Wednesday evening we were flicking between 3 football matches and I was actually enjoying watching all of them - resting my chin on my folded arms on the footstall with my knees on the floor swinging my (imaginary) tail side to side to take off the heaviness. I started feeling a few contractions and cooly decided I was in labour - they were regular, lasting a minute and were getting stronger! We had a moment and got snuggly. Hubby prepped himself for back massage duty like last time - but there was no need, I had no back pain whatsoever! The baby must have been differently placed and not touching my back as much. I didn't touch the Tens machine my friend had leant me. First stage was eeeeeasy ;) At midnight we called the hospital to let them know we'd be heading in soon - (or politely explained timings and wait for them to invite us in) and called my mum to give us a lift. Leon had woken up with me stuffing things into my hospital bag (it was ready! Just lacked some socks, clothes, cereal bars and dried apricots, toiletries and makeup - don't forget your toothbrush...). He was a bit bemused and we plonked him on the sofa while we put our shoes on and managed to finish watching Run Fat Boy Run! to the end.
The 15 minute car ride was OK (no swearing and screaming like last time...) but I suddendly felt sick and asked to stop as I didn't want to be sick in my mum's hat (the only thing to hand) but nothing came up. In the examination room I managed to chuck up 2 bowls full and felt much better for it - I was also 6cm dilated so knew there wasn't too long to go. The pain was getting stronger with each contraction too. While waiting to know what room I was going to be in I perched on a big birthing ball and that helped chill me out a bit and was extremely comfortable. I was in the midwifery led Malden Suite at Kingston Hospital which encourages an active birth and use of natural coping mechanisms during labour. The light was dim, the midwife was young but I recognised her from Leon's birth which was comforting, and I was immediately drawn to the birthing ball - the midwife brought over a big cushioned mat which she covered with sheets to go under the ball- and I got down, like at home, on my knees with my arms and head supported on the ball with hubby behind it. I grabbed the gas and air immediately, and got comfortable.
The pain was already really strong and through each contraction I found myself yelling and forcing hubby to yell louder than me, it felt really primal - very different to last time. Although I felt slightly more in control, I needed to hear the midwife reassure me with what was going to happen next, and I remember I kept asking her lots of questions - especially towards the end and "are you going to cut me?!" (luckily she didn't need to yay!) but I felt rather lame with the pushing. The waters had broken at 1.50am with a pop and a woosh of water which was quite cool and the midwife said I could get the baby out by 2am! This wasn't the case and I had a lot of pushing to do. I think I was scared to push which is silly, and towards the end I had to give myself a mini pep talk as I wasn't pushing hard enough and the other two weren't shouting at me to push harder (they were too lovely!) and I totally needed that kick. Though it hurt A LOT and I felt sleepy and each contraction I shouted at Jason to yell (like a roaring caveman) "LOUDER!!!" but at the height of the contraction I'd get him to stop as I wanted silence to push. I could feel the baby come down but then go back up again as I wasn't pushing hard enough. It was an amazing feeling and I don't think I noticed it as much last time. I think my positioning helped as I could feel the baby passing down through me.
The final couple of pushes I just demanded silence and didn't even breathe in the etinox - I was just connecting with the baby and thinking of my muscles and the breathing pushing the baby out alone - and then pushed freaking hard and felt him pass right down and out and OHMYGOD!!! What an incredible sensation. I looked down and saw my beautiful new creature covered in slime and blood, a sign of our toils, and just massaged his little body. My man counted his digits and pronounced him perfect, snipped the cord and I asked him to carry him as I just wanted the placenta to be outta there!
I couldn't stop thinking how amazing it all was and felt like I was on another level, in another zone- like something took over my body at the end and allowed me to just experience what was happening without having to do anything as my baby found his way out to enter the real world.
So, weighing in at 8lbs11oz, born at 2.57am on Thursday 26th January 2012 I present you: Elias Stanley, my new bundle of joy :)
Isn't he gorgeous?