I was fortunate that I had a smooth, uncomplicated pregnancy and remained low-risk. I had
to have a GDD test because my dad is diabetic but thankfully that came back negative. It’s
fair to say that my husband and I felt well prepared for our baby’s birth because between us
we had completed an NCT course, Midwife Pip’s YPJ course and read several books. So
when we got to our due date on 11th June, neither of us expected our baby to turn up
because we knew that few babies do! However, although I stayed relatively chilled for the
first few days of being overdue, it definitely got harder as each day came and went. I
bounced and bounced and we tried to get out and do something each day. I didn’t expect
though that we would go on a bowling date and make a water feature pond while waiting for
baby to arrive!
I chose to have three sweeps in the end. The first at 40+5 because I wanted to give my body
a few days to get started on its own. I was amazed when the midwife said I was already 2cm
dilated. I felt like things would happen soon but underestimated how slowly it would take to
get going. I had very spaced out and irregular contractions after sweep 1 but it didn’t
progress into anything more before I had a second sweep at 41+1. I was still 2cm but my
cervix was softer and ‘better’ so I agreed to a third sweep at home at 41+3. I was getting a
bit fed up by this point and felt like it would never happen.
Again I was 2cm but the cervix was even softer and my midwife was amazing at being so
encouraging. We had agreed to book in for induction at 42 weeks exactly but she was so
positive and helped me to focus on getting into spontaneous labour. I had some more
contractions after she left but they were very spaced apart and not very intense. We decided
to go to a small, local cinema to see the latest Jurassic World film as I love Jurassic Park
and it came out the day before our due date. Because of Covid we decided not to go when
the cinemas would be packed - just in case. As soon as we started setting off, my
contractions got stronger but they were still 10 mins apart so I said we should still go as I
needed a distraction. I put the tens machine on for the first time and found it very effective.
We enjoyed the start of the film but suddenly my contractions became stronger and more
frequent at 5 mins apart. I was finding it hard to track contractions while enjoying the film and
I was uncomfortable in the cinema seats so we decided to leave halfway through (I still
haven’t seen the second half). This was the start of my three day marathon of labour and
where some of the details get a bit more hazy.
The next day I thought my waters had gone so we called triage and were invited to the birth
centre. I had a speculum test to see whether it was actually my waters or not. It turned out it
was cervical weeping which was good in some ways (as it gave me more time to get into
established labour), but in other ways, it was disappointing. So we went home and I
continued to bounce on my ball and watch the vicar of Dibley, which in the end I watched
from start to finish.
By the following afternoon, my contractions intensified and I had reached the magic 3 in 10
with each one lasting at least 45 to 60 seconds. I called the birth centre and spoke to a
midwife who suggested that I stayed at home a little bit longer but was welcome to come in
whenever I needed to.
I called them back a couple of hours later because my contractions had become so intense
that I really felt like I needed to go in. So, for the second time that day we went with our bags
to the birth centre and went in to get checked. This was the only time I had a vaginal
examination during my labour and I was still 2 cm dilated. I was disappointed and my
contractions slowed down and became less intense.
It was the first time we went inside one of the birth rooms (which were incredible) and I
couldn’t help but notice that the pool was empty and none of the nice lights etc were on. It
was clear that they didn’t think I would be having a baby very soon. I developed a stitch in
the side of my bump and was so tired. I hadn’t slept properly because of the contractions. I
was also getting irritated by the TENS machine after having used it for two days so I decided
to take it off. The midwife was very helpful and he gave me some painkillers which helped
me to get a few hours rest overnight and seemed to fix the stitch I had. We left early the next
morning a bit deflated but reassured by what they said and we knew that being at home
would be best for oxytocin to flow.
Not long after we got home I thought my waters had gone (again). I called the birth centre
(again) and they said I should come in so they could check. This time it actually was my
waters! This was great news but it also started the 24 hour timer to get the recommendation
of being induced. We were now 41+6 so our booked induction was only a day away anyway.
