After a lovely evening with friends (Matt and Gary) on Saturday 6th May 2017 I waddled up to bed at around 11pm. (38 weeks pregnant)

I woke up around 3 and went to the toilet. I had had considerably more discharge than normal that day and so I had decided to wear a pad to bed. It was a good job that I did as when I got to the toilet I noticed that the pad was soaked through (with clear liquid) and when I went back up to bed I noticed that there was a small wet patch where I had been laying.

I stood there for a moment, trying to decide whether just to put a puppy pad down and go back to sleep or whether to wake Tom. (I still wasn’t 100% sure at this point whether it was my waters or not)

I decided that I would rather get checked out by somebody who knew what they were looking for and so I woke Tom and we decided to call the labour ward for some advice.

After chatting to a midwife they said it sounded like my waters had gone and to come in when we were ready and they would listen into baby and check me over and make a plan from there.

We got to the hospital around 3:30am and we were shown to an assessment room next to reception on the labour ward. The midwife took my obs and the pad that I had been asked to bring with me and then hooked me up to the monitors. We were left for around 20 minutes after which time the midwife came back and said she was almost certain that my waters had gone but that it was my hind waters hence why it had been more of a trickle than a pop. She said to go home and hope that labour started by itself in the next 24 hours but that if it didn’t to come back at 8am on Monday 8th May for an induction.

We left the hospital and collected a MacDonald’s breakfast on the way home, we got back into bed as it was only around 6am and ate our breakfast both looking at each other in a slightly freaked out way that we would have a baby in the next couple of days.

After a lie in we went round to Kath and Pauls for a bit of company and to fill the time (which felt like it was going extremely slowly) Kath had been baking as she was too excited to sit still. Tom, Kath and I went for a walk around the park and popped into the Aldi baby event. Ate some of the yummy ‘get baby out biscuits’ by which point my mum had also joined us.

Throughout the day I had the odd twinge but nothing to get excited about. Tom and I went home in the afternoon and I went for a nap just in case labour started overnight, I didn’t want to be tired before I even started. We walked round to Emma and Matt’s in the evening for a cuppa. Then went to bed as normal, bag by the front door just in case anything occurred overnight.

Woke up to no sign of labour so off we went to the hospital for 8:00 as we had been instructed (with another MacDonald’s breakfast en route) and arrived at the labour ward feeling slightly anxious but very excited, knowing that when we left it would be with our brand new baby boy or girl!

Unfortunately, the labour ward was extremely busy. Even though we were taken down to the induction bay (a small room with 4 beds) we were not seen by the consultant until 3:30pm! Very long wait and the other 3 women who all came in after us were seen before us. We kept saying there must be a reason, they must be more urgent than us etc. but by about 2pm we had both had enough and were pretty fed up. (thankfully we had packed the laptop and a selection of DVDs as we thought it might be a long job. The whole of Harry Potter anyone?)

So, the consultant arrived at 3:30 and explained that they were going to insert a pessary that contained a hormone to soften my cervix. They would leave this in for 24-36 hours and would examine me after 12 hours to see what was happening, if nothing had progressed they would start me on a pitosin drip which should start me contracting.

In went the pessary and baby and I were monitored for another half an hour. Once they were happy that baby was ok with the hormone being introduced we were free to go for a walk and a wander.

Off we went to Costa (because there isn’t really anywhere else to go!) for a cuppa and some cake and then a walk around the hospital grounds. (so scenic…)

Arrived back at the bay and at around 6 pm decided that it might be a good idea for Tom to go home and get some rest in case things started overnight and he needed to come back in. Mum came to keep me company and we went for another walk and I bounced furiously on my birth ball. She left at around 9pm (after tucking me up in bed with prisoner of Azkaban to keep me company) by which time I was having the odd light cramp at the bottom of my bump but nothing that I would call painful at all.

After a few hours’ sleep I woke up at around midnight-1am and the cramps were coming in waves and were definitely sharper. They were totally manageable so I called the midwife to tell her I was having some pains and explained to her where they were (under my bump, lower back and down my legs) she said that this was something they called ‘Propess’ pains and was generally how the body responded to the pessary I had been given, but that they weren’t considered to be contractions. She offered me a dose of paracetamol (which I took) and suggested that I try to get some sleep.

