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Drug-free Birth - any positives?!
Drug-free Birth - any positives?!

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#26 LittleMum

Posted 02 February 2005 - 03:55 PM

Good on you for thinking about trying to go drug free despite the negative attitude of some people.

My two cents would be to try for a birth centre as they encourage you to go drug free (i.e. they won't offer it and if you want it you have to ask. Epi's mean a transfer to the labour ward though - birth centres are midwives only)

I had a 36 hr prosterior labour with DS and can honestly say i didn't think of asking for drugs once. It hurt plenty, but I could cope. Your own endorphins will get you through - thats what they are for.

My mum was my god send - as another women said about a doula, you need someone with you who has done it before. Hubbie's are great to hold your hand but they have no idea what you are going through.

Good luck - i hope you get the birth you want, but it doesn't matter in the end - the second you hold that dear little baby in your arms who is finally real, well that more than makes up for anything you have to got through. The high of that moment will blow your mind - I personally wouldn't want drugs getting in the way of that! Just for the feeling of that first five mins or so after the birth, I can't wait to do it all over again!




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#27 aidensmum

Posted 02 February 2005 - 11:09 PM

Dont listen to them!!!  When I was pregnant with my first I was so looking forward to labour and wanted to experience every single bit.  Its the most amazing experience of your life, and there's the biggest prize waiting for you at the end.  Kinda like climbing a mountain compared to having someone drop you off in a helicopter at the top.  The getting there makes it more of an achievement.  

I dont think it hurt that much.  With my first birth, I was scared and fighting my body every step of the way, instead of letting my body do what it was made to do.  The second birth was so lovely.  Relaxing between contractions, having a warm bath and dimmed lights.  I would go through labour every year just to relive those amazing days again and again, except I hate dealing with with the post-baby body for six months afterwards.  

Just as there are many women that wouldnt dream of doing it without an epidural, there are many that wouldnt dream of doing it with one.

#28 Youngmumof4

Posted 02 February 2005 - 11:44 PM

As I have been through 4 labours of which all have been different i have to say the 3 without drugs were quicker, easier, less stressful and while i personally cant say enjoyable they were definately better than being on a bed immobile, on my back, pushing for over 1 hour with the epidural i had with my first labour.
My midwife at the time thought an epidural would be best and i went with it not knowing all the facts(eg.labour being longer, harder to push, no gravity helping lure that little baby down)
I would have to say be informed of all your choices go in with an open mind and a healthy attitude and you will be fine.

Good luck original.gif

#29 rabbitandminx

Posted 03 February 2005 - 09:56 AM

I have just been reading this thread and would like to say thank you for all the experiences that people have shared. I wrote a post in another area last night after returning from my ante natal class and was completely freaked out.
I realised after reading a lot of your posts that it is not actually that pain that I am scared of in this whole experience but the losing control that may occur from using the drugs.
From my observation of the classes that I have attended and from some of the posts it appears that as it is such a norm these days to have drugs, that some midwives appear to work from the therory that everyone will want them (or should have them), rather than a drug free birth is the ideal, but if in reality it is not going to happen, then here are your options.
I am such a woos, but after reading this thread feel that I would really like to try and prepare myself for a drug free birth (or as close too it as I can) - but at the same time - being a realist, know that if it doesn't work out that way and it is in the best interests for my baby, then I have an understanding of the options and will take the advice of the Dr and midwives at the time.
thank you so much again

#30 Shebee

Posted 04 February 2005 - 02:54 PM

Hello, just wanted to add that YES  a drug free first birth is absolutely do-able!

I havent read through all of the posts here so please bare with me if I have repeated what someone else has already said.

I think its really important to be completly clear about why you want to do it drug free. If it just because you want to be superwoman then it aint going to work (not that there's anything wrong with being a super woman  wink.gif. If you truly understand that drugs aren't good for your baby (and there is NO evidence anywhere to suggest that these drugs do not harm your child) then it can help your resolve when actually in labour.

I think what really helped me is that I prepared myself mentally for the pain being a billion times worse than anything I'd expected. The actual pain took me to the very limit of my pain tolerance and then threw me straight over the edge! It literally became unbearable but I still managed to do it.

I think if you prepare for it to be worse than anything you've ever imagined then you have "some" concept of what it will be like and wont be too shocked when it happens. Even though it will still hurt really badly at least you're head will be going "I KNEW this would be SO BAD AND IT IS!"

