Leslie Houlihan’s Story

“So as you know I gave birth to beautiful Emily on Sunday 5th August, having had Toby at 35 weeks I was concerned throughout the pregnancy that I may have another premature baby. However I had said from very early on that I thought this one would get to 38-39 weeks and from about 12 weeks the date of 4th August was in my head, so much so that I turned down invitations to a 30th and a Christening some months ago for that weekend! Anyway 4th August came and no sign of labour through the day although babys head had been very deep in the pelvis for some weeks. I took Toby to a pony party and even managed to join him in the hobby horse race! As I left I said to my friends “ah well I was wrong about 4th August!” When we got home I was feeling some strong braxton hicks, a few tingly pains down my back and an overwhelming urge to hoover, put the babys clothes into the drawers we had bought that morning and cook a healthy tea…I had a feeling something was happening. At 10pm I headed to bed and asked my husband not to stay up too late as I thought something might happen,,,,I only got to the top of the stairs before I was calling to him again ” James my waters have broken!”. I wasn’t having contractions but labour ward asked me to go in for fetal observations so off we headed. All seemed fine so I was allowed home and advised to call in the morning to come back for further obs. Throughout the night I was awoken by minor, irregular contractions which I was pleased about as if I did not progress naturally I would have to be induced after 48 hours.

After waking the contractions kept coming but still manageable and irregular. I used deep breathing to get me through the pain, knowing that the longest contraction would last only a minute. I spent most of the morning on my ball, watching tv, chatting to my mother in law on the phone and keeping up my breathing work. At 11.30am the contractions were getting stronger and more regular so I asked James to go to Subway kmowing we would need some food for energy!! Well things happened quickly and it seems that the minute James left the contractions sped up and I was bent double in the kitchen thinking I was going to have the baby there and then on my own! At this point I decided to take two paracetamol, I considered co-codamol but decided it could be a waste of pain relief not knowing how far along I was! James got back and I suggested we needed to het to hospital fairly soon but I insisted he eat his subway first! I no longer fancied mine but drank the latte he had got me between very strong contractions in the car and putting on my tens machine. When we parked up the contractions were so strong I was struggling to walk for fear the baby would fall out and it took us a long slow journey of 20 minutes to walj from the main car park at Arrowe into the delivery unit ( the main doors are shut at the weekend so had to get all the way rounbd the back!). People were looking at me but I didn’t care I just stopped, leant on James and continued my breathing exercises whenever a contraction came. On being shown into an assessment room, I told James to find someone quick as I felt I needed to push, this was a totally new sensation to me as in Toby’s complicated birth I never felt this urge at all. The midwife came in, looked at me on all fours over the bed and confirmed that she thought I was in established labour. On a routine speculum check she said “oh baby’s head is right there..you are fully dilated and baby will soon be here! I asked for a pool but she said it would take too lomg to fill as baby was on it’s way. I wasn’t too bothered about this just excited and proud to have got to fully dilated on breathing and two paracetamol!

I was given an hour to allow the contractions to build up, during this time I was free to move about and spent most of my time stood up leaning over the bed using gas and air as and when the pain got stronger. I was offered the ball but the thought of sitting down did not appeal to me. After an hour I felt ready to push and so got up onto the bed on all fours (still wearing the top I had arrived in, no time to get the bag from the car or change!). Using gas and air, my midwifes excellent instructions and mind over matter Baby Emily Grace was delivered at 15.08, 1 hr 58 minutes after arriving on labour ward, somewhat different to the 12hours 5 recorded for my first birth! Afterwards it was lovely to be given hot tea and toast and have a shower in my delivery room before being taken to the maternity suite.

This was such a positive experience and was so entirely different to my first labour which involved a lot of medical intervention and trauma. Whilst this could not be helped due to Toby’s prematurity and other factors it was so lovely to be completely in control thuis time and be so involved in the experience. I believe that the breathing exercises really helped and also recommend the ball and massage for the early stages. I am now the proud mummy of two beautiful babies but a little gutted that my weekly relaxation session has come to an end!

Now my next challenge the complicated world of breastfeeding :/.

Good luck to all the mummies to be.

Love Lesley”