This was my third labour, fourth baby (twins second time) and my first time going into labour spontaneously. I was 40+4 but two days early by my dates. A good friend had shared much of the good advice a doula had given her in her second pregnancy and, after two births with more interventions than I’d hoped for, I was really excited about the prospect of a birth centre delivery.
I’d had a show first thing and contractions had been building slowly all day, with intensity increasing a notch every time I got closer to the time I could ‘give in’ - after the school run, teatime, bedtime etc (not to mention the major building work that had finished two days earlier!).
Once I knew my dad was available to be here with the older children I really knew I needed to go in, to be somewhere I wouldn’t need to leave.
So after a bit of confusion about space in the birth centre and an emotional walk past the delivery suite, antenatal wards, postnatal wards and NICU (all places I’d spent a lot of time in with the twins) I was shown into a beautiful birthing room. I wept at how lovely it was and the contractions came back with gusto.
After a very short while the midwife offered an examination, which I was happy to have in the hope of using the pool as soon as possible. It wasn’t easy for her to find my cervix so I knew I couldn’t be very dilated. When she said 3cm I felt like I would ‘waste’ that lovely room and with it my opportunity for an unmedicalised birth because I wouldn’t cope with another 7cm worth of that intensity.
However, I think that our midwife understood and said I could get into the pool and see how I got on. That was at 00:45, my waters broke at 01:20 and my daughter was born at 02:15 - on 5th May, international day of the midwife no less!
She was in fact caught by me and three midwives because after delivery of her head there was a bit too long and the emergency button was pressed. Shoulder dystocia that resolved itself as I straightened up to get out of the pool, so I had one foot in the water and one on dry land! It was a wonderful experience and I’m delighted to have had a birth like that at last. The impact of the 3cm assessment was definitely my own issue and not anything the midwife said or did. She was calm and composed and, despite the centre being ‘midwife-led’ it felt like it was my uterus in charge!