I think some women go in thinking "Oh yeah, it'll hurt but I have a high pain tolerance and I'll be fine" and then they get the shock of their lives and start screaming for drugs because they just werent prepared.

There is a lot of information out there on techniques for natural pain relief methods. Practice and get good at a few different ones (breathing, self-hypnosis, non-focussed awarness)and have as many things on hand as you can, that way you've got a variet of your sleeve for when the time comes. Dont rule things out either, because you might find in labour that something is really beneficial for you that you mightnt have paid much attention to before. For eg. I had never paid much attention to the birthing balls before but asked for one when I got to the hospital. I spent my whole labour rotating on it and am convinced that the postioning helped make my labour a short one.

Go with your instincts too, if something pops into your head to do or try, even if it seems a bit stupid, do it anyway!

You've probably been recommended a zillion books and I'm going to recommend another one!

"Birthing From Within" By Pam England and Rob Horowitz, Partera Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Its unlikely you'll find it in a book store so will have to order it in. I really cant recommend this book highly enough!

Best wishes,

Me 29
dh 32
DS   Sebastian 16th Feb 2002
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#31 happygurl06

Posted 04 February 2005 - 04:37 PM

great information...thanks

This message was edited by NicoleO on Friday, 4 February 2005 @ 5:41 PM

#32 divinity

Posted 04 February 2005 - 10:59 PM

HI, Iv had 4 babies, 3 last drug free, my first I used pethedine.

I am in no way infering by what I write that women that under go pain relief have less of an experience but for me each of my 3 drug free births was a transformative experience that changed the person I was and moved me more towards total surrender to motherhood.

I have deep, profound memories of each birthing experience and whilst at the time felt often overwhelmed, it is hindsight that makes me grateful that I was able to do that.

I admit I had short labours and having been an attendant at friend births that went long past 12 hours, I cannot imagine not having relief from that intensity but my best friend did manage it and it was her 1st.. I am in awe.

Do you live near the blue mountains NSW? Inate birth is run by 2 doulas ( birth assistants) and offer fantastic workshops on natural birthing. They are really empowering and instill in the parents a understanding of their own inate ability to birth without intervention. Give them a try, they would be able to put you in contact with someone in your area.


#33 umma

Posted 05 February 2005 - 11:55 AM

Yes.  I had a good birth.  No drugs, just lots of support.  I spent about 45 minutes in the shower till the ward nurse made me get out and go to the labour ward (I was admitted due to PROM) and then I was on a monitor so I couldn't go in the shower.  But I stayed upright, squatting kneeling, sitting, made lots of noise, and did my best to breathe through the contractions.  And just when I thought that I was going to give in and ask for some drugs or gas or something (I must have been in transition) it got better and the baby was nearly born.

Ignore all the bad stories, keep and open mind and feel confident in yourself.  And don't feel bad if you do give in, it is hard work and the temptations are strong.

I hope you get a good midwife who is supportive of your wishes, I did and that helped.

Jen (35) DP (32)
Aidan Thomas 8/6/4

#34 What'sNext??

Posted 07 February 2005 - 08:50 AM

My story is very long but am happy to share it- pm me if you would like.  

I gave birth to our beautiful little girl 4 weeks ago and like some of the other women my experience was really rewarding, empowering and amazing.  It was 14hr, no drugs, natural labour. It was not pain-free but we managed the pain.

However, it seems that people who have negative experiences are so much more vocal than those whose experiences are positive.  

Preparation is absolutely paramount.  These are the things that I believe made a real differnce for me.
- I had a very supportive ob who believed & encouraged me to believe that I was fully capable of birthing my baby naturally with proper preparation.
- My DH, who was my birthing partner, also believed it was possible for us to have a positive experience. His support leading up to & during birth was paramount!
- TENS. This was magic during labour as for me it took away the constant lower back pain which meant the only pain I was having to deal with were the contractions.  
- Hypnobirthing.  Doing these classes gave me confidence that we had a plan about how we would get through labour.  It is basically relaxation and breathing (and affirmations) but needs practice before the day.  My contractions were 2 1/2 minutes apart for about 14 hours & just got stronger & longer but even when there was only a minute between the end of one & start of next I was never thinking about the pain & was relaxed which gave me more energy to deal with the pain when it came again.
- Epi-no, I still ended up with a tear but I do believe it helped me when it came to pushing as I could isolate & engage the muscles needed.  
- about 3 weeks before she was due I stopped talking or listening to everyone elses skeptism & negative stories as it was starting to erode my confidence. i refused to talk to my father about it for about 3 months because he kept laughing at me!
- work through whatever you need to to be comfortable with anything happening that is not your ideal; in the end I had come to terms with possibly having an epidural (which initally was never going to have) or having a ceaser.  i think this is important because if you have a plan for dealing with & being okay with those scenarios it takes away any fear/disappointment you may feel if something out of plan does happen. the most important thing is having a healthy baby & mum at the end of it- focusing on that helped erode my fear of any intervention.
- most of all believe in yourself & your body & your mind's ability!

