Our babywearing consultant Tammy shares her amazing story…
A fairly straightforward pregnancy was complicated at week 36, following a late diagnosis of a mild case of gestational diabetes. Following this, I worked with a Supervisor of Midwives to complete a Facilitating Women’s Choice form agreeing that I would be able to use the ‘high risk’ pop up pool in New Beginnings.
Mother’s day 2016 (6th March), after a lovely day with the family, we went for a late night family walk. When we got home, my husband made us a cup of tea (mine a raspberry leaf tea) – as I stood in the living room, at 9:20pm, I went to take the first sip of my tea, only to feel/hear a familiar ‘pop’ and felt the warm gush of my waters breaking (waters broke in bed with baby number 1, hence the familiarity!)
I calmly put my tea on the side and said ‘oh, my waters have just gone’ and asked dear husband to get a bucket or something… so he handed me the toddler’s potty! I telephoned Triage at Southend Hospital and was asked if I was Central Delivery Suite or Birthing Unit so I briefly explained the choices on my form. I went in for a quick assessment and then back home at 11pm to await stronger contractions.
At 12:20am on 7th March, hubby took it upon himself to phone in to report intensity and length of contractions – they could hear me vocalising in the background and hubby was asked if we needed a midwife to come to us! I insisted that we could make it in the car, so off we went. I felt a LOT of pressure in the car and had to dig my feet into the foot-well with my bum off the seat during contractions! I asked hubby to call again in the car to make sure that I could have a pool and they said they would start running it.
By the time we arrived at the hospital (around 12:40am), there was a midwife waiting by the entrance for me with a wheelchair but I told her I couldn’t sit and waddled myself up to the Birthing Unit (there were midwives waiting and watching me with each step as though they were expected the baby to fall out at any second. I wasn’t fazed by them and just focussed on staying mobile and getting to the room)!
The pool was running in one of the New Beginnings rooms and I went in with Elli (the midwife who had assessed me earlier, and who usually attends home births). There was absolutely no mention of my ‘high risk’ status, gestational diabetes or consultants, and Elli gave me some gas and air and asked if I wanted to be examined or get straight in the pool. There was no way I could lay down to be assessed in any case, so she told me to get straight in the pool.
The pool felt wonderful and I relaxed into the water, using gas and air through contractions. I announced a need to push as I felt intense pressure through my bum by Elli said ‘not yet’. With the next contraction, the pressure built, but I resisted the urge to push and breathed deeply through it…I then reached between my legs and could feel the very top of baby’s head. I couldn’t speak so tried to hand gesture to my husband, which actually just looked like I was giving him the ‘OK’ sign! When Elli walked by and next looked, she declared, surprisingly, that she could see the head – all I could do was nod violently! I didn’t actively push and simply used breathing techniques until Elli told me he was out…
I reached through my legs to get the baby out of the water and onto my chest. Second stage labour was recorded as 13 minutes and baby was born at 1:19am. It was absolutely amazing seeing him floating in the water! We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before Daddy cut the cord. We used an umbilical cord tie (which Elli tied for us) and I decided to give baby to Daddy for skin to skin while I delivered the placenta. I declined any assistance with the placenta delivery and delivered in naturally just 20 minutes after baby, while still in the pool.
Because of the gestational diabetes, baby’s blood sugars were monitored for 12 hours – all was fine and we were home by 5pm. Everything was carried out by midwives and I didn’t see a single consultant during my stay, despite the massive deal they had previously made about my ‘high risk’ status! We literally couldn’t be happier with the birth – it was everything we hoped it would be and more! Our midwife was totally amazing – very hands off and just let me and my body do its thing. The whole experience was very empowering and euphoric and we still can’t believe how perfect it all was!