I still feel a little sad when I think about our ‘first attempt’ at bringing Emily into the world. After waiting 41 weeks (the last week feeling like a month itself!), you can imagine we were very excited and fully prepared for the big event! It was a last minute decision to have a water birth, but it really did feel so right as the thought of it really calmed any nerves I had. We had been through a perfect pregnancy, with absolutely no complications whatsoever. So we were prepared for an easy delivery, midwife led with no ‘nasty medical stuff’. But the reason for me being a little sad is because it didn’t quite work out that way for us. In fact it was quite the opposite.
My labour experience started out pretty standard. Like the rest of my pregnancy, it seemed pretty perfect. I started having regular, what felt like Braxton Hicks contractions Friday evening, which grew stronger over night and lasted all throughout Saturday. But there was still no telling if it was labour or not. Saturday evening they started getting stronger and I experienced a ‘show’ which signalled to me that something was happening! So I was pretty excited at this point, but still in no rush to get to the hospital. The contractions were getting stronger, but I was managing well with some good breathing.
Through the night on Saturday, I started experiencing really strong contractions about 10 mins apart for most of the night, so we gave the hospital a call to see what we should do. They suggested I wait until they are more 2–3 minutes apart before coming in. So we waited. There was no way I could sleep through the contractions, so I had a warm bath. When the bath cooled off and forced me to get out, I found lying down wasn’t an option as the pain was too much and I needed to keep active to distract me. Sam was doing his best to get some sleep as we knew we would need his energy to help me through. So I decided to sit on the sofa and try get some shut eye.
I found myself drifting off in between contractions, but with them getting much closer together, the sleep didn’t last very long. Then rather suddenly after one of the contractions I felt a strange kind of ‘pop’. I think I knew what it was right away but still didn’t quite make it off the sofa in time before a whoosh of liquid gushed out. I grabbed the nearest thing I could to save the sofa and quickly sat back down. I was amazed! I didn’t expect this to happen at all as most people had told me that their waters didn’t break or that when they did it was just a slight trickle! This was not a trickle at all, and there was no mistaking it for wetting myself either (I had heard a few people mention that mistake also!). This was definitely the real deal, and I was again so delighted that everything seemed to be happening ‘in the right order’ and ‘in the right time’. It all just seemed so perfect to me!
So we immediately phoned the hospital to give the good news and let them know that we are definitely ready to come in! But alas, they were still insisting I wait until contractions were 2–3 mins apart. At the time, I felt like I was in constant agony. I could not sit down and spent the early hours of Sunday morning pacing the living room timing my contractions. When they got to 5 mins apart, I could wait no longer and insisted that we went to the hospital so I could try some of the gas and air they spoke so much about! They were hesitant, but gave in and said I could come in at around 9 in the morning. 4 hours to wait! So there I was, pacing the living room with my timer app keeping track of contractions and I was watching the clock. The contractions didn’t move closer together, but were definitely lasting much longer as time went on. When 8 o’clock came around, I insisted we go to the hospital, even if we were a little early! So we grabbed our bags that had been packed and ready to go for the last 3 weeks and off we went! With so many emotions flying around at that moment, the anticipation of meeting our little daughter and total excitement with a little bit of nervousness, nothing prepared me for what came next.