there were times when I felt a bit like a freak for believing I could have a positive experience when so many people don't but those were times where i sought out other positive experiences.

good luck!!!!!!  and sorry this is long but i am very passionate about this!
cheers chris

#35 Gaia

Posted 10 February 2005 - 04:18 PM

Hey all,

I am also planning a drug free birth, at the Family Birthing Centre of the Royal Women's Hospital in Carlton, Melbourne.  To help me out with this, I'm looking into hiring a doula.  (My partner will be there, but I think it would be a great support to both of us to have a doula there, being that it is our first child.)

I'm having a lot of trouble finding any info on doulas available in my area (Melb), let alone their pricing structure.  Has anyone got any suggestions for doulas in Melb, and also what sort of cost I'd be looking at?

Also any more feedback on the Family Birth Centre and natural childbirth in general would be great (especially since that was the intent of this discussion thread and I don't mean to hijack it)!

Thanks for all the comments on this discussion thread, it's surprisingly tough to find positive feedback on drug free birth.  What a great, helpful thread for me to stumble across.



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#36 Night0wl

Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:50 AM


Edited by HermioneGranger, 19 March 2009 - 04:36 PM.

#37 Kayleigh

Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:52 PM

Hi Andy's Girls
It is absolutely, definately possible to have a positive drug free birth.

With my first labour I had every drug under the sun, pethadine, morphine, gas (I sucked a portable bttle plus some), epidural etc. I ended up delivering out little girl by forceps, she was 9pound 2onces.

Then with my second pregnancy I though, OK if i just go in ask for an epidural straight up I'll have a pain free birth and just cross my finger I don't deliver with the assistance of forceps. Then I decided, no this was gong to be my last chance for a positive birthing experience, not that I don't cherish my first delivery. So I was lucky enough to fiend the most wonderfull Doula in training to provide birth assistance and I transferred to the Birth Centre.

I am pleased to say that whilst I had to leave the birth centre to birth my baby, her shoulders were stuck due to being 10pound 2 onces, I did it all DRUG FREE didn't even have gas. I found that I felt much better straight after the birth, no side effects from any drugs, I was able to lap up the natural highs provided by hormones etc and I actually recovered much better. I had an episiotomy both times (second time drug free :-) ) which was no where near as sore second time around, maybe because there was no forceps bruising.

Anyway the moral of the story is it can be done and if that's what you want then go for it. If it's not want YOU want then we aren't worse mothers just because we accept some drugs during what will be the most painful experience in your life.



#38 kcsunshine

Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:27 PM


Just for Felicity.

There is a Maternity coalition group, that should be able to put you onto a doula. Though I don't know there contact details.
Also check out the website www.birthingwisdom.com.au
I did a course with Rhea which was great and really helped myself and my DH. She is in Fairfield. She is very upfront and tells it as it is, so be prepared to be shocked by some of her stuff.



DD (Johanna Isabella) 30 Aug 04

#39 KateyMatey

Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:08 PM

I kmow there is heaps of replies, but why not another?

I had alot of complications afterwards- but that is only related to the fact I had p/e and g/d and the labour was quick.

Havign said that it was 3 hours, and I had no time for drugs, gas or even tens. so dd was born in 2 hours of pushing, one of contractions.

Can it be done? Yes. Does it hurt like hell? EXCRUTIATING! Worht it? YES OH YES!

Next time I'm not even sure if I will use drugs even if i get the chance. breath breath breath. and stay focused. stay in control and know what your body is asking you to do.

