(NB. A typical birth comprises of 3 stages: 1st stage is generally the longest and is when the uterus starts contracting and you can feel contractions in irregular intervals becoming more regular, longer and more painful the closer to the end. 2nd stage is the actual delivery of the baby, 3rd stage is the delivery of the placenta)
After a bit of 'romancing' with my husband, my waters broke at midnight on morning of 5th January 2010 (baby's due date) but I wasn't completely sure it was that until they just kept coming and coming! After calling the hospital the midwife told me to go in so they could assess whether I was in labour but when I went in they only confirmed that my waters had broken and that we should go back home until I started having contractions lasting 50-60 seconds that were 3 minutes apart.
Now, usually you hear of women in labour having contractions coming and going all day and then getting closer and closer together - for some women the waters don't break or are just a trickle. Anyway, as soon as we got back from the hospital I started having contractions - like period pains - low down on the stomach and hurt! after a few hours they became more and more regular and more painful - much more painful. My husband was my pain relief massaging my back on my demand at EACH contraction and keeping me fed and watered. There came a point where each contraction was REALLY painful. I tried my pregnancy yoga positions and tried to 'breathe the pain away' but it wasn't that helpful. Called hospital hoping they would say 'come on in we'll help you out!' but they just said take a hot bath and some paracetamol... unfortunately our bath is rather big but the boiler doesn't like to heat the bath water enough so hubby was boiling pans of water one after another to pour into the bath while I was sitting there wailing away. It did actually help.
I hadn't slept since the night before and was in lots of pain from the contractions and just wanted to sleep but couldn't as each contraction would be better dealt with with me standing up swaying my hips or walking around or sitting on a chair and hubby rubbing my back. That was one of the worst parts - the sleep deprivation.
There came the point where the contractions were now every 2 minutes and lasting about 1minute 40secs so we called the hospital and they told us to come in. Thank Goodness! My parents drove us over there at 4pm ish and I remember still being in a lot of pain in the car and feeling like a proper pregnant lady breathing hard in each contraction and trying not to scream too loudly!
Once in the hospital they checked me for dilation and I was already 7cm dilated! (You need to be 10cm to start pushing) so I was wiggling around the room and hubby still rubbing my back - I had a bit of help of the Nitrous Oxide to breathe in for pain relief but didn't feel it that much... I started pushing at about 5pm and it was not like the films! It took ages to get even the head showing - Hubby could see everything and let me know when they could see the head - though only a tiny bit! After 2 hours of pushing I felt so tired and although there was more of the head showing - I couldn't get it out!! They told me that they call the doctor after 2 hours of pushing as they don't like you to push for much longer than that and the doctor can help with forceps or ventouse suction. I felt relieved that I was going to get some help to get the baby out - it was so frustrating that with every push not much was happening and I was pushing so hard!!! While waiting for the doctor I still had to keep pushing each time a contraction came. I had to breathe in - hold it and PUUUUUUUUUSH out the baby but it was so bloody hard!!!
After 3 hours of pushing the doctor came and helped suck the baby out with a Ventouse suction thing. They injected me 'down there' with some anaesthetic and even cut me to prevent tearing, then she inserted this contraption to suck onto the baby's head and I could feel it all - was not comfortable at all!! I still needed to push even though she was sucking the baby out! (Afterwards she told me that the baby's head was very large anyway and apparently the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's body so even if it wasn't in danger or anything, it was preventing it from coming out quickly.)
The feeling was incredible - I could really feel this huge thing pass out of me and although it didn't last long- I didn't feel like it hurt - I just know I needed to push it OUT!!! Then it was all a blur for a second - I heard "IT'S A BOY!" and this little alien-like being was put onto my chest - I was SOOOO RELIEVED that it had finally come out!!! Huge sighs of relief and amazement at this little baby that I had pushed out. Oh my god. IT was amazing but I was just so tired before and then just amazed and happy that it was over! And happy to have the baby in my arms. He was perfect :D He was a bit bluey but soon turned pinker after some cuddling and then started to cry! His daddy cut the umbilical cord and then they weighed him - I was surprised he was 4.36kg (9.9lbs) to be honest! Big boy!
After they stitched me up and checked the baby, we had some time with our new family then hubby had to go home as he couldn't stay at the hospital overnight, I had my own room and bathroom which was nice (Good ol' NHS!) and Leon slept in a cot next to me. I was pleased to get some rest after the long day but it was so special to have my baby sleeping next to me! Every time he woke up I could just push and pull the cot to rock him back to sleep :D