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I woke up at 3am, five days before the due date of my first baby, a boy. I was having what definitely felt like contractions (not the period-like pains I had expected) and began to time them while my husband Jamie slept. By 6am, they were still coming every 7-8-9 minutes and my Jamie woke up as I paced the room. It was sinking in that this was the day!


My husband and I had decided we wanted to aim for an unmedicated water birth using hypnobirthing techniques we had been studying and practising at home. I began to use some of the techniques to labour at home and found the increasing contractions easier to deal with than I anticipated. My husband called the midwife-led unit around 2pm to tell them how we were getting on and they said if I was managing OK, to stay at home if I was happy to. I LOVED labouring at home and kept finding myself drawn to sitting on the toilet to breathe, visualise and rock through my deep contractions.


By 6pm, I was starting to struggle with the intensity of the contractions so Jamie called the unit and told them we were heading in. I was dreading the car ride but it went so quickly and there was no traffic, even on a Friday night. I was assessed on arrival and I was 3.5 cm dilated to which I said, "Is that all?!" but the midwife assured me all was going well as I was almost fully effaced and it wasn't just about dilation which I found reassuring. I was brought to my birthing room, complete with pool and we settled in. Jamie dimmed the lights, played our calm playlist and I used all the equipment to keep moving and remain upright to let gravity help things along.


I was told I could use the pool and it was the most amazing feeling. The midwife hooked up the gas and air and also brought me aromatherapy oils on cloths to calm and soothe. I began to feel the urge to bear down and I was given the go ahead to go with what my body was telling me. I wanted to breathe him out into the water and catch him - but things didn't quite go to plan. Lucy, my phenomenal midwife, checked me with the sonic-aid and something wasn't quite right. Suddenly, the lights all came on, she pushed a big button on the wall and about five people ran in.


I was helped out of the pool and onto a bed and we were told that our baby's heart rate had dropped really low and I needed to push him out now. I have never pushed so hard for anything in my life! It's odd how primal you become, how you roar like an animal to get your baby to you. An obstetrician kept wandering in to check how things were going with a view towards an instrumental delivery but that just made me push even harder. When baby's head became stuck, the team of people with me wanted to do an episiotomy (I was desperate to avoid one in my birth plan) but with concerns over baby's heart rate I would have done anything and everything at this point. We went ahead and after some careful pushing Elliot Bean Sumner was born at 12:31am on 27th January 2018.


He was placed on my chest for skin to skin and we just lay there staring at each other. Jamie said he wished he had caught the moment they gave him to me because he couldn't believe how shocked I was. I was truly surprised to finally have my baby. We snuggled and nursed and smelled each other and there was the most seismic shift - he was calm and wide eyed and just taking it all in. We climbed into bed and slept together as a new family of three.

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