Kate- PCOS 06/02
DH Phil
M/C 13/06/03
Cassia Danielle 13/10/04

#40 Reneej

Posted 12 February 2005 - 12:32 AM

Hi , I heard so many horror storys and words of you will not last without an Epidural etc ,  I said I would never have one as I have major fears of needles in my spine regarles if its so norm no days and minimal risk and I have never had to have one .

Anyhow my DD was born at 35 wks due to my waters breaking  I had a 3 hr labour and only a bit of gas which made me puke and feel drunk which I hated .

DS was born at term and I had no drugs with him at all , his labour was  just under 2 hrs all up

I never get pre labour so to speak I get Contractions from the beginning pretty much one after the other so I totally Skip First stage and I dialate mega fast lol. I always thought I would have horrible long labours and expected the worst but I am very happy with both birth experiences .

Having no drugs is very intesnse and Cause I have such fast labours I am in constant pain cause there is no Breather between contractions so to speak , But I would not have it any other way

I prefer no drugs Even if I had a longer labour I would still prefer not have them ,

My advice go in with an open mind labour is different for everone and everyone copes differntly , don't be upset or think you are a failure if you need drugs , the main thing is you have a positive Birth experience original.gif

Cheers Renee  


This message was edited by reneej on Saturday, 12 February 2005 @ 1:34 AM

#41 ~BoysRus~

Posted 12 February 2005 - 05:54 PM

i have had 5 children...all drug free labours..but..my labours have been ver fast...longest 2hrs

neen 28
DH 28
DS#1 9
DS#2 7
DS#3 4
DS#4 3
Ds#5 aug 04

#42 **missy**

Posted 12 February 2005 - 07:23 PM

hi there i would suggest that you should have a drug free birth if you wont it is your choice as a mother. i was induced so i really had no choice but to have a drug free birth i was given gas but that didnt help one little bit.  i am not gonna lie the labour pains were very intense and painfull but in a way im glade that i experienced giving birth without an epidural it was a beautiful experience that i will never forget.let us know how it goes for you best wishes. original.gif

#43 Pommie

Posted 12 February 2005 - 07:44 PM

THe subject of choosing pain relief is so delicate...everyone reacts to pain in different ways, and having a healthy baby is finally what is important. It is what is right for you at a given time, depending on circumstances (induction/cs/etc).
If birth has 'naturally' begun, if interesting that;

- Pain relief drugs (except Gas apparently) will affect your labour and lactation hormones, not just your endorphins (natural pain relieving hormones). There is a very good website about it, but I've lost the link...

- All pain relief drugs will affect your baby.  Latest research adds Gas to that list, with possible effects later in kid's life. Your birthing centre should be able to give you a leaflet about that.

Another thought; A recent article in our local paper (ACT) by a MW, said basically; 'why do women endeavour to be at optimal health throughout pregnancy (careful diet, no smoking/drinking, exercise, etc), if it is to throw all those efforts and results out the window by taking drugs in labour?'.  Interesting point.

Labour is painful (excrutiating by my experience!), but it is forgotten in a flash once your baby is in your arms. Birth is so amazing, giving life a miracle, and what our body does through pregnancy and birth (and after!), its strength, stamina and resourcefulness, making the miracle of life possible, just awesome....And those thoughts were what got me through labour!

Good luck,

Me 33
DH 34
DS 31/10/01
DD 04/12/04

This message was edited by Pommie on Saturday, 12 February 2005 @ 8:47 PM

#44 Guest_fendi_*

Posted 14 February 2005 - 11:40 AM

Another one here!

Drug free birth and brilliant! I agree with the poster above - sure it hurts but it is GONE when you hold your baby. SO gone. original.gif

All our lives we are taught pain is bad, and to avoid it at all costs. So it's not really surprising so many women are freaked out by the idea of labour and birth. But this is one time in your life when the pain has a purpose...working with the pain instead of suppressing it really helped me to labour productively.

Good luck with your birth. Sounds like you'll do just fine!

This message was edited by fendi on Monday, 14 February 2005 @ 12:40 PM

#45 HWWW

Posted 14 February 2005 - 12:31 PM

You go Girl! Great to aim for drug free..... but it isn't the end of the world if you need something in the end....your baby is sooo worth whatever it takes!

