I thought I’d kick it all off – the blog – by sharing the crazy birth story of my son, now 6 weeks old, Leo Walter Boston Toms.
He decided to come early, at 38w5d, and did an entrance to this world which I’ll never forget.
It started on Thursday 14th of September (2017) with my waters breaking at 10.20pm just after going to bed. I lost my mucus plug that same morning, but did not think much of it as it can still take days/weeks. Within a minute of the waters breaking contractions started, strong and regular. 1 min long and every 3 min from the start.
We called the hospital to let them know – they asked us to come in so they could confirm the waters broke. Being confident that it was the waters that did indeed break, I said we would rather be home as we have a 45 min drive to UCLH. Said and done, we hung up thinking this would be the start of a long night and I thought I’d better pour a bath. We agreed with hospital we would come in the next morning for a check up – and in 24 hours we would need to get things going in hospital should he not have showed up by then.
Contractions increased in intensity but by breathing and staying focused and with Matthew next to me I could handle them. Shortly after getting into the bath I started to throw up because of the intensity. After having emptied my body, contractions came even more intensely, and I had a hard time visualising, something I had practiced for months, but by breathing and the knowledge of birth and labour we gained from hypnobirthing Matthew and I both stayed focused – Matthew was half watching Lord of the Rings on the computer with his headphones, on the bathroom floor, as I did not want to be touched or spoken to, and no music or sounds to disturb my breathing – opposite of what I thought I wanted. I had look forward to being massaged for hours while listening to calm music!!
We called the hospital again to check as we now had contractions over 1 min long and every 2ish minute, who said that we should take a paracetamol and get some sleep (Really?! – I thought), maybe a bath (been there, done that), as we’re first time parents it will probably be quiet a few more hours of this. At this point I just could not believe that this was only the beginning of labour and started to doubt myself and that I could handle the intensity – just the thought of it being midnight and I would have to deal with the contractions for many more hours, almost threw me over the edge. Little did I know that I was after only 2 hours, in the transition part of labour already!
Shortly after this call I told Matthew I felt like needed to go to the toilet, but could not face leaving our bathtub – and to be frank, at this point I did not care what came out of me, if it meant one step closer to my baby. Seconds later this new noise came out of me – like from another world – not sure if it sounded more like a cow on steroids or a lion calling for his pride (Matthew described it as a polar bear roaring) – but I could not control it whatsoever. I had heard about this sound and immediately put my fingers up down below and could feel the babys head approaching fast. I told Matthew the baby is coming and I need to push(!) so call the hospital/ambulance (now it felt like only seconds between each contraction). He did not believe me at first and told me not to push (like I had any control over it) as we’ve been told minutes before we had hours to go. But said and done he was on the phone to the midwife at hospital who heard my sounds in the background and told him that this baby is coming NOW so he better hang up and call the ambulance for assistance.
Matthew prepared to deliver the baby himself on our bathroom floor – as the ambulance was still minutes away. He made me get out of the bath and lie down on my back – not very comfortable at all (!!) but the ambulance said (on the phone with Matthew) that it is essential to buy them time to arrive, but also to stop me from tearing completely as Leo was coming ‘too quickly’. Matthew even put his hand down to stop the head from coming out – something I was unaware of at the time, I was far out in space by this point.
With 2 minutes to spare a first response paramedic showed up (before the ambulance) and helped catch the baby while Matthew focused on myself and my breathing and getting me through the last minute of Leo being inside me instead of out. I was kneeling in front of bathtub and with my head in Matthews lap when I felt Leo exit my body.
At 1.08am – 2 hours and 48 min after waters breaking – Leo came out in one contraction. In total shock and relief I heard him cry and soon after he latched on and all I could feel was the most overwhelming feeling. I instantly forgot about the intensity I had experienced seconds before. I could not believe it. We had a son. In our bathroom! And what I had felt thinking it was the early stages of labour was him paving his way through my pelvis for a rocket entrance!
I told the paramedic not to cut the cord and not to clean him (which they were surprised about). We stayed on our bathroom floor for skin to skin for 30 min before they had to take us to hospital as there was no free midwife to come and check on us + I still had to deliver the placenta and get stitched up, and apparently ambulances don’t like doing that.
In hospital (ended up going to the closest one 5 min away – Whipps Cross rather than UCLH) they wanted to give me induction for placenta as it had been over an hour and no natural contractions – no way I thought, not a single more contraction today, so I started to push having no idea if it would work, and out it came! PHEW.
Some stitches later (my breathing here was essential to take me through it, more painful than the birth, as I got stitched up hours after birth and all adrenaline was gone) we were left to it, to hang out with our baby boy, and get over the shock and let the love take over. Leo was born at 3.1kg and 53 cm long – tall and lanky like his dad. We got to go home at lunch.
We could not have dealt with that labour, we would have panicked, would it not have been for going hypnobirthing classes and reading up on birth. Our birth preferences went out the window, but the mindset and the focus we were thought was all we needed to get through the most intense bodily experience of my life. The course also helped Matthew to keep calm, not once did I feel him panic, which reassured me and focused us both.