We wanted an independent midwife to provide us with continuity of care and expert individual care. Kay delivered all round. Her passion for normal birth shines through and I'd recommend her to anyone. She was amazing.
Early in my pregnancy I speculated that Imogen would be born in the New Year. I wanted this so she wouldn't have her birthday on top of Christmas. Her due date was 28th December and with her brother Adam arriving a few days early, I was keen that she'd stay in a little longer. However, by the time Christmas was over I was well and truly ready. I'd had a few evenings of tightenings (something I'd never had with Adam) and felt she was ready too. Each day I felt a little more impatient and started to wonder if there was anything holding us back. I'd never had to wait with Adam and his labour was pretty smooth. Starting with a twinge in the early hours and ending with his arrival around 16 hours later. The slow build up I was having with Imogen was new to me.
Over the course of the 30th I felt lots of tightenings but by then I'd learned not to read too much into things. I went to bed that night as normal but it got to the point when I had to focus on them and I got up at around 3am. I woke Ben and he went downstairs to get the pool ready. I spent a little time looking at Adam peacefully sleeping and shed a couple of tears for the life the three of us had together. I was nervous about how things would change for us and particularly for Adam.
I ran a bath and while I was listening to my relaxation tracks Adam wandered into the bathroom. I had been hoping the Adam would sleep for a large part of my labour, but seemingly that was not to be. It was only 4am. Ben looked after Adam and they filled up the birthing pool together.
Kay had asked that we call her when the surges were 10mins apart. She wasn't expecting a slow labour and neither was I. Ben phoned her and she arrived at around 5:45am not long after I had got into the pool. The room was lit only by the Christmas lights and it was beautiful.
Almost immediately after Kay arrived my surges became less frequent, although they were still powerful when they came. I wondered whether Kay's presence had interrupted my focus. It got to the point where I didn't need to focus and I had a chat with Ben and Kay about whether I'd actually give birth at this time. Kay suggested I got out of the pool which I did for about half an hour before returning to it as I still needed the water to relax through my (less frequent but still powerful) surges. Unknown to me until afterwards, it was at this point that Kay observed the purple line, an indication of full dilation.
After I got back in the pool I closed my eyes and dozed off. Adam had fallen asleep on the sofa and all was calm. Then things started to happen again. I needed Ben's support to ride the surges and before I knew it I was pushing my baby out. I was feeling a lot of pressure and it was quite a relief when my waters went as I was pushing.
Once again I had meconium in my waters but what a difference an independent midwife makes. With Adam there was a slightly panicky response from the NHS midwife followed by being told a water birth was out of the question and being put on continual monitoring. All very disruptive and fear inducing behaviour. With Imogen, I didn't even know until after she was born. Kay explained that she'd seen meconium but it was well dissolved and Imogen's heart rate was as expected and so she had no cause for concern. Based on our circumstances Kay didn't feel it necessary to change anything. This individual level of care is one of the reasons we chose an independent midwife.
Adam woke up around 10:40am and saw his sister born around forty minutes later. He ran out of the room and I was concerned that he had been distressed by it, but he'd just gone to find his camera! Adam was a star. Despite his dislike for the dim lighting and not used to being quiet he was amazing throughout and although I was aware he was there, it was not a distraction. It was so important to us that he was present at this time of change and we were so happy to achieve the birth we wanted. As always, Ben was my rock. His presence helped me through and knowing that he was there to support Adam too was just what I needed to be able to fully relax and focus on my body. A particular highlight for Ben was when Kay talked him through the function and different parts of the placenta.
Imogen is amazing. She's now three months old. She has taught me so much. How naive I was to think that breastfeeding would be as easy as it was with Adam, it's only now that I feel we might have cracked it. She is certainly her own person and one whom I am loving getting to know.