The midwife we saw this time recommended we go home because I would be more relaxed.
I had the option to stay but I knew she was right so we went home for the third time.
More bouncing, more of my favourite programmes and more waiting. My husband ran me a
bath to help as I wasn’t using the TENS machine anymore. It was lovely but being so heavily
pregnant it was difficult to get comfortable. When I had had enough I got out, put on my
husband’s dressing down and went to the toilet. There was a huge gush of waters which
took me by surprise. I called out to my husband and said I thought my waters had gone. I
think I cried because I was tired and fed up of waiting. I got on the bed and tried to deal with
the intense contractions when something suddenly changed. The feeling had changed and I
felt that the baby was on its way as there was a lot of pressure. I called my husband and he
asked if I felt like I needed to push. I couldn’t control the sensation and it took over my whole
body. My husband called the birth centre and explained what had happened and they told us
to get there as soon as possible.
We left the house at about 6:45pm and got to the hospital about 10 mins later. I was
genuinely worried the baby would come out in the car. There were road bumps and traffic
and the sensations to push were coming so regularly. I was calculating that I’d have to go
through a few more before we arrived. We parked rather dramatically at an angle outside the
birth centre and went inside. I could barely talk because it was so intense but I went with it
and focused on breathing. The midwife said I could be about to have a baby or I may be
dehydrated. I knew it was the former. I noticed that the pool was being filled which was the
best sight ever because I knew they thought baby would be here soon. Then the bit that
made my husband laugh. The midwife asked if I had anything I wanted to wear in the pool.
I’m told I replied no, stripped off in seconds and got into the pool before the midwife could
explain how to get in.
The relief from the water was absolutely incredible. I floated on my left side while holding
onto the side and my husband and had contraction after contraction. The midwife used her
mirror to check on things and to my amazement things progressed quickly. At 8:34pm our
baby was born and apparently I instinctively scooped them out of the water and onto my
chest when my husband revealed that we had a baby boy.
I didn’t realise until afterwards that I did the whole thing with only the water as my pain relief
which was not an aim or plan - I just went with my body and found the water very soothing.
After a while I got out of the pool and we were cared for by the male midwife who we had
seen two days before. He was great. I wanted to try a natural third stage but he said after a
few minutes that he would recommend the injection. I didn’t mind that at all and would
probably opt for that in the future. He said that I was losing more blood than he would like so
wanted to get the placenta out. My husband thought he underplayed how much blood I was
losing but I was happy to follow his advice. It was also the first time I was offered gas and air
which I loved! I asked to see the placenta and it was incredible! He explained it all and I was
in awe that I grew that as well as my baby.
He then explained that I had a tear (which I was expecting because I know how common
they are). He said he needed a doctor to take a look because there’s a chance that it was a
third degree tear that would need to be repaired in theatre. A doctor came along and
thankfully said she was happy it was a second degree tear and that it could be stitched up
where I was. Cue more gas and air and time for daddy to have his first cuddles.
We stayed overnight in the postnatal ward and went home the next day. We had such great
care in the run up to and during the birth and afterwards. I will forever be grateful that I had
my preferred type of birth. Perhaps some of it was luck but I know that what I learnt from
Midwife Pip and elsewhere really helped me to feel prepared and informed about the twists
and turns that we could have experienced.
Looking back now I’m grateful for the long early labour because I now realise Oliver was
getting into the right position - after all when he was ready, he came very quickly! I’d like to
think that if I’m lucky enough to experience birth again that I may be more patient during
early labour but that’s probably easier said than done!
p.s. have you checked out Midwife Pips Courses
The Author: Midwife Pip
Pip is a Mum, Podcaster and practicing Midwife in the UK, currently working as a Delivery Suite Sister she has a wealth of experience supporting parents-to-be through all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum. Pip has trained and worked in some of the leading maternity units, has completed a master's programme and is passionate about all aspects of women's health and wellness.
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