At 40 weeks and four days past my due date, I was getting very impatient for my baby to arrive. My first birth was almost a week early so I had expected this baby to arrive even sooner.
I had started maternity leave weeks earlier, after experiencing heaviness, Braxton Hicks tightenings and babies head was engaged and ready… But that was as far as it went. So when I went to Barking Community Birth Centre for my 40 week check I wasn’t expecting too much.
I was examined on the evening before I gave birth and the midwife was shocked at what she felt or saw. I was having contractions, was 3-4 cm dilated and my membranes were ready to pop.
But I just couldn’t feel it, and the midwife couldn’t believe I was so calm. She expected me to return that evening, but I thought I’d rather not overwhelm myself, I was convinced that I was feeling the usual dull ache and tightenings.
At 5am the next morning I woke up and convinced myself to jump in the shower and get dressed as I felt I’d be giving birth to my baby that day. My contractions were less that five minutes apart, so it was time to wake my husband and daughter to get ready to leave.
Over the phone, the midwife agreed that I should come in and when I arrived around 7am, I couldn’t hold a conversation for too long and had to breathe out through the tightenings, which were becoming more intense.
After using the TENS machine for the first hour, I was able to use the pool which I remembered being so soothing during my first birth. I couldn’t wait to get in but was stopped by another two or three contractions, and the need to use the bathroom… Or the need to push!
The gas and air in the pool was great and I knew my delivery was coming closer, as I was now moaning so loudly. But I had to get out of the pool to encourage baby to gravitate down.
I was pacing back and forth from the bathroom to a mat on the floor- propped up with several cushions on all fours. The floor wasn’t working for me so I was encouraged to use a birth stool and the birth support rope, with my hubby behind me for support. At this point it was getting super intense.
I could definitely feel that this second birth as a shift from my first. I felt so vulnerable at one point that I had to let go and just trust my body to do it’s work. I was able to push and breathe through the overwhelming contractions.
And of course my faith carried me to birth my baby naturally and safely. I could tell from the pushing phase that my son was a substantial size and he weighed in at 9lbs 3oz. I had a positive birth experience overall, with three powerful hours of active labour.
I truly believe every woman should be empowered to make choices about how they give birth. Be it their positioning, method of delivery, or location. This is what we promote with Mum Bub Hub. I would consider a homebirth in future as I am confident about the capabilities of my body for birth. We are all entitled to confident birthing!
Anisah is the co-founder of Mum Bub Hub, @mumbubhub which offers natural products, education and support for women’s postpartum recovery. She is also a project manager. Mother of two with a little two-year-old girl and baby boy, born in April 2018. She is an advocate of positive birth and aims at changing the narrative around birth.