In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Nicola Emmett shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email email@example.com.
It was Easter weekend this year when I went into labour – that really beautiful, hot weekend. At 40 weeks pregnant, I had been getting impatient. My son and husband were out playing in the garden and I was stuck in bed, feeling sick. I threw up and had diarrhoea from around 10am in the morning. I didn’t feel like this during my first labour, so assumed it was a bug. I was in and out of the bathroom – and in and out of sleep – all while the beautiful sun was blazing outside.
When I rang the maternity triage and described how I felt, they agreed it could well be a bug. So I stuck with it at home. But at 4pm, on my way back to the toilet, my waters broke and the contractions started.
It was labour after all.
Despite being over 35 for this second pregnancy, I’d still been considered low-risk. I’d had a bit of nausea, sure, but I never ended up throwing up. In fact, I’d felt so normal during the second trimester, I basically forgot I was pregnant.
Having already been through one birth, I’d wanted to get in the right headspace again this time. I bought the Yes Mum book, which gives hypnobirthing tips, and my friend passed on her hypnobirthing MP3s, too. They definitely helped me stay positive during the pregnancy.
And that day, as I managed to get in the shower, back out, into my dressing gown, and into the spare room, they helped too. The hypnobirthing MP3s stopped me getting into a panic – they remind you it’s actually an exciting moment, and it’s not going to be much longer until you meet your baby.
Exciting, not agonising. That’s what I was trying to focus on. I shouted down to my husband and asked him to call my mum – to let her know things were happening – then to call the midwife. He forgot the latter, not realising how far along I actually was. He was running around doing God knows what and I remember letting out an almighty roar in my room, to which he ran upstairs.
I didn’t have the words to say to him that I couldn’t get in the car and this baby was coming. I just said: “Ambulance!” He went pale and looked panicked.
He called the midwife – by this point my contractions had got really fast, really quick. She arrived around 5.30pm, then called for a second midwife because she thought I was going to deliver at home. But when they couldn’t get a good read on the baby’s heartbeat, they called an ambulance.
I had to work a lot harder to stay relaxed this time around because it was all happening so quickly. When the ambulance arrived, I was determined to get inside pronto (clue: it’s where the gas and air was!). A kind paramedic walked backwards with me down the stairs, so I could get down holding his arms.
As soon as I got in, we started flying down the A-road. It was such a beautiful weekend, there was no traffic on the roads whatsoever. But I could just tell the midwife knew I wasn’t going to make it. I heard her saying: “he’s right there.” She never even told me to “push”. She just said to do what my body needed to do.
That really helped. “He’s coming,” I said, a few minutes later. The driver pulled over into what I think was a bus stop. I felt my son crown and after that, it was like he just slipped out. It was so calm. I remember his bright pink face, his loud cry. I just knew he’d be alright. My husband cut the cord in the ambulance and put him on my chest – and he did a massive wee all over me! But you know, in those moments, you just don’t care. I just remember feeling sorry for the paramedics that they were going to have to clean all that up.
The hospital was only minutes away and it was wonderful arriving into a delivery ward with my baby on my chest. The community midwives stayed with me while I delivered the placenta and did all the checks on my baby. We stayed overnight and came home the next day. It was quick, but such a positive experience.
My birth advice?
Get on the phone sooner rather than later if you’re in labour. Don’t view it as a nuisance to someone! And try and enjoy the birth – you’re a superhuman!