Hazel’s Water-birth Story with Baby Ivy
I was 2 days over-due with my 3rd child. It was also my daughter’s 3rd birthday. At 9am, I started making preparations for Willow’s 3rd birthday party. Food was in the oven and the house needed decorating with balloons and banners, the guests were due to arrive at midday. I started cooking the sausage rolls and laying the party table when the first contraction struck. It was all in my hips, a very familiar feeling to when I had Olive (my second daughter). 5 minutes later another struck. “Oh not today”, I begged. I just knew. Today was the day. And I was going to miss Willow’s party. I was going to miss cake.
I jumped in the bath to see if the pains would calm. Taking a bath in early labour is a great way of seeing if ‘it’ is the real thing or just Braxton Hicks contractions. If the pains continue once in the warm and soothing water it’s likely to be the real thing, this was definitely the real thing! I called downstairs to Jay suggesting that he should ring his parents and inform them that they would be hosting the party and we were going to have to make a move to the hospital. QUICKLY.
It broke my heart to say ‘Good Bye’ to the kids, already in their party dresses. Even more so for Willow as it was her special day. Due to road closures, we ended up having to take a scenic route, which felt like a lifetime. Once in the car the contractions were coming every 3 minutes. I could feel an unmistakable pressure building down below, and hitting every red traffic light going I was starting to find it hard to maintain a steady mind and keep calm.
Finally we arrived at hospital. I could see my birthing pool. So close! The midwife asked me how I would like to have the room- as it was bright beautiful daylight outside I wanted the black-out blinds drawn, lights low (She brought out candles, oh I was in heaven!) and noise kept to an absolute minimal.
I was examined to show I was at 4cm, but my waters were bulging and baby’s head was low. To deliver a baby you need your cervix to stretch to a full 10cm before baby can arrive. With first babies this can take some time, and midwives tend to say you dilate on average 1cm per hour, but this can happen a lot quicker with subsequent babies. I (half jokingly) said to the midwife “please don’t send me home!” She reassured me that I wasn’t going anywhere. We did have a laugh!
The room looked beautiful. As I was taking my party clothes off, I had one big sudden contraction that made me lean into my husband for his support, followed very quickly by another contraction which I instinctively placed one leg up on the bed. POP!! There go my waters! Despite being during an immense contraction I remember saying to myself “Here we go! It’s time” and being so excited!
The midwives were filling the pool as quickly as they could when my waters broke, and the midwife realised that she could see the top of baby’s head. I wobbled over to the water, hopped in when another contraction struck. With the contraction came the familiar feeling of fullness. Her head was half out! The midwives were telling me to lean back and as I leant into the student midwife’s arms, baby Ivy came sliding out all in one big push and I got to catch her! The time was 13:17pm.
Oh, that feeling! Pure relief, zero pain, a slimy and warm tiny human reaching out to me… Oh the memory makes me want to cry. I held her close for a few minutes until the cord stopped pulsing and then my husband cut the cord. From examination to delivery- 17 minutes. I was in the pool for just 4 minutes. I didn’t get to use the water as pain relief, I just didn’t have time. But I did have my wish fulfilled for delivery in the water. I hopped onto the bed and started to breast feed Ivy, and the placenta quickly followed with one little painless push. And that is when life as a family of 5 began. We ate, slept, cuddled and showered quietly and peacefully. The midwife described my birth as “Absolutely perfect and one that she won’t ever forget!!
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