I figured I'd better write this down before I forget all the details. Better late than never I suppose!!
Name: Josiah Louie James Philip
Weight: 8lbs 3oz
Length: 53 cm
At midnight on Dec. 27 DH and I were still up mucking about. Before going to bed I went to the bathroom, hoping to avoid the 3am wake-ups I'd been having. While there I got a really deep contraction that I only felt in my back. I told DH what I thought it was but he didn't seem concerned, so we tried to get some sleep. About half an hour later I had another contraction in the front this time, and from then on they came every 5 mins, but not for very long (about 10 - 20 seconds). They were too strong for me to sleep so I decided to let DH rest and I went out to the lounge.
I crouched beside the couch in the position our ante-natal class teacher had showed us, leaning forward and rocking. I wrote down on a card every time a contraction started, and they were still about 5 mins apart, but didn't seem to be gaining in intensity. I stayed this way until it was light, and at 6am I called my Mum (who lives 3 hours away in Auckland) and told her to come down, as I expected the baby would be coming today. Sometime after this DH woke up and got me breakfast. Then at 8am (I was still crouched beside the sofa) I decided to call my midwife. She said that even though my contractions had been 5 mins apart for a while, the fact that they weren't very long (still only about 30 seconds) and the fact that I was able to talk to her fairly calmly, meant that she didn't think I was ready to come in yet. She said to call her back when they were at least a minute long.
Mum arrived at 10am expecting me to have had the baby already, given that I had been 5 mins apart for ages, but we stayed around home for another 6 hours with the contractions only getting gradually stronger. During this time we ate lunch and I listened to some comedy show DH had on CD. I remember actually being able to laugh through a contraction, so they can't have been that bad!!
By 4pm I was getting really tired, and even though the contractions still weren't a minute long, I decided I couldn't handle them for much longer. Mum called my midwife and she said to come in. That was at about 4.30. DH drove me to the hospital while Mum packed up my stuff (I was very unorganised!) I had a couple of nasty contractions in the car and gripped onto the hand-rail thingy to get through them. At the hospital I was shown into one room but Dh asked the nurse if I could have the room with the birthing pool (the ONLY one in the hospital). She checked to see if it was free and it was. I am now so incredibly thankful that he asked!
When the midwife checked me I was 6cm dilated. This made me happy as I was so worried they were going to send me home again! She broke my waters (with a scary looking hook thing, but it didn't hurt thank goodness) She said that usually first time mothers take about an hour per cm, plus about an hour to push, so I was preparing myself for another 5 hours or so.
She filled up the pool and when I got in the relief was INSTANT! The contractions still hurt, but what little time there was between them was bliss. I just relaxed into the warm water. She offered me gas and air and I tried it for a few puffs but it did nothing for me, so I got rid of it. After about half an hour of being in the pool the contractions started getting unbearable. To get through them I had to sway back and forth on my knees (I was kneeling leaning forward onto the side of the pool.) I felt this strong need for things to be silent and I didn't want anyone to touch me, which I think DH found quite hard. I just needed to focus.
A few minutes later, without even checking me, my midwife said she could tell by my voice that it was almost time to push. I tried a small push but she asked if I could still feel some resistance which I could, so she said to stop pushing. Then about 2 mins later the resistance was gone, and pushing began in full force. About 10 mins into it, she asked me to stand up and she said the head was right there.
After a few more pushes (during which I screamed out "I don't think I can!!") my baby was out, caught by the midwife as I was still standing. That was at 6.35pm, and we had only been in hospital for an hour and a half! He had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and body multiple times, but after unwinding him he quickly caught his breath and started to scream. The midwife passed him through my legs (she was standing behind me) and I held him for the first time. Words can't describe how I felt seeing him for the first time!! DH cut the cord and we moved to the bed.
We spent a good 45 mins with Josiah on my chest, and the midwife tried to help him latch but he kept thrusting his tongue out and unlatching after a few sucks. He seemed so peaceful though, and just stared at me with these large eyes. After being cleaned up a bit and dressed, my Mum and DH had cuddles as well.
All in all the birth went better than I expected, with the hard part being quite short (second stage was only 17 mins!!) I was told this was quite rare for a first time Mum, but I'm sure my position in the pool and the way I was so relaxed in there had a lot to do with it.
Josiah is an absolute delight and I thank God for giving us this tiny but wonderful person to get to know!