I delivered my ds (second baby) without pain relief. He was 4600gm or 10lb 3oz. So pretty big by anyones standards. It wasn't really planned to be drug free necessarily, just wanted to stay at home as long as possible. Turns out the labour was much shorter than i thought, and i nearly didn't make it in time so there was no time for pain relief anyway. I think I was just getting desperate for it, but was then so busy pushing. I only pushed for a  few minutes, and had a small tear. I ended up having gas for the stitches! lol. I recovered from the birth sosoooooo much quicker and felt wonderful.

My birth story is in this Birth Stories thread. In the Big babies thread, around 2nd or third page.

Good luck

DD - 2 years, 3 months
DS- 3 months

#46 KristyMum-

Posted 20 February 2005 - 05:49 PM

Yes you can do it - just because everyone else says the norm is drugs doesn't mean it's so.
Our birth stories are here in the first few pages - Brooke and Jake and...  (Birth Centre, WA)

Basically why I didn't want a drug free birth - effects on baby, effects on me, being tied down and not being able to be active but mostly for me, (and as well as risk to baby) not being in control of my body.  

I had all four (deep rooted) wisdom teeth out under local anaesthetic even though the oral surgeon tried very hard to change my mind - I did this not out of some sadistic love for pain (definately NOT!) but because I was so scared of having a general anaesthetic, or any drugs like that - what would happen to me while I was under, how would it effect me, would I wake up etc etc etc  Basically I was too much of a woos to HAVE a general anaesthetic which sounds a bit odd.  (BTW the actual extractions were NOT fun - but THAT is another story)

Things to try for natural birth - Keep hydrated (use a straw if sipping is no good, or I ate watermelon) - if you get dehydrated your body can't work as efficiently, walk lots - keeps the blood flowing and 'moves' things along quicker, remember that each contraction finished is one less to go and one step closer to seeing your baby, dim the lights, use 'favourable' child birth oils, play music that makes you feel positive, come up with as many ideas as you can beforehand to try and distract yourself from contractions (if distraction helps) - birth ball in the shower, w warm water on your back and belly, RELAX (how dumb does THAT sound) but if you're trying to emerge through a tense scrunched up canal vs a relaxed and ready canal, which one will be easier?  Do anything but lay on your back - why push up hill?  Also laying on your back doesn't let your coccyx move out of the way like it's designed to - there are HEAPS of different ideas to help you acheive your goal - there are many good natural birth books out there as a few Mum's have indicated.  

Even if one particular idea only gets you through a couple of contractions, then that's a couple more you've already done! original.gif  Don't focus on how far to go, think of how far you've come! original.gif

Our body is made for it, woman have done it for thousands of years etc etc etc all that you've heard before BUT
remember if it doesn't happen, the end result is what counts. original.gif
Best of luck - look forward to your birth story!

Happy Parenting!
Kristy 26
Michael 28
Brooke 27/08/99
Jake 17/11/01
Baby due 27/03/05

This message was edited by KristyMumTo3 on Monday, 21 February 2005 @ 4:48 AM

#47 Deirdre

Posted 20 February 2005 - 10:32 PM

Hi there,

it can be done!

I aimed for drug free labours and was able to manage it with my three. However, I was very fortunate to have short labours - approx 8 hours from when contractions got painful, 3 hours from first contraction and about 3 hours from when the contractions got painful. I definitely think attempting it is achievable, but the outcome is completely dependant on individual circumstances and duration of labour.

However you look at it, labour and birth is hard work and it's really painful, no matter how positive the experience is. But all forgotten when you hold your beautiful baby (and all the time in between that and the next baby if you have another!)

All I can say is I got through the first two just by concentrating on breathing and not thinking about much else. I really couldn't think about whether or not to have pain relief or even moving - I was just trying to get through it. I remember thinking at the time that I'd never do it again though!

I wasn't too worried prior to my second labour and birth, but was quite anxious leading up to the third (despite coping well with the first two). With my third baby (now 3 months old) I contemplated an epidural before going in to labour, and when I went in to labour I was wishing I could be doing anything other than having a a baby!

I remember saying "I can't do this" quite often, and just wanting it to end, but even then I didn't really think about pain relief. It was pretty quick.

I would have to say though, that if any of my labours were longer than 12 hours I would probably have asked about pain relief. I can't imagine the difficulty of having strong contractions for 24 hours, and this is the reality for some. I imagine that would simply be too painful and exhausting and pain relief would probably look like a pretty good idea!!!

My advice would be to give it a go - you can always ask for whatever pain relief you need when you need it. But before doing that I would ask for an update on your progress. I found that having some sense that there wasn't too long to go was really helpful.

