I can’t believe I’m actually sat here writing my birth story and that it was all happening just a week ago, I feel like she’s been here much longer than a week.
Ava-Mae was born on Saturday 5th May 2018 at 8:03am, she weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces. My whole labour and birth lasted about 2 hours and 40 minutes, it was an absolute dream and I couldn’t have wished for a better birth.
With her being 10 days overdue, I had been having mild contractions and tightenings for a good couple of weeks, they happened for a couple of hours most nights and every night I thought ‘this is it’ but I would wake up the next day still pregnant and the pains had gone. I spent the majority of those 3 weeks walking with my mum and the dog, all we did was walk. Especially when I had the pains, I would walk through them for as long as I could. That and bouncing on my ball.
When I got to 41 weeks I had my first sweep, the midwife said she was surprised that I was already 1-2cm dilated. I started getting contractions that evening that lasted all night but they were irregular and all over the place. I was booked in for another sweep on Friday 4th May. This time my midwife was even more shocked as I was 5cm dilated and she couldn’t believe I wasn’t having regular contractions yet. I went home and walked about 5km that afternoon with my mum. I felt a bit crampy, but actually got in a bit of a bad mood as nothing seemed to be happening. I went to bed thinking I was going to be pregnant forever!
I slept great that night but was woken up at 5:15am with one very painful contraction. More painful than any I’d had before. I tired to go back to sleep but 10 minutes later I had another. Mitch woke up and helped me get out of bed, he went to run me a bath and the contractions started getting closer together, about every 5 minutes. I got in the bath and Mitch went to wake my mum up as she had been staying with us for a while as she was also my birth partner.
The whole time I kept saying ‘I don’t think it’s real, they’ll probably just stop like they always do.’ I was also aware that this had only been happening for about an hour and didn’t feel it had gone on long enough for us to call the hospital and make our way in. By now they were every 2 minutes apart and really took my breath away. I had to stop whatever I was doing and focus on my breathing, they were coming like clockwork. Mitch called the hospital and explained what was happening, when he said I was 5cm dilated yesterday at my sweep they said for us to come in and they’ll have a look. After he hung up I started vomiting out of nowhere.
We got in the car around 6:50 and pulled up to the hospital at 7:01. It took me a while to get up to the assessment area as I had to keep stopping for contractions. We got to TRIAGE about 7:15am and they took me straight to an assessment room. By now I knew that it wouldn’t be long and the pressure I was feeling was making it so difficult to sit down or get on the bed. The midwife started doing some routine checks – blood pressure, etc. I asked for gas and air and whilst they were setting it up, apparently I said ‘I want to push.’ I think they thought I was being a drama queen as they were saying ‘This is your first child you won’t need to push for a while yet’ and asked me to do a urine sample. I said I couldn’t move so they did an examination and discovered I was already fully dilated and in fact ready to push.
Another midwife rushed in and they debated whether or not they would get me to the delivery suite on time. They wheeled me out and I felt my first overwhelming I urge to push. They told me it was fine to now whenever I got the urge, I can’t believe I did my first push whilst they were wheeling me down the corridor. They thought about taking me back in to the assessment room to deliver but decided to try get me to the suite. My mum said that they had started asking Mitch and her questions about my pregnancy, any complications, what my birth preference was, as I couldn’t talk and they didn’t have time to read my notes.
We got to the delivery room and a different midwife , Kate, came in, as the others were just finishing their night shift. Kate asked again about my preference, my mum told them I didn’t want to be lying on the bed to deliver and wanted to be up squatting or using gravity to my advantage, but I couldn’t move now so I stayed there. By this time it was 7:50am and I remember my midwife saying ‘This baby is going to be here by 8.’
I listened to every single word she said, when she was telling me to push despite not having the urge to, I did. She then told me to do little pushes and fight against the feeling to push hard. Kate said that I now needed to start pushing harder as baby’s heart rate had started dropping. She called for another midwife and I remember looking at Mitch and my mum and feeling so scared. My mum was massaging one of me legs because I kept getting cramp (how convenient haha). Mitch was holding my hand and kept passing me water to drink cause I was so thirsty.
Kate said this next contraction you need to get her head out. I was tired but hearing her heart rate had dropped, gave me this energy and power I never knew I had. Ava-Mae came out all in one the next time I pushed and was placed onto my chest for skin to skin. 5 minutes later we had a knock on the door, asking what I wanted for breakfast. It was so surreal. About 30 minutes later she was breast feeding. An hour later I was having a shower and moving around.
All in all I only did about 6 pushes, before she was out. I feel so proud of myself that I’ve done it and I carried her and delivered her safely. I still can’t believe that from my first contraction to her being placed on my chest was only about 2 hours 40. I feel so lucky that I had such a successful and short birth, although I’ve been told I may have to have a Home birth if I have another as a second labour will probably be even shorter.
I know you can’t plan how your birth will go, no one knows what will happen. However I believe that being active and walking so much really helped with my labour. I walked about 5km every day in the remaining few weeks and I did some light weights and always did squats every day. My midwife said walking through any contractions and pains I had in the days before birth will have helped dilate me and get a lot of the ‘hard work’ out of the way. It’s worth a try?
I have a bag full of things from TENS machines, massage oils, flannels and more that I was planning on using during labour. Luckily for me I never had the time to touch any of them. My birth was so uncomplicated and my blood loss so little they discharged me on Saturday afternoon and I was sat watching Britain’s Got Talent with my little girl in my arms that same night.
Being on blood thinners, my birth could have gone so differently. I was expecting I would have to stay in for at least a night or 2 but it was a dream. I am recovering well and have absolutely loved my first week of being a mummy.
I couldn’t have done it without the support from my mum and Mitch. They were the best birth partners I could have ever hoped for. It was great because I relied on both of them equally but for different reasons and they both played a different role.
Giving birth and those first early moments with Ava-Mae are something I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who has followed my pregnancy journey, please let me know if there is anything else you’d like me to write about and I’ll be sure to do so.
Lots of love, Lucy xx