Part one is here, in case you need to catch up.
When we got back home, Jon wanted to start timing the contractions right away, but I had lots to do before the labour could start! I had expected to have several hours of early labour where we could set up the house (we had just gotten new carpets the week before, so I needed to get those covered up!), relax together, maybe even wash some of the dishes I had neglected for the past two days ;) But we didn’t have much time at all. Luckily, I had already gathered all the supplies we would need, so we spent a bit of time moving things out of the bedroom, putting waterproof sheeting down, and generally getting ready. Jon had a couple of emails to send to work, to let them know that he wouldn’t be in the office that day! I called my mom and texted my best friend, Dacia, to let them know I was in labour so they could start the prayers. Then we were finally able to settle down with some lunch (frozen burritos that I had made, which were delicious at the time, but I regretted choosing that as my lunch later!), Gavin & Stacey on the iPlayer, and a stopwatch to time the contractions. By this point, I could consistently tell when they were starting and stopping, but they still weren’t more than a little bit uncomfortable. At one point, I was watching the show, and halfway through a contraction, started laughing. Jon kept asking Is the contraction ended yet??, but I couldn’t tell due to the laughter. Which just made me laugh even harder!
Finally, around 4:30, we decided that the contractions were coming regularly enough and close enough together that we should call the midwife. They still were extremely manageable, so I was a bit hesitant, but Jon convinced me that we had better make the call. She (MW1) was actually at our local clinic but had to go to the hospital to fetch the equipment, so she said she should be at our house within an hour. No problem, we would just keep chilling out.
Then, about 10 minutes later, I went to the toilet, and my waters broke. It was unmistakeable—there was a big POP! and fluids squirted everywhere. This I found really funny. For a couple of minutes, until the contractions really started increasing in intensity. We called MW1 back to let her know the situation, but all still seemed under control. I was feeling the pain mostly in my back, so Jon and I adopted a position whereby he sat on the birthing ball and I knelt down in front of him, using his lap or shoulders as my support. This was my go-to position throughout the labour. It seemed to be the easiest way to get through each contraction. By this time, the contractions had gotten closer together, and I was definitely feeling them. The pain wasn’t horrible, but I started to feel a LOT of pressure in my bum. We called MW1 back, asking when she thought she would be at the house. She, of course, was stuck in traffic. Not encouraging. We called again 10 minutes later. She had made it to the hospital and was on her way back, but still a lot of traffic. Jon was getting quite anxious on the phone, so she asked if I had the urge to push. I was hoping that the immense pressure I was feeling wasn’t an urge to push, so I told Jon no, not really, which he relayed to MW1. She said she would call MW2 and see if she could make it out to the house first, to help relieve our anxiety.
And so we waited. Jon was very supportive, but I could hear the stress in his voice. I was trying not to give any downward pushes to relieve the pressure that was so strong. I thought that, if the baby did come this quickly, then it would probably be healthy, but I didn’t think Jon would be able to cope with the idea of catching the baby unassisted! (Secretly, I thought it would be pretty cool, since we were in the situation and the MWs were on their way, but not so cool that I tried to actively speed the process along!) The contractions weren’t lasting long—at least the part of each contraction that I had to concentrate through was only about 30 seconds long—but I didn’t get too much of a break in between. This was something that surprised me about labour, and that I kept dwelling on throughout (in my more negative moments during the labour!). I had thought that, although the contractions might be intense, I would get to relax in between. But I really didn’t have a lot of time to relax.
After what seemed like ages (I think it was about an hour and 15 minutes or so from the time we first called MW1), both midwives arrived on our doorstep at the same time. Jon went down to let them in while I stayed upstairs, vocalising through each contraction. And the midwives were completely calm—too much so, in my opinion! They said hello to me as they passed, bringing in all their equipment and setting it up. But they didn’t show any urgency about the situation. I wanted them to examine me right away—the contractions felt so strong, and I just wanted to push this baby out!
Finally, they had everything set up and did an examination. Seven cm. I could not believe it. This was very discouraging news, and I could completely understand why some women do not like to hear how dilated they are. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt that the contractions were so intense, that I couldn’t possibly go on for hours more until full dilation. It wasn’t that they were painful—pain was hardly ever an issue for me throughout the labour. At various points, I used water, hot water bottle on my lower back, and pressure/massage on my lower back, and that really helped with any pain. Intense is the best word I have to describe the contractions, but not really in a good way. And pressure. Lots and lots of pressure in my bum. And I was already getting tired—both physically and mentally.
But, obviously, I had to power through. So I moved to the toilet while Jon got the midwives tea. (MW2 really like the tea, and at one point when I was feeling well, she asked what type it was. We said regular old PG Tips. I couldn’t figure out why she thought it tasted so nice, until I later realised Jon had put cinnamon-sugar in it!) I chatted to MW2. This seems strange, now. My memories go from lying/kneeling on the floor, feeling really deflated about the dilation, and then next thing I remember, I was sitting on the toilet, doing really well, having a conversation. Obviously, it is true what they say, and changing position can really help. We were talking about my waters breaking, because when they broke, there had been some red / pink liquid. And I was still leaking red. I asked MW2 if they knew why this was. No, not really. I wondered if it was something I should be concerned about. You seem fine, blood pressure, temperature, etc. And baby’s heart rate is really strong and steady. So no, it doesn’t seem to warrant worrying. I asked if they thought we could stay at home. Yes, if all continues the way it is, we don’t really see a reason to transfer, even with the red. She was really calm about it all, just a little unsure about what exactly was causing the blood. So I was relaxed too, as there didn’t seem to be any reason to worry.
So we continued with the labouring. I went in the bathtub for a while, and Jon sprayed the shower on my back. I found this quite a good way to help with the pain/pressure in my back, but it was hard to get in the perfect position and switch positions as needed while in the tub, so I didn’t stay in there for too long. I did give little pushes during most contractions, secretly, without telling anyone, as that really seemed to relieve the pressure that I was feeling. All I wanted was for that pressure to diminish, and there was hardly anything I could do about it. I didn’t think the midwives would think I should be pushing before full dilation, though, so I kept this little trick to myself ;)