to play with Austin! It was awesome not having to go to hospital at all and such a nice day.
And that’s the birth story of Leo, my little lion!
Thanks to mum Fiona for sharing her story. Find out how you can add your birth story.