I was already 41 weeks and 4 days along when I finally started having contractions. Initially I thought it was Braxton Hicks contractions. At this stage it really wasn’t painful, just a bit uncomfortable. My back was also quite sore. I realized that the contractions were coming at very regular intervals, but because I hadn’t seen “the show” or experienced my water breaking, I decided to just wait and see. Around 3am, about 12 hours after noticing the first of what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, the contractions were really painful and about 5 minutes apart. My husband phoned my midwife, Esti, and they arranged that we meet at the ABU at 4am.
I had planned a water birth, so when we arrived at the ABU, Esti had prepared the bath already. She showed my husband where to apply pressure on my back and on pressure points on my hands during contractions to help relieve some of the pain. I got in the bath and after examining me Esti confirmed that I was about 6cm dilated. With my husband on my one side and Esti on the other, they supported me through the contractions. They were holding my hands, wiping my forehead, giving me drinks of water and motivating me the whole time.
I started feeling an overwhelming urge to push. These contractions were much more intense than before and quite painful, but not unbearable. Esti suggested that I go along with my body and not resist, because resisting would just make me tired and make it hurt more. I was however not fully dilated yet so it was a bit early to really start pushing. Heather also suggested a breathing technique that assisted me in breathing through the contractions instead of pushing too soon. Unfortunately I did start pushing a bit too soon and this made my cervix swell, which obviously obstructed my baby’s way out. Esti gave me Aterax, a muscle relaxant, to relax the cervix and aid dilation. She also monitored our baby’s heart rate regularly to ensure that he was not in distress.
After about 3 hours in the warm bath I was getting tired and uncomfortable and asked to get out for a while. Esti helped me onto the birthing stool and showed my husband how to support my back by sitting behind me. She applied pressure on my perineum to prevent tearing while talking me through the contractions and pushes. After 2 or 3 good pushes our baby’s head was out, and after one more push the rest of his body followed. He was put on my chest and my husband and I were given time to meet our little boy. Jared Lamont was born at 07:40am. I was actually a bit shocked and couldn’t believe that it was over! We laughed and cried and prayed, in awe over the perfect little human being in our arms.
After a while we asked Esti to clamp his cord and my husband cut it. Our baby was weighed and wiped down, while Esti helped me to deliver the placenta with one final push. Although I didn’t feel it I had torn slightly, so she gave me stitches. After this she made me comfortable in the double bed where my husband joined me. She put our baby to my breast and helped me to make sure that he latched correctly, which he did with no effort. We were left to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
I am very grateful that I was able to deliver naturally and without any painkillers as I had hoped to. I can’t thank Esti enough for giving me the birth experience that I wanted and Heather and Erna for their support.