I managed an hour or two of sleep and woke at around 3:00.The pain was much stronger, coming in waves but still very low down. I was having to concentrate and breathe through them by this point but I was still managing them. I again called the midwife to say that they had increased in intensity and she gave me a dose of Oramorph and said to call her if I needed her and that if she didn’t hear from me she would assume I was fine.

The Oramorph made me very drowsy and I was able to drift off in-between pains. I was propped up in bed with the blankets piled at my feet which I would pad into with my feet through each pain. Eventually, the Oramorph wasn’t knocking my out in-between so  I changed positions and spent some time on all 4s, some on the ball and some standing with my forearms on the bed.

We had organised for Tom to come back in at around 7:00/8:00 unless I called him earlier. I had spoken to the new midwife who took over in the morning and said that the pains were very intense but still low down in my back and my legs. She suggested another dose of Oramorph and to see if that helped, if not I would go and have a bath and see if that took the edge off. She said that they still sounded like Propess pains rather than contractions.

Tom arrived at 8:00 to find me having to concentrate very hard on my breathing through the pains so called the midwife back who put me into the bath. I slowly waddled my way to the bath and sank into the hot water. It felt amazing as I was feeling quite tense and definitely took the edge off the next few pains. However, they then started to get stronger and closer together. At one point I think I had about 5/6 one on top of the other and I was finding it difficult by this point to breathe and stay calm. I was also feeling a bit of pressure and so I asked Tom to explain the situation to the midwife. I got out of the bath at around 9:30 and very slowly made my way back to the bay. I continued to have the pressure and needed to stop for each pain. I got back to the bay at around 10:00 and stood at the head of the bed, clinging onto the bar and pushing. I felt very stressed at this point and definitely started to panic. I was feeling strong pressure with each pain and as far as I was concerned was barely in labour if at all and so was scared that I would hurt the baby if I let my body do what it was trying to do. The student midwife and midwife were fantastic, they spoke to me and helped me get my breathing under control. They explained that they would examine me and see where we were at and we could make a plan from there.

I had been texting mum earlier in the morning and had told her to make her way in when she was ready as I was only having Propes pains and that it would probably be hours before there was anything happening.

At this point (around 10:00am I think) I asked Tom to message her and ask her to come in which he did.

Once I was on the bed the midwife examined me and said that there was no cervix left and I was fully dilated and that the baby’s head was right there! No wonder I wanted to bloody push!

I breathed a huge sigh of relief, I wasn’t over reacting, I had been in labour all night long, I thought it was all getting rather painful!

As the midwife helped me get off the bed and slowly walked me to the labour room I saw Tom and the student midwife out of the corner of my eye scooping up all of our belongings and taking them to the labour room.

On arriving at the room (10:45) I decided to start on the chair/bed facing the back on my knees. I pushed through several contractions in this position.  Mum arrived at around 11:00 and walked in to find me with my bum in the air grunting and groaning. She exclaimed “Oh, well done Luce!” before taking a seat in the corner of the room to spectate until/if she was needed.

After pushing in this position it became apparent that I was putting all of my energy into pushing down on the back of the bed rather than into the push and so I turned around to sit with my feet up on little footrests. This felt much better as there was nowhere to put my hands and so 100% of my energy was in the push. Tom and I got into a rhythm of pushing through the contraction and then Tom putting my water bottle into my mouth in-between. He says he had to stop himself from laughing as after each particularly good push my mum and the two midwives would all nod approvingly at my rapidly expanding progress.

After what seemed like a lifetime the midwife said that the baby’s head was staying visible. I reached down and could just feel the baby’s hair. One of the most amazing moments and really gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Nearly there, nearly there. As we got to the aptly named ‘ring of fire’ I found that my body was doing exactly what it needed to with very little instruction/control coming from me.

Contraction came and the midwife called, ‘that’s the head, just take a breath and then we’ll get the rest!’ I went to stop pushing but my body had other ideas and the contraction continued and out came the rest!

Bright red and flailing, baby was passed up to me for skin to skin. I looked down and shouted it’s a boy!!!

I was amazed that I didn’t cry, I was so completely overwhelmed and relieved that I was almost numb to what had just happened.

I had just given birth with no pain relief! I felt like wonder woman!!! It was the single most empowering experience of my life, one that I very much struggle to put into words.