The drive to hospital was a lot easier than I feared, no doubt helped by the hospital only being a mile away and it being 4.30am in the morning. My contractions also really slowed down, I guess perhaps the relative stress of the transfer could’ve caused that or as I was about to find out (spoiler alert!), I was pretty much at the stage where I was ready to push the baby out when your body often gives you a natural break.
I still had the phrase “we may need to send you home again” in my head so we only took my bag in with us initially, leaving the baby’s and MrS’s bags in the car. I didn’t want to seem too presumptuous! Once in the Midwife Led Unit (MLU), I slightly overemphasised how much pain I was in as I walked down the corridor towards reception, I really, really did not want to be sent home. We were taken to a calming, dimly lit delivery room and the midwife examined me and declared that I was 9cms dilated and pretty much ready to push. I burst into tears of happiness! I asked to use the birth pool, though the midwife said it would take 45 minutes to fill the pool and that baby could be here by then. She did agree that she would try filling it anyway and we could see what happened. MrS went to get the other bags from the car. I had some gas and air and generally enjoyed the relaxed feeling I had now that we were safely at hospital and the pain of the contractions had eased.
I got into the pool when it was ready and stayed relaxed, going into my own bubble and tuning out the rest of the world. Which was all very well but the labour wasn’t particularly progressing very far. The new midwife that arrived at the 7am shift change decided that the pace had to speed up and I had to focus on getting the baby out. She could see that I was lacking in energy but I felt too sick to eat. She insisted that I drank a cup of tea with sugar in (I got a real taste for that and had sugar in my tea for weeks afterwards). Not so long afterwards she said it would be best to get out of the pool as it didn’t seem to be helping delivery wise and she suggested that I tried a birthing stool. I’d seen one of these at the Active Birthing Workshop we had attended at the hospital and thought it looked very uncomfortable. I was wrong, the upright, squatting position you take on it really opens up your pelvis to help the baby out and of course you have gravity working with you too. MrS supported me from behind and helped me up in between contractions to walk around a little to keep things moving.
The midwife had been monitoring the baby’s heartbeat using a hand held monitor and at about 9am she became concerned that the heartbeat was going up too much during contractions. She announced that we would need to transfer to the Consultant Led Unit for continuous monitoring and to be examined by an obstetrician. I guessed this may lead to the use of forceps or something like that which was moving far away from my birth plan but I was quite calm as I was convinced that the baby was going to come very soon. I was taken downstairs in a wheelchair and strapped to a monitor, although I was still able to sit on the birthing stool as opposed to getting on the bed which I was pleased about. MrS went back upstairs to get the bags (I still ended up leaving bits and pieces in various delivery rooms, less really is more when it comes to hospital bags!).
He got back just in the nick of the time, as Seren’s head came out followed by all of her not long after that at 9.34am. I was still sat on the stool with MrS behind me. The midwife had to catch Seren and placed her immediately on my lap so she could clear up the big poo that she had done on the floor as soon as she came out! Well that was one less nappy to change. I lifted the cord to see that she was a girl. Then checked again. And again. I was quite spaced out by this point! Which also meant that I was happy to let a couple of things I’d been keen on in my birth plan slip by – so no delayed cord clamping, it was cut immediately and I had the syntocinon injection to speed up the placenta delivery. The midwife brought both the cord and the placenta to show us, we nodded politely but only had eyes for Seren.
I was never actually examined by a consultant, she arrived at the delivery room a few minutes after Seren was born. I think that as we hadn’t really been transferred over to consultant care, we were allowed back upstairs to the more homely MLU to recover and get to know our new precious little girl.