Good luck and give it your best shot. You don't have to decide beforehand, just have it if you need it at the time. And tell your friends and rellies that it can be done!


This message was edited by Deirdre on Sunday, 20 February 2005 @ 11:33 PM

#48 casm

Posted 23 February 2005 - 09:08 PM

I believe deep down in my soul that women are made to give birth and that our bodies help us. I just had my third baby 6 weeks ago and it was my only drug-free and natural birth (my only vaginal birth that is). The hormones were raging and it was like being high on drugs even though I didn't have any in my system. Michel Odent (a renowned OB from France who now practices as a homebirth midwife... interesting) has written a fabulous book called The Scientification of Love which talks about the helpful hormones a woman has to get her through labour and birth. I literally felt like I was in another world when in labour and afterwards the euphoria was incredible... it is not like that for everyone but it was for me!

#49 Fire and Ice

Posted 03 March 2005 - 06:46 PM

I had a drug-free labour with my first baby December '04 - just three months ago and yes I was in agony for most of twelve hours, with sharp pain throughout my stomach, back, and bottom - and spent about six hours vomiting on and off. But through all the pain I was also terribly excited that my little one was coming and so just concentrated on that and, as mentioned by others, reminded myself that many other women gave birth drug-free and came out of it thriving and if they could do it so could I.
To get through it I spent a lot of time on all fours or on my knees leaning against a chair or the bed and did most of my pushing on all fours too. DH was on massage duty for approximately six hours (he actually slept through half of my labour despite my moans and groans!) and I used a heat bag on my stomach while he put pressure on my lower back for me. I put off calling my midwife until I could stand it no longer and by the time I saw her nine hours or so into my labour I was fully dilated so couldn't have been offered the epidural or pethidine even if I had wanted them and I just decided that I had come too far to accept the offer of gas.
The amazing thing about it all was how revitalised I felt only moments after having my baby and holding her in my arms and was even able to ignore the stitches that were taking place as I held her.
I felt incredibly strong and satisfied with myself and at peace with the whole situation afterwards and now I can honestly only vaguely remember the pain and am looking forward to trying for number 2 in a year or so.
I wanted a drug-free labour because I wanted myself and my baby to be as alert as possible during and after the experience but I was also willing to accept any pain relief offered  if I had found the experience to be unbearable. One thing that made me even more determined to try as hard as I could for a drug-free birth was definitely the amount of negativity from other people who made snide comments about first time mums who actually think they are going to be able to pull off a drug-free birth. Very annoying people!
But the main thing in the end is to do what you feel comfortable with and don't be hard on yourself whatever the outcome - just enjoy your babe.

#50 angmerfow

Posted 05 March 2005 - 07:50 PM

I had a few comments about "must get the epidural" but glad I ignored them. I think being well informed about what factors are likely to contribute to a natural birth is your best preparation as well as being ready for any unexpected things that might happen on the day.

I can't find where I posted my birth story, its a while ago so here is the whole thing.

Good Luck

Caitlin Rose was born in the spa at 3 minutes to midnight on Thursday 24 October.

On the Monday I had a slight pink show and had been feeling more and more tightenings.  On Tuesday the ob was happy with how things were going. I was finally starting to look big, all baby. During the week I went to prenatal yoga and aqua aerobics and did a few more things around the house but still wasn't fully prepared, wasn't packed for hospital and
didn't have a pram.

On the Wednesday night DH and I had a bath together and the tightenings were really strong but not painful. During the night I woke at 2am for
one of the familiar toilet trips and had painful contractions about 8 minutes apart. Several hours later I got up and burned some essential
oils. By morning the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart but when I rang the hospital they disappeared. I finished packing my hospital and labour bag. Lots of diarrhoea. I had a massage booked for that day at 4pm but was able to move it to 9am which was nice. The contractions also backed off during the massage. DH spent some time at home and some at work which was a bit distracting having him come and go. He was also
looking for an electric massager stored away in a box somewhere. I was annoyed at him asking questions like "have you fed the fish" during a contraction and that we weren't ready, neither of us could believe Caitlin would be early. I don't think he realized how painful these early contractions are. I tried having a bath but the bath didn't feel big enough to get comfortable. The best thing was to sit cross legged on the sofa, breathing with a wheat heat pack. In the afternoon I rang the hospital again but they still said stay home as the contractions were erratic
though sometimes 3 minutes apart for a while. I was wondering how soon it would start happening and felt I was holding back even though the hospital is only 10 minutes away. I spoke to my Mum and she also thought I should get to the hospital. I rang DH and asked him to come home. We left for the hospital around 5pm after running the gauntlet of neighbours
all curious to see how things were going.

