I had had period-like cramps on and off in the weeks running up to the birth. I didn’t have those with my first son, and felt number 2 was on his way earlier than scheduled.
On Friday evening, 1st June, I had a show around 7pm, and that evening I had slightly stronger cramps. I didn’t expect anything further until the next day and went to sleep as normal. At 1:30am I woke up with contractions. At 2am my waters broke and the contractions swiftly got stronger. I called my mum to come over to look after Wilf and when she arrived at 2:30 am, we went to hospital.
The same midwife as had booked for my first son, Wilf, only 18 months previously, booked me in again. She was with me for almost all the labour, so that was very comforting. Nike, my doula, met us at the hospital, and while my husband went to sleep in the birth centre room in Chelsea and Westminster (he had brought a sleeping bag with him after my first labour took 36 hours!) Nike and I mobilised around the hospital. I put on my Tens machine around 6am as the contractions were getting stronger. As things were progressing I remember hearing Nike say to the midwife that I didn’t need gas and air- as I was about to start pushing. I couldn’t believe that it was progressing so quickly as my first birth was 36 hours from my waters breaking- this was only about 4 hours after my waters had broken.
Sure enough, Oscar Constantine O’Connor-Fenton was born with what felt like about 4 pushes at 8:16am. My notes say labour lasted 1 hour 45 mins- so MUCH faster than the first birth.
I hadn’t needed gas and air- but as one of the women in your book said (I think) I felt that I had nothing but pain relief- my husband massaging my shoulders during contractions, the scents of lavender and frankincense (thank you Natalie!), my doula telling me to go floppy during contractions, the tens machine, and my eye mask keeping me in a cocoon.
Strangely, the night before- incidentally a full moon- there had been so many births, women were giving birth in corridors. Yet I was to only one in the whole birth centre on Friday night/ Saturday morning!
I didn’t need stitches this time, and after a sleep in the birth centre, we were home by 6pm to put 18 month old Wilf to bed!