I had been having intense Braxton Hicks or training contractions for the past few days. On the day around 7.30am I felt contractions and when they were consistent I knew they weren’t Braxton Hicks, but the real ones. So I made my way to the Barking Birth Centre.
My body works really different in each labour and I have only had regular contractions with my second baby. With all other three children my contractions have been very irregular.
Noone seems to think I am in labour! Even this time round, which was my fourth labour, my contractions were not regular as in they didn’t follow a timeline (they are supposed to come every 3min) – they were coming and going as they pleased.
Knowing my history and my quick labours I made my way to the birth centre as soon as I could. I had to come alone, hubby was with the kids. He had to wait for my parents to get there.
So I got to the birth centre, they examined me and, alhamdulillah (thank God), they listened to me and gave me a room immediately.
There was a student midwife who was there for my 36 week assessment. She was extremely caring and she took over the role of my birth partner. She massaged me, gave me dates and water and encouraged me. She was a blessing and it was her first birth experience!
I got into the room and asked for the pool to be filled. But before it was even half full I was in full labour, the contractions were severe and I went into the pool to deal with the pain. It is such a nice pain relief!
I was hesitant with the pool, it was my first time in it. But its good for pain relief as for the birth itself I’m not sure… It was a very different experience, I am used to the ground and the gravity so being in water was new to me. I was constantly changing position trying to get comfortable. I think I was more confident on the ground but I had no time to go out and honestly I wasn’t bothered. The pains were too intense. I listened to my body and the midwives let me be. They were just ready to catch the baby. They were really supportive and didn’t ‘boss around’ and encouraged me instead.
Alhamdulillah baby was born within 20 minutes. It was really intense as I felt there was no break in contractions but my sense of time probably wasn’t accurate.
My experience shows that not all women labour the same and we don’t always follow charts. Your body knows what to do and you should listen to it and go with your instincts. Go with the contraction and feel when you should push and when you have to rest.
My baby girl Khadija was born at 9.31am and weighted 3.2kg.
Postnatally my saviour for afterpains was a hot water bottle. My homeopathic child birth kit also helped. Upon the advice of my naturopath I took various remedies in labour and after labour. Dates and Naked bars were my snacks throughout the day. They provided short bursts of energy which was helpful.
Overall, it was a good experience and I am glad I could go to the birth centre. I am still undecided if water birth is for me. I do not regret the decision though, it was just a new, unchallenged territory for me.
I’m not sure if I would choose homebirth, I feel I would get more rest and privacy away from home. At home I wouldn’t be as free of responsibilities as I would be in a birth centre.
Ifrah lives in Forest Gate, Newham, London and is 32 years old mum of four. Her youngest baby girl was born in May 2018. She also has two boys and one girl (four, three and 2 years old). In addition to caring for her children, she runs an organic food business from home.