At the hospital a midwife measured the contractions and heartbeat with a belt around my belly. The heartbeat was strong and regular. The contractions were only mild!!! Think they went to 140 or so on the monitor. Then an examination showed I was only 1cm dilated, how disappointing. They still thought going home was a good option as it could be a long time to go but I wasn't keen. I was also very dehydrated having forgotten to drink during the day. Lying on my back wasn't fun and I started throwing up on contractions. Awful. I was thinking my plan for a natural birth would go right out the window. I had read that the feelings of doubt come at the end of the first stage but I was already full of doubt. They called the obstetrician to advise it would probably be sometime in the early hours of the morning.

The midwife then suggested we move to the early labour room. As I couldn't keep anything down, a
canula was inserted and I was given a saline drip. The contractions felt horrendous. They seemed to start really low. Leaning over a beanbag felt the best with a hot pack on my back. DH helped by spreading the sit bones apart. I lost alot of fluid and we thought it was my waters but these were intact until the second stage.

After some time we moved to the delivery room. A near accident as DH walked between me and the drip stand. Unbelievably my hand shot out and grabbed his shirt before his foot hit the line. DH put some oil in the burner and the midwife played some Celtic music. I was using directed breathing with these contractions really well, imagining the breath going to the pain, and felt the contractions opening my cervix when I got the timing right. What intense pain though. Looking into DH's eyes helped. I started getting a pushing urge and asked for a vaginal exam. I was fully dilated! This was around 9pm. The midwives changed shifts and the new midwife checked as I thought I could feel the head coming down. Then DH
remembered I wanted a water birth so we moved to the spa room. The obstetrician was advised it would be sometime soon.

I had imagined floating in different positions but DH leapt into the spa first and I leaned against him. Initially there were two midwives but then my obstetrician arrived and only one midwife stayed. She gave me sips of water and checked baby's heartbeat between contractions, I floated up for this. The heartbeat was nice and strong even though the second stage took a long time. These contractions were hard to breathe with, everyone was telling me to push really hard and long, to try and get three good pushes on each contraction. This was exhausting and sometimes felt like it wasn't getting anyway. DH reminded me to relax my neck and jaw which helped. After the first big push/breath there would be a horrible pain and I would have to quickly take the next breath, don't know why this was. The midwife suggested squatting for a short while to get things going. They also said I could rest on some but this didn't feel comfortable. It turned out the waters had not yet broken and the midwife suggested breaking these but the ob was in no hurry saying his Dad was "born in the caul". They did this some time later. On a couple of big pushes I could really feel the head move. The ob said she was getting her first shampoo. It wasn't long before they were saying to pant and it was amazing to see it when it finally came out (I didn't want to use the mirror though). Her whole body seemed to come out suddenly and she was placed on my chest which was a beautiful moment, she cried a little and the midwife placed a warm towel over us. When the midwife shone a torch on her, DH and I both covered her eyes, the apgars were 9 and 9.

They drained the spa and placed more warm towels over us. The midwife wanted to cut the cord but DH said it was still pulsating so we waited as I had requested in my birth plan. The placenta was almost out but these last few pushes were hard to find. It was intact and DH clamped and cut the cord. Caitlin was placed in a hospital bassinet. We stood up and it was at this moment I realized not everything was intact.

In the recovery room I was able to hold Caitlin while stitches were done under local anaesthetic. This part wasn't as bad as expected (although I hadn't expected this part at all), a bit uncomfortable especially pressing on my abdomen to ensure everything was out. Caitlin was looking around and looking at me. She drank some colostrum. DH took a photo of us which he is very proud of. Caitlin was weighed and we were very surprised that she was 8lbs 11oz or 3950g and 22 inches or 56 cm long. The midwife brought us tea and toast.

Caitlin is a delightful baby and we both adore her.

If I were to do anything differently it would be to drink plenty of fluids, get to the hospital a bit earlier so I could go with it earlier (seven hours seemed to go so fast). Maybe to think more about relaxing than pushing in the second stage though the ob said it was long enough.

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